Several hours later and I was back in the hotel, packing.
We had left Gaara's house soon after he had woken up, his typical anxiousness when he first woke up being made worse by his nightmares.
As soon as we had walked through the door, Salem had looked up from the couch, his eyes becoming mutinous.
He had stood up quickly, motioning for me to follow him into the kitchen and I had turned to smile at Gaara.
"You can go wait in my room if you want. I'll be there in a minute."
He had nodded and began to walk in that direction, passing Mona on his way and she turned a shocked look towards me, touching her lip before pointing towards Gaara's retreating back curiously.
I made a punching motion and she smiled, pointing back at me, wondering if I had been the one that had hit him and I shook my head violently, Mona raising her hand in a surrendering motion, a smirk on her face.
I had taken a step towards her, a glare on my face but she had ran to her room before I could reach her.
I had sighed and turned to follow Salem to the kitchen, finding him leaning against a counter, his frown having worsened since I had walked in and I had sighed before jumping up to sit on the counter across from him, having known from past experiences that I was about to get a lecture.
"Alright, what's wrong?"
He had crossed his arms tightly and taken a deep breath before speaking, clearly expecting to have a fight with me.
"Look little sister: I like this guy. Seriously, I do. But I think that you're getting a little too carried away? You really haven't known him that long."
I had opened my mouth to argue but he had raised his hand, stopping my rage filled protests as he sighed.
"Let me finish before you start yelling. Alright?"
I had nodded, my face twisting in a frown as he had continued.
"I don't mean to seem as if I'm being nosy or overprotective, but I want to know how far you've gone with him. You've been spending the night together for a couple nights now."
I had flushed hotly and my mouth had dropped open, Salem having never asked me something like that before...though I had reminded myself that I had never given him much chance to worry before I had met Gaara either. Still, it was embarrassing to talk to him about and I hadn't been able to get any words out but an appalled sounding version of his name.
He had shaken his head and raised his hands in defense.
"Now don't get upset, Ria. I'm just trying to be the good big brother here. Even if it doesn't seem like it. The last thing I want is for you to get hurt or pressured in to something."
I had sighed and nodded slowly, having known that he was just worried about me.
"Yeah, I know. But I really don't like discussing these things with you. It's embarrassing. But to answer your question: there hasn't been anything more than a couple make-out sessions. Nothing any worse than you and Toru are probably doing."
He had nodded and visible relaxed, his shoulders slumped in relief.
"I was hoping for that. Truthfully, it was Die that was worried the most. I saw both him and Sasori last night and had to calm down the raging blond. Apparently he saw you and your boy kissing. I thought that he was going to have a stroke.''
I had smiled for a moment before Salem continued with a sigh.
''Sasori also wanted me to remind you that Gaara is the Kazekage. He won't be able to see you much.
And I myself wish that you weren't so attached. We're leaving tomorrow and I haven't ever heard of any long distance relationships working out. I'm sure there are some and like I said, I like this guy, but I don't want to see you hurt if this doesn't work out. It will be hard on you either way."
I had nodded, feeling upset at both the the thought of Dolly and Die talking to Salem about my love life and the fact that I wouldn't be able to see Gaara.
"I know I won't see him often. Why do you think that I've been spending time with him as much as I have? I know it's a long shot, but I'm in love with him. That's not normal for me. Surely a little distance won't break that up so easily."
Salem had sighed and nodded slowly, lifting his hand to pat the top of my head gently.
"Alright, Little Sister. Just know that whether it works or it doesn't, I'll be there for you to talk to. Okay?"
I had smiled and nodded, jumping down to give him a hug.
"I know, Big Brother. Thank you."
He had hugged me back tightly before grinning down at me goofily and glancing towards my closed bedroom door.
"So, what happened to Gaara's lip? Did he try to feel you up and you socked him?"
I had huffed and pulled away for the hug, smacking his chest lightly.
"No! He was having a sleeping and he hit himself."
My face had scrunched at the way that sounded, knowing that I could have worded that better and Salem began to laugh.
"Smart guy you picked, Little Sister. Beats himself up during the night."
I had given him an incredulous look, my hands on my hips.
"You're one to talk. I remember when you used to beat yourself up. And you were awake."
He had grimaced before nodding.
"Yeah. Glad that doesn't happen anymore."
I had smiled and nodded, glad for that as well and prepared to walk to my room when something that Salem had said earlier finally registered in my brain causing me to turn back to him with wide eyes.
"Did you say that we were leaving tomorrow?"
He had nodded and shrugged.
"Yeah. Around 9:00 a.m. I'm ready to be back, and Aubry is already going to be working you girls extra hard. So....I need you to pack and go say your goodbyes to Gaara."
I had sighed and nodded sadly before deciding to breach the topic that the girls and I had talked about the day before...since we were already having serious conversations.
"Hey, what do you think of Toru working at Aubry's? Misa and Mona were curious about it."
He had grinned smugly as he replied.
"I've already talked to her about that. She said that she would like to give it a try...As long as she can get along with her sisters."
I had frowned and tilted my head to the side curiously.
"Who are her sisters?"
Salem had chuckled, his grin mischievous
"Why Yuki and Suki of course."
I had gaped at him, my brain running through all I knew about the bunnies and never remembering if they had mentioned having a younger sister.
"Are you serious? I knew that Toru had sisters, but I never would have thought that those two would be related to her. She doesn't act anything like them!"
He had laughed and nodded.
"Yeah, Little Sister. I know. I was surprised too when she told me."
I had shaken my head in amazement, still slightly stunned when I began to walk away, though I turned to give him an impish grin over my shoulder as a thought occurred to me.
"You do realize that if you marry Toru that the bunny twins will be your sister-in-laws, right?"
Salem's mouth had dropped open at the sudden realization and I had giggled at him.
"Close your mouth Salem. A bug might fly in there and you'll choke, and I don't know the Heimlich maneuver."
I had heard his jaw close with a snap and had to dodge the spatula that he had thrown at me.
I had found Gaara lying on the bed when I had walked into the room, his gaze focused on the ceiling until he heard my movements and had turned a small smile towards me.
I had sighed and went to sit on the side of the bed beside him, seeing his smile turn into a frown as he propped himself up on his elbow to get a better look at me.
"What's wrong, Love?"
I had sighed again and had turned my gaze to the floor, unable to meet his eyes.
"I'm leaving tomorrow."
Gaara had sat up, his fingers gentle under my chin as he turned my face towards him, his expression serious.
I had tried to smile at him, wanting to lighten the mood.
"Around nine in the morning. Salem is anxious to get back. I think that he's a workaholic."
Gaara hadn't smiled at my joke, just continued to stare at me, his thumb running across my cheek gently and I had sighed at what seemed to be him trying to memorize my face.
"I'm not going away forever, Gaara. You can come see me whenever you're able to. And I can always make a trip to see you. It wouldn't be that hard to find my way back here now that I know where it is...I think."
He had sighed and let his hand fall to the bed.
"At least if you're not here, I can't hurt you."
I had crossed my arms and glared at him, feeling my sadness turning into irritation.
He had cut me off by smiling, tapping my mouth lightly with his index finger.
"I was teasing you, Ria. I know what you said. You can 'kick my butt', right?"
I had grinned and nodded emphatically.
The smile had fallen from his face in the next moment and a sad light entered his eyes.
"I'm going to miss you. I won't be able to leave much now. Since Sasuke is back at Konoha, the windbags are having a tough time accepting that he wont try to kill everyone or invade the nearby villages. They say that the people need to see that I'm ready for a war if it comes to that...I would prefer to spend my time with you instead."
He had fallen back to lay on the bed and I had smiled down at him, placing my hand on his chest and feeling his heart beating under my palm as I sighed.
"I'd rather be with you too. I have to go back and deal with crazies."
I had grimaced dramatically and he had smiled, his hand suddenly on my upper arm as he dragged me down to lay on top of him. He had pressed his lips to mine before jerking back with a wince, his hand leaving me to touch his mouth.
I had smiled sympathetically and had brushed his cheek with my thumb.
"Well that's really your own fault. Though I can't really blame you. You were asleep."
He had sighed deeply and closed his eyes, his voice upset.
"I can't even kiss you. It's your last night here with me and I can't even kiss you goodbye. This is depressing."
He had pouted with his eyes still closed and I had smiled before leaning towards him again and pressing my lips to his softly, being extra careful of his injury.
After a moment I had pulled back and smiled at him.
"Are you happy now? You got your kiss."
He had given me an indulgent smile but had shaken his head in disagreement.
"That's not how I wanted to kiss you. But I guess that it can't be helped, since I've gone and beaten myself up."
I had smiled and kissed his nose.
"Maybe we should take you to a hospital and get you some pain meds."
He had rolled his eyes and flipped us so that I was underneath him, his head propped up on his hand.
"Why do I need a hospital? I have you to nurse me back to health."
He had began to lean towards me again and I had placed my hand over his mouth quickly.
"Don't, Gaara. You'll hurt yourself again."
He had nodded and I had pulled my hand away, squealing in surprise as his mouth smashed against mine. I had shoved against his chest, trying to push him up, but had given up and allowed my hands to fall to the sides when he had simply pressed his mouth harder to mine.
I had made a protesting noise as the taste of blood filled my mouth and Gaara had finally pulled back, his breath coming in short gasps, his mouth split open again and blood running down his chin. I had huffed and wiggled out from under him to rush to the bathroom, coming back with a damp washcloth and using that to dab at the bleeding lip, glaring at him harshly.
"I wish that you wouldn't hurt yourself."
He had pulled the cloth away slightly.
"I couldn't help it. I wanted to kiss you."
I had huffed and pressed the cloth back to his mouth, a bit more harshly than I would have normally, causing him to wince.
"Still wish you wouldn't. I've never had somebody else's blood in my mouth before and I can honestly say that I didn't like it much. As much as I like kissing you, I would prefer that you wait until after your mouth had healed before you do it again. At least that roughly."
He had smiled sheepishly before grimacing as the movement pulled at the slowly seeping wound. I had sighed and brought his hand up to hold the cloth in place.
"Hold that. As much as I hate to, I have to pack."
He had nodded and I had left his side, beginning to look around the room at everything that I had flung around the room during my stay.
That had been around an hour ago and I was still finding things that needed to go back with me. I had given up on being neat about my repacking and had instead started shoving the items into the bag, uncaring about it getting wrinkles as long as it fit.
I found a small first aid kit in the bathroom when I was gathering my shower things and brought it out to Gaara, dabbing antiseptic on his lip and forcing down a small blush as his eyes continued to watch me as I moved away again. There was a note of a smile in his voice when he finally spoke.
"See, Ria? I told you that you were my personal nurse."
I wrinkled my nose at him before turning my back to him as I continued to pack, looking under the bed and finding the wrinkled Yukata, pulling it out as I spoke.
"I'd rather just be your girlfriend. So quit hurting yourself."
He sighed and rolled over on to his side to watch me as I continued to scurry around the room.
"So besides telling you about leaving tomorrow, what did Salem want to talk about? He didn't seem very happy when he saw me."
I shrugged and picked up a shoe, looking for it's mate as I answered.
"He thought that our relationship was moving too fast. He wanted to make sure that we weren't doing anything too serious."
Gaara was silent and I glanced at him to see him frowning.
I rolled my eyes and shrugged.
"Having sex I guess."
Gaara's frown deepened.
I dropped the shirt that I was picking up and turned to stare at him, making sure that he wasn't teasing me.
He looked genuinely confused and I slammed a hand to my forehead.
I had almost forgotten that Gaara was innocent with everything concerning relationships. I had had to show him what a kiss was, so of course he wouldn't know what sex was. I just thought that he would have asked questions when he got home.
I sighed and gave him a hopeful look.
"Gaara, what did those romance books that you were reading tell you about the character's love lives?"
He shrugged, not seeming concerned.
"They never went past a brief description of the main characters kissing and hinting at them removing their clothes."
He frowned suddenly, his eyes intense.
"Did Salem think that I was undressing you?"
I laughed softly and shook my head, feeling my face warming in a dark blush and Gaara smirked suddenly.
"You're embarrassed. Is it really that hard to explain?"
I nodded and bit my lip, trying to think of a way for me to wriggle out of explaining fully.
"Do you know how babies are made? It's the same thing."
He shook his head and I could have smothered myself with my pillow, feeling both embarrassed and exasperated
"No. I asked my uncle once and he said that when I was older that he would tell me...obviously that didn't happen. When I became a teenager I thought about it again, but since I thought that I wouldn't love anyone I didn't see the point in knowing."
Of course. Because that would have made this to easy for me.
He pouted suddenly, looking up at me cutely.
"Can you not just tell me? Or show me? Like with the kissing. I learned that quickly, and I could probably learn this just as fast."
I know that I blushed four different shades of red, the mirror showing my flushed face when I looked away from him, laughing nervously.
I had to remind myself that Gaara didn't know what he was talking about. I was suddenly very sorry that I had even mentioned the subject.
I shook my head and fanned my face, trying to cool my blush.
"I think that this is going to be one of the times that you're going to have to ask Kankuro. He may be a moron, but he would know about this stuff. At least the mechanics of it."
Gaara frowned but nodded, sighing deeply.
"Alright. If it makes you this embarrassed, I'll ask Kankuro. Maybe we can try it out when I see you again."
I choked on my spit and had to remind myself that Gaara didn't know what he was talking about.
I also had to steer my horrid imagination from following his words to an entirely steamy scene.
I shook my head violently and gulped, my face still red.
"No. I really don't think that's a good idea. But you need to know. Just for the sake of it."
"I'll ask him when I see him next."
My smile wobbled terribly.
"No rush. It's not like we're going to be doing that any time soon anyways. I'm not ready for that."
He nodded and laid back down on the bed, his eyes on the ceiling and his hands linked over his stomach.
"So what else did Salem say?"
I sighed in relief at the change of subject and crawled onto the bed, finally finishing my packing, speaking as he pulled me in to him and his sand turned off the lights.
"Nothing really. He did tell me that Toru was Yuki and Suki's sister."
Gaara frowned and gave me a curious look.
"Who is that?"
I giggled slightly and snuggled closer to him.
"They're the girls that flirt with everybody. I told Salem that if he married Toru that the two of them would be his sister-in-laws. He didn't like that."
Gaara smiled and rubbed my back gently and I sighed.
"Do you think that your sister minds keeping Butterball tonight?"
He hummed and shook his head.
"I doubt it. Shikamaru had to leave tonight and she probably wants the company."
I gave him a mock look of reproach.
"I think that your sister is going to miss Butterball more than you are."
Gaara sighed and nodded.
"You're right. I will probably be missing you so much that I won't remember that he even exists."
I huffed and pouted at him.
"That's not nice."
He grinned and shrugged.
"I've never claimed to be nice. But I do love you, Ria."
I smiled and laid a kiss to his neck.
"I love you too Gaara. Bunches and bunches."
He smiled and held me tightly while I fell asleep.