Title: Blow Out the Candle

Summary: Gaara does not celebrate birthdays. Or, at least, he didn't use to. Gaara/Sakura.

Author's notes: I like experimenting with the different ships in Naruto. And I like birthdays.

Betaed: By the nice people at narutobetas

Rating: Um, PG/K plus

Time-setting: The future. Sasuke? Sasuke who?

-!-

"There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents ... and only one for birthday presents, you know." –Lewis Carroll

-!-

Gaara had never celebrated a birthday. Temari would celebrate hers with cakes of gigantic sizes. Kankuro would celebrate his with bottles of the best alcohol and people who adored and feared him. But Gaara never understood the concept of birthdays, and all he asked—threatened, really—was to be left alone.

The first year he and Sakura formed a relationship, she appeared on his doorstep with a cupcake and a single candle, already lit. She smiled one of her beautiful smiles and said, "Today is the nineteenth."

She let herself in, ignoring his look of annoyance, and motioned for him to follow. "Happy birthday, Gaara-sama," she whispered, kissing him on the cheek.

He eyed the candle suspiciously. "What do I do with that?" he asked.

"You blow it out and make a wish," Sakura said patiently, wondering if he was only trying to be difficult. "You can make a really selfish wish, if you want. But you can't tell me what it is."

"This is a stupid tradition," Gaara said. He didn't like birthdays. It was a habit from his childhood. Why should it change now?

"Are you going to blow it out?" Sakura asked.

"No."

"Ok," and she blew it out herself.

But he made a wish. He wished she'd stay by his side.

-!-

The second year they were together she appeared with another cupcake and another candle. He had been about to leave his house, heading for the office, when she stopped him and pulled him back inside.

"Today's the nineteenth," she whispered happily, brushing his hair away from his face to see his tattoo.

"It's a stupid tradition," he said.

"It's not stupid!" she exclaimed, looking annoyed.

Gaara smiled, but stood his ground.

"You make a wish and your wish will come true," Sakura continued. "Come on, Gaara-sama."

His last wish had come true. It had been an entire year, and she still hadn't left him. Perhaps he was starting to see that birthdays weren't entirely useless, but he wouldn't let her know.

"Are you going to blow the candle out, Gaara-sama?" she asked.

"No," he answered.

"Okay," and she blew it out herself.

He wished that she would stop calling him Gaara-sama.

-!-

Six months before his third birthday with her, Sakura stopped referring to him as Gaara-sama. It wasn't easy, because she wasn't used to it. But then he started to kiss her, touch her, hold her close to him, and her bad habit began to melt away. As he took off his clothes, she touched his skin and whispered, "I love you, Gaara." He was happy at the lack of a suffix.

For his third birthday, then, he was surprised to see she did not come alone. Nor did she come with a cupcake. She came with a big chocolate cake and was accompanied by Temari and Kankuro.

"Today's the nineteenth," she said happily.

"Happy birthday!" his siblings added cheekily, but they smiled and they looked happy, so he smiled back.

There was only one candle and it was red like his hair, and Sakura asked him to blow it out.

"It's a stupid tradition," he said out of habit.

Sakura rolled her eyes. "This is the first birthday with your family," she said. "Would it kill you to blow out the stupid candle and make a wish?"

"Yes," he answered.

"Fine," and she blew out the candle herself.

He wished for a little something more.

-!-

On the fourth year they celebrated his birthday together, Sakura did not disappoint. She arrived with another chocolate cake, his siblings, and Naruto. Naruto brought presents, which was a new concept for Gaara. There were three in total, but Naruto told him to open them in private later on.

"Today's the nineteenth," said Sakura, holding up a glass of wine. She smiled and Gaara smiled back.

"To a very happy birthday!" agreed Kankuro.

"Blow out the candle," Sakura urged, leaning over Gaara's shoulder.

"It's a stupid tradition," he said.

Sakura grinned. "If you blow it out, I'll tell you a secret," she said.

Gaara glanced at her in surprise. He did not fail to notice his other guests were grinning. Apparently he was the only one that did not know about this secret.

"I'd do it, Gaara," said Naruto, with his odd grin.

Gaara blew out the candle because he was curious.

"I'm pregnant," Sakura whispered. It came out with a slight tremble, nervous and excited at the same time.

Gaara's eyes widened. He smiled, and he could not stop smiling.

When he opened Naruto's presents that night, he saw a small green pyjama with frogs on it, a large teddy bear, and a mobile of clouds and stars that played "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

Gaara didn't make a birthday wish that year. He didn't need to.