Gaara had come up for a few minutes, but after politely asking if everyone was comfortable, and making sure that they hadn't needed anything, he had left, claiming that he needed to be home.
Almost as soon as he left Misa came over to me, her eyes hopeful.
"Um, Ria? Did you see Kankuro while you were there?"
I shook my head and smiled largely.
"No, but I bet that when he finds out that you're here that he'll come and see you."
Misa nodded, smiling for a moment before her eyes widened, her hand suddenly touching my neck, turning my head to the side to see the skin in better light, her voice panicked.
"Ria! What is wrong with your neck. It's got red splotches all over it!"
Mona frowned from her place across the room, Misa's loud voice carrying towards her and came towards us, inspecting my neck from a small distance away before giving me a knowing smirk, her voice slightly teasing as she spoke.
"And your lips are beginning to swell. You must have had a really good reunion with that boy."
I gave her a disgusted look, realizing what the spots actually were simply by Mona's teasing and touched the still smooth skin of my neck, rubbing at it slightly in hopes of getting rid of the marks...knowing that it wouldn't do any good. I was suddenly glad that Salem had taken Toru out to walk around the village some, his nervousness with being in an unknown place kicking in and causing him to want to wander. The last thing I needed was a lecture or more teasing from my adopted big brother.
Mona noticed my worried look and smiled.
"Don't worry, Ria. They're not horrible and I think that they will fade before tomorrow. So no one else needs to know about them."
Her smile turned evil suddenly.
"Just don't go crazy tonight when your Lover Boy comes back."
I frowned in confusion, my hand still on my neck.
"What makes you think that he will be coming back tonight? He didn't say anything like that."
She rolled her eyes and scoffed at me.
"Oh please, don't be so naive. With the way that he was looking at you? He'll be back. Believe me. All those glances meant that he wouldn't stay away from you for long."
Misa nodded her head vigorously, agreeing with our friend.
"Yeah. It was actually kinda cute. He seems to be really innocent for a boy that age. Like he doesn't know what he's feeling."
Mona nodded sagely, crossing her arms over her chest, a small frown on her face.
"That's why I go for the more experienced guys. They know what they want and when they want it. Not that they get it of course. I have standards."
We laughed and I finally took a look around the room, not really having the time to do so before.
It was more like an apartment than a hotel room. There was a tiny living room that connected to an open kitchen, a small bar the only thing that separated them, while several doors along the walls led to the bedrooms, Misa, Mona, and I having our own rooms, while Salem had commandeered the biggest room and convinced Toru to sleep in there with him instead of forcing either of them to sleep on the couch.
Mona saw me looking around and grinned at me and Misa.
"Did you two realize that the Kazekage gave each of us our own rooms? Do you know what that means?"
Misa shrugged, not seeming concerned about it.
"He probably thinks that we all need our own space. Kankuro said that Gaara likes his alone time, so he probably thinks that everyone does as well."
"Really? I think it was because he knew that all of our boyfriends would be here."
Misa frowned, blinking at the other girl innocently.
"So? Why would that matter. Just because they're here doesn't mean that we all have to sleep in separate rooms. We could just kick the guys out when we got tired and they could go sleep somewhere else."
Mona closed her eyes and shook her head in exasperation, taking a calming breath.
"Misa, I love you. But sometimes your innocent self is way too much for me to handle."
Misa frowned at her before shrugging, having heard that statement several times before and just accepting it.
I smiled at their typical bantering before frowning as I shifted, feeling the grittiness that scrapped against my skin irritatingly.
"I'm going to go take a shower. I have sand in places that I didn't know sand could get."
Both nodded in agreement, wincing sympathetically before wishing me a goodnight and continuing their bickering as they walked towards the living room couches.
I sighed and picked up the fluff-ball of a panda that had continued to lay at my feet as I had spoken before making my way to my designated room, looking around it hopefully once I had the door closed and sighing in slight disappointment
Maybe Mona was wrong about Gaara coming back tonight. He did have a lot to do.
I shrugged and placed Butterball on the bed, seeing the panda curl up on a pillow to sleep before I dug in my pack to find some clean clothes, beginning to itch in irritation.
I came out of the bathroom and shuddered, feeling colder than I had thought possible in the warm room.
I heard a small rustle and frowned when I looked at the balcony and noticed that one of the doors was slightly open, the rustling coming from the curtains flapping in the small breeze.
I let my eyes trail away from the window and towards where I had left Butterball and smiled gently as I found that he wasn't the only inhabitant that was lounging on the mattress.
Gaara was holding the panda in his lap, staring off into nowhere, his hand absently petting the fluffy animal and I giggled, his head instantly shooting up to look at me, a sheepish smile coming to his face as I walked towards him and crawled on to the bed, smiling largely.
Gaara smiled back slightly.
I grinned and tucked my wet hair behind my ear and away from my face.
"So why didn't you tell me that you were coming back tonight?"
He frowned and leaned back on his palms, looking up at the ceiling as he answered.
"I wasn't planning on coming back. I didn't even know where I was going until I found myself on your balcony. It just seemed that I didn't want to be away from you tonight ."
My smile was ironic. Mona had been right I guess.
I frowned suddenly, the remembrance of the discussions earlier caused me to think about Misa and her question about Kankuro. I turned to Gaara to see him staring up at the ceiling and petting Butterball absently, causing me to smile and interrupt his musings on behalf of my friend.
"Hey, Gaara? Did you tell Kankuro that we were here?"
He nodded and continued as he had been before I spoke while he answered.
"I told both of my siblings that you had arrived. Temari didn't seem that interested, but Kankuro was almost unbearable with how excited he was that Misa was here. If it wasn't for Temari's threat, he would be here tonight."
I smiled and tilted my head curiously.
"What was the threat? I can't really imagine anything being bad enough to keep Kankuro away."
Gaara smirked slightly, looking at me sideways.
"That if Kankuro came anywhere near 'that girl' tonight that she would poison his food."
He grimaced, his nose wrinkling cutely.
"Not like it could be worse than her normal cooking."
I laughed and nudged him gently with my shoulder.
"Oh, come on! It couldn't be that bad."
He turned his head, fully facing me, his expression challenging.
"While you're here, I'll take you to my house and let you try one of Temari's creations. Then you can decide for yourself whether or not Kankuro had the right to be afraid of her threat or not. Alright?"
I laughed and nodded, still thinking that he was exaggerating
''Alright. And I suppose that it doesn't really matter. Misa was just missing him, but she'll be able to see him tomorrow and he might even be able to stay the night with her without having to face your sister's wrath. After all, her boyfriend will be here tomorrow for the festival too, won't he?
Gaara crossed his arms with a huff and grumbled lowly, causing me to laughingly defend this boy that I had never met.
"Oh, come on. He can't be that bad. From what everyone's told me he's just extremely lazy. Other than that he's supposedly a nice guy."
Gaara nodded sourly.
"And because of that 'nice guy', my sister thinks, because he's the official diplomat between the Sand and Leaf, that she needs to go see him all the time. She keeps pestering me with wanting an assignment to the Leaf. Apparently I don't have enough work to do. I also have to keep a long distance relationship going. That isn't mine."
He rolled his eyes and I faked seriousness, forcing a frown and crossing my arms over my chest.
"I see your point. Temari wanting to go see her boyfriend is horrible. They should be able to be far enough in love that they only need to see each other on rare, occasions and only briefly. Shame on them."
Gaara smiled at my obvious sarcasm and nodded, playing along.
"My thoughts exactly. Also, her choice in guys and carers is horrible. We had hopped when she grew up that she would be a teacher. She's always enjoyed bossing everyone around so much that it would have been good for her. And then she decided to fall in love with a ninja. Not a Doctor or a Lawyer, but a ninja."
Gaara sighed and shook his head in mock sadness.
"Not just any ninja either. The laziest one in the Leaf..."
He stopped as I busted out laughing and gave me a large smile, seeming happy that our game had made me smile.
He moved to put Butterball at the edge of the bed, where the panda spiraled unconsciously before he moved back towards me, crawling under the covers and blinking up at me expectantly, causing me to smile.
"I suppose that this is your not so subtle way of telling me that it's time for bed, huh?"
He smirked and I rolled my eyes before climbing under the covers with him, noticing only when I had laid down that the balcony doors were still opened and knowing that I would never be able to sleep with them unlocked. I sighed and shifted the covers, preparing to slide out of the bed when I felt a sudden movement and looked to see Gaara's sand closing and locking the doors before flowing back into the gourd that was resting on the wall behind me.
I looked at it in stunned silence for a moment before flipping back over to see Gaara slowly lower his hand and I smiled as I cuddled closer to him, feeling his arms wrap around me. I sighed as he pulled me closer, feeling his body heat warm the once cold sheets. The boy was extremely warm. If I spent much time lying in bed with him I was going to become spoiled with always being warm...it wasn't an unpleasant thought.
I snuggled more into him and didn't hesitate to press my cold feet to his, causing him to jump in surprise, a small noise resembling a yelp coming form his throat and he glared down at me as I snickered.
"That was not funny, Ria."
I giggled and nodded, disagreeing entirely.
"Yes it was. Maybe not to you, but it definitely was to me. Because my feet are now warm."
I smiled up at him unrepentantly before frowning as I realized that I could see him a bit too well. Dang. The light was still on. I looked at Garra hopefully, putting on my best pout.
"Do you think that you could use your sand to turn the light off? It would save you the horror of dealing with my cold feet again."
He widened his eyes slightly, pretending to be horrified.
"Anything but the cold feet. That was horrible."
I nudged him playfully, ruining any hope of seeming offended by giggling softly.
"Oh whatever. They weren't even that cold."
He smiled and I felt his hands moving in hand signs behind my back before I heard a soft rustling a moment before the room was encased in darkness.
I sighed happily and twisted the fabric of his shirt between my fingers sleepily.
"I could get used to that. Not having to deal with getting up to close doors and turn off lights."
His arms tightened around me, tugging me even closer and I felt myself falling into a daze after a few minutes of his silence, before frowning as he spoke.
I sighed tiredly, trying to force my vocal cords to function. A soft mummer the only thing I was able to get out.
His hand at my back began to twirl my hair slowly, causing me to relax even further. If he wanted to talk he wasn't doing a good job at making me stay awake.
"I love you."
I could hear the smile in his voice and realized that he had just woken me up to tell me such a thing and found it funny that I was close to speaking in my sleep. I hummed and sighed, my voice still a gentle mummer and I was unsure if he could hear it.
"I love you too, Gaara."
He kissed the top of my head and sighed happily, his body relaxing completely.
"I know. Goodnight."
I don't know if he said anything after that, already falling to sleep, the long day of exercise catching up to me now that I was still for a moment.