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It Began A Lifetime Ago

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The summit wasn't really going smoothly, like they'd hoped. It wasn't going bad exactly, but there was definitely a lot of disagreement. That's why Darui had subconsciously stopped listening.

He looked around at the building. It was big, but rather dull. And cold. But that didn't bother him.

What did bother him, was how long it was taking. It was getting close to, what, two hours, maybe? Felt like five. He wondered if he was the only one who thought this. Probably not, but maybe. He could be patient; he just didn't want to.

Darui glanced at C, who was intently staring at each of the Kage skeptically. That was probably what he was supposed to be doing, but Darui was much more wary of the other's on the same level as he and C.

The Sand shinobi were the Kazekage's siblings, he remembered. They looked ready to be on the offensive in a snap of the fingers. The Stone kunoichi had a menacing aura, while her friend looked so mellow. Like a red marshmellow

Ha. I'm not funny.

Then there were those sketchy Leaf ninja. Not to mention their creepy Hokage. He looked like he was plotting something, and something big. They gave him chills, with their mind messing jutsu and insects (Yeah, he did his research). And then there were the Mist shinobi. The one with the eye patch seemed like a threat, but just looked bored. And then-

Darui felt his heart leap into his throat when he laid eyes on the other. Daaaaamn... he thought, and couldn't help but stare. He was shorter than almost everyone there; maybe the same height as the Kazekage, or a little shorter. He had short light blue hair, and looked like a kid. He seemed as though he couldn't be much older than 15, but probably was, maybe. He was pale, which for some reason made him seem much younger than he must've been. What Darui thought was funny was the wrapped up thing on his back, that was almost as big as he was. And seemed familiar, in a sort.

The swordsman (or boy, as Darui sees) seemed to notice him staring, and flinched, turning a bright red, before quickly turning away. Darui smiled, and chuckled to himself. "He's cute." He mumbled to himself so no one could here.

Except C, apparently.

He looked at Darui with a what-the-fuck expression. Darui shrugged and nodded towards the pale young man. C looks at him, then back at Darui. "Why is he here? He looks, like, fifteen." He whispered to Darui. He then looked at him with a look of disgust on his face. "And you are twenty-six. And he's part of an enemy village; the Bloody Mist, no less. That's... no."

"He's probably older than that." Darui pointed out, trying to defend himself. "And besides, I was just throwing it out there."

"Okay but why- no, whatever. Just pay attention." C stuttered, turning back to the five Kage. Darui rolled his eyes. It wasn't a big deal. He was just thinking he was cute. It was nothing more. C was overreacting.

Right?

 

POV Switch: Choujuro

 

 

That Cloud shinobi made Chojuro feel unsafe. He would be watching the Kage, and then notice him glancing at him every few minutes. He hated that he had a kind of sixth sense when someone was staring at him. He shifted uncomfortably where he was standing, his face warm. 

No matter how much he tried to focus on the summit, a chill went down his spine every few minutes, and he'd glance over at the Cloud nin, and he'd be looking at him out of the corner of his eye. Why does he look so familiar?

Chojuro adjusted his glasses, which was a nervous habit of his, and felt an even icier chill. He shivered, and glanced over. The Cloud ninja wasn't looking at him, so... he slowly turned to see Ao's cold eyes glowering down at him. He couldn't help but cower slightly under his skeptic glare.

"What do you keep looking at?" He demanded quietly.

"N-nothing." He glanced back to see the Cloud shinobi looking at him sympathetically, which only made Chojuro's face go even redder from embarrassment. At least, he thought it was from embarrassment. After all, what else could it be?

Ao looked past Chojuro, leaning forward to get a better look, making Chojuro bend back and almost fall over. He caught himself with one hand and moved out of the way.

"There's nothing there." Ao sighed finally. Chojuro exhaled with relief. Of course Ao wouldn't think he was staring at the Cloud shinobi. Chojuro looked back down at Mei, then noticed the dark-skinned Cloud nin staring at him again. His face went red once again, and he quickly looked away. But not before seeing him smile. He then heard Mei chuckle.

The five Kage went silent. It was the Raikage who was speaking before. "What's so funny?" He demanded fiercely.

"Oh..." Her eyes flickered between the Cloud shinobi and Chojuro. "Nothing..." She smiled slyly. Chojuro felt confused. He glanced back at the two Cloud nin. The blonde one was glaring at her dangerously. Subconsciously, Chojuro's hand slipped to Hiramekarei's hilts.

He paused when he saw the dark-skinned man whisper something to the blonde. The blonde sighed, but stopped glaring. Choujuro's hand slipped back down to his side.

"Seriously, what are you looking at?" Ao muttered, following Chojuro's eyes. Chojuro ripped his gaze away, and shifted it down to Mei. He was extremely confused.

"It doesn't matter." Chojuro replied simply. "It probably wasn't important."

"What do you mean 'probably'?" Ao growled, raising an eyebrow. "Is it possible that the Mizukage is in danger? If so, it's you're job to take those chances. Honestly, it's beginning to get on my nerves after tolerating it for so long."

Chojuro sighed, and sadly looked back down at the Kage as they tried to 'fix' things and agree. He scratched the back of his neck, suddenly remembering where he knew Darui from.

 

Flashback

 

 

Chojuro and his team were on a mission. They were specifically told not to go through the Kumo territory to get to Mushroom Village. Chojuro had pointed out that they could take a water route, but neither of his teammates listened, so they ended up going through anyway. His team never listened to him.

Together, they made their way through the land easily. They avoided the village through the cliffs, and thought they hadn't been seen.

They had been wrong.

 

Present

 

Darui found himself staring at that blue-haired boy again. He looked deep in thought, with his brow furrowed, and eyes closed. Darui thought his heart would stop, so he quickly looked away. By Kami, is it even legal to be that cute? Seriously, how?

He hugged himself trying not to smile. He'd never felt love before, or thought about it, but he was sure this was it.

C put a hand on his shoulder. "Are you quite alright?"

"Never been better." He sighed happily.

"Oh no." C muttered, face-palming. "You don't even know him. And he's from another village. And probably way younger than you. And from another village."

"If everything gets sorted out right, we won't have to care about him being from another village." Darui began. "And I do know him. Kind of."

 

Flashback

 

 

Darui was following the intruders with a couple Chuunin flanking him. He had spotted the three, and had grabbed the nearest two ninja. He didn't know them, but they knew him, apparently. They watched the three for a moment, believing they were spies. They seemed to just be Gennin. But still, they were from the Bloody Mist, so they had to be bad, he was taught.

Though, he couldn't help but feel bad for the small blue one who was following the two silently, while his teammates chatted without a care in the world. 

Putting that aside, he looked to the two for instructions. "We can each take out one, and then bring them to the Raikage. Catarina, take the girl." The man said. "You can take the nerdy looking runt of the squad." He said to Darui. Darui narrowed his eyes, but obeyed. The three then jumped from their hiding spot and ambushed them.

A battle begun.

"Chojuro!" The girl shouted angrily. "You were supposed to be watching for Stone ninja!"

"I-I'm sorry!" He called back, pulling out a katana (I don't know what he used before Hiramekarei, so I'm just guessing) and blocking Darui's kunai.

"You really are useless." The other boy muttered, trying to fight off the higher ranked shinobi.

The blue-haired one, Chojuro, flinched at their words, but then kept strong against Darui.

The three ended up splitting up the intruders. Darui and Chojuro were left in the original ambush place, an open plain of just rock. Darui was going easy on him since he seemed to be trying to hard, but he couldn't humor him forever.

Darui darted behind the smaller boy, and barely managed to cut open his cheek before getting struck in the thigh with the katana. He backed off quickly, kind of annoyed with the shallow cut, but thought it was kind of a pathetic attempt.

Suddenly, Chojuro was behind him and kicked him in the spine, sending him tumbling to the ground. Darui got up quickly, and grabbed Chojuro's ankle, and tripped him almost pathetically easily.

Chojuro rolled away from Darui's fist, and picked his katana back up, attempting to plunge it into Darui's shin. Darui jumped away quickly, and got an idea.

"Lightning-style: Lightning Release!" He made quick enough hand signs, and ran towards Chojuro. Chojuro attempted to dodge roll, but as he tried to stand quickly and run back, he missed his footing, giving Darui the chance to charge Chojuro's sword with enough electricity that it ran back to Chojuro and electrocuted him.

Chojuro cried out in pain as he was shocked, and tripped over himself. Darui then pounced on him, his hand ready to knock the poor boy out if he hadn't been knocked out by the shock. He was indeed conscious, and saw the attack coming. He braced himself.

Darui stopped. Why? He stopped because of the expression Chojuro was making. His eyes were shut tightly, and his lips were quivering in anticipation. When the blow didn't come, he risked opening one eye to peer curiously and fearfully at Darui. Well, that was it for him. He was so cute, Darui's nose exploded with blood with force enough to knock him back.

 

POV Switch: Chojuro

 

Seeing his chance, Chojuro pushed Darui back and switched their position, quickly putting his blade against Darui's neck. The blood had died down quickly. Darui sighed in defeat and frustration.

Carefully, Chojuro made Darui stand, and walked him forward, seeing the other two ninja with his teammates being held in their grip, still conscious.

"H-hey!" Chojuro shouted at them to get their attention. The four noticed him. "R-release my friends, o-or he dies!"

They all stared at him in disbelief.

"How-?" His female teammate began, trailing off.

"I-I said, release my friends! N-now!" Chojuro shouted again. Darui wouldn't look at his fellow shinobi.

The Stone shinobi relaxed. "Go ahead. To be defeated by a runt like you, he must be weak."

Darui stared at them in shock. "You try fighting him! Be my guest, I'd love to see how long you last!" He retorted.

Chojuro was silent at first. "B-but... he's of your village! You're bluffing!"

"Or are you the one bluffing?" The Stone kunoichi suggested, smirking. "Go on, kill him."

Chojuro shakily pressed the blade against Darui's throat, drawing a small line of blood. He tried to keep a brave appearance, but inside he was terrified. He wasn't going to take someone's life! He couldn't!

"L-last chance!" He said nervously. The shinobi nodded their heads at him, as if to say 'do it.' He hesitated for a long time, shaking nervously. "Mngh..." He mumbled, then threw his katana aside. "Y-you guys are sick, willing to let him die like that."

"No, I knew you were bluffing." The Stone shinobi shrugged. "And even if you did kill him, it wouldn't be a huge loss. Darui, take him out."

Chojuro took a deep breath, and didn't try to get away.

"Chojuro you idiot!" His teammate shouted. "You should've just killed him! Coward! You're a disgrace to the Mist!"

"T-true courage isn't knowing when to take a life." Chojuro said quietly, but everyone heard. "It's knowing when to spare one." Darui looked at him, then walked to the Stone Chuunin.

"Come on." He muttered. "Fight him if you want, but I'm not going to." He then suddenly head locked both Chuunin, and forced them to the ground, then slammed their heads together, just enough to knock them out, releasing the two Mist Gennin. He looked at Chojuro. "I held back. You got lucky this time. But there will be a next time. You can count on that."

Chojuro smiled slightly and nodded. "I'll be a legendary swordsman by then." He looked to his team, and started running. They ran after him.

Darui watched, and sighed. "Yeah right. And I'll kiss you on that day." He joked to himself, rolling his eyes. Now he had to make sure these two never told anyone of this day. If he was lucky, he had knocked their heads together hard enough to make them forget those events.

 

Present Moment: Darui

 

He chuckled, remembering that they made him clean up cow poop for a week because all they'd remembered was him smashing their heads together. C looked at him strangely, but didn't pay much attention.

I'll have to ask him if he became on of the seven swordsmen. I don't know if I hope he is, or isn't. I said I'd kiss him, and I meant it. Darui thought, grinning a bit with a dreamy look on his face.

C smacked him on the back of the head, bringing him back to reality. Darui frowned at him, but C wasn't even looking at him.

It sounded like they'd finally agreed, and were wrapping up.

"It had become night." Mifune said. "You should stay here for the night. They can show you too the guest rooms." He said, addressing a few Samurai. "The cold could kill you on nights like this."

A grumbled something, but the five all agreed. Darui sighed with relief. Maybe he could fulfill his promise to himself after all.

As everyone started making their way out, guided by a few Samurai, Darui ended up in the back of the group next to a very nervous Chojuro. Most everyone was chatting with each other quietly.

"Hey, Chojuro." Darui greeted. Chojuro tensed up and adjusted his glasses nervously, avoiding looking at him. "You remember me, right?" Still, Chojuro didn't respond. "You can talk, can't you? Hello?"

"S-sorry." He mumbled.

"Darui, leave him be. If he doesn't want to talk, he won't." C warned him, then bitterly added. "A bit like someone else I know, Darui."

"Aren't we supposed to be friendly with each other now?" Darui pointed out to C, then turned back to Chojuro. "Come on, at least I'm trying." He shrugged, indicating A. "He's always been stubborn. No one dares tell him how childish he is."

Chojuro couldn't help but giggle at that a little. Darui's heart skipped a beat. A little embarrassed, Chojuro's cheeks went a light shade of pink and he awkwardly cleared his throat. C rolled his eyes, but even he had to admit Chojuro was adorable.

At least, Darui hoped so. Chojuro mumbled something he couldn't here.

"Hm?" Darui cocked his head slightly.

"I said I'm sorry." He said. "You know, for almost killing- you..." He trailed off, studying Darui's neck.

"Yes, it scarred, but you can barely see it, it's fine." Darui informed him. "Sorry for electrocuting you that one time." C looked at Darui with that what-the-fuck expression again.

"I've been through worse." Chojuro shrugged nervously. He was so timid. He didn't seem very sure of himself. 

After an awkward silence between the two, Darui piped up again. "So... you think this peace will last?" Chojuro shrugged slightly.

"Excuse me." He said quietly, and quickly walked up next to the Mizukage and Ao. Darui sighed.

"Do you think I blew it?" He whispered to C.

"I think he's just shy. And probably still much younger than you." C pointed out firmly.

"Maybe, maybe not." He shrugged. "I'm sure he's in his twenties, he just looks really young." C rolled his eyes, but didn't speak the rest of the way.

After a few more minutes of walking, the Samurai stopped at two doors. "Here, we have our two guest rooms. Before you ask, there are several beds, and the rooms are much bigger than you might think." He added quickly. "The women's room is on the right, and men are the left." And then he just walked off.

Darui and the rest of the guys entered the men's guest room and, indeed, it was pretty big, with enough beds for each of them to have an individual one. It felt awkward to Darui, having to share a room with so many people. But oh well.

The Raikage sighed, and sat down on one of the beds closest to the door without saying a word. Everyone else just silently went to the other beds and sat down as well, not really paying any attention to the others outside their village.

Darui looked around the room, and noticed Chojuro specifically had his back to Darui. Ouch. He thought to himself. Upon closer inspection, he was cleaning his giant sword, looking down at it and was very focused. The cloth that his sword had been wrapped up in was laid out neatly next to him.

Darui then remembered Danzou would also be sleeping in the same room as them, and a he shuddered. That guy gave him the creeps.

Of everything, though, he thought it was rather awkward that no one was speaking to each other or even looking at each other. Darui rolled his eyes, and listened. He could here the girls actually interacting. Guys were so stoic.

 

POV Switch: Mei Terumi

 

The girls were getting along nicely, and Mei was pretty sure that was because they knew this peace meant they could without 'consequence'. She was chatting with the only two other girls in the room: Kurotsuchi, Ookoki's granddaughter, and Temari, Gaara's sister.

"I bet you the guys aren't even talking with each other." Kurotsuchi sighed. "And if they are, it's probably just arguing."

"Most of them have to keep up their 'tough' reputation." Mei said. "Like Ao. Or the Raikage. Or your brother, what's his deal?"

"Oh." Temari shrugged. "For most of his life he... did some terrible things, but he changed for the better. He doesn't exactly... understand many emotions."

"Hm." Mei sat down on one of the beds. "I feel bad for poor Chojuro. He's stuck in a room with too many knuckleheads."

"By the way," Kurotsuchi began, sitting on the bed across from her. "Why is he one of your retainers? He seems like the type to be afraid of his own shadow."

"He was, when he was in school." Mei offered. "But in any case, he's very reliable and loyal. He's very strong. If you hadn't noticed his sword already, he's one of the seven Mist swordsmen."

"Really?" Temari exclaimed. "I would never have guessed. I thought that thing on his back was one of those huge uchiwa's, and was a wind-style user, like me." Mei laughed and shook her head.

"He doesn't really use elemental jutsu." She explained. "If I were to guess, maybe water-style. But he doesn't need that kind of jutsu to defend himself or me. Ao gives him a hard time, though, anyway."

The three girl's were silent for a moment, and then Mei chuckled slyly and lowered her voice.

"During the meeting, I noticed a couple of things." She began. The other girls leaned in curiously. "You know that Cloud shinobi, the one with the white hair?"

"Yes... I believe his name is Darui. He's the Raikage's right hand man." Kurotsuchi replied.

"Oh, the Raikage isn't going to like this." Mei laughed to herself. "Anyway, I noticed him staring at Chojuro with the dreamiest expression." Temari and Kurotsuchi looked at each other, then grinned.

"Oh ho, so you think he has a crush on your swordsman friend?" Temari said, raising an eyebrow.

"Well, who wouldn't? Have you met him?" Mei pointed out. "He wouldn't hurt a fly if he didn't have to." 

"Wait, wait, do you hear that?" The three fell silent.

"No."

"Exactly." Kurotsuchi said. "They really are all stubborn. Why can't they all just get over their differences?"

"Men." They sighed in unison.

 

Later That Night: Darui

 

The night was nearly pitch black, only lit by the faint moonlight through a window. A snored loudly, but everyone else seemed to be asleep. Of course, Darui, on the other hand, was not.

He couldn't fall asleep. It wasn't because of A's snoring, or the cold that bit at him when he wasn't under the covers, or even the haunting feeling of knowing Danzou was only a few beds away, and could kill anyone while they were asleep.

It was the nagging thought that after today, even with the alliance, he'd never see Chojuro again. Now, it sounded stupid in his head, but his heart said otherwise. It was his heart that was keeping him awake, with it thumping against his chest so loudly, he was afraid it would wake someone else up too.

Even though A was snoring, Darui heard a bed creak, as though someone was getting out of it. He froze, wondering who it could be. He watched as a silhouette silently tip-toed towards the door. He opened the door, and Darui just caught a glimpse of pale blue hair as he slipped out, and shut the door quietly.

What could he be doing up? Darui wondered, slowly getting out of his own bed to follow.

When he poked his head out the door, Chojuro was nowhere in sight. He closed the door silently behind him, then tried to guess which way he went. Is he okay? Should I really be looking for him? He paused, but ended up trying the halls. Apparently, since no one could make it to their location before dying in the cold of the night, the Samurai were taking the night off.

He glanced around a corner, and there he was, standing, facing a window and was humming quietly to himself. Darui didn't recognize the tune, but it was soothing. He took a deep breath, and walked quietly towards him. Chojuro didn't notice him at first.

Darui cleared his throat.

 

POV Switch: Chojuro

 

"Gah!" Chojuro squeaked, turning around quickly, then exhaled. "Oh, it's just you. Can I help you? Or were you just following... me..." He looked Darui up and down, then glanced around. He was at a dead end, and didn't think to bring Hiramekarei with him. Fear flickered in Chojuro's eyes, and he took a step back, putting him against the wall, with his arms protectively across his chest.

"Don't worry," Darui sighed. "I'm not here to do something stupid." He paused. "Probably."

"W-what's that supposed to mean?!" Chojuro demanded nervously. He cursed himself for taking off his weapon pouches before he left. He also wished he'd put his sandals back on so he could stomp on Darui's foot if he needed to escape with more force.

"I'm not going to hurt you, but I'm known to say stupid things." He explained. "I just saw you walking out, and was concerned. Just wanted to know if you were okay."

Chojuro had no idea if he should trust him or not. He seemed to be telling the truth, but he couldn't help but feel vulnerable. If Darui decided to attack, and caught him, he'd be no match for his strength. Those muscles couldn't just be for show. He couldn't help but stare at him with a nervous expression.

"Is... that a no?" Darui asked. "Or a leave-me-alone?"

He adjusted his glasses uncomfortably. "I don't... mind your company." Wait, why did I say that!? Just tell him to go away!! Come on Chojuro, you can do it!

"Really?" Darui said, surprised. "I didn't expect you to say that. But thank you." Shoot, no, I can't do it!

Chojuro nodded simply, and glanced out the window again.

"But... are you okay?" He asked again.

"No-yes!" Chojuro corrected himself quickly. "I-I just couldn't sleep, is all. Y-you know, with all that snoring... which sounded like one person."

"It was one person." Darui informed him. "The Raikage."

"That's... not hard to believe." Chojuro said, hoping not to offend Darui. 

Darui laughed. "I didn't think so either, when I first found out." His laugh made Chojuro's heart skip a beat. What the heck? "By the way," Chojuro turned to him. "I just wanted to check, but... you're... not fifteen, right?"

Chojuro stood straight, alarmed, and his face heated. "Wh-what!? N-no- I- why- how- what- no!" He stuttered. Darui laughed again, making Chojuro's face go redder. "You're four years off!" He finally blurted, pushing up his glasses, which had slipped down.

"So... you're eleven?" Darui teased. Chojuro glared at him, and fiddled with his glasses again, annoyed now. He was pretty sure he was just messing with him now. Refusing to dignify his last comment with a response, Chojuro turned back to the window, and stared at the moon. "I'm kidding! Your nineteen, I get it. Didn't mean to insult you."

"YOU DIDN'T-" Chojuro cut off, and took a deep breath, then began again, quieter. "You didn't insult me, but I don't really like being teased."

"That's really cute." He heard Darui mutter. His face went beet red.

"Wh-what!?" He exclaimed.

Darui scratched the back of his neck sheepishly. "Nothing! I just- nevermind. It's not important." Yes it is! Chojuro thought furiously. Don't you fucking dare call me cute! He covered his mouth in shock as though he'd said that out loud. "What?"

"N-nothing." He mumbled, then lowered his hand, and looked away again. "Just don't call me cute. I made it too far for that crap again."

"What shit?" Darui asked. Chojuro jumped, and blinked at him. Darui rolled his eyes. "Sorry, what 'crap'?"

Chojuro blinked a few more times, then shook his head. "It's not important. I've just been underestimated because I was... well, you know. It didn't help that I was also smaller than most people my age. I had to work twice as hard as others so people would take me seriously."

"That sounds annoying." Darui shrugged.

"Way more than that." He growled bitterly. He then noticed Darui staring closely at him. His face heated again. "Wh-what?"

"I hadn't noticed before, but do you have sharp teeth?" He asked. Chojuro slowly nodded, confused. "Just wondering if I was seeing right."

"I know we're supposed to be an alliance now, but... as the Raikage's right hand man, I would've thought you wouldn't be so... mellow." Chojuro pointed out.

Darui walked a little closer to Chojuro, and Chojuro flinched, trying to take a step back, but only hit the wall. "Sorry." He mumbled. "Anyway, yes, I suppose I shouldn't be so chill with people. I don't really trust anyone else, to tell you the truth."

"Then... why me?"

"Because I've seen your heart. You wouldn't kill me. That's proof enough." Darui shrugged.

"I'm glad I didn't, but... my teammates hated me so... and they told my sensei what happened... and then I was left out of everything, basically kicked off the team. The Mizukage never found out, but I started training on my own... no friends, no team, no one who really cared about me much." Chojuro shrugged sadly, then forced a smile. "But that's alright. It was the push I needed to climb to these heights."

"Does your old team remember you?" Darui asked.

"Yep. They found out I became one of the seven swordsmen. And then I ran into them and they..." He trailed off, bitter memories returning. He took a moment to count to ten in his head. "It doesn't matter. I work hard every day to prove myself over and over again. I became respected by some, others, not so much. But that's just how it goes."

"I don't mean to get all up in your business, but what do you mean, 'no one who really cared about you'? What about your parents?" Darui inquired, raising an eybrow with a concerned expression.

Chojuro refused to reply as he remembered his parents' cruelty. If he started, he might cry, and he was not about to cry in front of a new ally.

Darui must've seen his discomfort, because he quickly changed the subject. "So I heard that the seven swordsmen of the Mist's swords were legendary weapons, and had names. What's your sword called?"

"It's Hiramekarei. It has the ability to shape shift, in a sort." Chojuro explained, silently thanking Darui. 

"Is it heavy? It looks half your size or more." Darui asked curiously.

"It's pretty heavy, but not too hard to use. I try to make battles quicker, because if they last too long, I might not be able to finish the fight." He paused. Shoot, I shouldn't have told him that. "I-I'm working on improving my strength, though."

"Good to know." Darui nodded. "You won't have to fight alone, someone will always have your back."

Chojuro stifled a sarcastic and sad laugh, as he remembered a time when he was a new member of the seven, and he'd gotten attacked. He'd been alone because no one cared to make the trip with him to a nearby village for a reason he now couldn't remember. He'd almost been killed, and no one even asked if he was alright. They just sighed as though he'd failed a test. He'd won, and saved himself. He came back wounded, and everyone thought he was weak and shouldn't be one of the seven. So he worked twice as hard as the rest of his village to improve and prove to them that he was worthy. And it was Hiramekarei that had helped him along the way.

Sometimes he'd admit to himself that Hiramekarei was his only friend, even if it was a sword. He felt a connection with it; a strong connection.

"What's funny?" Darui asked.

"I-it's not important. I didn't have a very... pleasant childhood, I guess you could say, that's all." Chojuro shrugged sadly. "What about you?"

"Eh." Darui shrugged. "Just a normal childhood, not anything special. I was above my team, and the Raikage noticed. Not much to it."

"Everyone has a story of their own." Chojuro said quietly. "And in that story, there are lessons to be learned."

Darui cocked an eyebrow. "Are you just making this stuff up? Because it's really insightful, and kind of unnerving that an eleven year-old is saying these life lessons. You haven't even lived for twenty years." He winked at Chojuro.

"I-I'm not eleven! I'm nineteen!"

"So, you haven't lived for twenty years."

"A-almost! It's close enough!"

Darui laughed again. "I know, I'm just teasing." Chojuro crossed his arms and glared at Darui. "Okay, sorry."

"No you're not." Chojuro muttered. He glanced out the window. "It's late, I should probably go to bed." Not that I'll be able to sleep. He thought bitterly to himself. He started to walk off.

"Hold on." Chojuro paused, and turned. "You know, that day... I made a promise to myself."

"Eh?"

"I hadn't taken myself seriously at first, but here goes nothing." Darui said, taking a deep breath. He walked right up to Chojuro. Oh, no, I have a bad feeling-

...

WHATTHEFUCKISHEDOINGHELPHELPMEIIIIII!!! Chojuro was extremely confused, but it honestly wasn't bad at all. Just surprising.

When they parted, Chojuro's cheeks felt like they were on fire. "I-what-you-I don't- what?" He stuttered, trying to figure out what to say.

 

POV Switch: Darui

 

Chojuro's face was redder than Darui thought was even possible. He was still blinking in shock, and pointing an accusing finger at Darui. "You- you caught me off guard! What was that for?!"

"I promised myself that the next time I met you, if you really did turn out to be a legendary swordsman, I'd kiss you." Darui shrugged.

"What-you-that's not why you're supposed to kiss someone! The only reason I can think of for someone to kiss another person was if they loved them!" Chojuro blurted.

"Mhm." Darui nodded, and then started to walk off. Holy fucking shit, I didn't think I'd really do it! But I did it! I have no idea what to do now! He could hate me, for all I know.

"Wait..." He heard Chojuro mutter to himself. "WHAT!?"

That's my cue to leave. Darui thought and quickly, quietly ran back to the guest rooms, almost skipping because he was so happy. He could hear Chojuro running after him, probably ready to kill him.

But oh well.

Darui had no regrets.

 

That Morning: Chojuro

 

He woke to arguing. It seemed the Raikage and Tsuchikage were arguing over something probably pointless. Chojuro slipped out of bed and put his sandals back on. Darui an Akatsuchi were trying to calm their leaders down.

Everyone else was getting up and fixing themselves to look presentable. The Kazekage already looked awake, and like always. He sighed, and used his sand to push the two fighting leaders to opposite sides of the room.

"It's too early in the morning for this." He said plainly. "You don't need to yell, you're in the same room." Then he turned to his brother, his sand retracting back into his. "Are you almost ready to go?"

"Yep." Kankurou nodded. "Should we go get Temari?" And then the two left. The Leaf shinobi also left without a word.

"We should also go and find Kurotsuchi." Akatsuchi pointed out. The Tsuchikage grumbled something, but left with him.

Chojuro glanced at Darui, who noticed, and smiled at him. He quickly turned away, his heart skipping a beat. "Ao, we should go, too." He said, taking his holster and wrapping it around himself, then put Hiramekarei through it. Finally, he attached his shuriken holsters to his legs. Okay. He thought to himself, taking a deep breath from the sudden weight on his back.

"Indeed." Ao nodded, having already made himself presentable. "Come on then." Chojuro followed, and tensed as they passed Darui. Had the night before really happened? Or had it all been a dream?

No, that must've happened. That couldn't have been a dream. Chojuro thought to himself. I have no idea if I should be happy, or scared, or something, because my first kiss was with a guy I'd only met once before yesterday. Am I even into guys? Apparently, considering I'm not exactly upset that it was him... urgh, this is so confusing!

"You did this to me." Chojuro muttered to Darui as they passed. Darui just laughed.

"You're welcome." He teased. 

Chojuro's face went red. "Why you-"

"Chojuro!" Ao shouted back. "Are you coming, or not?"

"Ah! Yes, sorry!" He called, then ran to catch up.

 

Final POV Switch: Darui

 

"Darui, what did you do?" C sighed.

"I kissed him." He whispered in C's ear. 

"You did WHAT!?" C exclaimed. "What is WRONG with you!?"

"What happened now?" A said, turning to them.

"Eh he he, nothing." Darui answered sheepishly.

"He k-" Darui slapped his hand over C's mouth.

"Nothing." Darui repeated firmly. C pushed his hand away and sighed, rolling his eyes. A cocked an eyebrow. "Trust me, it wouldn't be very important to you." To me on the other hand...

C sighed again. "He'd probably have something to say about it."

"C, shut the FUCK up." Darui demanded. Without further explanation, he left the room. C followed, and A also followed, surprisingly not asking anymore questions.

I really hope I see him again. Darui thought, glancing down the hall at Chojuro.