I woke up to the same movements I had fallen asleep to, Gaara running his fingers through my hair and I sighed happily as I snuggled closer into him, not wanting to be awake.
I felt Gaara's finger pause for a moment, his voice soft as he began speaking.
"Good morning...Or should I say afternoon. You have slept the day away."
I grumbled but didn't make a move to look at him, my voice rusty with sleep when I spoke.
"What time is it?"
He snorted in amusement.
"Around 2:00 in the afternoon."
I sighed and kept my face pressed against his chest.
"Does that mean that I have to get up? Or can we just stay in bed the rest of the day?"
I looked up at him hopefully and pouted slightly as he shook his head with a smile.
"I think that you need to get up. I want to take you to see my house."
I smiled tiredly and snuggled back into him, humming gently.
"Okay. I'll get up and ready in a few minutes...or hours."
I felt his body shaking in laughter and he suddenly rolled us over, his body hovering over me as he began to pepper kisses across my skin, speaking in between.
"No. It's already too late. Get up now...Or else."
I opened my eyes and smirked at him, one of my eyebrows raising challengingly, my arms sliding around his neck.
"Or else what, huh?"
A mischievous light came into his eyes and he bent down to whisper in my ear.
"Or else...I'll tickle you."
I laughed and rolled my eyes, not believing him.
"No you won't."
He looked at me with a smirk and I suddenly felt his fingers poke my sides and stomach, causing me to try to squirm away from him, laughing and squealing as Gaara muffled my noises with his kisses so that we didn't wake up my sleeping house-mates.
A few minutes later he paused in his assault and looked at me with a triumphant smirk.
"So do you admit defeat or do I have to attack you again?"
I faked my horror as I replied, shaking my head harshly.
"Oh no! Not more tickling! I don't think that I could handle it!"
I ruined my act by laughing and he smiled for a moment before he left me completely to stand by the bed, causing me to giggle lightly as his hands pulled me up to stand beside him. I gave him a mock glare as my bare feet touched the cold floor, though I ruined any hope of him thinking I was upset with the small laugh that made my voice shake.
"Give me a few minutes. I have to change.
He nodded and I saw him move to pick up his Kazekage robes off of the floor before I shut myself inside of the bathroom.
Once the door was closed I looked in the mirror and grimaced at the image that stared back at me. I seriously needed a shower.
My eyes were still swollen and red from crying the night before. My hair was matted from the wind and I noticed when I ran my hands through it that it had sand in it, the grains falling to the floor and making me wrinkle my nose in distaste.
I looked closer and gaped at the marks that decorated my neck, touching them with a frown. Well...guess it was high necked shirts for a while.
I went searching through my bag for anything that would cover the dark marks and came up with a button up red top. The collar covered all of the marks and was light enough that no one would think much about me wearing it in the Suna heat.
I threw my rats nest of hair up into a ponytail and walked out of the bathroom to find Gaara staring out of the window.
He turned towards me when he heard me, his smile turning into a frown as his eyes skimmed over me, his voice slightly unhappy when he spoke.
"You covered your neck up again."
I huffed and nodded.
"Yap. And that's kinda your fault."
He looked confused until I explained.
"I have marks on my neck from your kissing."
He smirked suddenly, far too smug for my liking.
"Are they still there? I noticed them last night but I thought that they would be gone by today."
I shook my head and gave him a small frown.
"Nope. They're still there, standing out nice and proud. And I really don't feel like getting weird looks or being teased today. So I hid them."
I had started looking for my shoes while I spoke and finally found them under my bed, grinning triumphantly as I pulled them out. That was faster than was normal...I really had to get beepers for them.
After I had slipped them on I turned to Gaara and smiled, throwing my arms out to the side.
"Alright. I'm ready when you are."
He smiled secretively and came towards me, wrapping his arms around my waist and pulling me towards him.
"Are you sure you haven't forgotten anything?"
I knew from his smile that I was and I looked at him for a moment, trying to draw the information out of him and shaking my head when he simply continued to grin at me, annoyingly silent.
"I can't think of anything. But if there's something that you can think of, please tell me."
He instantly shook his head, his arms around me squeezing for a moment.
"No. I think that I would rather you figure it out on your own."
I pouted and began to come up with random guesses.
He shook his head and jerked his head towards where the panda was lying across the room. I sighed and nodded.
"Not Butterball then. Okay. Do I need to put make-up on? I know I look a bit rough."
He frowned, his smile finally falling from his face as he gave me a scolding look.
"No, Ria. You look fine."
Now that was a lie. But it wasn't what I needed to focus on right now. But I couldn't think of anything at all that I was forgetting. I smiled up at him hopefully.
"If I give up will you tell me?"
He paused, thinking about it before shaking his head.
"No. I'm enjoying this game."
I pouted and almost stomped my foot in irritation.
"Well I'm not."
He shook his head and grinned again.
"Try again, Ria."
I sighed, not being able to think of another guess and paused as a sudden idea popped into my head. I wasn't going to play fair...but he wasn't going to tell me and I wanted to know what I was forgetting.
I looked up at him with softened eyes and lowered my lashes, placing my hands on his chest, pouting up at him softly.
He jerked back slightly, startled by my voice and I ran my hands up his chest to his shoulders, slowly pulling him until our bodies were pressed together. I stood on my toes so that I could press my cheek to his and spoke softly as I ran my fingernails across his hairline and down his neck. Scratching gently.
I could feel his heartbeat increase in his chest and hummed lightly.
"Gaara. Can't you tell me what I'm forgetting. Please?"
He sucked in a shuttering breath and I smirked as I pressed my lips to his neck, nibbling softly as I spoke.
"What am I forgetting, Gaara?"
He groaned softly and his hands that had moved down to my hips tightened painfully, his voice strained when he answered.
"You...You forgot to tell Salem that you were leaving. He..He would be worried if you didn't tell him and he came looking for you."
I grinned against his skin. Success!
I pulled back and looked at him, finding that his eyes were dazed and I laughed softly as he shook his head as if trying to clear it.
He looked at me in surprise when he had gotten a hold of himself.
"That wasn't fair. You cheated."
I smiled and tilted my head to the side.
"All's fair in love and war, dearling."
He blinked again and suddenly his eyes were angry, his arms leaving me and pushing me back quickly. It wasn't a forceful move, but the suddenness of it caused me to stumble and I had to balance myself so I wouldn't fall.
He turned his back to me and looked out the window again, his shoulders thrown back and his spine straight. I frowned at him and reached out to touch his arm, jumping back with a small gasp as his angry glare focused on me from over his shoulder.
I saw his mouth twist into a sneer before he faced forwards again, reaching out to pull open the balcony doors before he walked outside into the bright sunlight, leaving me to calm my slightly racing heart alone. I had never seen him angry before and I had never imagined gaining such a look from him.
I took in a calming breath and squared my own shoulders before following him out onto the balcony, finding him looking out at the village below, his hands tight on the railing.
I stopped behind him and hesitantly placed my hand on his back, feeling him tense more under my palm and I swallowed around the lump in my throat, forcing myself to speak.
"Gaara, I'm sorry I tricked you into telling me. I didn't think..."
He cut my apology off by turning around quickly, his gaze catching mine. I had thought that I would see the anger again, but there was nothing in the aqua depths but regret.
"No. You don't have to apologize."
I frowned at him, beyond confused.
"But aren't you angry at me for tricking you into telling me?''
He shook his head and sighed.
"I was never angry at you, really. More that you succeeded in making me tell you. I started that game and you were just playing it like I had wanted you to."
I was still confused and he sighed as he noticed my blank expression, explaining further.
"I'm a ninja, Ria. Not just that but the Kazekage. I know secrets that should never be told to anyone. No matter the method. And in that moment, I would have told you whatever you had asked of me. Whether they were village secrets or something even more dangerous.
What I don't understand is why. Why were you able to get that information from me? Why did that work? It was something so simple, and had someone else tried such a thing, I would have just pushed them away and scoffed."
I smiled sadly and decided that I was never going to try to trick information out of him again.
"Because you love me. That's the reason. You love me and I used that to my advantage to get you to tell me what I wanted to know...I feel really ashamed of myself now actually."
He looked at me, his eyes narrowing intently.
"Could I do that to you? Force you to tell me things that you didn't want me to know?"
I sighed and nodded, shrugging slightly.
"Probably. But I doubt that there's anything that you would want to know that I wouldn't be willing to tell you if you asked."
He nodded and frowned harshly.
"I thought that love was supposed to make you strong."
He looked away, his voice softening to the point where I had to strain my ears to hear him.
"It makes Naruto strong."
I sighed and reached out a hand, my fingers against his jaw turning his face to look at me as I explained.
"It does both. It makes you strong because it gives you someone that you're willing to use all the strength you have, and then some, to protect them. But it makes you weak as well because that person can use that love, or be used, against you. It's kinda a win-lose situation."
It was his turn to sigh and his shoulders slumped.
"So it's good to love, but at the same time it's bad? This is confusing. More now than it was before. Now I know what love feels like. I had thought that it would be simple, but it seems to be the opposite."
I smiled sadly.
"Do you regret it?"
He blinked at me shocked before giving me a small smile and shaking his head, the back of his fingers running across my cheek as he answered softly.
"Not at all, Love. I'll take the good and the bad as long as that means that I can be with you. This was just something else that I hadn't been aware of that I'm now glad to know about."
I smiled at him and reached up to grasp his hand, squeezing it gently before pulling it away from my face and tugging him back towards my room.
"Good. Then let's go tell Salem that I'm going to your house."
He smiled and followed me into the room, pausing only to close the balcony doors, his hand still clasping mine tightly.