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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Make Him Proud

Disclaimer: Hey again! Fufufufu…yes once again I disappeared (this is Angel!) and I'm doing a fanfic for a category I haven't done. And in which case you haven't noticed…it a Naruto fanfic. And it belongs to its rightful owners, along with the characters; all except for the plot line is mine!

Author's note: I'm finally writing again! I'm planning on adding up another chapter to 'The Way' series soon…hopefully. Anyways this fanfic is for a couple who doesn't get enough love. It's a Kurenai and Asuma – events take place before and after he dies.

Make Him Proud

By: J'oublie m'appelle

Kurenai Yuhi starred into the eyes of her long time boyfriend Asuma Sarutobi, she felt the familiar fluttering feeling in her chest. She watched him smile slightly down into her face.

"You have to promise me you'll be careful right?" she asked him quietly, as she continued to stare into his eyes.

Asuma gave a light chuckle, "Don't worry so much Kurenai…I'll be just fine" he assured her.

She shook her head and thumped him in the chest with a closed fist.

"I said promise me!" she snapped glaring up at him now.

Once again Asuma chuckled at what his love said, he thought everything would be okay, they've all gone through so much already and yet here they were, together; and he was hoping to finally tying the knot and asking her to marry him.

He was thinking about how life would be like in that kind of life, he could just see it; him, Kurenai and a small little boy, living happily together. He then felt another thump on his chest and he grinned as he saw Kurenai's red eyes glare at him.

"Okay, okay! I promise!" he said, waving his hands in defeat.

Kurenai grinned and pulled him into her arms, she leaned her head onto his muscled chest; he smelt his familiar scent, a mixture of the woods and cigarettes, which most people would find disgusting but she found to match exactly who Asuma was.

She felt his arms tighten around her, and giggled lightly when she felt his beard tickle her cheek as he leaned down to kiss her.

A few short and sweet moments went by with their lips connected, it was an innocent kiss and yet a complete stranger could see the love and tenderness surrounding them.

As Asuma broke the kiss he smiled and patted Kurenai's stomach.

"Hm…not that I don't like this flat surface of muscle, but I want a kid soon" he said grinning.

Kurenai blushed as she pushed him away playfully, she's thought about having a child with Asuma before, actually she's spent time fantasizing about it; imaging the happy feeling she would be filled with; the happiness they would be surrounded with. And last but not the least the familiarity of family they'll have.

"Shut up Asuma…you're going to be late…and I need to go too" she said as she picked up her forehead protector.

Asuma smiled.

"Take care dear" he told her giving her one last hug.

She nodded her head returning the hug warmly.

Asuma turned and headed for the front door of Kurena's apartment, yes Kurenai's as they've spent many nights together.

"I love you" he called.

And with that he walked out the door, taking one last glance of the woman he loved.

Three hours later, elsewhere

Asuma took another blow which sent him flying straight into a tree trunk, he felt the trunk crush underneath his weight. He coughed up a splatter of blood, he glared over at Hidan with strong hate.

He took a glance at his team; the round Choji Akimichi, the hot headed Ino Yamanaka and the brain Shikamaru Nara. He was proud of all of them; of how they've fought through the whole battle.

"Looks like your end is nearing" Hidan spoke.

Asuma took his eyes away from his team and back to the Akatsuki member.

And once more the pair engaged in battle, but each blow Asuma did to Hidan he felt the pain on his body.

He leaned heavily on one foot as he stared at Hidan, he then realised that the Akatsuki member held a kunai in his hand, the thing was…he was aiming it not at Asuma or his team, but his own chest…to be exact his heart.

Asuma's eyes widened with realisation and he threw at his glance to his team, he watched Shikamaru's face, he watched his eyes widen with realisation at what was about to happen.

"NO!!!" Shikamaru screamed.

But it was too late…Hidan had struck himself.

Asuma felt the pain and immediately saw the blood on his chest, he looked over at his team and saw their horrified looks as he fell to the ground.

Ino ran over to her sensei and immediately tried to heal him, but it was too late. Asuma had sustained a blow that would indeed cause the end of his life.

The other two soon ran over and held him, for they knew he was dying and there was nothing they could do about it.

Asuma stared up at the three faces he had grown so used to seeing over the last year, he smiled up at them.

He looked over at Shikamaru with sad eyes.

"You have great potential…maybe one day you might become the hokage." he whispered.

With his last breath Asuma said:

"Promise me to tell her…please"

The three member team stared at their sensei, each one had tear filled eyes.

However, much as it would pain him Shikamaru knew he would follow his sensei's final words.

With that said Asuma looked up at the sky and he closed his eyes finally feeling the last tear he would cry, he remembered looking back at Kurenai the very last time. He remembered how yesterday he had went out and bought a special gift for her; one he will never be able to give now.

The last thing he ever thought about was the image that stuck in his head, the one that out shone the rest; the family that may have been.

Kurenai was currently watering some plants in her apartment, and as she hummed to herself, she saw one of the flowers fall from the bunch and onto the window ceil.

For some reason her immediate thought was of Asuma, and she felt worry grow from within herself. She stared at the flower then out the window still thinking about him.

'Relax…he'll be alright…I hope' she thought leaning her head against the window as she rubbed her stomach lightly.

She stared out onto the village as rain continued to fall, she knew that her face showed fear; even if she tried to relax.

After a few moments she turned her eyes back to the plants and with a deep breath she continued the watering.

In the Hokage's office

Tsunade sighed to herself as she heard the news, she placed her face in her hands; more of the leaf ninjas have died, and what made it worst was the fact that one of them was a sensei for a team.

She looked over at Shikamaru with a slightly distressed look on her face.

"I guess I should tell Kurenai" she said looking out the window sadly.

"No" Shikamaru stated.

She looked over to the young chunin with a questioning look.

"He made me promise to be the one to tell her" he answered her un-asked question.

The Hokage stared at the young man before nodding her head and dismissed him without any further comments.

Shikamaru walked out of the office and out onto the road, he didn't know how he felt…probably numb.

He looked up into the sky with a pondering look on his face, he wasn't sure how he felt about what Asuma said to him, or his sensei's final promise.

Before he knew it he was outside Kurenai's apartment and stopped out side starring up at the windows, and then his eyes trailed down to the door, and without any other delay he walked up to the door and knocked.

He stood there waiting, he shoved his hands into his pockets waiting for the female jonin.

Kurenai approached the door feeling apprehensive; scared at who was on the other side of the door. Slowly she opened the door and saw on her door step was Shikamaru Nara, one of Asuma's pupils.

"Yes?" she asked cautiously.

Shikamaru looked up into the red eyes of Kurenai Yuhi and saw the fear in them, he felt a pang in his chest at the news he was about to give.

"I'm sorry…he…died protecting the village, he fought against the Akatsuki and he lost" he said softly.

Kurenai stared at the young student, and slowly she was hit with the realisation of what he just said.

Slowly she felt the tears enter her eyes, and before she could control herself she broke.

Shikamaru watched the female jonin break down, he watched the shaking shoulders of the woman, he watched as indescribable pain swam in Kurenai's eyes.

He didn't know what to do; he wasn't used to seeing crying women, he didn't know what to do.

"I'm sorry" he said before he walked away.

Kurenai closed the door before she collapsed onto the floor and continued to cry, the pain in her chest hurt so much. She wished it would stop, she wished she could see him again, she wished he could've told him the news.

The next day at the funeral Kurenai stood there listening to the priest say his words about Asuma.

She once again had tears sliding down her face as she listened to the words that described the man she loved.

Soon it was time to say good bye and she approached the grave with the single flower she had, it was the same type as the one that had fallen.

Slowly she placed it down and touched the grave.

"I love you" she whispered to the grave.

And with that the funeral ended and Kurenai returned home without another word to anyone, of course she felt the stares that followed her away.

When she arrived home she open the door and closed it behind her, and she clenched her hand, trying to stop herself from breaking down again.

Kurenai Yuhi stared down at her stomach and slowly she rubbed it.

"We'll make him proud" she whispered, telling their – hers and Asuma's – child that they'll make it.

An Agreeable Arrangement

Author's Notes: This is for the 50 Alternates challenge at Live Journal, using the theme “sheriff.” This is very AU, probably very fluffy, and possibly OOC as I've never written Asuma/Kurenai before. You be the judge.

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto and am making no profit from this fan fiction.

An Agreeable Arrangement

By Nessie

The mayor's office building had exploded into chaos, and Asuma Sarutobi hardly knew why. It wasn't as though a mere case of vandalism was something to write home about. Overzealous political party advocates were everywhere. Since it was the mayor of New York City's venue, however, and because Asuma was the city's chief of police, he had an obligation to be there.

It was the fact that the mayor also happened to be his father Asuma resented. But that was as out of his hands as the current state of the disturbance site. Digital lenses were snapping every square inch of the lobby, and shouting was set to maximum volume.

The mod of photojournalists made sure, of course, that they took a decent shot of the giant, vicious-faced donkey that had been spray-painted in bright green over and around the various artworks that hung on the east wall of the lobby.

Asuma had three teams operating in the packed lobby; one to hold back the straining reporters, led by dog-training cop Kiba Inuzuka, one to questioned the on-duty staff, and one to analyze the vandalized wall. He cast a half-hearted look around for Jon Steward, very sure this bizarre case would end up on The Daily Show before it hit NYPD records.

As he did, he spotted a woman ducking beneath the yellow police tape. Well-honed skills had him both assessing and reacting in rapid succession. The assessment confirmed that the woman was notably attractive, with long black hair, a flattering crimson business skirt and blazer, which accentuated a shapely body, and a surprising pair of garnet eyes. The reaction involve heading her off at breakneck speed.

“You are?” he asked.

“Not interested,” she snapped out without looking at him.

Faintly amused, Asuma held out an arm to cut off her path toward the elevators. “Miss, I think you misinterpreted my question.”

She registered his uniform, then, and her eyes went wide. In an attempt to take a step back from him (many people seemed to be under the impression that standing too close to a cop was a legal offense), one of her absurdly high heels skidded on the tile and sent her pitching forward. The stack of files she carried under her arm scattered, and print-offs flew in all directions. Kiba's dog, Akamaru, began to bark madly.

Perfect. Asuma desperately wished for a cigarette.

“Oh, God...sorry. Shit.” The woman went on all fours and began to gather her paraphernalia.

Heedless of the reporters, Asuma knelt in order to help. “Didn't mean to scare you,” he said honestly. “But we can't have you crossing this line.”

“I work here!” she flared at once.

God, Asuma thought, not this act. “For who?”

“Mayor Sarutobi!”

Wrong line. “Lady, I've got personal connections with this office, and I know you don't work for the mayor.”

“But I—”

He cut her off by thrusting the retrieved files – those not trampled by officers at work, anyway – into her arms. “Save yourself the trouble, won't you?” Taking her by the arm with gentleness but firmly enough to show he meant business, Asuma led her back toward the throng. “Tell the Times I said hello.”


Asuma's patient thinned considerably, a feat not easily achieved by anyone other than this addressor. He tossed a bland look at the old man standing behind him. “What?”

Mayor Sarutobi, dressed in a starched black suit and tie, stared balefully back. “I'll thank you not to mistreat my secretary on her first day. I'm sorry, Miss Yuuhi. My son can be quite rash.”

“Your son?” the woman called Yuuhi echoes.

“Your secretary?” faltered Asuma uncharacteristically.

Cameras flashed and journalists yelled out questions. The mayor was disapproving, his secretary look shocked, and Asuma appeared more or less humiliated.

This very picture (with the donkey conveniently visible in the background) was printed in The New Yorker the following morning. Sitting at a tiny café she was partial to, Kurenai had one scarlet fingernail positioned to keep her reading place while she examined the article and sipped coffee at the same time. She was dressed as confidently as yesterday, but the attire did not match her mood. Already she had become the unlucky recipient of several sidelong glances ranging between amused and disgusted from other breakfast-goers.

As she was approaching the third column of the article, Kurenai felt a presence too near her and looked up as a somewhat gruff voice quoted, “ 'Mayor and son share friction over secretary?' ” He even afforded the upward inflection that denoted inquiry.

Kurenai saw a faintly smiling Asuma Sarutobi standing beside her coffee and did not react in any way. The plan white coffee cup he held was devoured by his large hand. “It seems I've been disgraced,” he said.

Kurenai's physical response was caught somewhere between a tensing of her shoulders and a relaxing of her jaw. “You can't count on the media to report anything accurately. A story like this,” she waved a hand in dismissal, “isn't the kind to be taken seriously.”

“It's a good trick for front page news. Word it as a question, and suddenly there's no liability.” Asuma shrugged. “But that's not what I'm here for. I came to apologize for yesterday, Miss Yuuhi.”

The words sounded rehearsed, Kurenai noted. This was doubtlessly a man unused to contrition. “It's all right, Chief Sarutobi. I think I came out of this comparatively unscathed.” She paused for effect. “Unless, of course, this bad press gets me a pink slip.”

“It won't,” he hurried to assure her. “Tactless as they are, the story focuses on the vandalism, not us.”

He really did look sorry, Kurenai thought, in a sort of high-school awkward way. “Did you come here just to see me? You must be busy.”

“I just wanted to clear my name.”

That she got a kick out of. As big and dangerous as he looked, the mayor's secretary had trouble picturing him on the stand. He was the head honcho at NYPD, after all. Everybody's friend. “It was never in danger,” she told him, smiling.

His entire stance altered with her forgiving change of expression. “In that case, will you let me buy you another cup of coffee?”

The smile vanished, and Kurenai's mind raced. Didn't see that coming. It would have been easy enough to shake him off using the old I'm-already-seeing-someone routine. But frankly, she wasn't seeing anyone. And Asuma was impossible to miss.

Her smile materialized once more. “There are free refills here.”

Asuma bent his long legs and squeezed into the opposite side of the booth she occupied. “Well, that's just convenient for me, isn't it?”

Kurenai laughed. Both of them rested a hand on the tabletop, their fingers scant inches apart.

That Asuma saw her working for his father now and then, during those visits to the mayor's office his position required him to put up with, did not phase him. As much as Kurenai stirred him (and that was the perfect word for it – some men claimed complete and total bulldozing by women, but so far he had been merely stirred), he was adept at sticking to professional boundaries. Mastering right place/right time techniques had brought him so far, so young.

That wasn't to say the chief of police ignored her casual smiles or polite conversation, or that he did not enjoy the conservative-yet-sexy pantsuits and skirt-blazer combinations she wore without fail to work. He just preferred the far more liberal ensembles Kurenai chose to don for the dinners they went to, such as the miniskirted black halter dress with the sky-high heels, or the V-neck tee shirt and skinny jeans she sported the day they took Coney Island by storm.

Oh yes. Asuma liked those just fine.

He discovered, however, about a month after the tentative initiation of their singularly unexpected relationship, that he relished her good looks as much without clothes as he did when she was dressed.

Not so shallow as some of the other, less choosy men he knew from the force, Asuma was as drawn in by her intellect as her physical features. She lacked little in either mind or body, and what she did (Kurenai possessed, for instance, the unique inability to contain her true feelings, try as she might) was easily compensated for by other aspects (those feelings were always well-founded, in fact).

She respected herself, which was more than he could say for past brushes with romance. And she liked people of all sorts, which relieved him because he was bombarded by requests to meet her by various friends and acquaintances; she handled Shikamaru well, and the Nara lawyer apparently got yet another client in the form of his girlfriend. She thoroughly enjoyed Chouji's food when they visited the restaurant, Uzumaki's. And she even wore some of the clothes Ino modeled, which helped the two polar women to connect on some level.

It had been Kurenai who had first suggested the notion of taking their relationship to the next level – if one can suggest with their wordless mouth and persuade deftly with their hands simultaneously. Asuma took her up on it because, by then, he had arrived at the point where the idea of her in the arms of any other man incensed him almost to possession. Of course, Kurenai was no woman who could be possessed.

“How do you feel?” he softly queried in the minutes after they managed to catch their breath in the dark of his bedroom that first time.

Kurenai grinned impishly, turning her head to press a follow-up kiss to his warm, bare chest. “Curiously powerful.”

“Why curiously?

“Well,” she confided, laughter visible in her eyes in the light from the adjoining bathroom's open door, “you can be so daunting. Physically.”

He chuckled, passing a hand over her soft, black hair. “You're pretty scary yourself,” joked Asuma, earning an unheated smack to the shoulder and her playful giggles when he dove beneath the sheets with her.

In his teenage years, he had considered all of the things he might have wanted from his life, primarily disentanglement from his father and the politics beyond campaigns and causes. Now, the younger Sarutobi, all at once, could not think of a single thing that would content him further.


Kurenai wasn't highly prone to swearing unless placed in a frightening or embarrassing situation. Her current predicament satisfied both conditions better than any she had previously been in.

The word, in any case, was likely the most appropriately used in this instance, anyway. She felt both hot and cold as she exited the ladies restroom on her floor at work. Her fingers were tensed into the same arrangement of moments before, when they had been occupied by a slim white stick, upon which her future appeared like a dreaded poltergeist.

Mayor Sarutobi stepped through the elevator doors just as she was crossing the room to her desk, in clear view of the older man's perceptive gaze. “Miss Yuuhi?” he queried, addressing her with the usual appropriate title. Behind him, the muscled pair of his regular security guards dispersed, leaving them alone together during the late-day lull.

Kurenai's eyes flashed to those of her boss with the startled alacrity of a nervous bird, seeking the source of strange noises. “Mr. Mayor,” she greeted him, her voice breathy and unusually empty of welcome. “I thought you weren't scheduled to come back until...”

But the secretary trailed off, unable to finish the sentence that she was only forming to stall the inevitable question.

“What's wrong?” Sarutobi asked her.

She wavered. No matter how bitterly Asuma may have felt toward him – the animosity between the mayor and the police chief was not only obvious, it was practically palpable – Kurenai had continually seen him as fatherly and warm as was possible for one in so stressful a profession. At the very least, he had never spoken out against her dating his son. This fatherly warmth now buckled her, and tears silently debuted on her ashen face.

“I...” Grasping the edge of her desk for support, Kurenai saw the overhead fluorescent light crack, then burst with the moisture in her eyes. Speech lost to the subtle hum of air conditioner and elevator motor in the office, she was capable only of pressing a hand to her still-flat belly and communicating that way.

Mayor Sarutobi took one of her shoulders into his hand and patted. “I see,” he said. “I see.”

It was, considering the circumstances, surprisingly comforting.

“I'm afraid there's been an occurrence.”

Those were never good words to hear from Yushiro Sarutobi. It was just Asuma's personal hatred of the man's bullshit polite phrasing that really put him on edge. “What?”

He stood in his father's office, having shown after a call put in to his desk over the private line he reserved for emergencies. His reluctance had ebbed, however, once he had reached the correct floor and found Kurenai away from her desk; away from the building, apparently.

The mayor sat back in his high-backed, leather swivel chair – not for the effect of appearing intimidating but because he truly seemed quite exhausting. Raising a hand to rub at his age-lined eyes emphasized the notion.

“I take it you know she hasn't felt well lately.” Sarutobi's eyes were two identical bullets, spiraling into Asuma's head.

It gave him one hell of a headache. “Yeah, she mentioned it. What's the matter?” His tone grew steadily less composed, but his father remained unchanged.

That is, he did until Asuma's glare intensified in a blatant attempt to procure a direct answer by intimidation. Asuma could not know that, on the sidelines of his current thoughts, Sarutobi wondered exactly when he and his son began to fit into the category of dysfunctional. “Miss Yuuhi – Kurenai – is pregnant with your child.”

Asuma's spine straightened as though someone had thrust an iron rod up his back. It was a good thing Sarutobi sat several feet away. The old man could have breathed on him and knocked the much bigger man to the floor. “She's...”

“Pregnant. Don't act shell-shocked. You're mother did give you that talk when you were a boy, didn't she?”

This wasn't the time for sardonicism, but old habits died hard. “Kurenai told you?” Asuma had a difficult time believing his girlfriend would go to her boss before she came clean with him.

A gray eyebrow elevated over the other by a half-inch. “Not verbally, if that's what you mean. I've gotten to know her in this months she's been here. It wasn't very hard to figure out when I caught her crying.”

He had never even seen Kurenai cry. A long, jagged-edged silence penetrated the space between father and son. “What do you want me to do, Dad?”

The title “dad” momentarily threw off the mayor, but the police chief was too preoccupied to notice. “What is it that you want to do? All of this means scandal, you know.”

“I don't give a damn about scandal!” he said heatedly. “Jesus, you don't think I'll be there for you, do you? I wanted to know if you thought I should marry her before or after she gives birth to” Asuma's face suddenly drained of all color, fingers twitching. The import of the situation had fallen settled completely on him.

“We call them children here,” said Sarutobi, amused in spite of himself. “And I'll leave the matter of marriage to the two of you, if you don't mind. It's not like you've ever required my advice anyway.”

Asuma drew a very deep breath, then released in the same way he exhaled nicotine smoke. “I should go to her.” He realized that he very badly wanted to, right now. Turning, he made a beeline for the door of his father's office.

Hand on the polished knob, he paused and spoke without looking back. “I'm sorry.” He watched the wood grain of the door as he waited for a response.

“As long as you take care of my grandchild,” it came, “everything should be all right, Asuma.”

He left, leaving his father to accept the sound of his footfalls as a goodbye. It was a usual means of farewell between the two of them. But this time, there was less negativity to it and something that contained a semblance of peace.

It was a deliberate choice to not answer her cell phone. Kurenai could not trust herself to speak to him if it wasn't in person, fearing a new overload of stressed sobbing. She had heard hormones went haywire in expecting women, but she hadn't felt this anxious since her last bout of college finals. It was a far cry from her usual put-together self, and she didn't like it at all.

This probably explained why she was back in her coffee shop, drinking tea this time, and staring out the window at the current bustle of activity. There was a high school kid delivering pizza on his bicycle, and an elderly woman was purchasing that morning's New Yorker from a burly man at a corner stand. A group of Columbia University students stood with their smiling, bun-haired instructor, calling to passersby with her and handing out flyers on weapon awareness.

Kurenai felt like their polar opposite; she was not busy, but someone was, inside of her, busy growing and gaining life while all she could do was sit here in a lonely booth, feeding it occasional drinks of tea that was losing heat by the minute.

She couldn't help but note the gleaming wedding ring on the Columbia instructor. And the woman looked quite a few years younger than herself. The thought was depressing enough to make her sigh. So absorbed, it took her a few seconds to realize someone had seated himself across the table from her.

“Asuma.” The note of surprise that worked its way into her tone was likely unnecessary. She hadn't planned on avoiding him, but Kurenai now understood that was what she'd been doing since his calls began coming at ten-thirty this morning.

Six hours later, Asuma looked throughly perplexed by the evasion and, more than that, a little hurt. It was odd to see him look hurt, just as it had been odd to see him nervous that first time he had approached her in this very booth.

“Why didn't you tell me yet?”

Beside the baby, something inside her kicked – guilt, she realized. She child certainly wasn't old enough to be so aggressive. “I didn't mean to not tell you,” she mumbled, raising her cold tea to her lips.

Familiar with the tactic, Asuma pressed his hand over hers before the cup could obscure her face. “I mean it, Kurenai. Did you think I wouldn't care?”

“No.” The idea startled her as it hadn't ever crossed her mind. “I was...I was worried you would care too much,” she said, the words confusing even her.

Asuma, however, seemed to know exactly what she meant. “I do care too much,” the younger Sarutobi intoned quietly. He had yet to withdraw his touch. Kurenai realized he had no intention of doing so. “But I don't mind. I can only hope you really don't, either.”

His eyes seemed so dark at the moment, Kurenai errantly thought. His face actually looked considerably paler, the hair of his beard stark against his cheeks. It hit her quite forcibly that Asuma Sarutobi, chief of the New York Police Department, was as terrified as she was.

Seemingly of their own volition, her hand turned to grip his from beneath. “I don't.” A smile bloomed on her lips. “It's just...I'm going to be a mother!”

A low, somewhat jittery chuckle escaped his throat. “Don't take all the credit, Kurenai,” he said, some of his former tendency to joke returning. “I helped. I'm gonna be a father. The father.” What he murmured next, softly enough it felt as though he were telling the most important of secrets, made the pregnant woman's heart go from zero to sixty in a split second. “And the husband, too, if I'm lucky.”

Absurdly, her eyes flitted about, first to the service counter as if she thought someone was listening, then to the cluster of students outside. The married woman, however, was now gone – home to the groom, probably. It was almost five o' clock.

“The husband, hm?” she whispered, the smile transforming into a delighted grin. “Well...I think I could be agreeable to that.” Meeting his eyes, she leaned into the large palm of Asuma's hand as he pressed it to her cheek.

“Ah.” Leaning forward, he grinned back. “That's a relief. I haven't known many agreeable people in my life. I have rowdy cops to deal with, and that lawyer friend of mine you met can be the laziest guy, and of course Ino—”

Kurenai stopped his energy-inspired rambling with her own lips. “I can't make promises to stay this way,” she warned him. “I like control.”

She was pleased that Asuma gave up on talking, preferring to pull her in for more kisses. This, Kurenai thought, was an arrangement she could definitely agree to.

The End

The Best of Me

Author: Nightshroud

Nightshroud: Another Naruto couple oneshot. I got so much positive feedback from my first oneshot that I decided to do more. Hope you enjoy!

Song: The Best of Me by Starting Line. I don't even like this song or band but I thought it really fit.
Love is a strange thing. In one moment it can grab you, but sometimes you can’t shake it off for the rest of your life. But then you start thinking, do you really want to? Asuma and Kurenai are about to find out.
“Hey, stop that! Leave me alone!” shouted a twelve year old Kurenai.

“Shut up!” yelled one of the bullies, pushing her over.

Kurenai tried to hold back her tears as the bullies continued to pick on her, pull at her hair, and kick at her.

“Hey, knock it off!”

The bullies looked over and frowned. “Mind your own business, Asuma!” they said.

Kurenai looked over to see a boy about her age. He was a few inches taller, tan, built for his age, and handsome. She fought the blush that creeped onto her face.

He ran over and pushed the ones closest to her out of the way.

“You got a lot of nerve,” the apparent leader said.

Asuma turned and glared at him. “You’re right. I should let you just pick on defenseless girls.”

“Come on, fight me if you can.”

Asuma cracked his knuckles. “My pleasure.”

Quick as lightning Asuma punched him right in the jaw and sent him sprawling to the floor.

“I always wanted to do that.”

The other looked at him and took off. He watched them run away and then turned to Kurenai. He helped her up and brushed her hair away from her face.

“Hey, are you all right?”

She blushed and nodded her head.

“Hey, why don’t you come to my house and get cleaned up?”

She stared at him and said, “Really?”

He grinned back at her. “Sure.”


Asuma led her to his house where she washed her face and dusted her clothes off. Asuma had just gotten her something to drink when the door opened.

“Asuma, I came to get – oh….”

Kurenai’s jaw dropped as the Third Hokage entered the room.

“You mean you’re Asuma Sarutobi?” she said in disbelief.

Okay, now this was too good to be true.

“Oh, who’s your friend here, Asuma?”

Kurenai looked away shyly. “My name’s Kurenai Yuhi.”

Kurenai Yuhi, huh? Today must be my lucky day….”

“Hey, Asuma!” said Kurenai, running over to the table he was sitting at.

“Hey,” he said with a smile.

She blushed and held out a package. “What’s this?” he asked.

“I made a lunch for us to share,” she replied without looking directly at him, “It’s the least I can do to thank you for helping me.”

He grinned. “Hey, no problem. And don’t worry, you’re under my protection now.”

She smiled and sat next to him. “I hope you like it.”

“If you made it, I’m sure I’ll like it.”

Over at another table, Kakashi, Genma, Gai, and Anko watched the two eating together.

“Hey, look at Asuma and Kurenai. They’re really a couple now. Eating lunch together….hmm that’s a surefire sign.”

Genma looked at them, then turned back. “You sure about that, Kakashi?”

Gai shouted, “Look at the flame of youth burn! Is their love not obvious?”

The others sweatdropped as Asuma and Kurenai (as well as the whole room) heard them and blushed while suddenly looked away from each other. “Look what your youthful crap has done this time, Gai,” muttered Anko.

It’s been a while,” Asuma thought as he walked through the gates. It has been a few years since he had left the Hidden Leaf Village to become one of the 12 Guard Ninjas of Fire who protected the Land of Fire's daimyo.

He had hoped to make it to his destination as soon as possible, but he didn’t plan on a reunion with Kakashi, Anko, Genma, and Gai that slowed him up for a bit.

He reached the Hokage’s office and walked in.

“Hey, dad.”

The Third looked up and smiled. “Asuma, you came back, did you?”

He nodded. “Yeah, I guess pursuing interests outside the village wasn’t as great as I thought it would be.”

The Third smiled at his son. “All right. I’ll arrange your papers immediately.”

There was suddenly a knock from the door. “Come in.”

“Lord Hokage, I looked over the mission and accept, but unfortunately my partner fell ill. May I suggest Kakashi or-“

For the first time Kurenai looked up and her eyes widened as she saw Asuma standing there.

“Asuma…” she said quietly.

“An excellent idea,” said the Third craftily.

“Huh? But I only just got here!” protested Asuma.

“Well, nothing like being back in the old life, eh?”

Asuma (--) sighed and left the room with Kurenai behind him.

“So, you came back,” she said after a pause.

“Yeah, I missed the village. And you…”

Her face registered shock and she forced herself to look at him. He had grown taller since she last saw him. He was even more muscular and had grown a beard. She blushed as she realized that she found him even hotter than before.

At the same time, Asuma had looked at her. “Woah, she’s so hot. Man, what a few years will do. I could barely control myself back then, but now…”

They both stood in awkward silence for a moment. “Well, I’ll see you for the mission tomorrow,” said Kurenai. As she walked away, Asuma continued to stare, muttering a soft, “See you then.”

“Aww crap, and the mission had been going so well!” Asuma pouted as he and Kurenai stood poised for battle as a group of ninja surrounded them.

Asuma pulled out his trench knives and rushed at the enemy. He slashed through them at rapid speed, taking out a whole group of them in a matter of seconds. As he ran at the last one, he thrust out his blade at the ninja. The ninja dived to the side, avoiding the slice. Asuma only smirked as he passed him by. He extended the blades with his wind chakra and cut through him. The ninja suddenly cried out in pain and collapsed.


He turned back to see Kurenai fighting off the last of the ninja. He had knocked her back and pulled out a handful of kunai. Asuma had only enough time to put himself in the way of the kunai.

He winced as two kunai stuck in his chest. With his last strength he stumbled towards the last ninja, grabbed him by the neck, and stabbed him. He then passed out, thinking, “I wouldn’t mind dying, if I knew that I had saved your life.”

Asuma opened his eyes and saw white around him. He focused on the room around him and realized that he was in a hospital room. He felt a strange weight on his chest and looked too see Kurenai sleeping on a chair next to him with her head resting on him.

He smiled and ran his fingers through her hair. He loved having her this close to him.

She suddnely awoke in a cute and groggy way. She looked over and saw him looking at her. “Asuma, you’re awake!” she said, hugging him gently while crying a little.

“Hey, don’t worry yourself over me.”

She looked at him and playfully shoved him. “You saved me by risking your own life, and you expect me not to care?”

She suddenly blushed, and Asuma followed her gaze.

Oh, he didn’t have a shirt on. He had bandages covering some of it, but she could still see the muscles coming through. And she had been resting her head on that. She thought she was the luckiest girl ever.

He suddenly blushed too. They were saved by Kurenai suddenly yawning.

“Tired?” he asked with a grin.

She nodded and got up. “Well I better get going.”

“But you live far away from the hospital. At least wait till the morning so I can take you home.”

“But the….where will I…”

“I don’t mind,” said Asuma, determined to win over the blush that threatened to cover his whole face.

She wasn’t so successful, but finally (and happily) decided to stay. She resumed her position, but this time she felt suddenly hot when she felt Asuma’s arms wrap around her.

A few days had passed when Kurenai got an unexpected knock at the door. She opened it and found Asuma with a slight pink tint on his cheeks.

“Hey, Kurenai, the annual spring festival is coming up this Saturday and I was wondering if you were going.”

“Yeah, I think I’ll be there.”

“Would you…want to go…with me?” he asked, the pink becoming slightly more visible on his tanned face.

She smiled and said, “Of course I’ll go with you.”

His face lit up with joy. “Okay, I’ll come by your place at seven. And, I want you to have these.”

He produced a boquet of roses. “To match your eyes,” he said sweetly. She was speechless until she felt her cheek tingle as he gently kissed her.

“See you then.”

He turned and left (quickly so as to hide the blush covering his face), leaving Kurenai staring with her hand on her cheek.

That Saturday, Asuma and Kurenai walked down the street together. Men and women watched the couple happily, or just as often, jealously.

They arrived at the grassy area where tables and decorations had been set up. There was music going, and the two made their way through the crowd with difficulty before finding their friends.

As they stood talking, people started going to the dance floor.

“Hey, you should ask Kurenai to dance,” whispered Genma.

“You think?” he asked.

He turned to Kakashi who gave him a smile and a nod.

“Uh, Kurenai?” he asked in front of gang “Do you want to dance?”

She smiled and gave him her hand. “I’d love to.” The others smiled and watched them walk away.

"I think they've finally come to it," said Kakashi thoughtfully.

Tell me what you thought about
When you were gone and so alone
The worst is over
You can have the best of me
We got older but we're still young
We never grew out of this feeling that we wont give up

Asuma held her tight against him with his arm around her waist and the other on her back, drifting occasionally through her hair. She smiled and closed her eyes as she rested her head on his shoulder

Here we lay again
On two separate beds
Riding phone lines
To meet a familiar voice
And pictures drawn from memory
We reflect on miscommunication
And misunderstandings
And missing each other too
Much to have had to let go

We turn our music down
And we whisper
Say what your thinking right now

“Kurenai, I want you to know something. When I went away to the Fire daimyo, there was nothing that came to mind, nothing that I missed more than you.”

Tell me what you thought about
When you were gone and so alone
The worst is over
You can have the best of me
We got older but we're still young
We never grew out of this feeling that we wont give up

Kurenai opened her eyes and looked up at. She locked her red eyes with his soft brown ones. “I missed you too. More than anything. The day you left it felt like all my happiness, my existence was torn out.”

Jumping to conclusions
Made me fall away from you
I'm so glad that the truth
Has brought back together me and you
We're sitting on the ground
And we whisper
Say what your thinking out loud

He sighed and looked down. “I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you.”

She lifted his chin. “But now, I’m the happiest woman alive, and it’s because of you.”

Tell me what you thought about
When you were gone and so alone
The worst is over
You can have the best of me
We got older but we're still young
We never grew out of this feeling that we wont give up

“Kurenai,” he began, and everything seemed to quiet down and still.

“I think you’re the most beautiful and amazing woman I’ve ever met. I love you with all my heart, just as I did from the moment I met you.”

“Oh, Asuma. I’ve always loved you too.”

We turn our music down
And we whisper
We're sitting on the ground
And we whisper
We turn our music down
We're sitting on the ground
And next time I'm in town
We will kiss, girl
We will kiss, girl

He gently lifted her chin and gazed into her eyes, before pressing his lips against hers. Her leg popped up like a fairytale kiss, and she couldn’t help but wonder if this was just a fairy tale, seeming too good to be true. But when she felt the warmth of his lips, she knew. She put her hand on his face and stroked his beard while she licked his lips and pressed against him.

They were suddenly aware of everyone around them clapping. Apparently, a lot of people had been waiting for this moment. Asuma thought this a good time and pulled something out of his vest.

Tell me what you thought about
When you were gone and so alone
The worst is over
You can have the best of me
We got older but we're still young
We never grew out of this feeling that we wont
Feeling that we cant
We're not ready to give up

“Kurenai, will you marry me?” he asked, presenting her with a dazzling ring.

“Asuma, how could I say no?”

And in six months, another kiss sealed their mariage.

As Asuma held Kurenai, he whispered to her, “I love you, Kurenai, and I’ll always be here for you.”

And somehow she felt, knew somewhere deep inside her heart, that that was true.

We got older but we're still young
We never grew out of this feeling that we wont give up


A's/N: We don't own Naruto

Author: Michel Hazard


Asuma and Kurenai had special plans. Slow, special plans. The kind of plans that had developed from the culmination of patience, anticipation and established stability. Asuma remembered back to how he and Kurenai accidentally found each other. It was completely coincidental, one of those things that never happens unless the planets lined up correctly, or fate intervened. She was put under his tutelage, meaning he spent a lot of time with her, getting to know her as well as anyone could. She excited him. Every time he was with her, it was new and fun and warm and he loved it. It made him happy. Eventually, it made him feel excited and renewed every time he thought about Kurenai. And together, they made plans.

Over the weeks and months he spent with Kurenai, after the tentative questions, after the initial mutual compliments, he realized how much he cared for her. So he told her. Kurenai was surprised at first, yet thrilled and responded in kind. From that point on he and she spent as much time together as time would allow. Quiet conversations, saucy suggestions, and all the while they developed a closeness and a bond that pulled them closer together – interlacing their hearts with an unbreakable thread.

Hidden long walks and even longer conversations gave way to secret kisses. Simple, discreet initial touches that excited and enticed left Asuma and Kurenai wondering what “more” would be like. How would it feel? What would it do to them? They decided. Both of them wanted to find out.

So Asuma and Kurenai made plans. Both of them were a little nervous, not knowing what to expect or how far to go. So they decided that since fate had intervened already, they’d let fate decide.

Kurenai knew what Asuma liked, because he’d told her on occasion. He knew what she liked too. Both would discuss it casually, laughing as they both agreed that what each other thought was “sexy,” actually was. As fate would have it, a friend of Kurenai’s had been out of town on business for a week and had left her a key so she could pick up the mail and feed the fish. So she decided to surprise Asuma. She set it all up, and he had no idea what she’d planned for him.

A concealed dinner was eaten. Comfortable pleasantries were exchanged, while toes touched under the table. Long penetrating gazes greeted each other from opposite sides of the table. The time to leave was drawing near and Asuma never wanted their special plans to end. Kurenai’s secret made sure they’d last a bit longer yet.

After leaving and strolling arm in arm, enjoying the night air Kurenai told Asuma that she had to make a detour – would he mind going along? Something about picking up some mail and feeding a fish. “Sure,” Asuma said comfortably, knowing that it didn’t matter what he did or where he went, as long as their special plans continued.

Kurenai brought him to her friend’s house, grabbed the mail, and after opening the door with the key, led Asuma inside. She locked the door behind the both of them. He stepped in and looked around as Kurenai put the mail on the kitchen table and went to feed the fish. When she finished, she asked if he wanted anything. Was he comfortable? A smile and a nod later, she took his hand and said, “Follow me.”

She took Asuma on a tour of her friends’ house. She showed him the living room, the kitchen where he’d been already, the hall, a great room, back into the hall, a master bath, attached to a master bedroom – the latter of which he took note of. Asuma liked the room and the possibilities it held, but a gentle pull on his arm led him back out to a guest suite that had its own attached bathroom. Again he took note of the room, the large bed – big enough for anything and the dresser across from the foot of the bed with the big mirror attached to it.

Kurenai led Asuma forward and sat him on the edge of the foot of the bed. She said, “wait here a minute.” She let go of his hand long enough for him to know that he’d wait forever if it meant she’d come back to him. She went to the attached bathroom and closed the door behind her. Asuma shuffled a little and sat back further on the bed. He looked around the room thinking again of the possibilities. He wondered when Kurenai would return. He wished he knew what was going to happen next. His questions were answered when the bathroom door opened and Kurenai stepped forward and leaned against the doorframe in the men’s buttoned down dress shirt, and silk necktie loosely tied around her neck. What Asuma saw made him stop breathing, but just for a second. His eyes told her that he approved.

Slowly, Kurenai walked toward the bedside table and turned on a small lamp while he watched. Then she went to the end of the bed, across to the dresser and flipped off the overhead light, plunging the room into a soft golden glow. Asuma couldn’t wait another second so he held his hands out to her. She walked forward and took them, standing in front of him – just the right amount of buttons unbuttoned, the shirt just the right length, the tie, draped just the right way. Asuma looked and felt his needs rising. His foot wanted to uncontrollably work off some of the anxious tension he felt building, but instead, he held it steady and let it build.

Kurenai stepped even closer to Asuma, allowing him to catch glimpses of skin and slightly lacy undergarments hidden beneath the few still buttoned buttons. She put her hands on his shoulders. He put his hands on the middle of her back and pulled her forward looking up at her face. She turned her head to look behind her as he held her. When he asked what she was looking at, she said she wanted to see what his hands looked like on her back. The mirror was behind her and she could see, as well as feel how tightly he held her.

Kurenai turned to face him again, flipping her hair away from her face – causing it to fall down her back, brushing one of his hands. Asuma involuntarily opened his fingers to it, catching it, and closing his fingers on it, he pulled it down slightly, savoring the softness before he let it go. Then he saw just inside the collar, partially exposed, the junction between her shoulder and neck. It called to him. Asuma desperately wanted to kiss it, taste it, bite it. But he held off because he knew there would be time for that.

It was almost too much, these special plans that continued to be more special as each second passed.

Asuma pulled Kurenai forward until she had no choice but to put her knees on the bed and straddle his lap. She looked down at his face and said, “What can I do for you?”

All he could say was, “Anything.”

Kurenai looked down at Asuma with the most seductive smile he had ever seen. She knew the plan had worked. It worked just like a charm. She wanted him in every sense of the word.

She arched her body forward and as she did so Asuma was able to see a hint of what was hiding behind that shirt. He felt her body lay on him. All the warmth of her body started to spread around his and he could feel it. It was the most wonderful thing for both of them.

“Anything?” she asked as if for a second opinion.

“Anything,” he whispered back to her as he nibbled at her ear.

This small gesture caused her to fill with feelings she never thought she had. She felt a mixture of happiness, satisfaction, naughtiness and a touch of evil. Asuma was teasing her. It was something he loved to do. It was something that he knew she’d love. And she did.

Kurenai let out a small moan. It wasn’t loud but it was just enough to tell Asuma he was doing a good job. He smiled as he held her ear with his teeth.

Suddenly, Kurenai pulled away. Asuma was forced to let go. “That’s it?” he thought. He didn’t want this feeling to ever end. He thought that it was finally time for him to be with her “physically” yet she was pulling away?

But that idea quickly faded as she looked down at him and said, “If you get to tease me, I get to tease you. My turn then?”

“Yeah,” was all Asuma needed to say. It was her turn to tease, and she had just the thing in mind.

In one swift movement, Kurenai rolled to the left and laid down flat on her back next to Asuma. As she did this, he got up on his left elbow – the rest of his body from chest to thighs against hers. His right thigh and leg, he draped over her right leg, positioning it between her two, so he was conveniently pressed against her hip.

Asuma watched as Kurenai reached for his right hand. She picked it up lovingly, admiring his fingers, their shape, the lines on his palm. She brought his hand to her mouth and began to trace the lines on his palm with her tongue. Asuma inhaled at this sudden soft wet feeling on his palm. Kurenai then blew on the wet trail she’d created and Asuma sighed. Then, one by one, Kurenai took each of his fingers, and licked the pads of each one. Asuma started to breathe deeper as he watched what Kurenai was doing.

When Kurenai got to his thumb, she did the same thing; she licked the pad of his thumb and then slowly, deliberately sucked it into her mouth. She ran her tongue up the length of his thumb from palm to tip and then sucked it back in again.

As Kurenai continued to suck and release Asuma’s thumb, he thought of what other things might feel like sliding into her wet, anything. When he thought this he reflexively pressed himself against her hip. She noticed immediately.

Kurenai sucked his thumb in again, but this time, held it lightly between the left row of her teeth. While she did this, she ran her tongue up the side of Asuma’s exposed skin that was on the inside of her teeth. Again, Asuma pressed against her.

Kurenai took Asuma’s thumb out of her mouth and dragged his still wet hand down her chin, over her throat, to her chest to where the few still buttoned buttons waited. She placed Asuma’s hand on the buttons letting him feel the rise and fall in her chest as her breathing increased, and said once more to him, “Anything.”

Asuma looked down at Kurenai with lustful eyes. It wasn’t the only emotion present though. There were also feelings of admiration, happiness, desire, and love. It was these feeling that had brought him closer to her. These feelings that were driving him mad.

Asuma slid his hand off of Kurenai’s chest but as he did so, he felt a bump on the left side of her chest. “Seems I not the only one having fun,” he thought.

That’s when he got an idea. A silly, naughty idea. It was one that he knew was going to send her sparks flying.

Asuma brought his wet hand up to his mouth and licked the wet thumb. Kurenai stared attentively, wanting to be that thumb. He could taste her. She was all over his thumb and could almost taste her luscious mouth.

As he brought his hand back down, he brushed the spot were the bump was. Instantly, Kurenai could feel millions of ants march up her back as she reacted to his touch. Because of this, Asuma’s thumb pushed down on her chest where the bump was.

He was having fun. The feeling he was causing her was making him excited and he knew that she could feel it. Finally, he decided that it was time to “move along” so he used his thumb and index finger to grab a hold of that bump and give it a gentle squeeze.

Electricity was surging throughout Kurenai’s body. It was radiating from her chest to the rest of her. It was both a feeling of pleasure with a hint of pain. It wasn’t the type of pain that could hurt but the type of pain that made her go insane.

Asuma again decided to “keep going” and started to rub his thumb on her bump in a circular rotation. A huge storm was sweeping her body. She felt herself getting flushed with feelings. Feelings that (even though she didn’t know quite what they were exactly) caused her to be sent to a land of ecstatic pleasure.

Asuma could see the things he was causing her to experience—and he liked it. This was a totally new side of her that he had never been able to see before and because of this—he wanted to enjoy it as much as possible.

Now, as he opened his mouth slowly and carefully, he said, “Maybe there is ONE thing I’d like you to do…”

Kurenai looked at Asuma in her extremely “bothered” state. She stared right into him hoping she was conveying back to him what she was feeling in herself. She was sure she was because of the expectant way he looked back at her. With one big breath, Kurenai sat up, and it was on.

Asuma never knew what hit him. One minute he was expertly teasing her, watching her body respond to his touch, the next minute, he was flat on his back with his shirt pulled up to his neck. He felt wet kisses and tongue trails on his stomach, moving upward, as she started cat walking up his body. Kurenai kissed and licked her way up his chest, grazing a nipple as she continued to travel upward. She wondered where Asuma’s hands were. Maybe she’d shocked him. Maybe she’d frightened him. Maybe he was enjoying himself too much to move. She wanted his hands on her again. Anywhere, she wanted to scream in her mind TOUCH ME! But Kurenai could never wait too long for anything. She always tried to be patient, but certain things were needed immediately, and could not be waited for.

Asuma’s eyes closed as Kurenai continued to practically maul his body. She was almost fully on top of him, when she finally reached his face. She panted into his face, eyes wild, with way too much energy than she could contain. She stroked his hair only once, getting his attention, as she bent close to his ear and bit him on the shoulder sending him into orbit.

That was it. Asuma was gone. Left earth, left the solar system, left the Milky Way. He was in a place he couldn’t comprehend, and as fast as he went up … he CRASHED back down millions of times faster.

Asuma’s eyes shot open as let out the loudest growl he had ever created. It sent chills down Kurenai’s spine. I’m a dead girl was all she thought.

Instantly, Kurenai felt herself tossed onto her back and pushed up to the middle of the bed. Asuma followed her. He also rolled over and landed on all fours over her. She felt the “flip” but all she saw was Asuma’s eyes beaming at her.

The eyes Asuma gave her were not of a playful sort. Now, he was serious. He had picked what direction he wanted to go in and was now putting it into full affect.

With his shirt almost off, in a sly voice he said, “I’ve made my decision … what’s yours?”

Kurenai looked at a very serious Asuma. She could see that he meant business this time. And it excited her to no end. He wanted to know what decision she’d come to. What is it she wanted? She knew her answer. She reached up past where his shirt still stayed near his shoulders, reached around his back, dug her nails in and pulled straight down toward his ribs. Immediately, Asuma got his answer. They had gone from an innocent playful evening of experimentation, to a meeting of two wild animals.

Asuma was done. He knew what he wanted and there was no time left to wait. Especially since Kurenai pulled his shirt off the rest of the way and threw it somewhere in the room. Again, she scratched his back begging him to lean into her, waiting for him to press his body against hers. Dying to feel him. So without waiting another second, Kurenai grabbed Asuma around the neck and pulled him to her. She latched onto his neck, and sucked HARD, wrapping her arms around his back tightly, trying to feel every part of him against her.

Asuma started to growl again; that noise that made Kurenai shudder, yet want to purr back to him to encourage him to take what he wanted. Instead, she drove her fingernails up into his hair, grazing his scalp, while she sucked hard on his neck again.

Another growl escaped Asuma as he finally pulled his neck away from her. He looked down and growled in her face, “Get ready.”

Kurenai could feel the never ending shiver that ran throughout her body. Those words—those two little words—had caused her body to “prepare.” She could feel herself starting to sweat. She was breathing hard. She was partially quivering because she knew it was time. It was time for the real thing.

Play time was over. It had been long over ever since Kurenai took her first “bite” of the real deal. Play time was fun. They both enjoyed it. It was something that they both could share and only they knew what things they were causing each other.

But now it was something different. Something had come between the playfulness, the unstoppable flirting, the uncontrollable looks—that something had brought them to that moment. The moment where they both finally had each other within their grasp.

Asuma could feel the waves of breath that now washed over him. Kurenai could feel his too. They both were so close to each other that nothing was hidden. Well—almost nothing. There was one more thing that needed to be taken care of. As they both looked down towards their bodies they noticed a couple of small little things that were still standing in the way.

Kurenai looked up at Asuma with tenderness in her eyes. Her eyes told him that she loved him with all of her being. He returned the same look to her. They loved each other. There was no hiding it. It was completely obvious.

Finally, Kurenai opened her mouth and softly said, “I think it’s time we went ‘all natural.’”

Asuma smiled and nodded with a serious look on his face. A tender, serious look that said, “Now or never, I choose now.” Kurenai reached for the few buttons of her shirt that were left still together, and worked them open one by one. Asuma kicked his shoes off opposite side of the bed. Never once did they break eye contact, other than to see the progress the other was making. Kurenai unhooked the lacy bra she wore in the front and left it just as it was – but open if Asuma wanted to see more, touch more. Asuma kneeled up and with one hand undid his pants, pushing them down past his underwear. Then he stopped what he was doing, to playfully place the tie that Kurenai still wore, right between her breasts. She smiled at him when he did that.

Asuma got serious again, and sitting back, and taking a deep breath, he pulled down the sides of Kurenai’s lacy underwear. There was no going back now. They’d come too far, they’d waited too long. With a simple tug of his own underwear, he was ready.

Kurenai couldn’t believe it was finally going to happen. The tender way they’d been to each other, the animalistic way they’d practically torn each other to shreds, all came back down to this one last moment – before. Just before. Asuma waited for his signal, waited for the sign from the woman who he cared so much for that it was time to begin. Finally, she reached for his face, and took it gently in her hands. Then she slowly brought his mouth to hers and kissed him. Satisfied that this was indeed the signal he was waiting for, Asuma began.

He prepared himself a bit—getting the angles right and putting himself in a more comfortable position—then he began to enter her slowly.

Instantly, she felt him, it was clear and obvious, SHE COULD FEEL HIM! As he entered, she felt all types of sensations flow within her. It’s finally happening she thought. This was something she’d been wanting. She wanted to be able to show him how much she loved him “physically.”

Asuma too, felt the explosion of feelings. Some of the feeling he couldn’t quite place, but he knew one thing and it was enough. “I love you,” he said softly as all of his masculinity finally entered completely.

Kurenai heard the whisper but couldn’t respond. She was caught in a flood of emotions. She wanted to yell back and tell him everything that he meant to her but couldn’t. It was as if Asuma had taken her voice away. Instead, she closed her eyes and kept feeling the new warmth that was between her legs.

The moment Kurenai closed her eyes, Asuma began to move his manhood in and out of her. This caused Kurenai to gasp a bit. He smiled at this reaction. It made her seem cute, even at a time like that. Slowly, but surely, Asuma began to pick up his pace.

As the movements became faster and harder, they began to breathe harder and sweat began to cover their bodies like a silken mist. They began to produce more noises also. First, Kurenai started to leak out small moans every now and then, but as time continued she reacted to every thrust. Asuma also started the make small noises. Again, it was a sign that he was picking up his pace.

And as Asuma picked up his pace, he also wanted to change it up a bit by lifting and holding Kurenai’s legs in the air. He knew that lifting up her legs like that caused him to plunge into her deeper. And with him getting in deeper, Kurenai started to moan a LOT louder. Her bra slipped open because of the now, harder thrusting.

She couldn’t hide it, it felt REALLY good. She didn’t want it to end. This constant motion, the rhythmic rocking, the never ending happiness … she’d never felt any happier. He’d never felt any happier. For both of them, it was the simple fact that they were with the person they loved the most … and that was enough.

Then it began—the sudden feeling of immobility. She felt it. It started at her back and worked its way down. For him too; it start at his abs and worked its way down. Climax—and they knew it. It was about to happen. She could feel the pre-vibrations; he could feel the sudden, quick pumping.

Then it happened.

At the same time, they both released their actions. He released his bodily fluids into her while she vibrated uncontrollably. Time stood still as they experienced their individual orgasms together.

When it was all over he let go of her legs, put them to his side and lay on top of her. He stared at her as she stared back. We did it was their final thought. Asuma rolled over to her side but never broke eye contact with Kurenai. As they lay there—staring—they gave each other a quick smile. They knew what they had and it was going to last a life time.

Kurenai quickly reach over for a big blanket and put it over them. They grabbed the blanket tightly but not as tightly as they held each other. They didn’t want to feel any separation at that moment. They wanted to be together … forever.

Kurenai smiled at her lover and said, “You told me something before we began. Something that at the time, I couldn’t respond to. But now I can. I love you too.” She stroked her bearded lover’s face before he pulled her to him in a warm embrace. They spent the night wrapped around each other, their bodies kept warm by the love they shared.

A Love Lost

Author: heatqueen

Summary: WARNING!!! CHAPTER 330 SPOILERS!!! Just a fic on Asuma’s death, how everyone feels, especially Kurenai, and yeah…

A/N: I don’t own Naruto! –weep- Wish I did. But I don’t. So DON’T FLAME ME!!! Also, there’s not much dialogue, but detail’s a lot more important, so there you go…

A Love Lost

A certain chuunin spoke with another certain female jounin, relaying the devastating news. In a few mere seconds, the jounin’s life would be changed forever. The look on her face was already strained as she anticipated something bad.

Kurenai dropped to her knees, shaking, trying to fight the will to cry, but it was too much, even for someone as tough as her. Tears spilled down her cheeks as she mourned for her loved one, despairing that she’d never had the chance to say one more time that she loved him, wishing that she’d been there to say goodbye properly before he left on that life-snatching mission. The chuunin wrapped one arm around her and she cried into his chest. Shikamaru wasn’t particularly good at situations like this, but he, too, was affected by this event, for Sarutobi Asuma had been his sensei, just as he’d been Kurenai’s lover, so he understood what she was going through.

It’s hard to say how long they were like this for, but when her tears had finally dried up, they stood up and decided that they’d best go – after all, sitting by the gate crying must indeed look rather awkward. Kurenai’s face was now completely expressionless – she was most likely too shocked to be able to relay any kind of emotion. Deep down below the surface, however, she felt a pain in her heart so intense that all she wanted to do was curl up and die. The one she loved was…the words were unthinkable.

As they walked they came across a young genin coming up to them, teary-eyed – it was Konohamaru. He ran up to Kurenai, threw his arms around her and wept into her shoulder. She hugged him tightly, another tear sliding down her cheek. Few words were spoken, for they were not required to convey how they felt. Shikamaru, meanwhile, leaned against a tree, one leg crossed over the other, staring into space, thinking about his former sensei.

In the light of this event, there would be no work done today. How could there be when so many were in grieving? Therefore, the three ninjas decided to wander around Konoha. They couldn’t help but reflect on their memories of Asuma, and their walk was rather poignant. None of them felt up to anything much, even eating – they just walked…and talked of the deceased man.

Kurenai had thought that, after the first time, she’d done pretty well in keeping her tears to herself; however, when one is in grieving, they could burst forth at any time. This happened to Kurenai when she most certainly not expecting it – she hadn’t particularly felt like crying, and suddenly, seconds later, she was in tears once again. She couldn’t help but think that life was unfair, and that of course fate would be cruel enough to take away the one person Kurenai loved with all her heart. The usually tough Kurenai was crying – that was a big thing for her.

The three ninja were about to part ways when they saw the godaime hokage coming up the other way, looking as sad as everyone else. She looked from Kurenai, who had ceased weeping, to Konohamaru, who was clinging onto Kurenai’s arm, to Shikamaru, still looking as far-off as ever, then back to Kurenai, locking eyes with her in a way which said ‘I’m sorry’. Kurenai’s lips tried to smile at her, but how can one smile at such a miserable occasion?

“I know he was important to you,” said Tsunade, a statement at which Kurenai nodded. Then Tsunade embraced her and they hugged each other tightly. After that, the party of now four ninja finally did part, and Kurenai went her own way, making to go back home.

Yet home wasn’t where she lived – home was with her dear Asuma, the one man fate had been unkind enough to take away. As long as she could not be with Asuma, she knew that she would never be home. She found that even the slightest things were reminding her of him – the chimneys on peoples’ homes stood for his smoking habits; the uniforms that the jounins wore reminded her of his clothes; even certain smells reminded her of all the times she used to curl up in his arms comfortably, as he rocked her gently. He was always the one she’d turned to whenever she was upset, and he was always there to comfort her. But this time there was no one to comfort her…her saviour was gone…

For one fleeting moment she wanted to grab a knife and end everything; however, she knew that this was not what Asuma would want, so she refrained. She knew that it would hurt him to see her stooping this low just to be with him. She knew that it would be a painful journey from here on without him, but that she must suffer through this anguish in order for the pain to ease. Eventually she would come to terms with the fact that he was dead, and would be able to live contently knowing that they’d made many happy memories together, and that they’d eventually be reunited once she, too, was gone.

When evening came she lay outside in her garden and stared up at the stars. She imagined one of those stars being the spirit of her lover, and picked out an especially bright one to symbolize this. She imagined that once she was gone there would be two stars there – one each for Asuma and Kurenai – and that, once Kurenai had joined him, they would continue their journey to heaven and beyond together.

But it was such a long way away…

She could feel the waterworks starting up once again and tried to fight the sensation. After all, it would not be good if a stray genin walked past her house and saw her lying in her garden crying, would it? She knew that, in her situation, she wasn’t in the wrong, but still…she was used to being the tough one and didn’t particularly want things to change. She hastily wiped away the one tear that managed to leak through her eyelids and looked at the extra-bright star. Asuma wouldn’t want her to cry. He’d want her to go on and be happy.

But it was too painful…

She knew that, right now, of course she couldn’t be happy; however, in the future, she was sure she could be. She just needed to make it through the most painful, heart-rendering part of the event, then gradually make it back to the point where she could see things in a more positive light. It would take time, of course, but Kurenai knew that she had no choice but to wait.


Naturally, the funeral was very painful. Afterwards, she stayed behind to lay flowers on his grave, and allowed herself to weep a little more. It saddened her to think that the body of her loved one was now condemned to being caged in this box, but his spirit would never be caged – ever – it would, of course, fly free to Heaven. She wanted to force the lid of the coffin, which had been nailed tightly shut, open and steal his body. She wanted to hug it and kiss it once again, as though her dear Asuma was still alive. She was heartbroken that never again would she be able to hug him, or feel his lips upon her own. She practically fell onto the coffin and broke down.

She hadn’t eaten anything since yesterday’s breakfast, nor did she particularly want to. Some other chuunins and jounins attempted to make her eat, but she refused point blank. She knew that they were trying to help, and that some of them were almost as upset as she, but none of them could really understand…she’d loved Asuma more than any of them… Of course, she wasn’t planning on letting herself go anorexic – come on, would she ever do something that stupid? No. She would eventually eat once again, even though she would no longer be able to eat with Asuma.

All the things she now had to do without him…

There was a question which was bothering her. Would she ever love anyone as much as she’d loved Asuma? At the moment, definitely not – after all, when someone dies, you don’t automatically stop loving them. Actually, Kurenai doubted that she’d ever stop loving him, for their last moments together had been good ones. In the future, however, Kurenai was unsure. Would someone else come along? Someone with whom she could share the same experiences she had with Asuma? Right now she hoped that she’d never fall in love again, for the pains of doing so were too terrible. However, she knew that she could well change her mind one day, once her mind was feeling a little clearer and she became more rational in her decision-making.

Still, she knew that things would never be the same again. Not without her Asuma. With him gone…would she ever be truly happy ever again? My happiness is all he cared about, she thought. He’d want me to move on. This did not mean that she’d forget about him, for he’d always be in her heart, but Asuma’s death was just one major obstacle that Kurenai had to break through in order for her path in life to become clear. She’d still love him, yes, but there were many things to appreciate in life, and those included all the friends she had to help her through the situation.

Maybe one day she’d be happy once again.

Kurenai’s Lament
A/N: A poem to go with the one-shot.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Only the poem.

The words were poison daggers,
They sliced not flesh but spirit,
They burned my heart and tore my soul:
No longer did I will to live.

He tried to be tender when he told me,
But that did not stop the agony
Of news so wretched it shattered me.
I broke down in tears.

I was sliced, torn in two.
My every motive was destroyed –
No reason had I to live
Now that he was gone.

He…my lover.
My heart was ablaze with cold fire,
Time was frozen with anguish:
It would not turn back…not for me.

Never will I be the same again,
I am a puzzle with a missing piece,
A hole which will never be filled.
This void will mar me forever.


Dedicated to eiirisa; it’s her birthday. Happy Birthday! Hey, remember when I said I will write a fic so that there will be no Shikamaru x Kurenai? Well, this is it!

Naruto is forever and ever Masashi Kishimoto’s.


by ArAshiMitArAshi

The first time Kurenai met Asuma was just after she was promoted to jounin.

Her first impression about Asuma? Not really nice.

In her eyes, Asuma was a man who smoked like he eat, play shougi like an old man, didn’t really care about the world around him and had a pervert as a best friend. Simply say, Asuma was kinda a messed-up man.

He even had the lamest, cheesiest, the unbelievably funniest pick-up line ever in history. It made Kurenai wanted to laugh every time that train of thought occurred whenever she reminisced the old days.

When they were introduced, Asuma acted like he wasn’t interested at all in meeting her. Kurenai remembered Asuma took a long drag of his cigarette and blew the smoke onto her face and made her coughed helplessly. But then Kurenai realized that Asuma had his dark gaze fixed on her intently, eyeing her keenly from head to toe. As a quite attractive kunoichi (and she was well aware of that fact) Kurenai wasn’t surprised because she was used to this kind of attention. But just when she thought Asuma was going to greet her, the words came out of his mouth made her speechless for a second.

Believe it or not, this was what Asuma said.

“I want to father your child.” (1)

Kurenai slapped him.

And Kakashi tried his best to swallow his laughter.

Let’s just say, their first meeting wasn’t unpleasant enough.

Kurenai thought Asuma was a horrible man. She took his words as an insult. Who would’ve said something like that to a lady? It was very ungentlemanly.

So Kurenai tried to stay away from the two bizarre jounins (particularly Asuma) because she didn’t feel comfortable being around them. But after her first jounin mission with the duo as her teammates, she found herself stuck with them on a few more later on.

It wasn’t Kurenai’s place to question the team set up and since she was new, she had no guts to voice her annoyance to anyone. Kurenai had no choice but forced herself to get along with her team.

But sometimes her irritation got out of her skin and she spoke about her troubled feelings to her female sempais, asking why she was always teamed up with the two and they just laughed, telling her the three of them didn’t have genin students to busy with, that was why they always paired for missions together. They also told her that she should feel lucky to be in their team because not only Asuma and Kakashi were excellent jounins, they were also funny and friendly and could help her adapting the new environment quickly.

And Kurenai frowned at the latter. Asuma and Kakashi were funny? Friendly?

Her sempais were exaggerating, she thought sourly.

What Kurenai witnessed, the two guys barely talked to each other unless there was something important, like discussing strategies for their missions. Instead of striking a conversation, Asuma very much prefer smoking while Kakashi reading his Icha Icha Paradise. Too immersed in their own activities, they’d completely forgotten about her, the newcomer and a loner, who was stuck in one corner, watching them, trying to get to know her teammates better by observing in silence.

But when Kurenai wasn’t really paying attention at them and found the clearing area more interesting than their faces, lost in her thoughts, her own world, if only she stole a glance at either of them, then she’ll find Asuma’s dark eyes were glued on her intently all the time and Kakashi on them two.

They broke the ice on their fourth (recent) mission; Asuma and Kakashi saved her. Kurenai never got the chance to thank them because there was really no time and the situation was really tight, and even after they got back, the words still hadn’t spoken.

Somehow, their rescue managed to change a little bit negative perspective she had on them, especially Asuma.

So when one day Kurenai was on her way back to her apartment and her path somehow crossed with Asuma, when he asked her for a hangout, she agreed nonetheless.

Asuma brought her to Yakiniku, the best barbeque meat ever sold he had said, and Kurenai found herself enjoying every bit of the time spent with him. Though Asuma still blew smokes onto her face and paid her uncomfortable gazes, it was proven that he was indeed a funny and friendly guy. The evening passed by beautifully and Kurenai was surprised she was sorry when it ended.

And even though Asuma didn’t walk her home (he sort of left her at the shop) Kurenai looked forward to spend more evenings with him.

Several months passed, more than a dozen missions accomplished, Kurenai and Asuma had gone out together a couple of times since their first time and after that they were completely inseparable. Not that they had gone steady, but their friendship had upgraded to better terms. From just friends they became good friends, and from good friends they became best friends. Sometimes Kakashi tagged along in their hangouts but mostly it was just the two of them walking along the streets.

And when one day Kurenai announced that she would like to lead her own genin team, Asuma and Kakashi followed her cue. Asuma said why not give it a shot and Kakashi decided to give another genin team a try. As if fate smiled down on them, Kurenai, Asuma and Kakashi each had given a team of their own.

Now Kurenai had another different perspective on Asuma.

She found out that he was a good teacher and a good leader, so caring and understanding and really, really treasured his obnoxious genin students. He complained to her once that he didn’t know how to handle a lazy, a loudmouth and a greedy boy at the same time but with her assurance, he managed them pretty greatly. When Kurenai saw how he treated Shikamaru, Ino and Chouji like they were their little brothers and sister, or like his children, a thought occurred in her mind.

Yes, she wouldn’t mind it very much if Asuma fathered her child.

Plain hangouts turned into terrific dates and when Kakashi asked whether they were together or not during one rendezvous on the street, Kurenai just blushed and Asuma tried to avoid that question.

But they both knew that something was coming between them—something special.

Kurenai noticed his affection for her and Asuma could detect that she was kind of attracted to him, so without further ado, Asuma took a step in upgrading their relationship.

Kurenai didn’t know this but Asuma visited his genin student’s flower shop and bought her a bouquet of roses. Ino teased him and asked who the bouquet was for and Asuma blushed, saying no one in particular. But Ino knew it was for Kurenai because it was so obvious. It was all in his face what he felt for her.

More roses and more days coming, and finally it was official: Kurenai and Asuma were going out.

And when Kakashi heard about this, he told the couple he wasn’t surprised and paid a comment to Asuma “Took you long enough.” He had guessed a time like this would come ever since he witnessed Asuma shot meaningful glances at Kurenai’s way.

They were so deeply in love and started making plans. When all the members of Team 8 and Team 10 were all chuunins, Kurenai and Asuma announced they were engaged.

They didn’t plan anything big for their wedding, which was held just before Naruto returned to the village. They only invited close friends and families to the ceremony and also their former students, so the guests were just Kakashi, Konohamaru, Team 8 and Team 10, along with a few close colleagues like Gai and his team, Hokage herself and her assistant and apprentice, Shizune and Sakura. And though it was a small wedding, it was a blast. Everybody had a good time.

And two months after that, Kurenai found out she was expecting. So when she broke the news to her husband, he just smiled at her, giving her the biggest hug ever, saying, “I’m glad.” Then he laughed and added, “Boy, I still remember the slap you gave me.”

Asuma was so excited over her pregnancy that he no longer blowing smokes onto her face. But he still gave her his trademark stare, which Kurenai found oddly discomforting even after so long. They talked about their baby day and night and sometimes Asuma even wished for the months to go by quickly so that he could hold his baby in his arms.

And that made Kurenai so sad because he didn’t get the chance to do so, will never get the chance to do so, now that he was gone.

Though Kurenai knew that there will be someone who will look after her and her baby in the future, for example her late husband’s perverted friend, Kakashi (and Kurenai knew very well that Kakashi will take care of her, even Asuma’s favorite student, Shikamaru volunteered), but that someone would never be as good as Asuma.

Nobody could replace his place in her heart.

And she was going to take her marriage vow to the grave: Asuma was the only man for her. She’ll make sure.

Because it was written in the stars, that there was only Asuma x Kurenai.


Standing Again

Author: nanirain

A/N: Mmmm, got inspiration to do this randomly. It was one of those "whoa, idea" moments and just like typetypetypetypetypetypetypetypetypetypetypetype thing. It only took a few minutes actually. Yay. My first Kurenai/Asuma ever. I really do hate what happened to them. I loved them as a couple. (crying)

Disclaimer: I don't ownnnn Narutoooo (singing). Shame.

Sometimes it hurt so much that she couldn’t bear it. Sometimes it felt like, after his death, she was always on her knees. Even though she had stood since Shikamaru had told her the news of his death, she had forced herself to stand. And sometimes, everything was still just too heavy. Somehow, she was still on her knees.

She wonders if it’s the weight in her stomach that’s pulling her down. She cries. Because this is all that she has left of him. She cries and cries at night when she knows that nobody is around her and she tries to dredge up enough emotion to feel full again.

She goes through a phase of wanting pressure to take her mind off it. But the baby stops her. She wants to ask for a more dangerous mission - an S rank, an anything, just anything to get her mind off of cool smiles, thoughtful brown eyes, and that stupid, stupid cloud of smoke that she wasted so much time trying to dispel.

She wants him back, or she wants him gone. It’s this in between that she can’t stand. She is dreamless for the first time in a long time, and she doesn’t know if it is a good thing or if it’s torture because she knows that she’s losing him, even when he’s all she can think about.

Even though he’s all she thinks about, she finds herself surprised when she finds a picture of him in Shikamaru’s house, and realizes that she had thought that the bits of green inside his brown eyes were a little bit darker, that his eyes were a little bit more forest colored and less hazel… And she had been wrong. For a moment she is relieved - she is starting to forget him. And then, she’s horrified.

What does she trust - the picture or her memory? Unlike her mind, the paper couldn’t be misled by phantom touches and hazy looks and love. But at the same time, how could she have been so wrong? And how will she ever know without the original to compare it to? She turns away from the photo and feels the tingling burning work its way around her nose and her eyes.

She wants him more than anything.

A kick to her stomach from the inside takes her by surprise. She gasps sharply, and the thickness of the sound reveals that she had been close to crying. Shikamaru turns to find her, startled at first, then worried, and then sympathetic. She appreciates it. Or at least, she tries to.

She puts her hands to her stomach and her teeth find her lip and bite until there’s pain. The baby. His baby. What if it looked just like him? What if it looked just like him, and she had to deal with knowing that she had lost him everyday when she found pieces of the man she had lost in their child? Could she bear that? Would she love the baby less? Or worse, what if the baby was all her and no him – then the last of him would be gone and she would truly be alone.

Shikamaru walks her back to her house and leaves her with another promise to take care of the child that’s growing in her uterus. Again, she thanks him, and she means it. But at the same time it’s breaking her to see Shikamaru standing there, looking so laid back, relaxed with the all too familiar cigarette hanging from his lips. The familiar, insufferable cloud of smoke halos around his head in just the same way.

She can’t bear it sometimes. But she wouldn’t ever tell him that.

That night, she feels so empty that she’s scared she will become brittle and break apart. She wanders into the forest, where she’s always found second homes and tries to push her body back into its shape. The tree limbs wrap around her own, and embed her up to her neck in wood. She demands it to contract. Crushed against her body, so tight until she starts to lose her breath, she wonders how she could be pushed so tight and still feel so empty inside.

As she slips into unconsciousness, she thinks that the leaves of the tree that presses so hard against her are just that exact shade of green that she now could remember perfectly being flecked inside his eyes. A cloud of that damn smoke, that god damned wonderful smoke, falls against her face and she smiles because she knows it’s his. With the smile she slips into the blackness.

When she wakes from her own jutsu, everything is white. People are masked and working fast, machines are beeping, plastic snapping, and she’s flat on her back, vulnerable. She’s also drugged, she notes, as she tries to move her arms and fails. Where is she?

She lays there for hours it seems, staring, and feeling the hate and the loss and loneliness and love well up her body, as if being crushed by trees had somehow freed a spring inside her.

Someone’s crying. She lifts her head and eventually people help her sit up. She realizes first that she’s inside a hospital and then she realizes why.

“Oh God.”

The baby. The baby. She hadn’t even thought about it when she’d crushed herself in her trees. What if she had hurt it? What if she had…

The doctor’s push the naked thing into her arms, and she stares. It’s a girl, and she’s beautiful with her little mouth, her little feet, and most of all her little hands, which only a finger could fit inside. She holds her baby, and it almost isn’t real. And then the baby opens its eyes, and she feels like a hand has fallen over the top of her head and run through her hair. Like lips have been pressed into her cheek and smiled against her skin. This time the tears spill freely. Finally everything is hot and filled to the brim inside her body and she can’t stop. A cloud of smoke, the same that had landed against her face in the forest, falls over her now, and she looks up.

Shikamaru stands there, smiling at her and she smiles back, grinning almost, as she cradles the little baby in her arms. She looks down and smiles at it, laughing through hot salty tears and she kisses its forehead, the skin so soft. It looks up at her, gurgling now, but more silently, with the same eyes she thought she’d never be able to look into again.

The cloud of smoke falls over them from Shikamaru’s cigarette and she doesn’t even think to yell at him about second hand smoke. She just holds her child, who is just as much a part of her as a part of him. Finally there’s a link. A baby who embodied herself, and her dead lover – the two of them existed together. It looks up at her intently with his eyes, and Shikamaru laughs and exhales another cloud into her breath.

And Kurenai is finally standing again, because Asuma is everywhere.