We were inside his house now. Sitting at the bar as we waited for Temari to make breakfast. Gaara having used his sand to teleport us.
I looked at him and he smiled excitedly, almost bouncing in his seat as he waited for me to try Temari's cooking.
I frowned at him, deciding that even if Temari's cooking was gagging awful, that I would still pretend that it was the greatest meal I had ever had...Just long enough to shock him. Then I would probably have to find somewhere to spit the food out.
Temari drew me out of my thoughts as she set a tray of muffins on the bar in front of me and smiled. Encouraging me with her eyes to try one. I smiled back and carefully picked one up, looking it over critically. How badly could she have messed up on packaged muffin mix?
I bit into the muffin, aware of both Gaara and Temari watching me intently as I chewed slowly. I paused mid bite as I chomped down on something crunchy and swallowed hard before giving the older girl a smile.
"These are the most exotic muffins that I've ever had, Temari. Thank you."
She beamed at me before turning a haughty look towards Gaara.
"See, Gaara? Ria likes my cooking. She has taste. Unlike you and Kankuro."
She smiled at me one last time before practically flouncing out of the room, carrying Butterball with her.
Gaara looked back at me when she had gone and he grabbed my wrist suddenly, bringing my hand to his mouth and taking a bite of the muffin that I still held. He was still staring at me and I bit my lip to keep from laughing as I heard a familiar crunch and saw him freeze. He glared at me as he walked over to spit the foul food out of his mouth and I couldn't stop the giggles as he turned back to me, his arms crossed over his chest as he leaned against the bar next to me.
I calmed slightly and shook my head in denial.
"Uh uh. I never said that the muffins were good. Just that they were exotic. That could have meant anything."
I snickered at his surprised expression, his eyes holding an understanding light.
"You did say that didn't you?"
I nodded, still smiling and he smiled back, taking the muffin out of my hand and laying it on the counter away from us before lifting me off of my bar-stool to stand in front of him, taking my hand when I was steady on my feet.
"Come on. I'll show you the rest of the house."
I nodded and he led me through the kitchen door into what looked like a sitting room, waving his free hand around as we walked through it.
''The living room. No one really spends a lot of time in here though.''
I wondered why, though didn't ask as he pulled me up the winding stairs, making me roll my eyes as he spoke again.
"These are the stairs leading to the bedrooms."
He slowed his pace when we reached the second floor and I gaped at the door lined hallway, wondering how many rooms the house actually had and why they needed so many.
Gaara turned towards me, seeming to anticipate my question and nodded towards the doors.
"It used to be that when the sand had important visitors, they would always stay in the Kazekage's home. So when they built this house, they made sure that it had an abundance of rooms."
I smiled and nodded, glad for the explanation and he continued.
"Most of the leaf ninjas are staying here for the festival, but normally the rooms aren't used anymore."
I frowned at him, finding that a waste.
"Why? Do visitors prefer to stay at the hotel or Inn?"
Gaara sighed and shook his head.
"They stopped staying here when my father first became Kazekage. He didn't enjoy company, and then after I was born they were too frightened."
I frowned but nodded. I wasn't sure if the cold look that entered his eyes was because of his father, or the past, but either way I didn't like it. I would have talked to him about it, had he not caught my attention by coming to an abrupt stop in front of a purple door.
There was a muffled giggle and I looked at Gaara in time to see him grimace disgustedly.
"Apparently Temari and Shikamaru haven't left on their date yet."
I smiled and rolled my eyes, letting him lead me to another door. This one painted black and holding a sign with a puppet on it, causing me to snicker.
"Let me guess...Kankuro's?"
Gaara smiled and nodded, rolling his eyes.
We walked further and stopped, almost at the end of the hall, in front of a maroon colored door, a staircase directly across from it.
I turned back to the red door and Gaara smiled hesitantly, his hand on the knob.
I nodded and he opened the door, switching on the light and waving me inside before him.
I looked around me curiously, hearing the door close gently as I critiqued the room mentally. It was clean for the most part. Only a few articles of clothing on the floor...And sand in the corners. Though it was the size of it that made me gape slightly.
It was over half the size of the sitting room downstairs and I turned to give him a wide eyed look, realizing that he had been watching me closely. I decided to tease him a bit.
"So are all of the rooms this big, or are you just the special child."
He rolled his eyes and smiled slightly.
"My room is slightly bigger than my siblings, but not enough that it would make them jealous."
I nodded and forced myself to look around more closely.
The floor was a red wood that matched well with the tan walls and ceiling. The comforter and pillows on the large bed were black, while the desk, dresser and closet door were a slightly darker wood than the floor. The comfortable looking chair next to the desk was black like the bedding.
It was a well coordinated room, everything matching or contrasting nicely...except for a sky blue chest that stood out sorely against the dark toned room.
I looked at Gaara questioningly and he sighed before answering.
"Before each of us children were born, my mother had chests made for us. Some special present from just her. Temari's is pink, which she hates, and Kankuro's is yellow. Both of them have already put them away in the attic and I have been meaning to do the same...I just can't seem to force myself into doing it. I keep making excuses so that I can hold off a few more days."
I smiled at him gently.
"Can I look inside of it?"
He hesitated before smiling softly and nodding. I could feel his eyes on me as I walked over to the large chest and knelt in front of it, careful of the peeling paint as I opened the lid, peering inside.
I found an assortment of toys. Everything that a child could want. Trains, and sail boats, and a ton of stuffed animals. Though as I looked closer, I noticed that one of the animals seemed more worn than the others, visible stitches on the faded, brown fur, telling of how many times the poor plushy had torn and had to be sewn back together.
I picked it up gently, afraid that it might fall to pieces in my hands and hid a laugh as sand fell from it's fur.
I felt Gaara kneel next to me and turned to him, seeing the distant look on his face before he shook it away when I spoke.
"Who is this?"
He smiled sadly and shook his head.
"My only friend from childhood. He was the only one that never judged or condemned me for what I had inside of me."
He looked at me, his expression hurt and embarrassed
"That's sad, isn't it? I'm acknowledging that a stuffed bear was my only friend."
He looked away from me suddenly and began to stand up, his face turning towards mine when I held him still by a hand clenching in his sleeve. I gave him a comforting smile and shook my head.
"I think that it's nice that you were able to find a friend. No matter if it was a stuffed teddy bear or not."
His eyes softened, the embarrassed look disappearing as he unwrapped my hand from his sleeve, bringing it up to kiss my palm.
"Thank you, Love. You're very understanding."
I shrugged and shut the lid of the trunk before standing up, the bear still in my free hand as Gaara continued to hold on to my other, having stood when I did.
"Thanks for the compliment. But I don't think that I would be as understanding if you left your once best friend in a chest that you were planning to put in the attic."
He nodded and I pulled away from him to place the bear on the desk before turning back to Gaara with a smile, clapping my hands together lightly.
"Now. I want to see what this bed is like that you don't typically sleep on."
I walked over to the large piece of furniture and gently sat down, sinking immediately into the mattress.
I giggled lightly and flopped myself fully onto the mattress, groaning as the bed formed around me.
"How do you not sleep on this? It's literally the comfiest bed I've ever laid on!"
I kicked my shoes off and saw him smile as I wiggled underneath the covers, sighing as I laid my head on the just as soft pillows.
I could definitely sleep on this monstrosity of a bed. The only problem was...I sat up and crooked a finger at Gaara who was still watching me from across the room.
"You. Come here and lay down with me."
He smirked and crossed his arms, his eyes gleaming playfully.
"What if I don't? Are you going to make me?"
I narrowed my eyes and nodded.
"If I have to. But I'm still hoping that you will come over here willingly."
He sat down in the chair by the desk and I sighed at his stubbornness, rolling my eyes violently.
I threw the covers back and walked over to him, glaring down at him with my hands on my hips as he looked up at me, a small smirk on his face.
"Now look here, your lordship Kazekage. You were the one that kept me up last night, and you were the one that wouldn't let me sleep late this afternoon. So you are going to get your butt into that bed and lay down with me."
He didn't make any move to get up, just folded his hands in his lap and I sighed, my arms flopping down to my sides.
"You're not going to do this the easy way are you?"
He shook his head, that irritating smirk still on his face and I growled.
"Fine. Then I guess we do it the hard way."
I grabbed his forearms and pulled at him hard, forcing him up from the chair before I twisted around him to push him forwards, causing him to stumble and land on the bed.
I climbed in after him and turned him over before swinging my leg over him so that I was straddling him and smiled down at the surprised face, sticking my tongue out at him triumphantly
"See? I told you that I would make you."
He rolled his eyes and flipped us so that he was lying on top of me, propping his cheek on his hand as he looked down at me.
"How do you know that I didn't let you?"
I shrugged and wrapped my arms around his neck.
"Doesn't matter. I still got what I wanted."
He opened his mouth to retort and I pulled him down to kiss me, stopping his reply and feeling him sigh softly before he pressed closer to me, causing me to smile. Yap. Definitely got what I wanted.
A few seconds later I gently pushed him away, ignoring his small pout.
He smiled and kicked his shoes off, grabbing the covers and pulling them over us.
I sighed as I snuggled into him, still unsure how he wasn't able to sleep on this bed. I was already drifting off and I had just laid down.
I was almost asleep when I felt Gaara press his lips right below me ear and I huffed in irritation.
I felt him smile against my skin and then he was suddenly kissing my jaw, his voice teasing
"Stop what, Ria?"
"Stop kissing me."
His smile widened and he pulled me closer.
"Why would I do that?"
My frown deepened.
"Because I want to sleep."
He began to kiss my neck, speaking with his lips still pressed against the skin.
"Then why don't you?"
I sighed again.
"Because I can't sleep with you kissing me."
He didn't say anything. He just reached a hand up to lower the neckline of my shirt, continuing to lay kisses to the bared skin.
Well fine. If he wasn't going to let me sleep then I might as well join in.
I rolled us so that I was laying on top of him and looked down at him, seeing his knowing smirk.
"What? Could you not sleep?"
I glared at him for a few seconds before smiling evilly and leaning down to press my lips to his.
I felt his arms go around my waist and he pulled me closer to him. It made it harder to move my hands from his chest, but I managed and threaded my fingers through his hair, pulling gently.
He gasped at the slight tug and I smirked.
I began to unzip his shirt slightly and started nip at certain places, pulling back for a moment to grin at Gaara's stunned expression, feeling slightly smug.
"See? I can play that game too."
He glared at me, but the effect of it was dimmed slightly by the smile that was tugging at the corners of his lips.
He flipped us again and captured my mouth, his hands suddenly grabbing my wrists and holding them above my head with one of his hands, his other tracing down my side until he got to my knee.
He lifted his head so that he could see my expression and then hitched my leg onto his hip, causing me to gasp and he smirked for a moment before going back to kissing me.
A few moments later he pulled away and I gasped in air that he had been depriving me.
He smirked at me smugly, breathing unevenly for just a few moment before he lowered his head to kiss at my neck again.
Not long after his lips touched my throat we heard Temari yelling outside his bedroom door.
He lifted his head and glared at the door causing me to snicker as Temari spoke again. This time her voice slightly irritated.
He growled softly and his voice was raspy as he tried to reply.
I snickered louder and he cleared his throat.
"What do you want, Temari?"
His voice was stronger now and Temari heard him, her voice losing it's irritation.
"Shikamaru and I are going to go for a walk and I was wondering if you would like Butterball to stay with you and Ria?"
He growled and rolled off of me to open the door. I sat up to see Temari looking past Gaara at me and she smiled at me knowingly as she handed Butterball to Gaara.
"Bye, Ria. Don't have too much fun."
She laughed and walked down the stairs, a boy with a pony tail, who I guessed was Shikamaru, following close behind her, his hands jammed into his pockets.
Gaara shut the door quickly when they had passed and held Butterball up in the air, his reproachful eyes level with the panda's.
"This is the second time that you have interrupted me. And I am not very happy about it. Do you understand that?"
I smiled as Butterball wagged his nub of a tail before gasping as Butterball started to pee on Gaara's shirt.
The look of pure horror that crossed his face was priceless and I had to press both of my hands to my mouth to keep him from hearing my hysterical laughter.
He sighed and placed Butterball on the floor, turning towards me and placing his hands on his hips, a glare on his face, his voice toneless with a warning.
"Are you laughing at me?"
I shook my head no, but then noticed the wet stain on his shirt and couldn't stop the laugh that forced it's way out of my throat, falling back on the bed in a fit of giggles.
Gaara huffed and shook his head, walking to the closet to look for a new shirt, turning back to me with the dark fabric in his hand.
"I'm going to change now."
I nodded and giggled again, knowing that the sight of his pee stained shirt wouldn't leave me anytime soon, even as he pulled said shirt off and threw it onto the floor, causing me to roll my eyes. That's a typical boy for you. All of the dirty clothes get thrown onto the floor.
I looked back at him and noticed that he still hadn't put his shirt on, his expression slightly hurt and I tilted my head to the side in confusion before I heaved myself from the bed and walked towards him, speaking as I stopped in front of him.
I smirked impishly.
"Do you need help getting your shirt on?"
He didn't smile back and I frowned as he searched my face for...I don't know what.
After a few seconds he sighed heavily, dropping his clean shirt onto the desk and I placed my hand on his arm in concern. He was beginning to worry me.
"Seriously Gaara. What's wrong with you? You were just fine a moment ago, and now you're all depressed."
He shook his head and shrugged.
"It's nothing important. Just something that Kankuro told me."
I narrowed my eyes, feeling suspicious of anything that the older boy would say that would cause such a reaction from his younger brother.
"Really. And what exactly did Kankuro say?"
He sighed and looked at the floor, his forehead wrinkling slightly in a frown.
"He said that when a girl likes something about a guy that they blush when they see it. And since you didn't blush when I took my shirt off..."
He trailed off and looked back up at me with a shrug, his nonchalance obviously faked.
I made a mental note to beat Kankuro over the head with a chair leg the next time I saw him.
I took a deep breath to steady my voice and began speaking, trying to hide my irritation from the boy in front of me.
"Gaara, is Misa the first girlfriend that Kankuro has ever had?
He nodded without taking time to think about it.
"He dated this one girl for about a week a few years ago, but other than that, yeah. Why do you ask?"
I hissed, unable to stay completely calm despite my efforts.
"Because your brother is a moron."
Gaara looked at me, startled by the venom in my voice and I took a deep breath, trying to force my cool into returning before continuing, explaining gently.
"Listen, Gaara. Misa blushes at the slightest of things. She was extremely sheltered before she came to Aubry's and she's truthfully probably never seen a guys unclothed chest up close before. And definitely not someones who she's interested in.
I, on the other hand, grew up in a house full of guys and it was very rare for them to ever wear shirts. Now I live with Salem and it's hard to keep any type of clothes on him. So seeing somebodies chest isn't going to embarrass me. No matter whose it is.
And that's what makes someone blush, Gaara, It's not because they like what they're seeing. Just that they're embarrassed."
He stared at me a moment, processing what I had just said before smiling sheepishly.
"You were right. My brother is a moron."
I huffed and gave him a knowing smile.
"I think that I said that already."
He nodded and wrapped his arms around me, pulling me to him.
"Just repeating the obvious, though I feel a bit moronic myself. I know better than to listen to Kankuro. It was stupid of me to do so.''
He grinned suddenly.
''So you don't mind if I run around with my shirt off?"
I frowned, not sure I liked where exactly this conversation was going.
"That would depend on where you're going without a shirt."
He smirked, his arms tightening.
"Oh, around the house, the village, just anywhere that I feel like really."
My frown deepened, definitely not liking the image of him striding through the market shirtless, or the amount of attention he would get by doing it. Instead of admitting to such a thing I shrugged and tried to redirect his thoughts away from my apparent jealousy.
"I guess that you could do that. But I doubt that you will. You would be blushing more than anybody else that saw you."
He smirked, not letting me off the hook.
"Most likely, but that is besides the point. Would you have a problem with me going shirtless around the village?"
I sighed and it was my turn to give him a sheepish smile.
"I would most likely be more than slightly irritated with you."
He nodded and leaned closer, his mouth brushing mine as he spoke again.
"Good. That's alright then."
He kissed me fully and I slid my hands up his shoulders, feeling his shudder under my palms as he pulled me closer for just moment before he pulled away and smiled down at me gently.
"I have a feeling that if we don't get you some real food that your stomach is going to start yelling at me again."
I smiled at him and nodded in agreement.
"You're right, I'm seriously hungry. Do you happen to have anything that Temari didn't cook?"
He nodded and grinned.
"I think that we can find something."
He looked over my shoulder, his eyes narrowing in a sudden glare.
"You're carrying the fluffball though. I'm still upset with him."
I laughed and pulled out of Gaara's arms to quickly pick the so called 'fluffball' up, smiling when he curled into my arms passively.
"He's already gone to the bathroom though, so I doubt that he'll go again so soon."
Gaara shook his head and held up a hand.
"I'm not taking any chances."
I laughed as he went to open the door and followed him down the stairs to the kitchen, still giggling lightly at his bare back.