Chapter Six : If You Want
Disclaimers: None, really. At least, none that I haven't already made clear. Don't worry, Gaara'll go back in character around the other characters...
Gaara: Damn straight.
Starr: Chill out, both of you.
- - - - -
They were looking for her. Again.
Hinata had been missing for two days. They were all pretty positive that she hadn't left the village, but even so, she hadn't been coming to help Ino, and she hadn't been showing up for the training missions.
So, naturally, Kiba, Naruto, Sakura, Lee, and Tenten had taken a break in their Find the Missing Ninja panic (the sequel) and made their way to her apartment.
"Well, if she's not here, I don't know where else to look," Kiba said, scratching his temple.
"Shouldn't we have looked here first?" Sakura asked dryly, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Look on the bright side!" Lee exclaimed. "She'll probably be in the last place we'll look!"
"Well, yeah, because it would be stupid to keep looking for her after we found her," Tenten said, thwaping the black haired male.
"I'll knock!" Naruto exclaimed, bouncing on the balls of his feet before hurrying over to the door and barraging it with knocks.
He stopped when he heard her drowsy 'Yeah...?' on the other side of the door. He opened his mouth to say something before he thought he heard another voice. All five of them pressed their ears to the wood to see if they could make out who it was.
"Don't get up..." groaned a distinctly male voice.
"I have to get u-ACK! Let go!"
"No. If you get up I won't have a blanket anymore."
"Well, you'll just have to deal."
"Not if you don't get up."
"I have to get up."
"Nope. Not letting you."
"But-" She cut herself off by giggling. "Stop it."
Blushing, the five of them exchanged 'We'll come back later' looks and retreated quickly before they heard anything else that they probably shouldn't.
They were really just lying on Hinata's couch, fully clothed except for the fact that Gaara seemed to have lost his shirt somehow. Hinata was lying on top of him since that was where he had dragged her, and he was disinclined to let her up again.
"Come on, lemme get up," she protested, thwapping him lightly on the shoulder.
"Fine, fine," he said, spreading his arms so that she wasn't being held against his chest anymore. She giggled and gave him a brief kiss on the nose, enjoying watching him blink and cross his eyes as a reflex.
Getting up, she saw a note that had been pushed under her door.
We need to talk! Really badly! Meet us at Ichiraku's ramen shop as soon as you're...um...done, kays?
-Tenten and Sakura
Hinata smiled and shook her head before calling out. "Gaara-kun?"
"...yes?" he answered, still not used to being called that name, as he pulled his shirt back on to ward off the cold that was assaulting his chest.
"I have to go out for a little while. You can stay here, or..." she trailed off, figuring he would probably insert what he was going to do.
"I'm just going to go out to the forest," he answered, strapping on his gourd and sash.
"Okay," she said with a smile. "I'll be out there a little while later."
"Alright." They kissed briefly before going their separate ways; Hinata running to the ramen shop, and Gaara slowly making his way to the forest.
"So who is he?"
Hinata blinked as a chorus of three voices met her as soon as she stepped into the shop.
"Good morning to you, too," she said with a laugh, sitting next to Tenten. "And who is who?"
"The...the...the the the the the guy we heard you with!" Sakura started, waving her hands.
Hinata blushed a little. "Oh...him," she said before giggling. "Just...a friend," she said unconvincingly, ordering a bowl of ramen.
"Bullhonky!" Ino exclaimed, leaning over Tenten to poke Hinata with her chopsticks. "Okay, so I wasn't exactly there, but I heard what happened!"
"Nothing happened, really. I was just lying on top of him."
"On top of who?" Sakura asked, waving her hands again.
"Do we know this guy?" Tenten asked, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Is he from Konoha?"
"...THAT BOY YOU TRAVELLED WITH!" they all exclaimed at once.
Hinata sighed. "Alright, alright, it was him, it was him," she consented, blowing on a mouthful of ramen to cool it before eating it as delicately as ramen could be eaten.
"So is he your boyfriend now?"
They all blinked a few times. "Then what?" Tenten asked in confusion.
Hinata smiled. "Fiancée."
"Oi, Gaara, is that really you?"
Gaara blinked a few times before glancing over his shoulder as a certain blonde ran over to him, a look of confusion on his face.
"No," Gaara answered, just to see what the youth would say.
"...yeah, it is," Naruto said with a grin. "Only you would say something like that. Gimme a hug!"
"Don't touch me," he growled, crossing his arms over his chest. "What do you want, Uzumaki?"
Naruto laughed. He sure hadn't changed much. "Well, I'm bored," he said as Shikamaru, Kiba, Shino, and Sasuke came over to see what the hell the blonde was doing. They all twitched and got 'doom' lines under their left eyes when they saw Gaara.
"I honestly don't know what you want me to do about that," Gaara answered blandly, barely even giving a glance to the other three.
"Well, what are you doing here?"
"I'm here on business."
"No, my own," he answered quietly, looking up at the sky.
"Ooooh." Naruto nodded in the way that he did when he had no idea what was going on, but wanted you to think that he did.
"I have to go," Gaara said simply before continuing to walk in the same direction he had been.
Hinata left the ramen shop with no further explanation on the fiancée situation, humming a little tune to herself as she walked down the street towards the woods. She really hoped she would be able to find Gaara easily, and hoped he wouldn't be mad that she had had to say something about her getting engaged.
At least she hadn't mentioned him...yet.
"You really think she won't know we're here?" Ino whispered. Tenten shrugged.
The three of them had decided to follow Hinata, their curiosity getting the better of them as it tended to do.
"I hope not, or we won't find anything out," Sakura said, and the other two nodded in agreement.
Hinata was lost in her own little world, and in fact didn't notice that she was being followed as she continued into the forest.
"This is stupid."
"You got a better idea?"
"No, not really."
"We could go home."
"I really have no preference either way."
"Will you guys shut up?" Naruto hissed, glaring at the other four. They merely shrugged.
Either Gaara hadn't noticed that he was being followed or he just flat didn't care – either way, he completely ignored the five ninjas in the bushes that surrounded the clearing he had stopped in.
"What's he doing?" Kiba whispered quietly.
"How should I know? Choosing his next victim or something?"
"Or trying to find the answer to life, the universe, and everything?"
The guys blinked as Tenten, Sakura, and Ino came up behind them. "Fancy meeting you five here. You guys being stalkers as well?"
They all stopped talking as they saw someone else come into the clearing. Gaara turned his head to look at her – Hinata just looked evenly back at him.
"Oh shit," Kiba murmured.
That was all any of them could get out before sand streaked out of Gaara's gourd and wrapped around Hinata, pulling her closer to him.
They were about to jump to her defense, but then Gaara just started talking with her.
"Have fun?" he asked evenly, quirking his eyebrow (or lack thereof) at the blue haired girl.
"Actually, yes," she said with a giggle, tracing her finger through some of the sand that was wrapped around her. "But...don't get mad...I told them I was engaged."
Gaara looked a tad suspicious. "And they...?"
"...pestered me to tell them to whom. I didn't, though," she added quickly.
He shrugged. "You know that if you had, they would have tried to talk you out of it, right?"
"Ah," she muttered, sighing and hanging her head. "They're so stubborn and they wouldn't listen anyway.
Then, they heard a sound that was foreign to them – Gaara started laughing. "It can't be that bad," he said, smiling a little.
"Yes it can!" she exclaimed, a little frustrated that she was engaged and couldn't say to whom.
He quieted her with a gentle kiss.
The rest of them just stared in shock.
"SABAKU NO GAARA!"
Hinata winced a little and smiled sheepishly from her seat in Sakura's apartment. "Uh...yeah?"
Tenten couldn't help but laugh as Sakura and Ino face-faulted.
"What's so bad about it?" Hinata asked defensively, crossing her arms over her chest.
"...he didn't force you into it or anything, did he?" Ino asked suspiciously.
"No! It was just..." she began, telling them what had happened over the six months she had been gone.
"Wow, I didn't know he could be chivalrous," Sakura said, looking thoughtful.
"Neither did I," Hinata answered with a sigh. "But really, he's been nothing but a perfect gentleman to me...well, in his own sort of way."
"As long as you really love him, and he really loves you, I think it's great," Tenten said with a nod.
Hinata just smiled.
They got married six months later.
It was a simple wedding, mainly just family and friends, since Gaara wasn't particularly fond of large gatherings.
"You okay?" Shino asked Kiba, glancing over at his teammate.
Kiba gave him a bittersweet smile and shrugged. "I guess," he answered. "Besides, I wouldn't want to get her with me if she's happier with him," he added, closing his eyes.
"How thoughtful of you," Shino said, rolling his eyes.
"He's really not that bad of a guy," Naruto murmured to Sasuke, who nodded.
"Yeah, he's easier to get along with once you get to know him, that's for sure. I guess he's just always in a sour mood unless he's around Hinata."
"Well, at least something can brighten him up," Naruto said with a nod.
"She had a crush on you, you know."
Naruto blinked. "What?"
"Hinata. She had a crush on you for the longest time."
"...I didn't know this," Naruto said, blinking again.
"Well, of course you didn't..."
Temari and Kankurou were watching quietly, the only two over on the groom's side.
"You think he'll be a little easier to get along with after this?" Temari asked her brother, leaning on her fan.
"Well, I guess. He hasn't threatened to kill me in at least two weeks."
"A new record, I assume."
"Yeah, you can say that."
As soon as the reception began, Hinata smiled and wrapped her arms around Gaara's neck. "I love you, Gaara-kun," she said with a smile, resting her head on his shoulder.
He blushed lightly – he couldn't help blushing every time she told him she loved him. But he smiled as well. "I love you too...Hina-chan," he replied, wrapping his arms around her waist.
Gaara sighed and removed his pen from his mouth, not wanting to choke on it when he got glomped by a frightened little boy.
"Daddy," a little four year old whined as he ran into Gaara's study and clung to his arm. He had long blue hair and white eyes with a slight turquoise tint, and tiny black rings around his eyes from occasional refusal to sleep.
"What, Zell?" Gaara asked, placing the little boy on his knee.
"Mommy hates me."
"What's she doing?"
"Tryin' to give me a bath. I don't want one."
"Sorry, can't help you there," he said with a shrug.
"There you are!" Hinata exclaimed as she stormed into the room and picked Zell up, managing to get Gaara's shirt out of his grip.
She glared at his suppressed laughter. "You wanna do this?" she asked sourly.
"Not particularly," he responded, still trying to keep in his laughter as he leaned up and kissed her cheek.
"Ew," Zell said, making a face. Hinata just smiled.
"Come on, Zell." She managed to give the boy a bath and get him into bed, finding Gaara in his study again.
"Aren't you coming to bed?"
In response, he set down his book and pulled her into his lap. "You look like you've had a tiring day."
"That's because I have! I've had to go shopping, cook, help Ino plan her wedding, take care of Zell all day...while you sit in here doing Kazekage stuff! Maybe we should trade roles once in a while so you can see what it's like taking care of..."
He quieted her with a gentle kiss.
- - - - -
Yes, long-awaited chapter. Give me a break, I'm sick.
Gaara: And yet, that doesn't prevent you from torturing me more.
Gaara: Except when it comes to Hinata.
Hinata: I should hope so.
Starr: Anyways, I'm not doing the friendly shoutout show this time, because I am SO SICK. Well, that's all she wrote. Hope you guys liked the story, and will stick around to read my others!