:: Author's Notes ::

About the whole 'should Naruto live or die' thing, that was supposed to be a joke ;) But that's okay; I didn't get a single 'die' vote, and I GUESS I won't kill him off xD I'm really sorry that the chapters are so short... I have a lot of trouble staying on more than an hour because my mom's really strict about stuff like that. It's a lame, sad excuse but it's true :/

Sasuke: HAHA your MOM won't let you stay online. I don't have such mediocre restrictions!

That's 'cause your parents are DEAD, Sassy-UchihaButt.

Sasuke: Oh... yeah. Right.

Anyway, now that I'm done arguing with a charcter that isn't mine but that I do have verbal control of, enjoy! I really am going to try and make it long.

Every time I read new reviews, I start giggling, sometimes snorting (I know, I'm even amazed I have friends) and then my dog looks at me funny and walks out of the room, but that's okay! I love everyone who has reviewed, all of you make my day and give me fuel to keep writing!!

And I will most definitely be reading(and reviewing!) Vanya Starwind's Sakura and Itachi fiction. If anybody else has odd couplings, PLEASE let me know and I will be super happy to R&R them!!


"Here." Naruto handed Temari an icepack to lay on her bandaged hand, uncomfortably shifting his eyes away when she winced in pain.

She nodded her thank-you, casting him the smallest tweak of a smile.

It had all been a huge mess- Temari became scared out of her wits upon seeing the candle's glow against Kankuro and the Crow's plasticine-like faces, and had hit the wall hard. Gaara automatically reacted when his sister screamed for help, and knowing that Kankuro wouldn't have tried to kill her, went for Naruto. But her cry had stopped him in his tracks, moments before Naruto would have engaged in a fight with him.

Now, she was sitting on the cushiony seats of her living couch, opposite her brothers, who were seated on chairs. Naruto sat beside her on the armrest of the couch.

"I would think you of all people wouldn't freak when you saw the Crow." grinned Kankuro, his hand clutching the spiky head of his puppet. He swiveled the base a few times for emphasis and amusement.

Temari glared at her brother, still somewhat angry. "Do you know how scary that damned puppet is? You could've killed me, I was so frightened."

Kankuro's eyes widened slightly, and he took in a small breath.

The comment had caught him off guard; Temari would never admit a weakness like this one, but he cast it aside, spreading his slim, toothy grin again and gazing at something across the room.

"You still haven't told me why you've come." she stared at both of the men sternly, breaking the tension of the room abruptly.

Inside, her heart was beating heavily, and she swore they could hear it.

Kankuro glanced to Gaara, who held a steady gaze with his Temari.

"We have been sent not only to bring you back... but to bring news." he said calmly.

She raised her chin. "I am not returning to that hellhole of a home with a child." she snarled firmly, and stood to her feet, clenching the ice pack tightly in her fist.

An angered snort escaped Kankuro. "Baka! As if we didn't know you would say that. And don't try to guilt us into anything just because you're pregnant."

"Don't call me an idiot!" yelled Temari in defense.

"Oh, and someone who has an accidental child and then just runs away isn't?!"

A smack resonated through the room, echoing against the bare walls.

Kankuro reeled and held his mouth, which Temari had fiercely slapped.

"Agh! Temari, God, what's your problem?!" he demanded. Her nails had left bleeding claw marks across his cheek, while her fingers had nearly broken one of his teeth.

"You! Why the hell couldn't you have just left me alone?! I was doing fine here- I have a job, I have friends, I'm happy... None of these things... I never had these in Sunakagure!!" She was on the edge of crying, but still held her chest high and kept her authority.

Silence.

Heaving, Temari looked down at Kankuro, the tears moments from spilling down her cheeks. He looked away. He hadn't seen her cry since...

Don't look at me, freak!

"Why don't you come home? We wouldn't let him..." said Gaara, interrupting the silence with an angered tone.

Temari gazed up at him, and rivaled at how tall he was. The only pictures she had of him were from when he was in the Chuunin exam, before and after. She had been looking at pictures of her family everyday, and had forgotton how handsome and lean he was now.

He seemed genuinely worried- his eyes weren't entirely open and alert, but squinted and... confused, even? His red hair was untrimmed and ragged, and he seemed mad, but unwilling to hurt her.

"I just don't think that... anyone could... protect..." she spat the last word, hating the taste of it on her tongue.

"Wait- who? Who would hurt Temari?" demanded Naruto, his eyebrows pushing together in frustration. Temari had told him nothing of her situation, and this whole time, he had been confused.

Kankuro quirked an eyebrow at him. "Our father. I somehow doubt he'd be pleased that his first grandchild was a bastard. In fact, I know it."

"What does that mean?" asked Temari, truly not wanting to hear what she knew was coming.

"...you know... what it means... Temari."

Kankuro would not look at her.

"He's killed him."

Temari glanced up, hearing her brother's voice die away at the end of his sentence. "Oh, God. No..." her breathing became quicker, and her wounded hand ignored the pain and clutched the area over her heart. Desperately, she looked away, her eyeline glancing to Gaara, the floor, the glass gourd across the room... anything.

"Assassinated only two days ago." admitted Gaara, sorrow hanging ever so loosely from his gaze.

Tears lingered at the corner of her eyes, a few shallow ones rolling down her cheeks in silence. There was perhaps a full minute of silence before she stood to her feet, both hands resting on her stomach.

"The couch folds out into a bed. Just put the other furniture in the spare room, please. There are linens in the closet."

Without another word, she left the room, stepping into her bedroom and closing the door behind her.
:: Author's Notes ::

I wasn't sure how to portray Gaara- I wanted him to be all mean and smecksay but protective of Temari. Oh well- I just hope you Gaara-fans think I did okay :)