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The Akatsuki's Daughter

By Jeanaye Perkey

Romance / Humor

Chapter 38


I felt Gaara moving and cracked my eyes open to look at him. He smiled and pushed the hair from my face gently.

''Good-morning, Love.''

I groaned and closed my eyes briefly.

''Is it morning already?''

I heard the smile in his voice as he hummed and answered.

''I think that it was morning when we went to bed. But we've been asleep for at least four hours.''

I nodded and snuggled into his chest, sighing gently.

''Good. Then we have an excuse to stay in bed for a while longer''

He shook his head.

''No, Love. I need to go to work soon.''

I shook my head and groaned.

''You were there late yesterday.''

He nodded.

''And I'll be going in late today.''

I smiled.

''Good.''

He sighed and began to draw circles on my back.

''I'm going to go back to Aubry's with you. And if anyone argues, I can always remind them about the ninja's that attacked you. I can tell them that I want to make sure that you get there safely. We'll need to leave tomorrow morning.''

I groaned.

''You and your mornings. But that gives me some time. I still need to tell Misa, wherever your brother left her.''

Gaara shrugged. '

'I'm sure that she's wandered back by now.''

I frowned and looked up at him.

''You make her sound like a dog.''

He rolled his eyes before frowning suddenly.

''We also have to tell my siblings about Shukaku.''

I nodded and sighed.

''And you have that mess in your office that needs to be cleaned up. It's gonna be a busy day.''

He nodded.

''Which is why we need to get up.''

I yawned and shook my head.

''No. Give me another four hours and then we'll see.''

Gaara growled softly and rolled on top of me, propping his head up on an elbow and looking down at me.

''No, Ria. Now. We don't have a lot of time to waste today. And we definitly don't have another four hours.''

I pouted up at him.

''Fine. But if I get cranky, I'm telling your ninjas that it's your fault.''

He nodded.

''I normally get blamed for everything anyways.''

I rolled my eyes at his dramatics.

''Whatever. Pity party for one, please.''

He glared and huffed.

''Very funny, Love.''

I laughed and he glared at me for a moment, before pulling me up so fast my head spun.

I blinked, and frowned at him once my equilibrium returned.

''Did you just use your ninja speed to force me out of bed?''

He smirked and nodded.

''I believe that I did. Do you have a problem with that?''

I glared.

''Yeah. I do.''

He shrugged and smiled smugly.

''Too bad. It's not like there's anything that you can do about it.''

I raised an eyebrow at him and put my hands on my hips.

''Oh really?''

He nodded and I smiled sweetly. I placed my hands on his chest, and after an impish grin, tackled him. Both of us falling onto the bed.

I pinned him and he looked up at me with wide eyes causing me to giggle, looking down at him smugly.

''I guess I can do something about us getting up, huh?''

His lips twitched in amusement and he wrapped his arms around my hips.

''Apparently. Though I really didn't expect you to tackle me to the bed. You don't normally do that.''

His eyes sparkled suddenly and his arms tightened around me, crushing me to him.

''Though I wouldn't mind if you did that again. Preferably when we have more time to spend in bed.''

My mouth fell open and I frowned at him. I still wasn't used to this new perverted side that came out sometimes.

''Gaara! Seriously, who have you been around that talks like that?''

He shrugged.

''Naruto. And this is your fault. You tackled me to the bed.''

I shook my head.

''No. This is your fault. You made me get up.''

He shook his head in denial and I lifted myself slightly, beginning to poke at his ribs. He gasped and began to wiggle, trying to get away from me.

One of the things that I had learned about Gaara, was that he was ticklish in his upper ribs and where his neck met his shoulder.

I found it funny that he could be serious one moment, and the next his body could be shaking with silent laughter.

I smiled and kissed him gently, stopping my tickling.

He groaned and tried to catch his breath.

''You cheated again.''

I laughed and shook my head.

''You know my saying, Gaara. All's fair in love and war. And anyways, I want to know who decided what was cheating and what wasn't in the first place. Is there a book that gives you the 'rules' of how to act while in a relationship? And who gave them the right to decide what's right and wrong to begin with?''

Gaara's body was shaking in silent laughter, his eyes crinkled at the edges and he kissed my nose.

''I love you. You and your strange thoughts.''

I smiled sheepishly.

''I love you too.''

He grinned and I saw the playful light that entered his eyes a second before he threw me off of him and onto the other side of the bed.

I gasped and glared at the now standing Kazekage as he stared down at me with an innocent expression.

''Come along, Love. We need to go get my siblings.''

I sighed and rolled off of the bed, following him from the room.

''You know, you are really rude. And the only guy I know of that would willingly throw his girlfriend from him when they are laying like that.''

He stopped and looked at me curiously.

''Why? You were just laying on me. You do that all of the time.''

I rolled my eyes.

''I'm not explaining it.''

He shrugged.

''Whatever. I don't really have time to convince you otherwise. You're still so stubborn. And I need to talk to my siblings.''

I nodded.

''I'll go get Temari.''

I walked past him, only to have him grab my arm and pull me to a stop.

''I think you should wake up Kankuro. I've seen him drunk enough to know that he sleeps in the nude, and I don't want to deal with that right now.''

My mouth fell open and I turned to return to his room.

''Forget it, hon. You're on your own. I'm going back to bed.''

Gaara grinned and wrapped his arms around me, kissing me quickly.

''I was teasing, Love. I wouldn't let you near Kankuro after he's drank. Also, I want you to come to work with me today.''

I sighed and nodded.

''Alright. I figured as much. Will you let me go wake your sister up now?''

He nodded and released my arm.

''Yeah. Meet us downstairs, okay?''

I nodded and went to knock on Temari's door, while Gaara walked inside of Kankuro's room.

Temari opened her door rather quickly and I saw that her eyes were bloodshot.

She rubbed her eyes and yawned.

''What's wrong, Ria?''

I bit my lip, trying to ignore her irritated tone.

''Gaara needs to speak with you. He said to meet him downstairs.''

Temari's eyes widened and she walked towards the stairs, leaving me to hurry after her.

We reached the living room and I pointed to the couch.

''It might be better if you sit down.''

She nodded and flopped onto the couch, turning an irritated look to the side of me. I turned and found Gaara leading his brother downstairs.

Temari pointed at her siblings.

''Where are your shirts? And Gaara! You look like you just rolled out of bed.''

I grinned and Gaara shot me a glare.

''Because I did. And I didn't look this bad until someone decided that she didn't want to get up, and tackled and pinned me to the bed.''

Temari's eyes widened and Kankuro began to laugh.

''Ria was pinning you to the bed? And you still got up? Baby brother what is wrong with you?''

I ignored Temari's embarrassed blush and sighed in mock disappointment

''Not just that, but he threw me off of him. Just so he could go to work.''

Kankuro laughed harder and I saw Gaara frown in confusion as his brother spoke. ''Gaara. If Misa ever tackled and pinned me to the bed, I can promise you that I wouldn't be getting up for a while. Though I might have to change things up a bit and pin her.''

Gaara sighed and shook his head.

''I needed to get up and get ready for the day.''

Temari even chuckled at this and Gaara shot me a pleading look.

''I don't understand.''

I rolled my eyes and moved to squeeze his hand quickly.

''Don't worry about it, Gaara. Kankuro is a pervert.''

Gaara nodded and I turned towards the elder boy.

''What did you do with Misa by the way? I know that she wouldn't have slept in your room since you were drunk.''

Kankuro shrugged.

''She slept in Temari's room.''

Temari snorted and crossed her arms.

''And you owe me big time. That girl practically lays on top of you. And she doesn't stop moving until she's pressed right up against you.''

Kankuro shrugged.

''I don't mind it.''

Temari huffed.

''I'm sure you don't.''

She turned towards Gaara.

''Anyways. What did you need?''

Gaara frowned and squeezed my hand briefly before pulling away and motioning Kankuro to the couch.

After Kankuro was sitting Gaara took a deep breath.

''I almost killed a council member last night.''

I watched as both of his sibling's eyes widened, and Gaara went to sit in the chair across from them.

''A few months ago, Ria was looking at pictures and noticed something that concerned her. In the pictures, she saw the golden flecks that were caused by Shukaku's essence that was locked in my body.

Well, she had seen those same flecks appear when I got angry.

Also I had been hearing Shukaku's voice in my head, though I thought that it was just my subconscious using his voice.

It turned out that it wasn't. I still have Shukaku inside of me. Every full moon since we left Konoha, I have had increasingly worsening episodes. I hadn't lost control of Shukaku until last night. And I wouldn't have lost control at ALL if that idiot windbag hadn't been stupid enough to confess to being the one to hire the ninja's that hurt Ria and Misa.''

Kankuro's fists clenched and Temari leaned forward her face pale.

''You said that you almost killed him. But you didn't?''

Gaara shook his head.

''I crushed his arm. Which I'm sure will be fine in a few weeks. Though I haven't really decided what his punishment should be. What he did is still a crime. Even if he IS a council member.''

Temari nodded and Kankuro took a calming breath.

''And you're SURE that Shukaku is still...around?''

Gaara nodded.

''Considering he took over last night and had a conversation with Ria, yes I'm sure.''

Kankuro sat back with a startled breath and looked at me.

''You talked to Shukaku? And survived?''

I rolled my eyes and nodded.

''It looks that way.''

He shook his head and Temari sighed.

''So what will you do?''

Gaara shrugged.

''What I've always done. Suffer through the full moons, and try to keep Shukaku under control.''

Both of his siblings nodded and Gaara sighed.

''Also, Kankuro, though I don't want to say it, I need to give you more bad news: Misa and Ria have to go back to Aubry's. The rebuilding is finished.''

Kankuro jumped from the couch, his hands clenched tightly into fists, his voice raised.

''Why do they have to go right away?''

I sighed and moved to stand by Gaara's chair, speaking calmly.

''Aubry's is rebuilt. And Salem sent a letter telling us to come back.''

Kankuro glared.

''And is Salem yours and Misa's father? Does he get to tell you what to do and how to live your lives?''

I rolled my eyes and sent Gaara a pleading look.

He sighed.

''It was always the plan that the girl's would only stay here until the building was finished. We can't change that now, no matter how much we wish to.

I'm going back with Ria tomorrow morning. You can come along with us for Misa's sake.''

Kankuro nodded and Temari groaned.

''You two are leaving me here alone, again? You are the worst brothers ever. You owe me big time since I'm going to have to be the one that keeps Baki from murdering anyone.''

Gaara sighed and turned to Kankuro.

''As soon as Misa wakes up, tell her about Aubry's and when we're leaving.''

Kankuro nodded.

''Alright. She'll be up soon anyways.''

Temari turned a glare at him.

''You have one of those awful puppets watching her, don't you?''

Kankuro grinned, standing up and Temari sighed.

''I have a pervert and an innocent for brothers.''

Kankuro chuckled and winked at Gaara as he passed.

''You're the pervert, little brother. I'm the innocent one.''

Gaara rolled his eyes and turned to Temari.

''We're going to take Butterball with us. I'll come get him before I leave.''

She nodded and Gaara pulled me up, leading me towards his room.

He sighed when he closed the door behind us and rubbed his eyes.

''I really don't want to deal with my siblings right now. They're beginning to annoy me.''

I nodded and grabbed some clothes.

''I need a shower. You probably need one too.''

He nodded.

''Yeah. I have blood in my hair.''

I wrinkled my nose.

''Ew. I didn't need to know that.''

He smirked and waved me towards the door.

''Go and take your shower. I'll meet you downstairs when you're done.''

I nodded and made my way to my room.


////////



I sighed as I flipped over the couch and picked up the papers that had slid under it.

I had been cleaning the office for a good three hours. Gaara had almost instantly been called away to a meeting, and so I was left to clean on my own.

Excluding moving the desk and arranging the papers and scrolls, I had finished straightening up the Shukaku caused hurricane.

I heard a small whimper and turned to find that Butterball had jumped into Gaara's chair, causing it to spin.

I giggled at the disgruntled look on the panda's face and moved towards him. He looked up at me as I picked him up and took his place in the chair, setting him on my lap.

I smiled and began to spin the chair.

I giggled softly. I hadn't spun in a chair since right after I had been taken to the Akatsuki, and that was in Die's lap.

As I spun faster, I closed my eyes and lifted my feet.

I sighed as the chair slowed and frowned when it came to a sudden stop. I opened my eyes and encountered Gaara, looking at me curiously.

I blushed and smiled sheepishly.

''Hi.''

He opened his mouth to reply, but was interrupted as Butterball let out a terrified cry and jumped off my lap, wobbling his way to hide behind the couch.

I laughed and called after him.

''You pansy. We weren't even spinning that fast.''

I paused and turned wide eyes back to Gaara, who was watching me closely.

''It looked like you were enjoying yourself.''

I nodded slightly and shrugged.

''I was.''

He nodded and I stood from his chair, letting him take my place and squeaking as he pulled me into his lap and began to spin. I laughed and again closed my eyes.

After a minute or two, he stopped our spinning and I opened my eyes to see him controlling sand to move his desk to it's proper spot, placing the pile of rumpled papers and scrolls in their normal space.

I smiled and leaned against him as he reached for a file.

''So, how did your meeting go?''

He sighed.

''I told them about Shukaku, and about what that man had done to make me so angry...we came to a decision about his punishment. They also said that since I still possessed Shukaku, that I was not able to marry any of the potential girls that the two council members had picked out.''

I gave him a knowing grin.

''Did you do that on purpose?''

He smirked and shrugged.

''Maybe.''

I laughed and shook my head.

''So what are you going to do about the guilty council member?''

He frowned.

''Normally, I would have him executed, but because of his influence with the people, I can't do that.

What was decided, was that he would be removed from his position on the council, and placed under observation for the rest of his life.''

I sighed and rested against him.

''Does he have any family?''

Gaara shook his head.

''They moved away from Suna years ago. His only son married someone from the Mist who hated the desert.''

I nodded and he kissed the top of my head as I sighed tiredly.

''I think that we should take a nap.''

He hummed softly and tightened his arms. I sighed silently and closed my eyes, before a heavy weight suddenly landed on my lap, causing me to gasp and my eyes to open quickly.

I looked down to see Butterball staring up at me and Gaara groaned.

''You are the most annoying creature in the world...excluding Naruto of course.''

I giggled and began to scratch the panda bear's ears.

A moment later, there was a knock on the door and Gaara tightened his arms, preventing me from moving as he gave permission to enter, a council member that I recognized from the night before pushing into the room.

He started when he saw me on Gaara's lap and lowered his eyes. I supposed by his actions that he was one of the men that supported my relationship with Gaara.

He cleared his throat and glanced up for only a moment before returning his eyes to the floor.

''Kazekage-sama, we still need to discuss some things.''

Gaara sighed and rubbed his eyes.

''Not today, Dominic. I have more paperwork than I ever have before because of the amount of meetings that we've been having, and I need to get some of it out of the way. We'll discuss the rest of the issues tomorrow.''

The man nodded and bowed out of the room. As soon as the door closed I giggled and leaned back against Gaara.

''That man was embarrassed.''

Gaara smirked and shrugged.

''They need to get used to us being together like this.''

I saw the secretive spark in his eyes and frowned at him. He had been hiding something from me for a few days now, and I had been unable to get him to tell me what it was. I pouted and pushed Butterball off of my lap, wrapping my arms around Gaara's neck.

''Are you going to tell me what you're planning?''

He shook his head and kissed me quickly.

''No. You'll have to wait and find out.''

I sighed and buried my face in his neck.

''No, fair. You make me tell you stuff!''

His body shook in silent laughter and he kissed my forehead.

''This has to be a surprise, Love. But I promise to tell you soon. Okay?''

I groaned.

''It'll have to be really soon. Or I might go crazy.''

He nodded and tightened his arms.

''Alright. I'll make sure to hurry my plans along.''

I nodded and sighed as one of his hands began to run through my hair, his voice soft as he spoke.

''I won't be able to take a nap like I wanted.''

I hummed.

''Too much paperwork?''

He nodded.

''Yeah. But you can sleep. I know that I got you up early today.''

I nodded and cuddled closer to him.

''We are going to sleep as much as possible when we get to my house.''

He sighed and nodded.

''Fine, Love. But for the moment, I have paperwork to do.''

I nodded and let his breathing lull me into sleep.


////////////



A small movement from the body that I rested against woke me and I snuggled into the warm chest that was pressed against my cheek.
''Are you awake?''
I groaned and clenched my eyes shut.

''No.''
Gaara laid a soft kiss to the top of my head.

''Okay.''
I smiled and sighed, preparing to fall back asleep when my stomach decided to growl loudly.
I pouted and looked up to see Gaara smiling at me.
''Hungry, Love?''
I shrugged and huffed.

"Apparently. I wanted to go back to sleep, but I guess my stomach had other ideas.''
He nodded and stood, carrying me over to the couch and sitting me on the arm.
''I'll go get us some lunch from the market. I'll be back soon.''
I nodded and slid to the couch cushions, next to a dozing Butterball.
''Alright. I'll be here.''
He nodded and after a few hand gestures, disappeared.
I stretched, trying to wake my body up and laughed as Butterball did the same, before turning wide eyes towards the door as I heard a knock.
Of course when Gaara left a person would come to his office wanting to talk to him.
I stayed silent, hoping that whoever it was would get tired of waiting and leave.
The door flung open and I relaxed against the couch when I saw Matsuri. Though she wasn't one of my favorite people, she was at least one that I knew.
Her eyes swept over the office in confusion before coming to rest on me. Her expression turned into one of surprise.
''Ria? Where is Kazekage-sensei? And why are you here without him?''
I laughed and crossed my legs.
''It's nice to see you too, Matsuri. Gaara went to get lunch, and I suppose that he felt that I would be safe here without him for a few minutes.''
She nodded.

''When will he be back?''
I shrugged.

''Soon, I guess. You know that he doesn't like to stay away from the office for long.''
She nodded and scanned the office again, biting her lip.
''Maybe I should just come back later.''
I shrugged uncaringly.

''You don't have to. You can wait here with me.''
She hesitated and I moved Butterball onto my lap, giving her space on the couch.
''You can sit on the couch. I won't bite you.''
Her eyes widened briefly before she caught herself and smoothed her features into a neutral expression. She walked towards me slowly and sat as far away from me as possible, her back stiff.
It was awkwardly silent in the Kazekage office and I scratched behind Butterballs ears, trying to think of a way to break the silence.
I finally forced a smile and turned towards her.
''So, did you enjoy your last mission?''
She gave me an incredulous look.

''Why would I enjoy my mission?''
I frowned and tilted my head to the side.
''Do you not? Enjoy your mission I mean. Naruto told me once that the missions were some of the things that he enjoyed the most about being a ninja. He liked to help the people.''
She frowned and looked at the ceiling, relaxing slightly.
''I don't enjoy being a ninja. I only became one in the first place so I could be closer to Kazekage-sensei.''
I frowned.

''If being a ninja is making you so unhappy, Matsuri, then quit.''
She shook her head violently.

''I can't do that! It would disappoint Kazekage-sensei! He spent so much time training me and then finding an appropriate team for me...I couldn't just quit.''
I frowned at her, trying to think about a good response when she surprised me by turning towards me, her voice hesitant as she spoke.
''Hey, Ria? Can I ask you something?''
I nodded and she glanced at floor before squaring her shoulders, shifting her gaze back to me.
''Have you ever felt like you were being replaced?''
My eyes widened at the question and I tilted my head.
''What exactly do you mean by that?''
She shrugged.

''Sometimes, I feel like I'm being slowly replaced in peoples lives. They will get new friends, and then it feels like they want to spend more time with them and forget all about me.
It's almost like I'm just there to fill their time, until someone more fun comes along.''
I bit my lip.

''Can you tell me who these people are? Friends? Family? If it's Gaara...''
She cut me off by shaking her head violently.

''No, it's not Kazekage-sensei. And I don't have any family. It's just a friend of mine. Or someone that I thought was my friend. That may not be the case soon if things keep going the way that they have been.''
I sighed and shifted so my body faced her.
''Look, Matsuri. If this person is really your friend, then she should be able to spend time with both you and this new person in their life.
Has your friend done or said something that makes you think that they like this new friend better than you?''
Matsuri shrugged.

''I don't know. It just seems like she would rather be with them instead of me. Every time we hang out, she wants to invite her other friend or talk about something that they did, that I wasn't invited to. And when we're all together they both ignore me completely.''
I shook my head.

''That doesn't sound like a very good friend to me. She should be making equal times for all of her friends.''
Matsuri nodded slowly.

''Yeah. And I've been trying to stay quiet about it because I don't want to sound like a spoiled brat. But it hurts when she brushes me to the side like she's been doing.''
She smiled sadly.

''Maybe I'm just not meant to have loved ones. It seems like every time I let myself get attached to someone or something, it gets taken away from me. It's happened so often that I'm beginning to wonder if it might just be better if I wasn't in this world at all.''


My eyes widened and I grabbed her hands suddenly, making her eyes shoot to mine in surprise.
''Suicide is never the answer, Matsuri. I know life hurts, and people around us can be careless and not realize how their words and actions have wounded us, but that is just a test to prove how strong we can be. To suffer through things and still live life to it's fullest.
Sometimes we loose people we love, but as you get older, you will find others that you love the same if not better than the ones before, and they will love you just as much. You just have to grit your teeth and bare through the rough times until you can find them.''
She frowned and jerked her hands from mine, her voice louder than it had been a moment before.
''What would you know? You've probably had everything handed to you. I'm sure that your family was one of those happy, always supportive types. I bet that you lived in a big house, probably an only child, with your parents hanging on your every word.''
I laughed suddenly and she narrowed her eyes.
''What's so funny?''
I shook my head and forced back my giggles.

''Your perception of me. Do you really think that Gaara would fall in someone who was as shallow as you just described?''
I saw her stiffen and I shook my head.

''My parents died when I was very young. I don't remember much, if anything, about them. After their death I was placed into a home that no child should be placed in and suffered through awful beatings for years.
Though I will admit that after I was taken from that place, I did manage to acquire a loving family, who has, and I'm sure always will, support me in whatever decisions I make. I am also not an 'only child,' not really. I have an adopted older brother who acts like we're blood related.''
I paused, suddenly sad.

''I haven't gotten to see my adopted family a lot recently, however. We've all been traveling in different ways for a few months. And I always had to work for what I got. My family doesn't believe in free handouts. ''
Matsuri looked at me disbelievingly.

''I still bet that they were the affectionate type. The way that you're able to cuddle with Kazekage-sensei...''
I had flinched and she stopped suddenly, seeming to understand my look.

''You're not used to that are you?''
I shook my head and sighed, relaxing back into the couch.

''Not really. I try, for Gaara's sake. I really do! But...it feels like I'm being smothered sometimes. Mostly when we're in this office and it's all just open space and he wants me by him all of the time.
I know that with what he went through, he wants to be reassured that I love him. And his way of recognizing that is to be constantly cuddled and held and touched. But I'm not used to that! Excluding Die tackling me every time he saw me, none of my family is the touchy feely type.''
I groaned and rubbed my eyes as Matsuri spoke.

''I...I have noticed that you will sometimes get an irritated look when he tries to hold you.''
I sighed and rested back against the couch, staring at the ceiling.
''That's more because he's being overprotective and won't let me go somewhere. I love Gaara. Very much. But he can be way too protective sometimes, and it gets on my nerves.''
Matsuri laughed and nodded.

''Kazekage-sensei is very protective of his loved ones. You should have been around when Temari told him that she was dating Shikamaru. I thought that he would go to Konoha and kill that boy.''
I laughed at the image.

''I could see that.''
She nodded, her expression becoming serious.

''I hated you when I first met you, you know. At first I thought that you were just using him. That you were just one of those girls that wanted him because he was the Kazekage, and could put you up in a nice home and give you a revered title.
A few days later, when I saw that you actually made him happy, I was furious. Especially when just your name caused his eyes to light up. I had been trying since I met him to grab his attention and make him realize my feelings for him.
But then he came back with you, an unknown girl that had caused him to smile softly when he thought no one else was looking, and he touched you so easily. As if he had been doing it all of his life and not just recently. I could have strangled you the first time that I saw him hold you.''
I smiled.

''Yeah. But you seem like you've calmed down a lot since I first met you.''
She nodded and smiled sweetly.

''Oh, don't get me wrong! I'm still not going to give up on getting Kazekage-sensei's attention away from you, but I will understand if he still doesn't pick me in the end. I mean, I'll still be disappointed because I care about him, but I won't be so upset as I would have a few weeks ago.''
I rolled my eyes and grinned.

''I'll be sure to watch my back.''
She laughed.

''I wouldn't try anything behind your back. And I won't do anything to harm you. Kazekage-sensei would kill me.''
I knew she was teasing and opened my mouth to reply when a dark voice spoke, causing both of us to jump and turn wide eyes to a glaring Kazekage.
''You're right. I would.''
Matsuri instantly jumped from the couch, wringing her hands nervously and inching towards the door.
''Kazekage-sensei! I...I needed to report to you.''
Gaara nodded and moved towards his desk.

''Then report.''
I saw Matsuri swallow hard and I sent a glare towards the cold Kazekage, who ignored me completely, keeping his icy stare on the already flustered girl, causing her to stutter.

Gaara nodded once she finished speaking and wrote a brief note on a piece of paper, waving a dismissive hand.
''Good. You may leave now. Make sure you and your team-mates get some rest.''
She bowed lowly and walked towards the door, pausing as she opened it to send me an awkward smile.
''Bye, Ria.''
I grinned and waved slightly.

''Goodbye, Matsuri. Have a good afternoon.''
She nodded and hurried out of the door, closing it softly behind her.
I waited until I heard her footsteps receding before rising from the couch and stalking towards Gaara, spinning his chair around to look at me.
He stared up at me, startled and I snarled at him, my hands on my hips.
''I was enjoying my conversation with her, Gaara. She was actually talking to me civilly. She even asked me for advice.''
Gaara frowned.

''She was taking too much of your time.''
I growled.

''She needed help, Gaara. Understand that I love you, but sometimes other people need my attention too. You have to share me.''
He narrowed his eyes in a glare.

''No. I share you enough, and today I want you to myself.''
I made an exasperated noise and threw my arms out.
''Whether you want to share me or not, you still have to.''
He leaned back against his chair and crossed his arms over his chest, his voice holding a warning.
''Do not start an argument with me today, Ria.''
I returned his glare, crossing my own arms.

''Why not, Gaara? Today seems like as good a day as any. And we need to get you over this possessiveness that you feel for me.''
He growled and with a quick movement, I was pulled to straddle his legs, my face colliding with his chest.
I pulled away to look at him, finding his glare had hardened. His hands came up to frame my face and I frowned at him as he spoke through gritted teeth.
''Ria, my heart. Listen to me. You are leaving tomorrow and you are not friends with Matsuri. I see no reason why I shouldn't have sent her away when I wanted to spend time with you, considering I not only like you, I love you. And I want to spend as much time with you as possible.''
His eyes softened suddenly and I let my glare soften as well, now just looking at him with sad eyes.
''Normally I wouldn't have cared that you sent her away. But, Gaara, this time she was really upset. She even mentioned suicide.''
He frowned and jerked back slightly.

''What? Do I need to have a talk with her?''
I smiled and kissed him quickly before shaking my head.
''No. I think I took care of it. I don't really know what you could have done about it anyways. It was just the normal teenage girl, crazy feelings.''
He groaned and rested his head against my shoulder.
''I don't understand any of those things. Not even the feeling part. I've never been good at expressing my own emotions, much less deal with someone elses.''
I nodded and stroked his hair.

''Don't worry about it. I think I got through to her.''
He sighed and nodded against my shoulder.

''That's good. I didn't go through all the trouble of saving and training her, just so she can go off and kill herself.''
I tugged on his hair and gaped at him.

''That was a bit cold and emotionless, don't you think?''
He smirked and shrugged.

''I'm always like that to people, Love.''
I raised an eyebrow.

''You're not like that with me.''
He nodded and sighed.

''I'm trying not to be. But it's hard sometimes when I've acted that way most of my life.''
I smiled and leaned my forehead against his.

''Thank you. For trying. If you didn't, I would have to drag those emotions out of you.''
He snorted and rolled his eyes.

''You could try, Love. Though I doubt that you could.''
I pulled back and frowned, feeling slightly offended.

''Why do you say that?''
He shrugged nonchalantly.

''I'm used to hiding my emotions. I even think that I have perfected it. And I seriously doubt that anything that you could do would drag those feelings out of me, if I didn't want for you to.''
I smirked, a sudden idea popping into my mind.

''Oh, you think so, huh? Want to bet on it?''
His arms tightened around me, pulling me closer.

''Depends on the wager.''
I shrugged and smiled smugly.

''I bet that I can make you lose your composure and show your feelings towards me.''
He nodded, his eyes intense.

''What do I get when I win.''
I rolled my eyes.

''If you win, you can choose your prize. Same with me.''
Gaara thought it over for a moment before nodding, his eyes flashing.

''Fine. IF you win and can make me lose my composure, I'll do whatever you ask. Even if that means staying in bed with you all day without complaint.''
I giggled and clapped my hands happily.

''Yay!''
He smirked for a moment before taking a deep breath and I watched as his face lost all emotion.
''You need to get off of my lap.''
My lips twitched in amusement and I wrapped my arms around his neck.
''Uh uh. I'm trying to make you loose your composure, remember? Not help you keep it.''
I grinned and ran my nails across the back of his neck lightly.
''I like where I'm at anyways.''
He swallowed hard.

''Ria...''
His voice trailed off as I leaned forward and began to nip at his neck. I could feel his heartbeat speed up and pressed myself closer to him, speaking with my mouth against his skin.
''If you really want me to move, then you're going to have to move me.''
I pulled away from his neck after a final nip and brushed his lips gently. He tried to follow me as I pulled away and I tangled my hands in his hair, holding him back.
I grinned at the disappointed expression on his face. I liked this game.
I pressed my lips back to his gently and felt his arms tensing a moment before he crushed me against him and dominated the kiss.
I smiled into the kiss and pulled away from him, laughing at his glare, ruffling his hair lightly.
''See? I told you.''
He pouted and shook his head.

''But you cheated. If you hadn't had kissed and teased like you did, I could have held onto my composure.''
I shrugged and nodded.

''I know. But then I wouldn't have won and you didn't say that I couldn't use my kisses against you. So, I win.''
He sighed and leaned back, rolling his eyes.

''Yeah. I guess that we'll be sleeping a lot when we get to your home?''
I nodded.

''Yeah. What would you have wanted if you had won?''
Gaara shrugged.

''I would have wanted to kiss you.''
I laughed and shook my head, tilting my head to the side.

''You know that you can kiss me whenever you want.''
He smirked and nodded.

''I know. But it was the only thing that I wanted at that moment.''
I rolled my eyes and kissed him, letting him pull me closer and tangle his hands in my hair.
I let him kiss me harshly until I had to pull away to breathe and gasped in air, ignoring his smirk as he watched me.
After a moment his arms tightened and he grinned.
''Again?''
I huffed.

''Can I catch my breath first?''
He shook his head and captured my lips. He leaned forward, pressing me into the desk and holding me there with his body.
A minute after he did this, I heard the door crash open.
I pulled away startled and managed to fall from Gaara's lap with a screech, landing hard on the floor.
Gaara grinned down at me, his shoulders shaking and I frowned as I rubbed my shoulder that had hit the floor pretty hard.
I heard a laugh and turned a glare towards the intruder, finding Kankuro leaning over the desk, grinning down at me.
''Hi, Ria. Did I surprise you?''
I growled and crossed my arms.

''Apparently. Ever heard of knocking?''
He chuckled and shrugged.

''And miss the chance to scare you so you fall on your butt? I don't think so.''
I rolled my eyes and watched as his expression changed, his eyes meeting Gaara's.
''I actually need to talk to you. And I'm not sure if you want Ria to hear it. It's about the Akatsuki.''
Gaara glanced at me before turning back to his brother.
''I think that she'll be able to handle whatever you have to say.''
Kankuro nodded and handed Gaara a scroll, speaking as he did so.

''We received a message from the leaf. It took us a few hours to decode it, but we were finally able to read it. It says that two men in Akatsuki cloaks were spotted around a distant village. The Leaf Village wants us to inform them if any of our scouts notice the men.''
I frowned before speaking hesitantly.

''Did they tell you which members they saw?''
Kankuro shook his head.

''No. Just that it was two men.''
I nodded and Gaara sighed, skimming the writing on the scroll. A frown turning down his mouth.
''Write the Hokage, tell her that we will keep scouts around the desert, and will inform her immediately if we see anything.''
Kankuro nodded and gave me a hesitant smile before leaving the office.
I turned my attention to Gaara and found him smirking at me.

''Are you enjoying yourself on the floor, Love?''
I glared, crossing my arms and huffing.

''Extremely.''
He grinned, and after a quick look at the door, moved so that he was sitting across from me. I raised an eyebrow at him and smirked.
''Gaara, honey, is there a reason why you are on the floor?''
He shrugged.

''Cause you're on the floor.''
I rolled my eyes.

''That's true...''
He crawled closer to me and pulled me to him, his tone becoming serious.

''I'm sorry that the Hokage found some of the Akatsuki men.''
I shrugged uncaringly.

''I'm not really surprised. I'm almost positive that it was Hidan and Kakazu. They've never been fond of stealth.''
Garra frowned.

''You don't think that it could be anyone else?''
I shook my head.

''Not really. Dolly, Die and Weasel didn't go through all of the trouble of faking their own deaths just to be found again.''
Gaara nodded.

''I hadn't thought about that. You're right. They wouldn't be that careless.''

I nodded and snuggled into him.
''Weren't we supposed to be eating lunch or something?''
He smiled and reached under the desk, pulling out a bag.
I frowned. When had he gotten that there? He began to pull out different containers and I opened one to find fresh strawberries. I cooed softly and picked up one of the red fruits with a smile.
''Where did you manage to find strawberries?''
Gaara rolled his eyes.

''From the market of course.''
I shot him an irritated look.

''Smartness.''
I grinned suddenly and ruffled Gaara's hair.
''Did you realize that your hair and this strawberry are the same color?''
He frowned and I giggled before taking a bite out of the ripe fruit.
I sighed contently and noticed Gaara reaching into another container, pulling out a grape.
I frowned and offered a strawberry.
''Do you want one?''
He shook his head.

''No. I don't like Strawberries.''
I gasped indignantly.

''How can you not like Strawberries?''
He rolled his eyes.

''I just don't.''
I shrugged and ate the fruit that I still held, humming lightly.
''Have you tried them when they're dipped in chocolate?''
He wrinkled his nose.

''If I'm going to eat chocolate, then it's going to be in a cookie or in those pancakes that you make.''
I giggled and kissed him quickly.
''Alright Gaara.''


////////


By the time that we left Gaara's office I could barely hold my eyes open, causing Gaara to carry me home.
For some reason, instead of teleporting like he normally did, he decided to take the long way and walk.
Temari was still awake when we entered the house and she gave us a curious look.
''Did you have to keep her out this long, Gaara. She has an early day tomorrow, and unlike you, she needs sleep.''
Gaara sighed and rolled his eyes.
''I know that, Temari. I'm taking her to bed now.''
She nodded and he walked me to his room, dropping me on the bed and crawling in after me, pulling me close.
His arms tightened around me roughly and I gasped.
''I do have to breathe Gaara.''
He sighed and loosened his arms slightly.
''Sorry.''
I frowned.

''What's wrong?''
He shrugged.

''You're leaving tomorrow.''
I nodded.

''Yeah, and you're going with me. And then I'll come back to Suna every chance I get to see you.''
He sighed and began to mumble something, causing me to look at him strangely.
He noticed me after a minute and smiled sheepishly.
''I was talking to Shukaku.''
I nodded.

''You've been doing that a lot, you know.''
He shrugged.

''All having to do with my plan.''
I rolled my eyes and smiled.

''The one that you won't tell me about, right?''
He smirked and nodded.

''Yeah. But you'll find out soon. Promise.''
I nodded and yawned.

''Okay. But can we sleep now? I'm tired.''
He nodded and kissed my forehead.

''Of course, Love. Goodnight.''
I smiled and closed my eyes.
I was able to whisper a small goodnight before slipping into sleep.


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