The Akatsuki's Daughter

Chapter 39


''What do you mean that Toru is moving in with us? Don't you think that you should have talked that over with me before just deciding on your own?''
I was glaring at my adopted brother, who just stared back at me calmly as I continued to rant furiously.
''It's not like I dropped off the face of the Earth. You could have sent me a message.''
Salem sighed and patted my shoulder, causing me to growl at him and his calmness.
''Get settled in, Little Sister. Come find me to talk when you've calmed down.''
I glared at him as he walked from the room, closing my bedroom door behind him and threw my hands up in frustration.
''Ugh! I'm gonna go take a shower.''
Gaara nodded from his place on my bed and watched me in amusement as I grabbed a set of night clothes and stomped towards my bathroom.
I calmed down as I let the hot water run over me, though I was still irritated at how Salem had handled things.
But by the time I walked back to my room and crawled into bed, I had calmed down enough to think rationally.
Gaara looked at me as I settled next to him and quickly wrapped his arms around me.
''Are you alright, Love?''
I sighed and nodded.

''Yeah. I just hate it when he makes all of these decisions without talking to me before hand. I'm so sick of being the last to know.''
Gaara sighed and tightened his arms briefly.

''I know, Love. I'm sorry.''
I shrugged and closed my eyes tiredly.

''It's whatever. But remember that we're staying in bed all day.''
He groaned, nodding slightly.

''I remember, though I'm not sure that I can hold back some complaints.''
I rolled my eyes and snuggled closer to him.

''That's fine. I never really thought that I could have you lie in bed for hours without some sort of complaint. You like to move around too much.''
Gaara smirked and kissed my forehead.

''I suppose that I do. But for the moment, I'd be more than happy to take a nap with you.''
I smiled and hummed softly.

''Good. 'Cause I think I'll need one before going to confront Salem again.''
Gaara nodded and began to stroke my hair, calming me enough so I could fall asleep.



I woke up to find that Gaara was still asleep and that we had slept through the night, and it was now close to noon.
I smiled, realizing that if we had been in Suna, Gaara wouldn't have gotten to sleep past sunrise, much less into the afternoon.
I kissed the still sleeping Kazekage and gently slid from his arms, going to confront my adopted brother about his lack of communication with me.
I found him downstairs, lounging against the couch and petting the top of Sora's head gently.
I paused in the doorway, and after a moment, Salem turned towards me, a hesitant smile on his face.
''Hey, Little Sister. Are you ready to talk now?''
I nodded and moved a little further into the room, preferring to stand instead of sitting next to him. I was, after all, still angry at him.
I saw his smile falter and he sighed, looking towards the floor.
''Look, Ria. I'm sorry for not contacting you before I asked Toru to move in with us. Truthfully it happened too fast, and I didn't even think about what I was saying before the words were already out of my mouth and I couldn't take them back.''
I nodded, showing that I was still listening to what he was saying and he shrugged.
''Toru's father died while you were gone. It was a sudden heart attack while he was sleeping, and he left the house to Yuki, and Suki.''
Salem sighed and shook his head.
''They told Toru that she had two choices: She could break up with me and could still live in the house, or she could pack her things and move out.
When she told me about these conditions, I couldn't stop myself from blurting out that she could stay here. It wasn't until after she had unwrapped her arms from around my neck that I even thought about how you would react to having another girl in the house.
And I decided at that point that I would rather tell you about all of this face to face, rather than through a letter. I knew that you would be angry, but really, Ria, I didn't have much of a choice.''
I sighed and sank onto the couch next to him, my shoulders slumping.
''I guess I have no choice but to understand that you really didn't have a choice. You love Toru, and it wouldn't have really been good for her to live on the streets would it?''
He smirked and shook his head, his own tense shoulders relaxing as my anger fled.

''No. I can't really have a girlfriend that is considered a hobo, not really good for my reputation.''
I rolled my eyes and punched his arm.

''Whatever. Since when have you ever cared about your reputation?''
His look became mockingly thoughtful before he grinned and shrugged.
''Never, I guess.''
He frowned suddenly and looked over me.

''You need to start getting dressed for the reopening tonight. There's a dress in your closet.''
My eyes widened as I remembered the last time I had worn a dress and I felt my face heating. I shook my head quickly and clasped my hands together.
''No way, Big Brother. There is no way in the seven circles of hell that I'm wearing a dress again.''
He laughed.

''Oh, I heard a little about what happened at Sakura's wedding, while you were wearing a green dress.''
I glared at him and felt my face getting hotter.

''Curse you and your know-all abilities.''
He grinned and shrugged.

''This dress is completely different than the one that you wore. It's not as...revealing. Or so I've heard.''
I glared at him and he stood up.

''Go on, Little Sister. Get dressed.''
I sighed but moved towards my room, finding that Gaara was now awake, freshly showered, and dressed in a black dress shirt and dark jeans.
He looked at me curiously when I pulled the dress from the closet and I saw him frown.
''I liked the green dress better.''
I rolled my eyes. ''I know. A little too much I think.''
Gaara smirked and walked over to kiss me quickly before pushing me towards the bathroom.
''Go get ready, Love. I'll be waiting for you here.''
I nodded and grabbed the dress, making my way into the bathroom.
Once the door closed, I took a closer look at the fabric and cooed softly. It was a deep red, with cream colored lace around the neck and sleeves.
I slipped it on and smiled. The only skin that showed was below my knees and the top of my chest.
I walked out of the bathroom and saw Gaara's eyes rake over me before he smirked.
''I still liked the green dress better.''
I laughed and shook my head.

''Of course you did. This covers more.''
He grinned and followed me down the stairs to where Salem was waiting.


/////////


As we entered Aubry's, the first thing I noticed was the large amount of people that were gathered.
I groaned and Gaara smirked, wrapping his arm around my waist, pulling me to him tightly.
''Good. At least I know that you won't be leaving my side with all of these people around.''
I shook my head and pushed closer to him, causing his smirk to widen.
''I like you being afraid of crowds I think.''
I glared at him, before directing him towards Aubry who grinned and instantly pulled me into a quick hug, speaking when he released me.
''How have you been, Ria?''
I shrugged.
''Good. You seem to have a lot of people here tonight.''
He chuckled and nodded.
''More than either Salem or I ever expected. Jagur did well with advertising.''

I nodded, and Aubry smiled at Gaara and I.
''I should probably let you go and mingle.''
I felt my eye twitch and he chuckled, squeezing my shoulder affectionately.
''Have fun you two.''
I nodded and Gaara led us to an unoccupied corner, where he pulled me to him tightly.
''Are you alright?''
I nodded and smiled.
''Yeah. You maneuvered us through the crowd really well.''
He nodded and I could see that he was becoming nervous about something. But before I could ask him about it, Salem walked over to us, dragging a disheveled Toru with him.
''Hey, Little Sister. Did you miss me?''
I rolled my eyes.
''Of course. It's not like I saw you like ten minutes ago or anything.''
Salem nodded and smirked.
''I have something important to tell you.''
He grinned and I gave him a wary look while he glanced at Gaara, his grin widening.
''You're fired, Little Sister.''
My mouth dropped open with a pop and I gasped.
''I'm what?!''
He laughed and tapped my nose lightly.
''Don't worry. It's for the best. Trust me. Enjoy the party!''
He threw a final smirk at Gaara before dragging a smiling Toru away again.
I was still staring after him in shock when Gaara cleared his throat and turned me towards him.
''I don't want to shock you anymore than you already are, Love but...I have something to ask you.''
I nodded, closing my still gaping mouth and focused my attention on the nervous Kazekage.
My eyes widened as Gaara slowly knelt to a knee.
I gulped and felt him take one of my hands in his.
''Wh...what are you doing?''
Gaara frowned.
''Trying to propose?''
I nodded and tugged at his hand.
''Don't kneel. Especially since I don't know how clean this floor is.''
His eyes widened and he stood quickly, pulling a velvet box out of his pocket. He placed it in my open hand and I opened it slowly.
I gasped as I saw the ring inside. It was a dainty band made of white gold, the large rectangular stone in the middle was made out of a red diamond, while the stones surrounding it were the regular white diamonds.
The light hit it, making it sparkle and I watched as Gaara lifted it from the box.
He took the box away from me and took my now free hand in his. The ring still clutched in his other hand.
''Ria. I love you. More than I have ever loved anything or anyone. And I never want to be away from you again. So, will you accept my proposal and marry me?''
I bit my lip before breaking out into giggles, causing Gaara to pull away from me slightly.
''Is that a no?''
I shook my head and kissed him quickly, causing his tense body to relax.
I pulled away after a moment, still chuckling.
''Of course I'll marry you, Gaara. But that speech was the cheesiest thing that you have ever said. Did Temari help you with that?''
He nodded, pouting slightly and I shook my head, kissing him again quickly.
''It was sweet though. Almost sickeningly so.''
He rolled his eyes, a small smile turning up his lips as he held up the ring.
''Would you like for me to try again?''
I shook my head and he slipped the ring over my finger.
''No. Once was enough.''
I looked at the stones and 'oohed' softly.
''This is incredible. Did you pick this out on your own?''
Gaara smirked smugly and nodded.
''Yeah. Temari tried to help me, but the rings she picked just didn't fit you. So I had this one made. You like it then?''
I smiled and nodded.
''Definitely. I guess Salem's firing me makes more since now.''
Gaara frowned.
''It surprised me that he did that. I never said anything to him.''
I sighed.
''You might as well get used to that. Salem seems to know everything when it comes to me. He's got like super powers or something.''
Gaara sighed.
''Fantastic.''
I smiled and kissed the tip of his nose.
''I love you, Gaara.''
He returned the smile.
''I love you too, my Ria. Now shall we go find your friends?''
I groaned, and nodded.
''I guess. If we have to.''
He smirked and led me into the crowd of people.


////////


I sighed quietly as I began to unpack my things from the small bag that I had brought back to Suna. Thinking back to when Gaara and I had returned from Aubry's
Imagine my surprise when I had returned to my room, finding that Salem had already hired people to pack my things and take them back to Suna. The room I had spent years in almost bare.
Salem had laughed at my startled expression.
''I thought that I would help you out.''
I had nodded, still in shock, looking around the almost desolate room.
Salem had cleared his throat and I glanced at him to find his strangely serious expression.
''You need to go talk to Sasori and Die tomorrow.''
I had nodded and prepared myself to sleep in the now strange room.
The next day, I had dragged Gaara to Dolly's, finding that Die was there as well. Though I had been slightly worried at their reactions, I was pleasantly surprised when Die instantly grabbed my hand and whistled lowly.
''Look at that rock, Sasori!''
Dolly had nodded, un-enthused and glanced at Gaara who had a chattering Niko in his lap.
Dolly turned back to Die and I, the three of us having a long discussion. Mostly about their visiting often, to which Dolly promised and Die said he would practically haunt Suna. Coming to see me often and dragging Weasel along as well on some occasions.
I had glanced at Gaara and Niko, finding that they were in deep conversation, and moved to hug Dolly tightly.
''I know that I'll see you often, but I'm still going to miss you guys.''
Dolly had rolled his eyes.
''Niko and I will visit as much as possible, Dearling.''
I had nodded and pulled back to find Die pouting.
I had laughed and he looked at me.
''Did you want a hug, Die?''
He had nodded.
''I thought that I might get one, un.''
I had laughed and skipped over to him, flopping down on his lap and flinging my arms around his neck.
''I'll miss you too, Die-Chan.''
He had chuckled, and 'offed' when Niko took a flying leap from Gaara's lap, landing on me, adding more weight to Die.
He had glared roughly down at the ball of energy while I had slipped off of his lap and set Niko in my spot.
''Your daddy needs to teach you some manners.''
Niko had giggled and shook his head.
''No. That's not any fun.''
Die had raised an eyebrow at the child, while Niko had turned towards Dolly.
''Daddy? Can Aunt Ria and Gaara stay for dinner?''
Dolly had shrugged.
''If they want, and Ria cooks. I am so sick of Deidara's cooking.''
Die had turned towards Dolly, placing Niko on the couch.
''At least I can cook. You burn everything.''
Dolly had frowned and stood slowly, Die following.
''You call what you do being able to cook? It all tastes like cardboard.''
They had continued arguing while Gaara, Niko and I had looked on in amusement.


I chuckled at the memory and shook my head, pulling another shirt out of a suitcase, looking at the new dresser that Gaara had moved into his room. The dark piece of furniture now taking the place of the old trunk that had finally been moved to the attic. Though I had made sure that Gaara's teddy had stayed on the desk.
I looked over at the closet that was now halfway bare, Gaara having rearranged his things so I had room for mine.
I sighed. Cohabitation with another person might be a bit of a problem. I wasn't used to sharing closet space.
I glanced at my pile of clothes that I had been sorting and frowned. I would probably just have to get rid of clothes.
I smiled as a pair of arms slipped around me, pulling me into a hard chest.
''Hey, hon. Did you get you some food?''
I felt him nod as he placed his chin on my shoulder.
''Yeah. Temari was...more than helpful. Why didn't you come down with me?''
I frowned and waved at the mountain of clothing.
''Because I've been trying to sort this...mess.''
I felt him smile slightly.
''You do have a lot of things. How will you manage to put it all away and still find things?''
I sighed.
''I don't think I'll be able to. I'll just go through it tonight and find the things that I wear and get rid of the things I don't.''
He nodded and frowned suddenly.
''I suppose that you won't want to go to work with me tonight then?''
I shook my head.
''No. Why are you going into work anyways? It's getting late.''
Gaara sighed.
''Because if I don't check things over every day, then something always happens to screw up my work. But I would really enjoy it if you changed your mind and went with me.''
I sighed and shook my head.
''I really need to finish unpacking.''
He turned me towards him, pouting slightly.
''I'm being abandoned for clothes?''
I laughed and nodded, wrapping my arms around his neck.
''Yap. But look at it this way: By the time you get home, I should have most of this sorted and put away, then I can spend the entire night paying attention to you.''
He sighed and nodded slowly.
''Fine. I would prefer that anyways. I wouldn't want to share your time with clothing.''
I laughed and moved to kiss his nose quickly, causing him to smile.
''Alright. I guess I should leave.
I smiled and nodded, turning back to my clothes.
''Okay, Gaara. Don't injure too many ninja's, okay?''
He sighed and squeezed my hand before I heard his footsteps retreating and the door closing behind him.
I sighed and pulled out another shirt, this one to my uniform at Aubry's. I sighed and shook my head, reaching for the skirt. I wouldn't be needing that anymore.
I placed them to the side and began to sort the rest of the clothes into keep and throw piles. I shoved the throw pile back into the suitcases and was turning back to organizing the clothes that I was keeping when I felt a sudden chill go down my spine, the hair on the back of my neck standing on end.
I looked around, expecting for someone to be in the room but found nothing.
I shivered again and frowned, trying to locate the source of my unease. I bit my lip and finally gave into my flight instinct and made my way downstairs. I was hungry anyways.
I felt the presence follow me and tried hard to ignore the felling of being watched, but it was becoming increasingly harder as I fixed me a sandwich.
I was pulling a plate from the cabinet when I felt a pair of arms circling my waist and screamed, violently pushing away from the person, scurrying to the other side of the room before turning.
Gaara stood with his hands in the air, his eyes wide and his face paler than normal.
I brought my hand to my throat, trying to calm my harsh breathing and Gaara took a hesitant step towards me as I leaned against the counter, trying to force my heart from where it had become lodged in my throat.
''Ar...Are you alright, Love?''
I took a deep breath and nodded, dropping my hand before shooting him an accusing look.
''You scared me. Don't do that again.''
He nodded and took a few more steps towards me, making sure that I wasn't going to bolt again.
''Alright. I won't. Can I hold you now?''
I sighed and nodded.
''Yeah. You just startled me before. I'm okay now.''
I saw his shoulders relax and he pulled me into his arms quickly, resting his head on mine.
''I'm sorry that I scared you. It never occurred to me that you wouldn't hear me.''
I shook my head and moved closer to him.
''I never hear you. You're always really quiet when you move. But I can normally recognize that it's your touch. I guess I was just already freaked out, and because I didn't expect you home, I kinda flipped out.''
He pulled away and frowned.
''Why were you 'freaked' out? Was someone here?''
I saw the deadly look that entered his eyes and shook my head quickly.
''No. Nothing like that. I wouldn't have been as scared if that's all it was. I was upstairs and felt eyes watching me. But there was nothing anywhere. Not outside the window, or in the room...''
I saw the guilty expression that crossed Gaara's face and glared.
''That was you, wasn't it? You used that bloody eye jutsu thing.''
He looked down at the floor, frowning.
''I'm sorry. I was bored at work and missed you. It never occurred to me that you could feel the eye. Even when you looked around and retreated to the kitchen, you looked completely at ease. I'm sorry I frightened you. I should have realized that you would keep your unease hidden.''
I nodded and sighed.
''Yeah. Sasori taught me that. But I knew that something was watching me, but I couldn't figure out what it was.''
He nodded and rubbed his nose against mine, causing me to smile.
He glanced at the floor, finding the sandwich that I had dropped when he startled me and sighed.
''You'll need to make something else to eat.''
I nodded and frowned.
''I know that Temari made you something to eat, but are you hungry?''
He paused before nodding.
''I couldn't eat a lot of what Temari made.''
I nodded, already figuring that was the case.
''Okay. What do you want then?''
Gaara grinned.
''Pancakes?''
I frowned and shook my head.
''No, Gaara. No more pancakes for a while. You've had them for three days in a row. It's time to eat something else.''
He pouted and tightened his arms.
''Please?''
I laughed and shook my head, kissing him lightly.
''Not tonight. Give the pancakes a rest for a bit. Though If you're good, you can have a cookie.''
His head jerked up to look at me, his eyes shinning.
''When did you make cookies?''
I smirked.
''Right before we left. I had to hide them so somebody wouldn't eat all of them.''

Gaara smiled unrepentantly and nodded.
''I like cookies.''
I rolled my eyes.
''I hadn't noticed. But before you have your cookies, you have to eat real food. So what do you want?''
He shrugged and released me to go sit at the bar.
''Whatever you fix is fine, Love.''
I sighed and frowned at him.
''That's no help to me. I know that you like my spaghetti, and the stew I made, but excluding pancakes and cookies, you don't seem to have a preference for anything else.''
Gaara shrugged.
''Everything that you make is good, so it doesn't really matter.''
I frowned, thinking.
''Why don't I make tacos? It'll be quick and simple. I still have some unpacking to do.'' Gaara frowned.
''I thought that you would be finished with that by the time that I got home.''
I rolled my eyes before shooting him an accusing look.
''You weren't gone that long, Gaara. And I would have been further along if you hadn't decided to scare me with that stupid jutsu.''
He sighed and leaned back against his chair.
''I am sorry about that, Ria. I'll help you unpack if I can.''
I shrugged.
''You can if you want. But I would be happy to just have you spending time with me while I arrange the clothes myself.''
Gaara smiled softly and nodded.
''I think I can handle that.''
I smiled at him before moving to fix the tacos. We fell into a comfortable silence, Gaara getting lost in his own thoughts and I hummed softly, letting him talk to me in his own time about what was starting to trouble him. It didn't take long.
''A few of the windbags called an emergency conference when I entered the tower today.''
He frowned.
''I think that I need to make a new law. I'm tired of them thinking that they can talk to me whenever they want, at all hours of the day...or night. That will need to change after the wedding.''
I laughed and shook my head.
''You are the Kazekage, Gaara. I think that you're allowed to decide when to talk to the council or not.''
He sighed.
''I have to try to be diplomatic, Love. I can start a rebellion or a war if I don't.''
I wrinkled my nose.
''That would suck.''
He nodded.
''I would have to agree with you. But it was what they talked to me in the meeting about that upset me.''
I nodded and turned the stove low so I could turn to look at him.
''What did they say?''
He frowned, and his voice lowered to a growl as he spoke.
''They asked me if I would consider resigning from my position as Kazekage. At least for a short time.''
I froze and felt my eyes narrow.
''Why would they ask that?''
Gaara sighed and shrugged.
''They said it was because Shukaku was back and that I seem to not be able to control him as well now. They wanted to know if I would be willing to let Baki take over for a while, until I could get him back under control.
They brought up how even with full control, the Akatsuki was still able to capture me...'' He broke off when I huffed, beginning to pace angrily around the room.
''How stupid can these men be? I thought that after you arrested that one council member that the others wouldn't be as bad since there wasn't anyone to stir up conflict. Obviously I was wrong.
You can control Shukaku fine. It was just that one time that he was able to hurt someone. Ever since then you've been keeping him in check.
I mean, who would be a better Kazekage than you? You gave your life for this village. Which is more than any of those men would be willing to do, I can grantee it.
I ought to grab Matsuri and have her help me start a riot. I bet that we could get most, if not all of the villagers to join us and that would knock the Council down a few pegs.''
I was sure that I could feel the room heating. My skin was definitely tingling.
I glanced at Gaara to find him leaning against the center island close to me, a smirk on his face.
I shot him a glare, causing him to grin.
''What are you smiling at, Gaara? This is not funny?''
He shook his head and cautiously reached for me, closing his hands around my upper arms and pulling me towards him.
''Because your rant made me happy, and I realized how stupid what they had said was. In the back of my mind I've had doubts that I could stop Shukaku from hurting people. And I wondered if the Council wasn't right and I should step down. But after hearing you...''
He shook his head and leaned down to press his forehead to mine.
''Thank you, Ria. I needed to hear all of that.''
I smiled and nodded, kissing him softly.
''Of course, hon. I've told you a hundred times that you're a wonderful Kazekage. You shouldn't doubt yourself so much. None of your people do. Excluding the council, of course.''
He smiled and went back to his seat at the bar while I finished our dinner.
''I suppose that I should be happy that they haven't mentioned our relationship recently. One of the men still doesn't agree with it. But he seems to be keeping it to himself for the moment.''
I nodded and set his taco in front of him, claiming the chair next to him.
''He's probably worried what you would do to him.''
Gaara smirked and took a large bite out of his taco.
''Good. They should fear me. Normally I don't think that, but since they obviously won't ever respect me as their Kazekage, fear is the next best thing.''
I nodded and took a bite of my own taco.
Gaara was finished eating before I took my third bite and was looking at me expectantly.
I ignored him for a moment until he moved his hand and began to twirl his fingers in my hair.
I rolled my eyes and pointed to the fridge, swallowing quickly.
''They're in the cookie jar on top of the fridge.''
Gaara instantly removed his hand from my hair and jumped out of his seat, rushing to pull the jar from where it rested.
''How did you get this up here, Ria?''
I frowned.
''I used a chair. Why?''
He smirked.
''I just knew that the top of the refrigerate is high up, and you aren't exactly tall, Love.''
I rolled my eyes.
''At least I don't have to worry about hitting my head on low hanging branches.''
He smirked and shrugged.
''No. You just run into doors and see pink bunnies with scythes.''
I huffed and stuck my tongue out at him.
''Bite me.''
I saw him pause and he gave me a curious look.
''You want me to bite you, Love?''
I shook my head quickly.
''No. It's just a figure of speech.''
He nodded and turned back to the container, pulling a cookie from it and shoving it into his mouth before grabbing another.
''Careful, hon. You'll get sick.''
He shook his head and pulled out another cookie while he was still chewing the last.
''I'm serious, Gaara. You're going to make yourself sick. Those aren't exactly your typically small cookie.''
He sighed and put the lid on the container before replacing it on the fridge, nibbling on the remaining cookie.
''Do you want to finish unpacking now?''
I nodded, and after taking our dishes to the sink, led him up the stairs.


////////


It hadn't taken me long to finish unpacking, though Gaara had lain on most of my clothes, making it a bit difficult to organize.
He had finally decided to take a shower, letting me unpack in peace.
I had finished not even ten minutes after he had left and now lay on the bed, slowly falling asleep.
I was in a slight daze when I heard the bathroom door open. A moment later, my closed eyes flew open when a heavy weight fell across me. I looked down to find damp, red hair, Gaara's face nuzzling into my chest, his arms wrapped around me, as the rest of his body rested on top of mine.
''I think that I'm going to sleep like this tonight?''
I rolled my eyes and wrapped my arms around his back, scrapping my nails against his neck gently, causing him to sigh.
He used his sand to pull the covers over us and turn the lights off.
It was quiet for a moment before Gaara spoke, his voice muffled by my shirt.
''When I was downstairs with Temari this afternoon, she said that we would need to set a date for the wedding and start planning everything, because it takes months, if not a full year to get everything organized. Is there really so much to do?''
I frowned and nodded.
''Yeah. Though it depends on what kind of ceremony we want, and the rules that we have to follow with you being the Kazekage. I'm sure that there are a few traditions that we have to follow.''
I felt Gaara frown and he sighed.
''I suppose so. Though I don't know what they are.''
I shrugged.
''I'll do some research tomorrow if you want me to. But that doesn't help with the date. We'll need time to get the proper clothes. That takes the longest from what I hear, and that's about six months at the least.''
Gaara sighed again and snuggled closer.
''I don't want to wait that long, but if we have to, we will. So six months? That will make it mid summer I suppose.''
I nodded.
''Yeah, though that will be far hotter than what most people would like for a formal wedding.''
Gaara nodded and sighed.
''I suppose so. But that is still some time away. For the moment, you should probably get some sleep.''
I frowned.
''Will you be able to sleep?''
He shook his head.
''Probably not.''
I sighed.
''You need sleep.''
He nodded again.
''I know. But with how my mind is spinning, I don't think I'll be able to,''
I frowned and Gaara raised his head to kiss me lightly.
''Sleep, Ria. You're tired.''
I shrugged.
''I just hate sleeping when you're not able to.''
He smiled softly and shook his head.
''I used to not sleep at all, Love. So don't worry about it.''
I nodded and closed my eyes.
''Alright. I love you, Gaara.''
He returned his head to my chest and sighed.
''I love you too. Goodnight.''


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


I knew I was dreaming. But I couldn't wake up.
I looked around my dream-scape, finding rolling green hills and a light blue sky. It was beautiful, and I could feel the soft grass under my bare feet.
As I stood still, I noticed that there were some figures walking along the hills.
I moved closer, being careful to not be seen, though I wasn't sure why.
I crouched behind a tall rock, watching the figures walk closer, realizing that it was a man and woman. The woman had teal hair, her skin pale, her dark blue eyes shinning brightly as she looked at the man.
The wind blew her hair back, revealing the pointed ears, the only thing that gave her away as not being human.
I turned my attention to the man, and frowned, having the feeling that I knew him, though I knew that I had never seen him before.
Unlike the woman, his skin was tan, making it obvious that he spent most of his time in the sun. His long, sandy brown hair was pulled back into a low pony tail, animal like ears sitting on top of his head, their dark blue color a contrast to the light hair.
There were tattoo like markings that covered his face and bare arms, the same shade blue as his ears.
I looked closer and caught sight of his eyes, holding in a small gasp that would have alerted the couple to my presence. I knew those eyes. I had seen them on several occasions. The golden color with the black design was a dead give away as to who this creature was...Shukaku.
I swallowed hard and watched as they walked by me, too wrapped up in the other to notice me. I noticed a fluffy tan and blue thing as they passed me and had to force down a laugh. Of course Shukaku would have a tail.
I watched them leave and wondered why I was having this dream. It was too real for me to simply shove it off as a figment of my subconscious. Was this a hidden side affect to having the fire element, or to loving a Jinchuriki?
I shook my head and leaned back against the rock, suddenly wondering how I was going to get out of this dream-scape. Considering I didn't know how I had gotten there in the first place.
I closed my eyes, letting my head rest against the hard surface behind me and noticed that it didn't feel quite right. I wiggled slightly and realized that it was getting softer. And that something was shaking me.
I groaned and clenched my eyes shut before slowly opening them, finding a frantic Gaara hovering over me, his hands on my shoulders, shaking me.
I tried to smile at him and saw his worry recede a bit, his hands relaxing against me.
''Are you alright? I felt you go rigid, and Shukaku was yelling at me to wake you up.''
I frowned but nodded, trying to get my dry mouth to form words.
''I'm fine. I...I don't know what happened. I was dreaming, but it wasn't really a dream. It was almost like a memory, but it wasn't mine. It seemed like it was Shukaku's. But I don't know how that's even possible.''
Gaara frowned and looked away for a moment.
''What was it about?''
I shrugged.
''It wasn't really about anything. I just saw Shukaku in his 'true form' I suppose, and he was walking with a woman surrounded by green hills.''
Gaara closed his eyes and lowered his body, resting his head against my neck.
''I should probably let you and Shukaku talk about this. Though he's not happy about you being in that place, so it won't be until he calms down. I don't know how you got to that place either. The only thing that I can think of is because I love you and Shukaku accepts you that, like me, you're able to see Shukaku's memories. At least when you're asleep and he's thinking about them.
I've found myself surrounded by those hills multiple times, though not recently. I learned how to separate my mind and Shukaku's a long time ago.''
I sighed and wrapped my arms around his shoulders, tangling my fingers in his hair.
''But why hasn't anyone mentioned this type of thing before?''
Gaara lifted his head, looking at me seriously.
''How often do you think that a Jinchuriki has his love returned, and has his tailed beast accept her? Most tailed creatures tolerate their vessels, but hate all other humans.''
I frowned and sighed.
''I guess that will be another thing to research.''
I grinned suddenly.
''Did you know that Shukaku had a fluffy raccoon tail? It was seriously cute.''
Gaara froze before his body started shaking slightly.
''He's not happy about that comment.''
I shrugged.
''I don't care. He was cute. He had that tail, and adorable ears perched on his head.''
Gaara shook his head and again buried his face into my neck.
''Sometimes your thoughts are scary, Love.''
I laughed and shrugged.
''You are not the first one to tell me that.''
He nodded and kissed my neck.
''I'm sure I'm not. But you need to sleep now. You're going to the Kazekage tower with me tomorrow. That way you can do your research.''
I nodded and sighed.
''Yeah. I guess I better get some sleep then, huh?''
Gaara nodded and tightened his arms.
''Try not to dream again, Love.''
I rolled my eyes and scoffed.
''I'll try, Gaara.''
He hummed lightly and I closed my eyes, letting his steady breathing lull me back to sleep.



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