"Do you know... your brother looks ... well, he looks kind of like a teddy bear?"

They were the first words she'd ever said to him - a little girl in an oversized coat, shoulders hunched and eyes hidden behind a fringe of black hair that looked blue beneath the stadium lights. For a second, he'd wondered how she'd even survived this far – she didn't even look as though she could speak aloud, let alone kill.

"Yes," said Gaara shortly.

Her sky-blue gaze dropped to the ground, face flushed with the effort of speaking to the total stranger.

"Don't you… don't you ever…"

He was staring at her, at the funny little blush on her face and at the way she wrung out her hands as she spoke, strangely reveling in her obvious discomfort.

"D-don't you ever want to give him a … a big hug?" she finally choked out, an awkward smile curling in the corner of her mouth. "Or tw-tweak the little ears on his head-dress? He j-just looks so cuddly…"



She cringed visibly and looked back toward her team mates, and for the first time ever, Gaara wondered if he hadn't said the wrong thing.