The Akatsuki's Daughter

By Jeanaye Perkey

Romance / Humor

Chapter 36



I felt a movement, and heard a groan, followed by a sharp gasp. I opened my eyes to find Gaara's aqua eyes, widened in shock.

''Ria, my love, why are we...undressed?''

I frowned and raised an eyebrow.

''Do you not remember anything about what happened last night?''

He frowned and bit his lip.

''I remember you dragging me to the room because Naruto had spiked the punch and then I...''

His eyes widened and he lowered his head to my shoulder.

''Oh. No. I am so sorry, Ria. Shukaku was talking to me and I lost my self-control for a little while.''

He lifted his head a little bit and locked eyes with me.

''I'm so so, sorry.''

I laughed and shook my head.

''It's alright, Gaara. You were drunk, and I noticed that you didn't have a whole lot of control, Shukaku was beginning to take over a bit. You're eyes turned almost completely gold, and at one point it wasn't even your voice that spoke to me.''

He shook his head and groaned suddenly, grasping his forehead.

''My head hurts.''

I nodded and brought my hand up to rub his temple.

''You have a hangover. It happens to most people after they've drank a lot.''

He groaned and closed his eyes, leaning into my touch.

''I don't like this at all.''

I nodded and he lowered himself to lay on top of me.

''I know that I need to get up and get dressed, but I really don't want to move.''

I rolled my eyes.

''I suppose that that's alright. It would be a little weird if you didn't want to be with your girlfriend when she was like this.''

I felt him smile against my neck and he nodded.

''I suppose so. But I'll need to take Butterball outside soon.''

I nodded and looked over towards the panda. He lifted his head to look at me and I smiled.

''He's awake, Gaara. And he's lying on your clothes.''

Gaara jerked his head up and looked towards the panda bear, shooting a glare at him.

''If you pee on my clothes, I'm going to murder you.''

Butterball blinked at him and I laughed, tapping Gaara's shoulder.

''Don't be mean to our panda, hon. He's been through enough the past few days.''

Gaara nodded before sighing and lifting his body off of mine, leaving my upper body bare to the cold air. I gasped and he looked down at me, his face heating. He jumped off of the bed and threw the covers over me, looking away the entire time.

''Sorry. I forgot about your...lack of clothing.''

I nodded and curled onto my side, huddling under the blankets.

''It's alright. It's not like you didn't see all of it last night.''

His blush deepened and he shook his head.

''I'm never drinking again.''

I laughed and shook my head, feeling my matted hair fall into my face.

''It's not your fault, Gaara. It was Ruru's. And as soon as I see him, you may have to stop me from strangling the kitsune.''

Gaara smirked and pulled on his clothes before turning towards me hesitantly.

''Would you mind if I kissed you?''

I rolled my eyes and shook my head.

''Of course not. You know that you don't have to ask.''

He shook his head and leaned over to kiss me gently. He smiled when he pulled away, leaning his forehead against mine.

''I wasn't sure if you would be comfortable with me kissing you after how I acted last night.''

I sighed and brought my arms out of the blankets, wrapping them around his neck.

''I love you, Gaara. And it's not as if last night was a whole lot different than our typical nights. You've seen me without my shirt before. It was mostly just Shukaku getting close to the surface and you were a little more unresponsive to what I was saying. None of that would change my feelings, and you shouldn't worry about it.''

He smiled and rubbed his nose against mine, causing me to laugh as he stood up and grabbed Butterball. He smiled over his shoulder at me before walking out the door.

As soon as the door closed, I hurried to grab a pair of my normal clothes and ran towards the bathroom, closing the door quickly.

I stripped out of the now wrinkled dress and frowned at the green fabric on the floor. Though I had enjoyed wearing it when Temari had first given it to me, after last night, I decided that it was too easy to untie the ribbons. Gaara had had no problem with causing the entire front to fall to my waist.

I kicked it over to a corner and turned on the shower. I needed to wash all of the gunk out of my hair, and then I would need to ask Gaara to brush it. The hairspray that Temari had practically poured on it had caused it to be stiff.

I turned the water on and stepped inside the small stall, suddenly realizing how spoiled I had become with Gaara's huge shower. I was beginning to miss Suna and that was strange to me, because I hadn't had any home sickness for Aubry's.

I mean, sure I missed Salem and Dolly, and Niko. But the thought of returning home, didn't make me happy at all. It actual caused the opposite. Because I would have to leave Gaara.

I frowned and shook the thoughts from my head, refusing to dwell on them any longer. I finished my shower in a hurry, not wanting to leave Gaara alone with his thoughts for long.

I turned the water off and pulled on my clothes, my hair wrapped up in a towel.

I walked into the bedroom and frowned as I saw a cloaked person sitting on my bed. The moment I stepped out of the bathroom doorway the person lifted his head and I sighed in relief as I caught sight of the black eyes that now stared at me.

''What are you doing here, Weasel?''

He rolled his eyes and pushed the hood off of his head.

''Did you really think that I would miss my little brother's wedding?''

I shrugged and moved to sit beside him on the bed.

''I didn't really think about it. But I suppose not. Have you gone to see him?''

He shook his head and sighed.

''He thinks I'm dead, remember? I can't just show up. He would think that he was seeing a ghost. And it would just cause a scene. Especially with that fangirl of a wife that he now has.''

I sighed and gave him a reproachful look.

''You'll need to tell him at some point, Weasel. It's not fair for him to think that he's the last of his family.

From what I've heard, he's always been very obsessed with restoring his 'clan', and he doesn't even know that you've already helped do that and that he has a niece and nephew.''

Weasel frowned and nodded, pulling a letter out of his pocket, handing it to me.

''You're right. That's why I want you to give this letter to him. It explains everything that has happened since he's seen me.''

I nodded and looked at the letter I held.

''Alright. I guess I can brave your brothers glare and bring him your letter.''

Weasel smirked and nodded.

''He does seem to have developed an attitude.''

I nodded and raised a curious eyebrow.

''Something he learned from you?''

He rolled his eyes and shook his head.

''No. I left Konoha when he was young, so his attitude wasn't from me. I think he learned most of it on his own.''

I shrugged and laid the letter next to me uncaringly.

''Did you bring the twins with you?''

Weasel nodded.

''They wanted to see their 'lost uncle,' as they put it. Right now they're in the market.''

I gaped at him, my eyes wide.

''Alone?''

He nodded and I shook my head.

''Bad Weasel! Leaving children alone. What would Dani say.''

He glared at me and I laughed, waving a hand quickly.

''I wont tell her.''

He nodded and sighed.

''Good. She would have my head. Especially with how irritated she's been lately.''

He shrugged suddenly.

''Anyways, we're in Konoha and I know from experience that not much happens within the walls.''

I nodded and he stood up.

''I guess I need to get them before they get bored and destroy something though. Riku learned how to use the fire ball jutsu and has been using it whenever he's bored.''

I laughed and shook my head.

''I can see that. I wish that I could have seen them.''

He nodded and patted my shoulder gently.

''You can always come for a visit when you get home. Also, I'm going to need a babysitter when Dani has the baby.''

I sighed and leaned back on my hands to look up at him.

''I don't know when I'm coming home. But I'll try to be there when Dani goes into labor.''

He nodded.

''Good. I'll tell the twins that you say hello.''

I nodded and watched as he did some hand signs and disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

I glared at the smoke before I began to rub my hair dry with the towel. Stupid ninja's and their disappearing acts.

I had just finished drying my hair when Gaara walked through the door, carrying a sleeping Butterball.

I smiled as he placed the panda on the floor.

''Where were you for so long?''

He sighed and sat beside me, flopping backwards on the bed, his arms above his head. ''Lee saw me while I was outside with Butterball and he stopped to talk.''

I nodded and pulled my fingers through my tangled hair. Gaara frowned and reached around me, picking up the letter.

''What's this, Love?''

I shrugged and hummed.

''Weasel came to see Sasuke's wedding and wants me to deliver that to him.''

Gaara sighed and rubbed his eyes.

''I'll go with you. I don't want to leave you alone with the Uchiha.''

I smiled and patted his shoulder.
''Alright. We should probably do that then.''

He nodded.

''After that we need to get ready to leave. I don't want to be here another night.''

I nodded and he reached up to twirl my hair around his finger.

''Do you want me to brush your hair before we leave?''

I shrugged.

''If you want to. I know that it needs it.''

He nodded and pulled his hand away, closing his eyes.

''I will, after we deliver the letter. We'll need to give Kankuro and Temari time to repack and say their goodbye's anyways.''

I rolled my eyes and leaned over, kissing him gently. He sighed and was just beginning to bring his arms around me when a sudden knock on the door caused me to pull back with a glare.

I had thought that since we weren't in Suna, I wouldn't have to deal with so many interruptions when I was kissing Gaara. Apparently I was wrong.

Gaara's lips twitched in a half smile, knowing that I was irritated even though his eyes remained closed.

I sighed and nuzzled into his neck.

''If we ignore them, do you think that they will go away?''

He shrugged and after a moment another knock sounded on the door.

I groaned and pulled myself away from Gaara and walked over to the door, flinging it open.

Naruto grinned at me from the other side and I growled.

''This had better be a colosal disaster, Naruto. If it's not, then you should pray for your life because I am already angry at you and am really close to strangling you with your own spinal chord.''

His grin widened and he laughed, unconcerned with my threat.

''Did you not enjoy yourself last night, Ri?''

He frowned, his voice hesitant suddenly.

''Gaara didn't instantly fall asleep did he?''

My glare worsened and he laughed.
''Oh good! He didn't!''

I clenched my fists and tried to take a calming breath.

''What. Do. You. Want?''

He frowned suddenly, his expression becoming serious.
''I saw Riku and Miku in the market. They said that their dad had come to talk to you.''

I nodded and shrugged.

''Weasel wants me to deliver a message to Sasuke.''

Naruto's grin returned and he grabbed my wrist, tugging me out the door.

''Well, what are you waiting for? Let's go find him!''

I frowned as he began to pull me down the hallway, and it took me a moment to realize that Gaara was following close behind us, the letter held in his hand. I sent him a grateful look over my shoulder and he gave me a half smile before I was pushed into the living room.

I looked around at the curious faces and groaned silently.

Sasuke and Sakura were there, but so was the Hokage, Kankuro and Misa. And Temari and Shikamaru had just came through the door as well, pausing when they saw Naruto's grin and my disturbed look.

Naruto ignored everyone and pointed at Sasuke.

''Ri has a letter for you!''

I felt Gaara slip the paper into my hand and Sasuke turned cold eyes towards me.

''Who's it from?''

I shrugged, refusing to answer fully when the room was filled with people.

''He didn't tell me his name.''

I held the letter out and Sasuke took it wearily, reading it quickly.

When he brought his eyes back to me, I saw that the Sharingan had activated and was spinning slowly.

''Who gave you this letter?''

I shrugged, falling back into my typical evasion game. I didn't like this boy's attitude and knew without being told that he wouldn't actually trust me if I told him the truth.

''Some guy. I didn't ask his name.''

Sasuke's eyes spun a little faster and he clenched his hands, crumpling the paper.

''So you don't know who this man was?''

I rolled my eyes and shrugged.

''How would I know that? This is my first trip to the Leaf Village.''

He smiled cruelly, apparently thinking that he had seen a flaw in my words.

''How do you know he was from here? Was he wearing a leaf head band? They're are plenty of people from other villages here for the wedding.''

I sighed and saw Naruto shooting me a confused look and Gaara trying to hide a smirk. He knew my evasion game pretty well by now, and was finding it amusing when used on the Uchiha.

'' I didn't look to see if he was wearing a headband. But he knows you, right? So I figured that he had to be from this village.''

Sasuke frowned, his confidence that I was lying slowly fading and he nodded slowly.

''I suppose. I shouldn't have been so suspicious. I can't really see this person being associated with someone like you anyways. He's never been to fond of weak and emotional people.''

I forced myself not to roll my eyes at how this boy remembered his brother. Weasel had married a VERY emotional woman, and from what he had told me, everything he had done after he killed his family was fulled by his emotions.

I felt Gaara shift beside me and grabbed his hand, squeezing it tightly.

''So you do know him then. That's good. With how many questions you were asking, it almost seemed like you didn't.''

I saw the Sharingan spin rapidly and Sasuke growled suddenly, his face crinkling in a frown. I should have just nodded and left after he had accepted the letter.

''You're hiding something. I'm not sure what it is, but I can tell that you're not telling me everything that you know.''

I bit hard at my cheek. Stupid Sharingan. I shrugged and Sasuke turned towards the Hokage, his voice insistent

''I would like to search her mind.''

The Hokage stared at me and I could feel Gaara stiffen beside me, his hand clutching mine until I was sure the bones would snap, his voice cold.

''I don't think so. This is not the kind of treatment that I would expect the leaf to show its guests.''

The Hokage flinched slightly and turned her eyes towards Gaara, though Sasuke's sudden words caused her eyes to widen and snap back to the Uchiha.

''What do you know? Like the sand village is known for it's hospitality? The last time that strangers came into your village, they tried to destroy the village and wound up kidnapping you. Even the great and powerful Kazekage turned out to be useless against those ninja's. And then they extracted Shukaku from you.

So now you are nothing compared to how you were. You have no right to be called the most powerful ninja in Suna anymore. You were nothing but a vessel for Shukaku from the beginning, and now you're just a shell. There's nothing important about you. You even had to rely on an old lady to give your life back to you. She wanted to use that jutsu on her grandson, but apparently she thought you were more important. Don't ask me why. I would have just left you dead and found someone else to be Kage.''

My skin had begun heating as soon as he began speaking and I was now trying hard to keep a tight hold on the flames.

I took a step forwards and caught a warning glance from both Misa and Naruto, stopping myself from burning down the entire house in my sudden rage.

''How dare you talk that way about Gaara. He sacrificed his life to save his village. What have you done lately, Sasuke Uchiha? Kill your brother? The one person who has always cared about you more than himself. Try to destroy the village that you were raised in and the friends that have followed you around the world, trying to save you?

And yet you criticize someone who has tried to make his life right by protecting the people that hated him? You know nothing about what you're talking about.''

I tilted my head and smiled cruelly, continuing just as harshly.

''Tell me: Is the reason why you're criticizing Gaara, because you can't stand to look in a mirror and see the person that you've become compared to everyone else around you, who have only bettered their lives, and haven't screwed up as badly as you have? Does it make you feel better to belittle everyone around you and make their accomplishments feel like failures?

Or are you really so stupid that you believe that the only thing that matters in life is power?''

The Hokage continued to stare with wide eyes and the Sharingan spun faster, causing a pressure in my head. I put up the walls that Weasel had taught me to use, Sasuke groaning suddenly and grabbing his head, his eyes beginning to bleed.

Sakura gasped and wrapped her arms around his waist as he pointed at me, his voice a snarl.

''I want her out of my house.''

I glared and Gaara wrapped his arms around me, his own voice a growl. Apparently his dislike of Sasuke would continue for some time...and I didn't blame him for it now.

''That's fine with me. Kankuro, Temari, get your things. We leave in ten minutes.''

Both nodded and rushed from the room, dragging Misa and Shikamaru with them. Naruto was looking between his team mates that were walking out of the room and myself, a confused look on his face. I smiled softly and waved my hand.

''Go check on them, Ruru. I'll see you later.''

He nodded and I turned to look at the Hokage, who had approached us, an apologetic look on her face.

''I am sorry about what Sasuke has said today. It was rude and is not the view of most of Konoha I would still like to have a meeting with you before you leave.''

Gaara frowned and tightened his arms around me.

''What will happen if I refuse?''

The Hokage paused before lowering her voice.

''It is important that you don't refuse.''

Gaara drew in a deep breath before nodding.

''We will be there in fifteen minutes.''

The Hokage nodded and Gaara dragged me out of the room.

He left me standing there for only a minute before he was back, carrying both of our bags and Butterball. I took my bag from him, and followed him silently outside, where Temari, Kankuro and Misa all waited. Shikamaru had apparently left already.

All three looked at us with wide eyes as we walked towards them and Gaara glared.

''We are going to Hokage tower for a quick meeting.''

Temari and Kankuro nodded, both shooting their brother a worried glance before falling behind him. Misa and I followed behind the three and Misa turned towards me, keeping her voice low.

''That letter was from Itachi, wasn't it? Because he came to see his brother's wedding?Why didn't you explain that you knew him?''

I shook my head and kept my voice low as well as I answered, hiding my surprise that Misa had put those facts together so easily.

''You saw how angry he was already, just by having me deliever a message from Weasel. Can you imagine if he found out that I lived with him? That I knew that he was alive and where he was? Sasuke was already looking for something to cause a fight between himself and Gaara. If he knew that I was anywhere near the Akatsuki, I'm sure that he would try to convince the council here that Suna was a threat. Probably to turn the attention away from himself and the problems he's caused.''

Misa frowned and nodded.
''I got that feeling. That he wants a fight. Though he doesn't seem to care who it's with.''

I nodded and hurried her to catch up with the siblings. We had fallen too far behind them for my comfort as we had been talking.

Misa and I looked around curiously as we entered the Hokage building, and followed the sand ninjas up the stairs.

By the time we reached the top, Misa and I were breathing a bit heavier than normal.

Gaara pushed the door open without knocking and led us into a brightly lit room with a large desk in front of big windows.

The Hokage sat behind her desk, piles of paperwork in front of her and she looked at us when we entered with a frown.

''I hope that you won't get angry at me Kazekage, but I too would like to know what it is that your girlfriend is hiding. Though the way Sasuke handled things was rude and uncalled for, I trust that his Sharingan knows when someone is evading the truth.''

I heard Gaara's growl and took Butterball from him before his tight arms injured the poor panda.

I saw him nod slightly and turned back towards the Hokage with a sigh.

''Sasuke was right in assuming that I knew who the man that gave me that letter was. He was one of the men that helped raise me.''

The Hokage's eyes widened and she took a deep breath before leaning back against her chair.

''I think that you had better start at the beginning. I would like all of the facts before deciding what to do about this.''

I bit my lip and Gaara wrapped his arm around my waist, supporting me silently.

I nodded at him thankfully, and after a deep breath, returned to face the Hokage.

''When I was a child, the village I was living in was attacked by Sasori and Orochimaru. Because I was a little kid, Sasori took me with him instead of killing me as well. I lived in the Akatsuki for years and grew up around what you call rogue ninja's.''

The Hokage's eyes narrowed and looked over me.

''But you never joined the Akatsuki yourself?''

I shook my head.

''No. I never wanted to be a ninja, so I really didn't learn anything about that way of life.''

The Hokage nodded and turned to Gaara.

''And you don't mind that your girlfriend lived with the men that killed you?''

He shrugged uncaringly.

''Not really.''

The Hokage sighed and rubbed her eyes.

''I need to think about this. Also, now that we know that Itachi is still alive, it brings up the question of whether the other Akatsuki members are alive as well.''

She looked at me and I shrugged, causing her to glare.

''Unless of course you can tell me if they are or not?''

I shook my head and Gaara frowned next to me.

''It would be best if you left that fact alone, Lady Hokage. If they are still alive, then they wish to remain hidden and haven't caused any harm.''

She paused before nodding.

''You're right. And I will not mention any of this to the council. It will simply be between us.''

Gaara nodded.

''Good. Is that all you wanted to discuss?''

The Hokage nodded.

''Mostly. I also wanted to apologize for Sasuke's behavior towards you. That was uncalled for.''

Gaara sighed and nodded.

''Yes, it was. But I accept your apology. But we still need to leave now. I left Baki in charge and I don't like to do that for very long.''

The Hokage nodded and leaned back into her chair.

''Of course. I wish you a safe journey.''

Gaara inclined his head, and Temari and Kankuro bowed as well before we walked from the room.

I could feel Kankuro and Temari staring at us, and tried to ignore them as Gaara pulled me through the Konoha gates.

Once we were surrounded by trees, Gaara stopped and turned to face his sibling, his arms crossed.

''Alright. Let's get this over with. What questions do you have?''

Temari and Kankuro looked at each other for a moment before turning back to Gaara, Temari speaking first.

''Why didn't you tell us about any of this?''

He sighed, his shoulders drooping slightly.

''Because I knew how you would react. I love Ria. And it doesn't matter to me who her family is, or what they've done. I've talked with Sasori, and know the reasons why he did what he did. And if I was in his position, I might have done the same.''

Temari's eyes widened and Kankuro's mouth dropped open, stuttering slightly.

''A...Are you saying that Sasori is still alive and has visited you?''

Gaara nodded uncaringly and shrugged.

''Of course. You wouldn't expect him to let me date his adopted daughter without having a discussion with me as a concerned parent, would you?''

Kankuro now looked like a fish out of water, gaping at Gaara and Temari's eyes were as wide as dinner plates.

Misa laughed suddenly and shook her head, her eyes sparkling happily as she spoke to me.

''I didn't know that this would be such a big deal, Ria. Are Sasori and Die celebrities or something?''

I laughed and shook my head.

''They're considered rogue ninja's in the hidden villages. Meaning that if they showed up around here, they would be captured or killed.''

Misa gasped and turned to Kankuro, slapping his shoulder lightly, her voice scolding.

''You are not allowed to do those things to Die! That would just be mean.''

Kankuro gave her a startled look.

''You knew about Sasori and Deidara, too?''

Misa nodded.

''Of course I did. I've known Ria since we were 13. And Sasori is friends with Aubry. Not to mention that Die is always trying to help Aubry 'fix the place up'. The last time he made a paint cannon and flung blue paint all over the walls. Aubry chased him out of the club with a spatula.''

I laughed at the memory and nodded as Temari sighed, speaking resignedly to her middle brother.

''There's not really anything we can do about this Kankuro. Gaara has made his decision, and like always, we have to stand back and let him do what he wants.''

Gaara nodded and smirked, agreeing instantly.

''That's right. And I'm going to tell you this, not as your brother, but as your Kazekage: No one is to know about Ria's connections with the Akatsuki. I'm having enough issues with the Council without them finding out about any of that as well.''

Both ninja's nodded and Gaara handed Butterball to Temari before picking me up. ''Good. Then let's go home.''

They nodded again and Kankuro picked up Misa.

A moment later, we were again on the move, only this time towards Suna. I felt that Gaara's speed was faster than it had been on the way to Konoha and I looked up at him to find him frowning in concentration.

''Are you alright, hon?''

He hesitated before shaking his head, keeping his voice low.

''Not really. It's a full moon tonight and I've been feeling it's affects all day.''

My eyes widened and I looked up, unable to see the sky because of the trees.

''Will we be at your home before the moon rises?''

He nodded.

''If we keep going at this speed. It's faster than I would normally make Kankuro and Temari go, but I don't want them to find out about Shukaku yet. And with how close he has been to taking over, I have no doubt that tonight is going to be bad. I don't know how I'm going to act.''

I nodded and nuzzled into his neck.

''You'll be fine, Gaara. I know that you're nervous about what will happen tonight, but I have enough faith that you can still control Shukaku. Even if you don't think so.''

He smiled slightly and nodded. ''Thank you, Love. Will you stay with me tonight? I don't think that you'll get much sleep, but...''

I kissed him quickly, cutting off his words.

''I wouldn't ever think about leaving you alone tonight.''

He sighed and I felt some of the tension drain from his body.

''Thank you, Love.''

I smiled and relaxed against him, wondering how close the moon was going to be from rising when we got to his home.


///////////


We entered the Suna gates just as the sun was beginning to set and Gaara didn't pause to speak with the guards, leaving Temari and Kankuro to do that.

I saw his siblings give him a curious look before Gaara hurried us to his home. He ran us up the stairs, and threw his bag to the floor. Struggling at the buttons on his coat. I helped him and saw that his eyes were frightened.

''I haven't felt like this in over a year.''

I nodded and sat him on the bed, pulling his shoes off.

''You'll be okay.''

He nodded and I heard the door slam downstairs, followed by Temari's voice yelling.

''Gaara, Ria, do you want something to eat?''

I saw Gaara shake his head and I went to the stairs, yelling our answer towards her. When I again entered the room, Gaara was sitting fully on the bed, his face in his hands and shuddering harshly.

I sighed and moved into his bathroom to change into my pajamas. When I came back out, I saw that he hadn't moved. I was walking towards him, when a knock on the door startled me and I quickly went to open the door a crack, making sure that the person couldn't see Gaara.

Temari gave me a curious look before handing Butterball to me.

''I thought that you might want your panda.''

She bit her lip and tried to look around me.

''Is Gaara alright.''

I frowned, not sure how to answer that and shrugged instead.

''He's not feeling well.''

Her eyes widened and she nodded.

''Does he need anything? Any medicine, or...''

I shook my head, needing to get rid of her quickly.

''No. He'll be fine. He just needs to rest.''

She nodded, and after one more glance at me, walked towards her room. I quickly placed Butterball on the floor and climbed behind Gaara, pulling his shaking body to me. I began to run my fingers through his hair and speaking to him softly.

He turned in my arms suddenly and after placing his head on my shoulder, wrapped his arms around me tightly, causing me to wince.

Pain was clouding his mind, and the only thing he could think about was that he wanted to be held.

He began to mumble, and though I couldn't understand what he was saying, I knew that he was talking to Shukaku.

I tightened my arms and laid my cheek against the top of his head.

I held him like that for a few hours, until his arms fell to his sides and he collapsed against me, exhausted.

I knew that Shukaku wouldn't leave him alone tonight and would give him nightmares, but at this moment, he needed to get out of his sweat drenched clothes.

I pushed him away, only to have him groan in irritation. I smiled and kissed his forehead gently.

''I'm not leaving, Gaara. But we need to get your shirt off.''

He looked up at me with foggy eyes and I began to tug at the hem of his black shirt. He lifted his arms and I tossed the shirt onto the ground before laying down and pulling him to lay on top of me.

He shivered and I pulled the covers over us, wrapping my arms around him and rubbing his back.

Gaara's eyes were closed, but I felt his body tense every few minutes.

I kept looking out the window, wishing the sun would rise quickly.

Gaara's nightmares were worsening as the night progressed, and each time I would have to talk to him, calming him down. Though he never woke up completely.

Right when I noticed that the sun was beginning to rise, Gaara flung himself from me, crying out softly.

I sat up and shook his shoulder gently.

''Gaara.''

Unlike the other times, I couldn't seem to calm him down. I gasped as he brought his hands up and sunk his nails into his arms.

I pulled his hands away and moved to straddle his waist, placing my hands on his cheeks.

''Gaara. It's okay. You're only dreaming.''

He groaned and grabbed my hips tightly. I held still, afraid that he would try to push me off. When he remained still, I began to run my thumbs across his cheekbones.

''Wake up, Gaara. You're just dreaming.''

He mumbled something that sounded like my name and I smiled.

''I'm right here, Gaara. But you have to wake up to see me.''

He groaned and I saw his eyelids flutter, his hands tightening on my hips. A moment later his eyes opened, and they widened suddenly as he yanked me down, holding me tightly.

I stared up at him confused and he closed his eyes tightly, a shudder running through his body.

''I had the worst dream. You died. I don't know how, but I was holding your lifeless body. And you were bleeding and no matter what I did, I couldn't save you.''

I shook my head and kissed him quickly.

''I'm fine, Gaara. Look at me. Nothing is wrong. It was only a dream.''

He nodded and leaned his cheek against mine.

''I know. But...I felt so helpless. Just having to sit by and watch as your life faded from your eyes.''

He shook his head and I kissed him again, harder this time.

''Enough. There's no point in thinking about it anymore. It was only a dream and can't hurt you. I'm safe, and the full moon is over for another month.''

He nodded and closed his eyes, forcing his body to relax.

''You're right. It was just a dream.''

He opened his eyes slightly, looking down at me.

''Let's try to sleep some more. Since the sun has risen, Shukaku won't bother me as much.''

I nodded and relaxed against him.

''Good. You need to rest.''

He nodded and kissed my temple.

''Sleep now, Love.''

I yawned and nodded before allowing myself to drift to sleep.


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