The Kazekage stood in the light of the window, a small tattered book in his hands. His green eyes slowly scanned the paper, across which childish scrawl ran rampant. His hand gripped the spine tightly as though for support as his eyes moved to stare distractedly out of the window. The book had been found in the remains of a house that had burned down a long time ago in the Village Hidden in Sand. The process of clearing out the rubble to make way for a new building had only just been begun, and by some strange turn of fate, this book had escaped mostly intact and found its way to the Kazekage's hands. It was a diary of a little girl.
Gaara looked back down at the book in his hands. The story was simple and easily understood, even for him. It was a strange thought, the idea that he had had a secret admirer, but there it was. It was assumed that no one had survived that fire, or even if they had, it had been a number of years since and likely the book had been long forgotten. When a fire did flare up in the desert village, it claimed whatever it did wholly and completely and the house had been burnt to a crisp. The diary, Gaara thought in a moment of pondering, was like the last leftover piece of that girl's soul. It was understandable, Gaara thought, with how little contact with others he'd received as a child, that he would not remember this girl, and yet it still tugged earnestly at his heart.
He sighed and started reading the page he was on once again. If his reading it over and over again could change anything, if there was somehow a chance fate was holding that barely-bound mess of charred paper with love... it was ridiculous, but he couldn't stop.
Today it happened again. It annoys me no end. I can't tell if someone is just trying to be funny or what, but that boy pronounced my name wrong again. My name is B-E-H, pronounced like 'bay.' He keeps calling me 'Beh' like 'meh.' I hate that double-dratted scoundrel. Oh, but that's not the least of my worries. Today I was in school and I saw the cutest boy. His name is Gaara. People don't like him because he acts a little weird and he has no eyebrows, but I don't care. He's so cute! He has really pretty eyes, although it looks like he hasn't slept since he came out of his mommy. I wonder if he needs to start drinking some hot milk before bed?
Gaara hadn't ever thought of the possibility of girl watching him from afar. Granted, at this time, he had been a child and hadn't much thought of girls at all. This had been before his uncle had... passed away. He remembered those days he'd spend sitting by himself, all of the sleepless nights, but he had never noticed eager little eyes watching him with adoration, with awe. If he had, he might have felt better about being so alone. Rather, it wouldn't have felt like loneliness.
He turned the page. The next entry had been somewhat disappointing, and somehow he'd known that he should've seen in coming. But no matter how many times he read it, he felt a swell of gratitude for this brave little admirer towards the end.
My mom says to stay away from Gaara. I don't understand. He's sweet, he's really nice, and he's really cute, but mommy says he's dangerous. I don't get it all. Maybe it's just because I'm little. Anyway, today I totally ignored mom and I left a little present for him on his doorstep. It says 'from your secret admirer' on it. Oh, I feel so giddy! I hope he gets it. I really want him to like me!
I guess he got it, because it wasn't there the next day, but I haven't noticed him acting any different. I'd hoped that would make him feel better. Was it too much to hope for a smile? I sent him sweets I made myself with mommy – I told her I was giving them to that boy who keeps saying my name wrong just to annoy me, and she believed me. I hope he liked them, if he did get them. I wonder if he likes candy. Maybe he doesn't. Should I try something else instead? Maybe he likes candied beans. I should try that next time. Yeah! I'll try that!
A small smile tugged once more at the corners of Gaara's lips. He had, of course, never gotten anything like that or even anything unlike that, but it was a nice feeling to know that someone had been thinking of you. He wondered briefly, for perhaps the fourth time, what had happened to that little girl. She must have died in the fire, he supposed. His fingers tightened around the book once more. It was in poor condition and his clenching and unclenching only made it worse, but it inspired a strange feeling in him. If only he had known, maybe things would have turned out differently. His eyes moved to the next entry.
I don't know how to make candied beans. I just figured that out when I burned myself trying to cook the beans. Maybe you're not supposed to cook them? Mommy asked what I had been doing when I burned myself, so I told her I was trying to cook her dinner. She said I was a good girl and hugged me, and now I feel guilty.
Gaara was shunned today. I was walking by with mommy, so I couldn't do anything about it, but I wish I could stomp over there and hit those stupid kids! Gaara is amazing, I wanted to shout. I love Gaara! Then again, I'd probably faint before the words came out. Gaara would be looking at me, his green eyes wide with surprise, and I would just faint. Oh, well. It's still a nice thing to think about.
I'm so excited! So today I went out and I found candied beans for sale! I bought them with my allowance, I had just enough, and I made a bow out of my favorite hair ribbon and put that on top. It looked so pretty! I just got back from his house, where I left them on his bedroom windowsill because I was thinking maybe he didn't get the candy I sent earlier because it was on the porch. Maybe someone else took it or an animal got it. I sure hope he gets the beans, and I really hope he likes them!
It's been three days, but I haven't noticed any change. The candied beans disappeared along with my hair ribbon, but Gaara hasn't even begun to stare at girls curiously as they pass by. I wonder if he even knows who I am. I guess I'm really good at sneaking around, because I can watch him for hours and follow him around without him noticing! It's exciting, and I'm still waiting, but I guess maybe they were stolen by fairies like the last box. Was it fairies with sweet teeth or kitchen goblins that made off with Gaara's candy? I wonder where they took it.
Ah, yes. Girls at that age did believe in fairies. Gaara shook his head. Such childish innocence. He still kept wondering about her name, though: Beh. What a strange name. He had never heard anything like that before. His eyes went back to the diary, to the very last entry.
I can't breathe. There's smoke everywhere. I'm stuck – the fire is outside my bedroom door, so I can't get out. I can't open the window. I hope Gaara got the candy.
Gaara closed his eyes for a moment. Her last thought, at least the last ever put on paper, was about him. He couldn't explain this feeling, but it may have been sadness. Was he sad? No, it was something else. He felt... sorry for this little girl. Along with the sadness there was a sorrowful sort of elation, a feeling he hadn't known was possible, in response to the fact that someone had harbored those thoughts for him. The book disappeared into his robes. It was his now, he thought.
He looked back up at the window. Funny how all he knew was her name, and yet he already felt like he knew this girl through the unassuming book found in the charred remains of a house. He couldn't stop thinking about it. Of all the people that despised him, that had thought of him only with disdain, there had been someone who thought of him with love in her thoughts. He had heard about love, but this was something even more amazing. He felt so wonderful and so terrible at the same time.
The door suddenly opened, and Gaara's eyes flashed towards the door as a young woman came in with a stack of papers in her hands.
"Lord Gaara?" she asked in a little voice. "Would you mind… er… I have some papers here for you to sign?"
Gaara nodded and headed towards the desk, gesturing for her to put them down there. She hurried forward and dropped the stack of papers quickly. Gaara was used to the awkwardness. People were still scared of him, he knew that. He was trying not to let it bother him, but as his eyes scanned the paper, the rhythmic foot tapping, the movement of her hand tapping against her thigh, and the way her eyes kept avoiding his became a little bit unnerving. He quickly signed off the papers and handed them back to her. She took them with a deep bow.
"Thank you very much," she said, still refusing to meet his eyes. "I'm very sorry to bother you." Gaara noticed the pink flush in her cheeks. She turned to go, and Gaara couldn't help but notice her hair, tied up out of the way with a pale pink ribbon that looked faded with age. An odd sort of feeling rose within him, a feeling he couldn't shake despite how ridiculous it seemed. Somehow, miraculously...
"Excuse me," he said, stepping forward. The young lady stopped in her tracks, her blush deepening. She didn't turn back to face him.
"What is your name?" Gaara asked. The young lady turned around slowly, her gaze stuck to the floor at her feet as though something about it was particularly interesting. Her entire face was bright pink, for some reason Gaara could not fathom. She cleared her throat.
"Er… Beh, my lord, spelled 'B-E-H.' It's a strange name, I know," she said. Her eyes finally met Gaara's. The blush that had begun to fade came back in full blast as she realized that the Kazekage was staring at her. He smiled slightly, dropping his gaze to spare the young lady any further embarrassment, and reached into his robes.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Beh. I think I may have something of yours…"