sighed and snuggled into the warm body I rested against, feeling the
arms around me tighten.
''Are you finally waking up?''
I groaned, nuzzling my head into his chest.
I felt him lay a kiss to my hair.
''They'll start looking for us soon.''
I laughed and shook my head.
''Nu uh. They'll start looking for you! They don't even like me.''
Gaara pushed me away slightly, a frown on his face.
''They will learn to like you. At least when I'm around.''
I rolled my eyes.
''That's not liking me, Gaara. That's pretending to like me to please you.''
He smirked smugly and tightened his arms.
I shook my head, slowly untangling myself from his arms and standing.
''Like I said earlier, you're spoiled.''
He nodded, standing from the chair, causing me to tilt my head back to look at him.
''You're also too tall.''
He rolled his eyes and shook his head.
''No, Love. You're just short. I'm average height.''
I stuck my tongue out at him, but didn't get a chance to shoot back a smart mouthed comment before voices reached us, drifting through the heavy door.
I looked at Gaara with wide eyes, seeing that he was shooting a hate filled glare at the noise.
He glanced back at me as the voices got louder, tugging me towards him, while his other hand reached for the books on the table.
A moment later sand surrounded us, transporting us to his office.
He released me once the sand fell, walking towards his chair and sitting with a sigh.
''I don't want to do paperwork.''
I laughed at the whiny tone that he used, looking at the pile of papers and scrolls that littered the desk.
I looked back at Gaara, who was watching me. He held his arms out.
''Come sit with me, Love.''
I walked towards him, being pulled onto his lap when I was within arms reach.
''Do you ever get tired of me sitting in your lap?''
He was reaching towards a scroll and shook his head.
''No. I like holding you. I know you're safe that way.''
I frowned, preparing to inform him of my ability of taking care of myself, again, when he kissed me quickly.
He pulled back just as quickly and smiled softly.
''I know that you can protect yourself. But I like to know for certain that you're unharmed.''
I nodded and reached for the books that he had placed on the desk, opening up the wedding rule book.
I probably needed to figure out which ones I would need to follow, and which ones to toss out the window.
life from that day on became a whirlwind of wedding activities.
The moment that I had walked into Gaara's home after researching the rules about Kazekage's weddings, I had confided to Temari about being a bit overwhelmed over all that I would have to do.
After hearing that, my future sister-in-law had taken things into her own hands.
She had surprised me the next day, bursting into Gaara's room after I had gone back to sleep, exclaiming that I needed to get up.
She had called a designer friend of hers, that had agreed to make my wedding dress, along with the dresses for the brides maids.
I gaped at her while she had pulled clothes from my dresser, throwing them at me.
''Ria! Get up! We have to go, we have an appointment.''
I nodded, rushing to change into the clothes she had picked out for me.
She picked up Butterball, cooing at him softly while I brushed my teeth.
When I came back into the room, Temari was standing in the doorway, holding my shoes.
''Let's go! We'll grab something to eat on the way.''
I nodded, following as she led me from the house and towards a small shop.
I looked around as we entered the shop, overwhelmed with all the fabric.
Temari greeted a young girl behind a counter, who turned with a smile.
''Hi, Temari! What's going on?''
Temari smiled and waved a hand towards me.
''We have an appointment with Krissy. For Ria's wedding dress.''
The girls eyes widened and she turned her gaze towards me.
''So you're the one that is marrying Lord Kazekage? Me and the other girls have been trying to figure out what you looked like for months now. Have you been hiding?''
I smiled slightly, knowing that the girl didn't mean to be rude, she was just curious.
''I've walked around the market a few times. I just kinda blend in.''
The girl frowned and Temari jumped in before she could reply.
''We have a lot to do today. Can you go tell Krissy that we're here, please?''
The girl nodded and Temari turned apologetic eyes towards me. I smiled and gave a dismissive wave, turning towards the middle aged woman that had entered the room.
''Temari! I was wondering when you would get here. I have so much to show you, I started sketching after you called me last night. I've come up with some good candidates I think.''
Temari smiled and pushed me forward.
''Well, it's Ria's wedding, so it's her decision. But I'm sure that she would love to see your sketches.''
I nodded, seeing the woman's smile widen. She motioned us to follow her, leading us into a small, well lit room, papers and fabric littering the small table.
''You're shorter than I thought you would be. So I will have to modify some of these dresses, but any of them would still be gorgeous on you.''
I nodded, taking the sketch book that she held out and looked at the dress selection. Temari looking over my shoulder.
She 'ooed' over one particular dress and I wrinkled my nose slightly.
It had jeweled spaghetti straps, a high neckline but plunged low in the back, the fabric beginning again at the small of the back, a small diamond strap running horizontal across the center of the back.
I shook my head, flipping to the next picture, finding a ballgown. The large, poofy skirt was layered, large flowers cascading down the side.
I again wrinkled my nose and turned towards the third and final picture.
This dress was designed in an A-line style, the neckline dipping slightly, but still high enough to be comfortable. I heard Temari chuckle lightly.
''I think she knows the one she wants, Krissy.''
I nodded and the woman came to look at the picture, nodding knowingly.
''That will be lovely on you. Much better than the ball gown would have.''
I nodded, letting her take the book away, her eyes suddenly serious and calculating.
''Alright. Let's get your measurements. Go behind that screen and strip down. I'll send Dori in in just a moment. I'll go find some fabric patterns for you to choose from.''
I nodded and walked behind the pointed out screen, pulling off my baggy shirt.
It didn't take long for the girl from earlier to step behind the screen, a tape measure around her neck, a notepad and pen in her hands.
She looked over me curiously, before pulling the tape measure from her neck and moved towards me.
''Alright. Lets get these measurements taken. Krissy is picking out some wonderful fabric.''
I nodded, wincing as the cold tape measure wrapped around my waist. Dori beginning to ramble.
''I can't believe that someone actually trapped Lord Kazekage into marriage. Most of us thought that he would always be single. He's never showed any interest in any of the girls in the village. You must really be something special.''
I felt my face heating slightly and shrugged.
''Not really. Just someone that loves him.''
Dori smiled, finishing with her measurements.
''You'll have to forgive me if I don't really believe you. Lord Kazekage has had more than enough offers from his fangirls, but he never acknowledged that they existed. I'm ashamed to say that I was one of them. Following him around and fawning over him. At least until I met my boyfriend and figured out that I had been acting like an idiot.''
I smiled slightly, not really having ever thought about Gaara having more fangirls than Matsuri.
Dori smiled at me, wrapping the tape measure back around her neck and pointed to my clothes.
''Go ahead and get dressed. I'm sure that Krissy has found you tons of options.''
I nodded, pulling my clothes back on before following her into another brightly lit room.
Temari stood in the center of the room, holding up a blue, shimmery fabric, not noticing me until I spoke.
Temari turned towards me, smiling softly.
''I think so too. Have you decided what colors you want for your wedding? Or who your brides maids will be?''
I bit my lip, realizing that I hadn't really decided on a lot.
''Um, I would like Misa and Mona to be bridesmaids. And you, if you would like to be.'' I saw her eyes light up and I was suddenly engulfed in a tight hug.
''Of course I want to be a bridesmaid!''
I laughed and shook my head, hugging her back for a moment before pushing her away and looking at all of the fabric in the room.
''As for your other question, I'm not sure. I know that your brother likes browns and reds. But I don't really like those color combinations.''
Temari nodded, frowning in thought.
''Gaara won't really care about the colors as long as you're happy. So what colors do you like?''
''I like red too. And blue, black, silver, green, purple...Almost anything except yellow, and puke green.''
Temari laughed and went to pick up a book filled with colored fabrics.
She began to put colors together, seeing which ones complemented each other and which ones contrasted. I stopped her when I saw a dark shade of crimson, pointing it out.
''I like that one.''
She nodded and placed a silver next to it. I 'oohed' turning a smile towards her.
''Those are pretty together.''
She grinned at me and took the fabric from the book.
''That was an easier decision than I thought it would be. Now we just need to decide how you want the dresses to look, and what colors you want them.''
I nodded, glancing at Krissy who suddenly busted into the room, more fabric in her arms.
She smiled at us, laying the fabric on the table.
''Come here you two. I've pulled some of our best fabric to show you. The future Lady Kazekage shouldn't be seen on her wedding day in anything mediocre.''
I froze at hearing the title, frowning slightly. I wasn't sure how I would like being called that. Or what that would entitle. I shrugged it off, turning my attention back to the matter at hand, suddenly having bolts of fabric pushed into my face.
I looked on with wide eyes as Temari and Krissy began to discuss which one would be best for the dress, taking into account the Suna heat.
I frowned at the cloth that they held up, and rolled my eyes, letting them talk to each other while I looked on my own. I caught a sight of white fabric out of the corner of my eye and went to the corner of the room pushing away a light blue bolt, finding an ivory lace.
I bit my lip, reaching towards the fabric, the entire bolt falling into my arms. I looked at it closely, turning to show Temari when my foot tangled in the blue fabric that I had pushed away a moment before.
I tumbled backwards, landing hard on my butt and groaning softly.
I saw two heads swing towards me, both sets of eyes widening, a gasp coming from Krissy as Temari rushed towards me.
''Are you all right, Ria?''
I smiled sheepishly and nodded.
''Yeah. I'm just clumsy. But I found some fabric that I like!''
Temari helped me to my feet, laughing as I rubbed at my sore backside and took the fabric from me.
We walked back towards Krissy, who's eyes were wide, her hands shaking slightly as she wrung them in front of her.
''I am so sorry! This place is such a mess and I should have warned you before you went exploring on your own.''
I smiled at her and shook my head, waving a dismissive hand.
''It's not your fault. I should have been paying attention. It was completely my fault.''
older woman bit her lips, and Temari jumped in before I could wonder
what was wrong.
''There's no need to worry, Krissy. Gaara won't be angry that Ria fell. She trips at home all the time and he knows how clumsy she is.''
I nodded quickly, hurrying to agree and calm the older woman.
''Yeah. And he just laughs at me. So it's really no big deal.''
Krissy nodded and took the lace from Temari, looking over it.
''I had completely forgotten about this. I have some cream silk that would look wonderful underneath this. Would that be alright?''
I nodded, smiling widely.
''I think that I would like that.''
She nodded and placed the fabric on the table, picking up her sketch book.
''I'm glad that we have your dress figured out. But we still need to decide on the bridesmaids styles. Do you know what you want?''
''I want them in different styles. Though I think that all of them should be short? About knee length?''
Krissy nodded and began to draw.
''Do you want them all the same color?''
''I don't really care. Whatever you think is best. I'm not that great at this type of thing.''
Krissy nodded, her hand flying across the paper, already sketching out the images in her mind.
Temari touched my arm, motioning for me to follow her, which I did quietly. Once we reached the main room, Temari smiled.
''Krissy gets irritated when anyone interrupts her sketching.''
I nodded, smiling at the waving Dori while we exited the shop.
Butterball began to wriggle in Temari's arms when we stepped into the Suna sunlight.
She set him on the ground and he ambled after us, his short legs trying to keep up with our fast pace.
''Now that that's finished we can move on to other things. Like flowers, and guest lists...And food preparations.''
I groaned, rubbing my eyes tiredly.
''I'm glad that you're here, Temari. I don't think I would be able to handle all these rules without you.''
She grinned, reminding me of Kankuro's silly smile, making me laugh.
I saw the Kazekage tower come into sight and bit my lip, looking at Temari hopefully.
She sighed and handed the huffing panda to me.
''Go on. I'm sure that Gaara will be happy to see you.''
I smiled and hugged her quickly.
''Thanks, Temari! We'll talk more when I get home, okay? About the wedding plans and stuff.''
She laughed and returned my hug before pushing me away, towards the tower.
''Go on, Ria! I'll see you later.''
I nodded and jogged towards the tower, not pausing to acknowledge the strange looks that the villagers were giving me.
I entered the tower, pausing by the secretary who was working on some papers.
He looked up at me, waving a dismissive hand.
''Lord Kazekage isn't in his office right now, but go ahead and wait for him in there. He's had a...pretty trying day.''
I thanked him, sending him a small smile before entering the office, finding that the paperwork on the desk had increased.
I placed Butterball on the floor before moving to sit in Gaara's chair, turning it too look out over Suna, enjoying the sunlight that streamed through the window. My mind began to wander. Thinking about what I had left to do for the wedding.
I sighed, closing my tired eyes, letting the warm sunlight wash across my face, running over the rules of the wedding in my head and comparing them to the plans that I was making.
I frowned as I felt something rough run over my bare skin, opening my eyes slightly to see what was irritating me, finding sand circling my wrists and ankles.
I looked around the room not finding Gaara, but unable to turn the chair to look behind me since the sand had me pinned. I rolled my eyes, hearing movement behind me.
''You know, I'm not sure how I feel about this whole not moving to see you thing.''
I heard another movement a second before Gaara entered my vision, moving to lean over me, his hands coming to rest on the chair arms.
The way he was positioned, his back against the sun, shadows covering his face made me unable to see his face. Though his voice as he spoke was low and full of amusement.
''Hello, Love. Did you miss me?''
I rolled my eyes and shrugged slightly.
''Would I be here if I didn't?'
I saw a flash of white, showing off his teeth as he grinned.
''Probably not. Especially since this is earlier than you normally get up.''
''Your sister took me wedding dress shopping.''
He nodded, leaning closer and burying his face in my neck.
''I thought she might take over eventually. Temari always wanted someone to dress up. She tried a few times with Kankuro.''
I laughed, tugging at my bonds.
''Are you going to let me go anytime soon, or just keep me pinned to the chair?''
I felt him smirk against my skin, nipping lightly.
''Hm. I would like to keep you like this. But I need my chair.''
I nodded and he pulled away, causing me to squeak as he picked me up, taking my spot on the chair before settling me in his lap.
He turned the chair back towards the desk while I frowned up at him.
''Gaara. Your sand is still wrapped around me.''
He nodded, pressing a kiss to my forehead.
''I know that, Love. I'm making sure that you don't leave me until I let you.''
I laughed and shook my head.
He smirked, pulling me closer, one of his hands accidentally sliding over my hip, causing me to wince as a small twinge of pain went through me.
Gaara noticed, his eyes instantly alert, his back stiffening.
I smiled at him sheepishly, shrugging my shoulders.
''I tripped when I was at the dress shop today. I fell on my butt and I think it's bruised.''
Gaara blinked at me stupidly for a moment, before his body began to shake and he buried his face in my hair. His voice trembling when he spoke.
''I can see that happening to you. Did you trip over a flat surface again, Love?''
I huffed and shook my head.
''No! My foot got wrapped up in some fabric.''
He nodded, though his body continued to shake.
''Whatever you say, my love. You're still clumsy.''
I sighed, shrugging slightly, deciding to change the subject.
''I do have something that I need to discuss with you. About some of the rules that I read about.''
He nodded and pulled away from me, his face turning serious.
''Alright. Is something wrong?''
I shrugged, biting my lip.
''I don't know. Some of them are just hard to fulfill. Like the ones concerning my family. Apparently it's required to have the brides parents present at the wedding. And I don't know how we would be able to do that. Not with Dolly and Die.''
Gaara frowned and I could almost see the wheels in his head turning thoughtfully.
''It's important to you for your family to be at our wedding. Right?''
I hesitated, before nodding slowly.
''Yeah. I mean, I don't want you to risk anything, or for them to get hurt, but I would like for them to be there.''
He nodded before turning a confident smile towards me.
I will take care of it, Love. They are your family, and if you want them there, then they will be.''
I smiled and kissed him quickly, sealing the deal.
He smirked as I pulled back, lifting a hand to tangle in my hair, capturing my lips in a longer kiss.
I pulled away after a few minutes, needing to draw in a breath. I leaned my head against his shoulder, resting against him.
''I decided on the color theme to our wedding. How do you feel about crimson and silver?''
''Whatever you want, Love. As long as you marry me, you could have a pink and lime green wedding and I wouldn't mind.''
I laughed, the image of Gaara surrounded by hot pink Gerber daisies and a lime green top hat too funny.
When I shared this vision with him he scowled, shaking his head.
''Never-mind. I don't want those colors. It would clash with my hair.''
My calming laughter came back full force at that and I buried my face in his neck, feeling his pulse jump as my lips touched his skin.
I calmed after a few more moments, inhaling the lingering scent of his shampoo. I felt his arms tighten around me as I nuzzled his neck, a smirk coming to my lips. It was time for some payback from the day before.
I began to nip at his skin, feeling him tense under me, his pulse and breathing increasing.
''Ria, what are you doing?''
I shrugged, feeling his arms tightening around me as my teeth scrapped across his pulse.
I hesitated before letting my teeth sink into that spot, pulling back slightly after hearing him gasp. I laid a soothing kiss to the abused skin before pulling away, finding his eyes dazed.
He swallowed hard before speaking.
''W...why did you do that?''
''I thought that I owed you for biting me yesterday in the library.''
He frowned, the haze in his eyes clearing slightly.
''That's what biting feels like? And you complained? That didn't hurt at all.''
I stared at him for a moment before snickering.
''I guess you liked that, huh?''
He nodded, moving the collar of my shirt, finding the mark that he had left, passing his fingers across the abused skin.
''Will I have a mark like you?''
''Maybe. I didn't bit you as hard as you did to me. So you might have a dark spot for a day or two, but your robes will cover it so it's not noticeable.''
Gaara frowned and scoffed.
''I don't mind people seeing the marks you left on me.''
I rolled my eyes, laying a kiss to the mark I had made. I felt Gaara pause for a moment before tugging at my hair, causing me to pull back. I gave him a curious look, gasping as he slammed his mouth to mine, his lips moving harshly.
I groaned softly, trying to pull my hands free from the binding sand, wanting to tangle them in his hair.
I whined as the sand refused to budge, causing Gaara to pull away, nipping at my lip as he did so.
''Something wrong, Love?''
I felt myself pouting, holding up my arms.
''Let me go?''
Gaara hesitated before turning an impish smile towards me.
''But I like having you like this.''
''But I can't hold onto you with my wrists tied up.''
He sighed and I felt the sand slowly drifting away. The instant that I was free I moved to straddle him, bringing my hands up to tangle in his hair, smiling widely.
''See? This is better.''
He smirked, pulling me closer.
''For the moment, I guess you're right. It's easier for me to kiss you this way.''
I nodded and leaned forward, letting him press his lips back to mine.
I shifted myself closer tugging at his hair sharply, hearing a growl curl its way from his throat.
His hands were clutching at my back, his fingers beginning to dig into the skin and I pulled away with a wince. Gaara snarled slightly, his mouth instantly lowering to my neck, nipping at the skin.
I frowned, noticing for the first time that he was acting strangely. Almost like he did before the full moon, though that wasn't for another two weeks.
I tugged at his hair, pulling him to look at me, seeing the hidden emotions in his eyes.
''Gaara? What's wrong. hon?''
He froze, his back stiffening and he looked away.
''It's nothing. At least nothing that I can't handle.''
I placed a hand on his cheek, moving his face towards mine.
''I don't doubt that. But I know that it will make you feel better if you tell me what's wrong. I know that your secretary said that you have had a rough day. Why don't you tell me about it?''
He hesitated before sighing, letting his head rest against my shoulder.
''The council member that hurt you has escaped. He attacked the ninja's that I commissioned to watch him and fled Suna. He left a note saying that he would give away Suna secrets to neighboring villages if we went after him. The remaining Council Members are demanding his life. They're afraid that the other villages will attack us if they think they have an advantage.
Which is ridiculous. We have a very good relationship with the Leaf now. It would be suicide for any of the other villages to attack us.''
I nodded, wrapping my arms around him.
''That sucks. What are you going to do?''
''I don't know. I almost have to send a team after him. He is a danger to Suna.''
I sighed, running my fingers through his hair.
''You do what you gotta do, hon. And what you think is best. Not what someone else tells you.''
He smiled slightly.
''I'll try, Ria. Though I'm not sure how all of this will turn out.''
I shrugged, sending him a comforting smile.
''It will be okay...Believe it!''
He grinned, shaking his head slightly.
''I'm sure that Naruto would be thrilled that you are picking up on his catch phrase.''
I laughed and shook my head.
''Only because it makes you smile.''
He smiled, resting his head on top of mine.
''Does Temari have Butterball?''
I shook my head.
''No. He's roaming around here somewhere.''
Gaara lifted his head, searching for the panda, frowning when he couldn't find him.
He placed me on the floor, before standing, searching the room more thoroughly. I took over his chair, watching him in amusement as he knelt to look under the couch.
I felt something move over my leg and looked under the desk, finding large brown eyes staring up at me.
I laughed, catching Gaara's attention.
''He's under the desk, hon.''
Gaara frowned and moved towards me, leaning under the desk and picking up the panda.
''You would make a better ninja than most of the shinobi that live in this village.''
Butterball wagged his tail, causing Gaara to smirk before he placed him in my lap.
''Will you stay with me the rest of the day.''
''I promised your sister that I would talk to her about the wedding plans tonight.''
He frowned before looking out the window with a sigh.
''I guess that's important. You said that there was a lot to do?''
''Yeah. But, Gaara, if you want me to stay here with you, then I will. I'm not going to ditch you for wedding planning if you need me.''
He turned his eyes back to mine, smiling softly.
''I'm fine, Love. You being here and talking with you has made me realize what I need to do. I'll need to inform the council of my decision. Then I have some paperwork that has to be done tonight, but I'm going to try to be home for dinner. As long as you're cooking.''
I smiled, nodding quickly.
''Yeah. As long as you promise to be home, I'll make sure that I'm the one that cooks...I'll even make you pancakes.''
I saw his eyes light up, and he leaned down to kiss me quickly.
''You have yourself a deal, Love!''
I laughed and stood from the chair, the panda still in my arms.
''I better get home then. Before Temari decides that she needs to cook.''
He nodded quickly, though his hand grasped my arm, pulling me towards him. He wrapped his arms around me, leaning his cheek on my hair, just holding me for a moment.
''Do you want me to walk you home?''
I rolled my eyes.
''No. I'll be fine. And it IS the middle of the day.''
He nodded, his arms tightening around me. We stood like, enjoying the moment of silence... Until the door opened, causing Gaara to lift his head, throwing a glare at the intruder.
I looked over my shoulder, seeing a Council Member and hid a sigh. This would make the second Council Member that had walked into Gaara's office, catching us in some sort of embrace. Unlike the last however, this one's eyes narrowed in a glare, his dislike for me apparent.
His shoulders were stiff as he spoke, his voice harsh.
''I have come to ask for your response to the discussion we had this morning.''
Gaara's arms tightened and I saw that he was shooting icy daggers at the man when I turned to look at him. His voice cold when he answered.
''Call a meeting. I'll be there in ten minutes.''
The man nodded and was turning to leave when Gaara's voice stopped him. Causing the man to turn back around.
''Shiro. You will treat my fiance with respect, unlike how you just did. Remember that she will hold the title of Lady Kazekage in a few months.''
The man frowned before bowing slightly.
''Forgive me. I will go find the other Council Members now.''
Gaara growled when the door closed, his eyes flashing from aqua to gold.
I frowned and stood on my toes laying a kiss to his lips quickly. He looked down at me, his face startled, his eyes fading to their normal color.
I smiled softly.
''You can't get angry every time someone disapproves of our relationship, Gaara. I am an outsider from a non-ninja village, with no political ties or experience. It was pointed out to me today that I keep to myself for the most part. Which is true.''
''What do you mean? You go to the market.''
''But not very often. And it's not like I stand out when I'm there. Unless I'm with you or Temari, very few people think that I'm anything but a visitor. So it's no wonder why some of the council is wary of me.''
He sighed and shook his head.
''They should trust my judgment enough to not question my decisions.''
I nodded, leaning against him, being careful not to smother the panda that I still held in my arms.
''They should. But let them get used to me before you go bazerk on them. Okay?''
Gaara nodded slowly, laying a kiss to my forehead.
''Yeah. I guess I was about to loose my control.''
I smiled and nodded, giving him another kiss before pulling out of his arms.
''Alright. I'm going to go home. I don't want you late for your meeting.''
''Alright, Love. I'll see you at home. Be safe.''
I nodded, giving him a bright smile while walking towards the door.
''I will be. Love you.''
''I love you too, Ria.''
I shifted Butterball, sending Gaara a small wave before walking out the door, finding that the secretary was strangely missing from his post.
I shrugged, not really caring about what he was doing and left the Kazekage tower, making my way back towards Gaara's home.