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Room 17

By Isabelle

Romance

Chapter 1

Knock knock Gaara heard someone knocking twice on the door of his small apartment. Very few people ever knocked on his door, so he decided to ignored it. Hopefully the doorknocker would disappear and leave him alone, unfortunately that was not what happened, someone unlocked the door.

Gaara was taken aback for 1 single tiny moment, and the next he prepared himself to scare the doorknocker off, he wanted to be left alone! His lungs were filled with air ready to get out, ready to start yelling and screaming and cussing, but when his eyes landed on the trespasser he relaxed his breathing, he couldn't yell at this creature even though he wanted to, he just couldn't. This trespasser was a girl, but different than the usual girls, the girls that wrote letters, the girls that send pictures he wasn't allowed to keep, this girl was different compared to any other girl he had ever met. He stared at her, but her impressive lavender eyes did not stare back.

"I-I'm s-sorry it-it's just t-that I-I I'm supposed to c-clean this a-apartment" the girl trespasser whispered, while she was playing with her finger nervously. He could barely understand what she said due to all the stutters.

During the boy's silence the trespasser named Hinata remembered what the other volunteers told her when she started this job.

Flashback

"Oh and a little piece of advice, just don't enter room 17" a girl with pink hair told her, Sakura-san was a fellow volunteer and had been doing this for years.

Hinata looked at her list with inhabitants, she was wondering why she shouldn't go in there. Hinata respected Sakura's insight but she did wander 'why not' and her eyes stopped when she reached room number 17, it simply stated: 'Gaara. Multiple personality syndrome, wheelchair bound.'

"B-but doesn't h-he need help" Hinata asked "I-I mean it says he can't walk, he n-need help"

"I'm just giving you advice, you don't have to listen" Sakura replied impatiently, she was busy. "Oops I need to go, good luck on your first day" and she hurried away.

End flashback

Gaara looked at the girl, she had been standing there for a minute without saying or doing anything. Gaara decided to go back to what he was doing, and turned his wheelchair around, ignoring the girl.

Hinata saw the boy was turning his back towards her.

'I am not getting beaten, I am not going home, not today, he didn't ask me to go away, so I will stay right here' She decided quietly and she walked further into the room. It took her aback, it was a mess, a huge mess, there was dust everywhere and it even smelled like an old mouldy building.

"First things first" She said and walked to the window opposite to the door. She was keeping an eye on the boy, to see if he reacted to her being there, but he didn't. She opened a window and let the wind blow some fresh air in the room. And it felt like a victory, which gave her courage to ask the next question.

"Ehm .. I-is there s-somewhere you d-don't want m-me to go?" she asked but Gaara was looking in a notebook and refusing to reply. She didn't mind, to be honest, she was used to being ignored. Furthermore she secretly was happy she could do her job without having to make small talk and she didn't have to feel judged.

Hinata looked around the room, it was a terrible mess, not something to be cleaned within the hour. And although Hinata did not mind there was no conversation, she did find the silence creepy.

"D-do you mind if I put some music on?" she asked.

Gaara was still stubborn, and ignoring her. 'I just hope it's not something horrible and girly' Gaara thought and he decided to throw something the nearest mug towards the stereo if he didn't like the music. But when the music started it was a pleasant surprise. It was nice… almost beautiful, there weren't any voices or electronic bleeps, just a piano and an orchestra playing tunes.

Hinata released a breath she didn't know she was holding. The boy didn't seemed to mind. And if her eyes weren't betraying her (they never did) she noticed a change in the boy not anything big, but just he looked a bit more relaxed, less tension in the shoulders at least.

'I'll start in the kitchen' Hinata decided. She started with the dishes, which was quite a challenge in itself, and then moving on to cleaning sink and the cabinets and slowly but surely the kitchen got cleaner and cleaner.

Meanwhile Gaara was drawing on his art block, Hinata noticed that he was drawing because of the sketching sounds, but she decided to let the boy draw. If he didn't want to react at what she was saying, he surly didn't want her to see his drawings.

When his kitchen was all clean it was time to go on. She had more work to do today. "Gaara-san?" she asked "I-I am free tomorrow… M-maybe I can c-come by and clean the rest ?" She asked. Gaara ignored her. She suddenly felt a bit cheeky, and it was really rude to keep ignoring her like that. "Y-You know… silence is acceptance" the words left her mouth before she knew, and when she realised what she had said her face flashed bright red. She basically ran towards the door and left.

Gaara was confused. This is an odd girl, he thought to himself. He looked at the now clean kitchen. He hadn't even known that it was that dirty, but it was certainly very clean now.

The next day Hinata knocked the door again. And as per ritual she unlocked the door and noticed Gaara sitting right where she left him. She also noticed that the kitchen wasn't used at all. 'didn't he eat?' she wondered.

Today she decided to clean his bedroom, as she walked on to the room closest to where Gaara was sitting she tried to take a look at the notebook. She really wanted to see what he was drawing but when she looked, the notebook was closed and the only thing she noticed were his short and spend pencils.

'I'll buy him some new ones, maybe he'll open up a little if I give him new ones' she thought, giving someone a small present was usually a good way to start any kind of relationship. Next she walked in the bedroom, but she wasn't prepared for what she saw. This room was even worse than the kitchen. It was totally dark, it smelled like old socks and there were clothes all around. The only good thing was that there were no leftovers, and no rotting food, like she had found in the room next door.

She walked towards the curtains and opened them up, and opened the window.

"Gaara-san. D-do you mind if I wash y-your clothes" she asked. And again no answer. She had already decided that if he was going to ignore her, she could do whatever she thought was best. She started grabbing the clothing of the floor and placed them in a basket, and she walked outside the door. So noticed Gaara looking at her and she smiled and went to the launderette, like Sakura-san had told her to, the launderette was on the 2e floor, so Hinata went and placed Gaara's bunch of torn jeans, black t-shirts and underwear in the machine, he had very little variation in clothes.

After a full day of cleaning and washing Hinata was finally finished, the apartment was liveable. Now there was only 1 other thing she had promised herself to do today. "I'm going to the s-shop Gaara-san, I'll make you dinner, if you want m-me too" Gaara didn't reply, which caused Hinata to smile again, she really wanted to cook for him. She never got to cook at home, because her father had a chef and thought it was wasting her time. Just when Hinata left to go shopping she bumped into Sakura-san.

"Hello Hinata-chan, I'm Sakura remember? So how is it going, is everything okay? I didn't know you were working today?"

"Hello, Sakura-san, everything i-is fine, I took the day to help Gaara-san, b-but I have to hurry, I promised Gaara-san t-that I'll make him d-dinner and the shops a-are closing s-soon" and Hinata hurried on, but she didn't realise the effect of her words on Sakura. Her eyes were open wide. No one ever spend more than 10 minutes in room 17 without running out in tears. Sakura was shocked.

After about an hour Hinata returned. "I-I'm back Gaara-san" she said as she started cooking. When the dish was finished she stopped the music and brought Gaara his dinner.

"I-I hope you like it" she said and she sat down opposite of him, and they started eating. It was a really nice dinner. Gaara thought so too although he didn't say so, he usually ate very little, or heated things up in the microwave.

When they were finished Hinata cleaned the dishes.

"B-before I go, I want to g-give you something" and she placed the new pencil set on the table.

"I'll see you next monday" and she walked out the door

Gaara noticed the expensive brand of the pencils, as well that Hinata-chan stuttered a lot less than she did when she just came in.

He might start to like the girl, and he started to draw with his new pencils, he tried to draw landscapes, even tried to do an exercise in shading, but every time he let his mind wander, he started drawing a girl with big eyes.


A/N the cover picture is made by elendramear and based on this story (how cool is that!)

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