Wow, it's been a while since I updated this story… Thank you guys for bearing with my constant distraction from it! Lol! But anyways, I really hope this chapter pleases all of you that read WITS since I've still managed to leave poor Mako-chan Sasuke-less after all those years of her waiting to see him. Warning: Major fluffiness will occur throughout the chapter, possible 'awing' may come about and for your safety, read with caution due to the possibility of uncontrollable dreamy sighs. You have been warned… Lol.Enjoy you guys, you deserve it! Again, sorry for the super long delay!

Disclaimer: I own nothing

Desert Rose

Chapter Six: What The Little Things Teach You

-:- Last Time -:-

"We'll be meeting with the Council again, this time they won't speak out of turn. We have to discuss everything with them about the arrangements and how to go about addressing it to the public before the rumors spread like a disease." He said still not looking at her as she growled in aggravation.

"When?" She asked angrily.

"Tomorrow morning." He replied and she sighed again.

She would give anything to never see the faces of those men ever again!

Suddenly there was a knock at the door and Makoto's head snapped in the direction of the noise and looked at Gaara who stood up acting like he knew that it was going to occur.

He opened and Makoto's jaw dropped to the ground, her eyes the size of watermelons.

The man the stood before her was the one of the very people she was talking about. He had what looked to be a bandage wrapped around his head and some material hanging down in front of one side of his face. He looked at Makoto with a sympathetic look.

She shook the surprised and pissed expression off of her face and looked away.

"Kazekage-Sama." The man greeted and stepped through the door bowing slightly to his younger superior.

"Baki." Gaara greeted his once Sensei.

"Kino-Sama." The 'Sama' at the end of her name caught her off guard. She thought it over and guessed that maybe if she was going to be married to the Kazekage that would make her a higher stature than The Council.

"Please, just call me Makoto." Makoto insisted putting on her best smile and then glared at Gaara which screamed 'Why the Hell didn't you tell me we were having people over when I'm hung-over!?'

She noticed that he made no attempt to look or acknowledge her rays of doom and quietly snorted.

Makoto looked away and looked up at the man.

"I'm sure you're here to see Gaara, I'll make some tea." Makoto said and turned away but was stopped by Baki speaking.

"I'm not just here to see Kazekage-Sama, Makoto." Makoto turned around and looked at him skeptically.

Her expression told him to continue.

"I want to apologize for Yurra's outburst yesterday… He was out of place. He should be here instead of me, but I believe that you are someone that he doesn't want to trifle with any longer… And after what Kazekage-Sama told us about your purpose here… I believe you will no longer have any problems with him, or anyone else… Especially if you are able to suppress the Tanuki…" Baki spoke proudly as Makoto looked at him and smiled.

"That's right bitch! Fear me! I am Kino Makoto: Guardian of Jupiter! Hear me roar!" Makoto laughed to herself in her thoughts.

"Well… Arigato Baki-San." Makoto smiled at the man. She liked him, he was strong and wasn't a pussy like the man he was disrespecting… She would get along with this man. And he also seemed very loyal to Gaara, and she would respect that man for that.

"I'll go and make that tea now." Makoto said with a smile and walked away and into the kitchen.

-:-

"God I must look disgusting!... Good lord… how could Gaara not mention this to me!?..." Makoto's thoughts were broken by hearing the sound alerting her that the tea was done.

"I'll just deal with him once Baki-San leaves..." Makoto said to herself as she fixed the tea and walked back into the room.

She set the tea down and took her place next to Gaara and handed him a glass half surprised that he actually took it, but she knew he probably wouldn't drink it.

"As you both know… You will need to address the public soon before anything gets out of hand… And you will have to make all of the arrangements of the wedding soon, guest list, dress, location, invitations-"

"Do you double as a wedding planner or something?" Makoto asked as Baki sweat dropped.

"Kino…" Gaara seethed.

"What!? I don't know what we're going to do and I am NOT planning this all by myself, you're going to help me! It's not just my wedding, and I need to know your decisions too! I have enough stressful things on my mind right now." She snapped and took another sip of her tea…

"Um… Well you see-" Suddenly Baki was cut off by the door flying open.

"Get her off of me!" Kankuro screamed as he tried to get Hotaru off of his back, and Makoto's eye twitched as she held her head in pain.

"Aww! But Kanky-Kun, it's so fun up here! And mama and papa said it was okay! Don't you like me!? I- MAKO-CHAN!" Hotaru screamed and jumped off of Kankuro's back and glomped the suffering and foaming at the mouth Makoto.

"Mako-Chan, I missed you so much! I wish we didn't have to stay at that apartment, Kanky can't cook well and mama and papa have to go buy dinner every night! I miss your cooking, will you cook dinner for us tonight!?... Mako-Chan?... Are you okay?" Hotaru asked and shook the Senshi who had swirly eyes and had passed out because the pain in her head was so unbearable….

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH! Kanky-Kun! MAKO-CHAN'S DEAD! WAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Hotaru cried and hugged Makoto's body and Kankuro put his head in his hand and sighed deeply and picked the little seven year old up.

"Hotaru…?" He asked and turned her to face him, her tears spilling from her violet eyes.

"H-h-h-hai, K-Kank-ky?" She wept.

"Makoto isn't dead… You knocked her out…" Kankuro could have sworn that he watched her mind light up as she thought.

"Oh!... In that case, let's draw on her face!" Hotaru smiled mischievously as did Kankuro.

"That's the most intelligent thing I've heard you say since I met you Hotaru." Kankuro smiled and Hotaru scrunched up her face and knocked him over the head.

"Hey! I'm a genius! Don't talk to me like that you booger-head!" Hotaru spat and stuck out her tongue.

"Hn." Gaara growled and Hotaru gasped.

"Gaara-Kun!" She shouted and scrambled out of Kankuro's hold and onto Gaara's lap and hugged him.

"How are you Gaara-Kun!? So do you love Mako-Chan yet? You really should, because I'm pretty sure she loves you. You know, I heard her telling papa that she-"

Suddenly Makoto's eyes shot open and she realized what Hotaru was going to say next, and that was something she would NEVER want Gaara to know… At least right now.

She jumped up and took Hotaru away from Gaara and covered her mouth and laughed nervously.

"Hehehehehe! I was telling Ruka that she needed to be nicer to you because you mean no harm… Hehehehehehe! Yeah, yep…" Makoto blushed and saw that everyone in the room was watching her.

"Nu-uh! You said that you wanted to-"

"To tell Gaara that Ruka says that she's sorry!" Makoto laughed and covered the mini Senshi's mouth again sending her a glare.

"Sorry for what Koto?" A voice asked as Ruka and Michiru walked through the door.

Makoto's eye began to twitch at the irony of this situation.

"That you were sorry for being mean to Gaara and that you understand now." Makoto spoke and glared at her telling her that she better play along.

Too bad for Mako, Ruka was unable to detect the glare.

"Bullshit!! I didn't say that!" Haruka yelled and Baki almost choked on his tea.

"That's right Mako-Chan! Papa! Tell Mako-Chan that it's not right to lie!" Hotaru shouted and Makoto glared at her fuming.

"You little tattletale!"

"Kazekage-Sama? Who are these people?" Baki asked and Makoto and Gaara froze.

If Gaara had told the Council that Makoto was the only Senshi here, there plan would be blown!

"We're the other Sailor Senshi. You should know that, Setsuna should have already visited you." Haruka replied sternly.

Makoto didn't move and Gaara glared at the woman.

"Ruka…." Makoto whined helplessly.

"What? Kazekage-Sama, you told me that Makoto was the only one… Are there more than these three?" He asked and Gaara was about to reply, but Makoto did instead.

"Baki-San, please. Don't tell the other Council members! The life of our world, your Village as well as Konoha depends on this secret. Orochimaru wants our Queen and we were put here to protect her and find information outside of Konoha. Our Queen is there and if he finds out the slightest idea of where she is, many lives including ones here, will be lost… To put it more simply, if you tell the Council, you make yourself a death wish." Makoto finished her face completely serious.

Baki looked to Gaara for confirmation of what she was saying as the young redhead nodded ever so slightly.

Baki looked at the ground then back up at Makoto and Gaara.

"You have my word, Kazekage-Sama… I will keep this information to myself; I do believe there are some in our own circle that are not to be trusted…" Baki spoke and bowed to them all.

"I'm afraid I must now take my leave, they are expecting me back soon. Take care, Makoto, Kazekage-Sama…" Baki spoke then walked out the door.

The room was silent…

"Wow! Did you see that guy's cool outfit?! He looked like a guy from a movie!" Hotaru shouted and Makoto smiled slightly and walked into her the kitchen.

"You and I need to have a talk about repeating everything you hear…" Makoto spoke as her voice began to fade away.

-:-

After taking a few aspirin to dull the flooding pain that made her head throb she had to sit down and listen to Haruka berate her for drinking which certainly didn't help her poor head, and then she was to go into town just to walk around with Gaara so that people would see them up and about.

Kankuro had said something about them giving confidence to the villagers of Suna if the Kazekage was to be seen mingling with the people.

She walked alongside him, now used to the stares and whispers that she received, and she smiled enjoying the warm of the sun.

She did though miss the soggy moisture that the rain would bring quite frequently to Tokyo, but she now found herself warming up to Suna and its Kage.

She looked up at him out of the corner of her eye and smiled seeing him with his normal scowl on his face as he looked forward.

She huffed and looked the other way.

"How is it that you can walk around in those long robes and not die of heat?" She asked and brought the back of her hand to her forehead wiping the sweat away.

He glanced down at her and then looked back up.

"You get used to it." He replied and she sweat dropped.

He had been acting stranger than normal all day, and she couldn't stand it anymore.

"What's wrong with you?" She asked calmly and crossed her arms under her chest and she didn't let her eyes leave him.

"Nothing." He replied and she sighed angrily, now loosing her patience.

"Look, Gaara… I'm for one, not stupid and two, we're going to be…" He felt the wavering tone in her voice and knew what she was about to say.

"…and whether you like it or not, we're going to be married and whether you think so or not, I do care about more than just my well being." She spoke a small bit of pink appearing on her cheeks as she looked down at the ground not wanting to see what his reaction to her comment would be.

He looked down with almost a surprised expression to see that she was looking flustered and uncomfortable.

"She's being open, so why don't you give it a shot, kid?" Shukaku whispered in his thoughts.

Gaara growled at the sound of his voice and knew that he was planning something.

"Makoto-" Gaara turned to her to reply but she wasn't there. His brow furrowed and he heard her voice behind him.

"It's alright, see." She smiled while she kneeled down to a little red haired girl who had obviously skinned her knee.

She removed her hand and the girl looked at her knee, fresh tears still rolling down her face then gasped to see that the wound was gone.

Gaara watched in wonder how she had healed the girl.

"How did she do that?... Only medic-nin knows how to control their charka that well." Gaara thought.

"That Hotaru girl. That kid is an amazing healer, haven't you noticed? She's always healing her small cuts. I bet she taught Little Rose how to do that. You need to learn to be more observant." The demon answered as he growled.

The little girl looked up at Makoto who smiled down at her caringly.

"See, there's no-" Makoto was cut off by the little redhead jumping into her arms and hugging her.

"Thank you! You're so nice lady!" She shouted happily as Makoto wrapped her arms around her then patted her head.

"Hehe, you're welcome. Now do you promise you'll be careful?" She asked and handed the girl back her ball and she smiled and vigorously nodded her head.

"I promise!" She smiled and turned around; waving goodbye, then took off down the street.

Makoto stood up crossing her arms under her chest and watched as the little girl ran back over to her friends. She laughed as she watched her most likely telling them what Makoto had done and she kept pointing over at her and her friends gapped at the brunette in astonishment.

She giggled and turned around, a pleased smile spread across her lips.

"I don't deserve to be with anyone like her… She is loved by all… I've never had anything like that." Gaara thought and watched her walk back over to him.

"I don't belong with her, I have always been someone who was hated and feared, while she was loved and cared for… That girl trusted her." Gaara thought again as Makoto stood in front of him.

"Kid! Don't think like that! You need her, she completes you! You know the whole opposites attract thing and you both being polar opposites! You're perfect for each other!" The demon protested.

"I'm sorry I just walked away like that, I didn't want to leave her just sitting there an-"

"It's fine, let's go." He spoke and turned around while she stood there for a few minutes just watching him.

"Gaara… What really is wrong with you?" She thought sadly, hoping that he would have opened up to her a little more, but instead she was left out in the cold again.

She sighed and quickly caught up with him, her expression now crestfallen.

She had been noticing though that she was getting some awful glares, which belonged to many of the girls about her age.

She sighed and looked away from the group that they had just past and bit her bottom lip.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say that your fan club is a bit pissed with me… I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't try to kill me." She laughed trying to lighten the mood.

Needless to say it didn't help at all.

She clenched her fists and looked up at him again.

"Look, if you're going to act like a little kid, and pout over whatever the Hell's wrong with you then let's just go home because I can't stand much more of your pity party!" She growled and he pursed his lips into a straight line.

He didn't even look at her.

Was it her, that was bothering him? Normally he would have threatened her life by now, but it seemed that whatever was pestering him involved not looking and speaking to her.

She cast her eyes to the ground thinking. She had been quiet a nuisance lately, with her whole drunken thing and not listening to him when he told her to stay in the house, and let's not forget the whole Council ordeal… Maybe it really was her. Maybe he actually hated her deep down but wanted to put anything in front of himself if that meant protecting his people?

Her eyes traveled to the ground once more, and she felt the burning sensation of tears, but held them back not wanting to again be a nuisance.

They walked back to the house in complete silence… Well, except for Shukaku's berating comments to Gaara about how he had been stupid and too harsh on 'Little Rose'.

Makoto opened the door to the house and walked in, hoping that Temari would finally be home since she was supposed to be coming back today. But unfortunately, it seemed that she was still absent from the house seeing as it was completely quiet when they entered.

Makoto felt him brush past her and head down the hall. She wasn't sure where he was going or why, but this gave her the opportune moment to think of a way to ask him if it was really her that had been irritating him.

She sat down on the couch and pulled her knees up to her chest and rested her chin on them thinking of ways to tell him. Her numerous thoughts were distracted when he came back into the room papers in hand and he walked over and sat on the chair beside the couch.

She tried to tell herself that he didn't sit on the couch because he needed the room to do the work and organize the papers, but deep down she knew that he had chosen that seat because he would prefer to stay away from her.

"So, um… You don't have to go and see the Council today until we go?" She asked glancing over at him as he worked.

"No." Was all that he replied as she sighed a little too loudly, which made him for once quickly snap his gaze up to her. His brow furrowed somewhat seeing the look that was on her face.

She looked disappointed and hurt. He let his gaze linger and then looked back to his work.

He grimaced at the feeling he was having, he felt sick. His forehead was sweating but his body was freezing. He looked up to see Makoto looking at him with a concerned appearance.

"Gaara…" He heard her whisper after he had looked back down at his work and decided to ignore it.

"Gaara. Are you alright?... You- you look sick." She spoke louder this time and he looked to see her stand up and advance towards him.

He watched her place her hand under his chin and he froze as he watched her bring her face closer to his.

It was like everything was happening in slow motion as he watched her lips advance in his direction.

Suddenly he felt her press her lips and chin against his forehead, and then quickly replace it with her palm.

She pulled away sighing and quickly dashed to the bathroom.

He swallowed hard and could hear his heart pumping rapidly in his ears. It was just like last night all over again, but this time she was completely sober.

"Hehehe, that was close… Maybe next time she won't miss." He heard Shukaku purr in his thoughts, but before he could shout at the Tanuki, Makoto had returned with something in her hand.

"Just let me take your temperature, you're burning up…" She spoke as she shook down the small device so that it read a temperature well below normal.

"I don't ne-" He was cut off by her placing it in his open mouth as she smiled down at him.

"Please, for me? I just want to make sure you're not really ill." She spoke and sat on the arm on the chair he was in.

He growled and bent down back to his work. It wasn't easy trying to concentrate on accomplishing his work with her sitting so close to him and watching his every move.

Suddenly he felt the thermometer being pulled out of his mouth. What was he, a little defenseless child!?

He looked up to see her grimace at him.

"Gaara, you have a fever of one hundred and one point three…" She spoke worriedly to him.

She walked away mumbling to herself. He growled, ignoring the sickening feeling that he had in his stomach and continued on with his work.

Suddenly she was next to him again holding to cans in her hand.

"Chicken Noodle or Tomato Soup?" She asked as he looked at her confusedly.

"Just pick one." She pressed on and he rolled his eyes at her and looked back down mumbling 'noodles' and she sped off to the kitchen once more.

He grumbled and tried to get back to his work, but once he had gotten back into the rhythm and forced himself to forget about the pain, she was back.

"Here, once you've eaten that, take two of these, it's a fever reducer." She smiled down at him and sat the soup in front of him along with the two small pills and a glass of water.

He looked up at the clock and pushed the items away from him.

"We don't have time; we need to get to the meeting with the Council." He spoke gathering the papers together.

"Wh-what!? You think I'm going to let you go run off to that stupid meeting when you're sick!?" Makoto shouted and watched him send a death glare up at her, but she wasn't going to let him win this fight, it was for his own wellbeing!

"We need to go." He protested and stood up from the chair glaring at her.

Suddenly she watched him sway a bit and then his legs began to buckle underneath him.

"Gaara!" She shouted and quickly grabbed his body before it hit the ground.

She had her arms around his waist while his upper body was slumped over her shoulder.

"Y-you idiot…" She mumbled and slowly lowered him to the ground and he placed his hand on her shoulder for support.

She looked at him, anxiety and fear filling her eyes as he breathed heavily.

"You're not going anywhere tonight… And when Temari gets home I'll send her to tell the Council what's happened." Makoto spoke as she unstrapped his gourd from his back so he would no longer have that extra wait.

"Temari isn't coming home tonight." He wheezed and she looked at him in fret.

"She's fine, but she felt the need to stay another night… She said that she had felt something was wrong." He replied and she nodded.

"Come on." She beckoned and he felt her move and wrap her arm around his waist and pulled him up to stand once more.

"Can you make it to my room?" She asked knowing that it was the shortest distance away and felt him nod his head.

He hated this! He hated having to depend on someone to help him, to take care of him, and to make him feel so vulnerable. But he noticed that she had seemed to bring that quality out in him whenever they were close.

She helped him sit on the bed and she sat next to him biting her bottom lip.

"D-do I need to take you to a doctor or something? I don't want to risk this turning into something worse." She spoke sadly and watched him shake his head, still breathing heavily.

"No, there's no need." He replied and she nodded and quickly left the room, him guessing to most likely fetch something else to make him feel better.

"She's so caring… And so concerned about you. I wonder what that says." Shukaku mentioned in his head sarcastically.

She came back with a cloth in her hand.

"Lie down, you need to rest… This… This isn't good if you've lost so much strength." She spoke quietly and he didn't protest about lying down because he really was tired.

"Here." She whispered and placed the cool cloth on his forehead and smiled down at him.

"I was going to have you wait to take the pills once you had something in your stomach, but I know you don't feel up to eating." She added and handed him the pills and water.

Once he had taken the pills he had expected her to leave and do something else, but he watched as she kneeled down next to him waiting to see if he needed anything.

He looked the other way and out the widow that had the curtains pulled back, the sun was just beginning to set and the Council members were probably all in a panic about them not being there.

"You don't need to stay here, I'll be fine." He spoke and looked back at her.

"It's fine… I want to stay… Th-that is unless you want me to leave." She replied looking away from him afraid of the rejection.

He sighed but didn't reply he felt her stand and his head snapped in her direction, his thoughts full of worry that she might be leaving.

"You should probably change… I'm sure if during the night if your fever breaks you'll want to wear something cooler." She spoke and shut the door behind her.

He sighed and gripped the comforter in his hands.

"That was stupid, kid. Why didn't you just tell her to stay!? She was going to take care of you all night!" Shukaku shouted angrily.

"Because, I couldn't… I couldn't tell her to stay… I told you she doesn't deserve to be with anyone like me." He replied and began to take off his shirt and pants placing them on the floor next to him.

He laid back down and got under the covers. It felt strange just laying in this bed now, it had been months since he had had it all to himself.

He sighed and closed his eyes trying to relax and ignore the pain in his body.

He then heard a quiet rapping at his door and opened his eyes and calmly looked over.

"Gaara?" Her soft angelic voice called from the other side and he watched as the door opened slowly with caution, she did not obviously want another episode like the other time.

Her eyes made quick work to find him lying in the bed, his eyes on her as she walked in and took to now already hot cloth from his head.

"I'll go and make it cool for you again." She smiled and turned to walk out the door then was gone again.

"Why is she doing this?" He asked himself, hoping the demon didn't answer.

She came back in the room and quickly folded it into a fourth of what it was and once again placed it on his forehead.

She sighed and walked over and sat on the other side of the bed.

"Why are you doing this?" He suddenly asked and he felt her stiffen next to him and turn to face him, her cheeks a bit more rosy.

"Um… Well… This is what people who care for each other do." She replied and looked away, and then her eyes flickered back to him to see that he was still staring at her and blushed even more.

"Do you, um… Do you need anything?" She asked looking over at him as he shook his head, still pondering her answer.

"Alright" She spoke sadly, feeling the solitary sense from him that she had received earlier today.

"Gaara?" She asked without looking at him, or waiting for him to reply.

"Is it me?" She asked keeping her eyes to the ground.

He didn't know what she was asking him, and didn't say anything, hoping that she would continue.

He watched her to see her look up, tears about to spill from her pleading emerald eyes.

"I-is it me that is irritating you? Is it me that you're angry with?" She stuttered, feeling her lips quivering.

Gaara didn't know what to say to her. How could he, she was asking him too much. It's true that she was the reason that he had been acting this way towards her after they had just put their differences aside, but that wasn't her fault it was his.

He hated the little things about her that he had become accustomed to. The little things such as, watching her chew on her bottom lip when she was nervous. Or the way that she scrunched her nose up when she wasn't pleased with something. And mostly he was infatuated with the heated comebacks that only she had ever provided him with, no one else were ever fearless enough to do so. And he hated it that he was never able to keep her off his thoughts or able to keep his eyes off of her.

She had kissed him last night, and he had let his guard down. In that moment that her lips touched his he cared about nothing else in the world. Most would think that to be a wonderful feeling, but he degraded himself so that split second of bliss, of susceptibility, because he had for that split second not cared about the wellbeing of his village.

He was the one that had taken down his defenses. He was the one who had let himself become vulnerable. And he was the one that was making her cry now. And so the question he had been asking himself all this time came to his thoughts again; was it possible to care for someone and protect his village at the same time? And was he now realizing what it meant to be loved?

"Gaara?!" She called him back from his thoughts to see her tear filled gaze.

"How could you ask something like that? You're being stupid." He replied and she looked at him with pleading eyes.

"But, Gaara. I've been a nuisance to you the moment that we met in the desert… I've always annoyed you and made you go out of your way for me… I've been selfish an-"

"Stop it." He commanded and she looked up again biting back a sob as she sniff.

"You have never once stopped to think of yourself since the moment I met you. You're foolish to think that you have been anything less than helpful. I have yet to even prove myself to my people, but more than half of the villagers have already accepted you. You, Kino Makoto, the person no one could hate, always loved and helpful to those who need it. While I have always been hated, neglected and shunned. I am someone who my own mother hated and despised… But I don't blame her since-"

"Please stop… Please… It's not true Gaara; I've seen the way those people have looked at you. The respect you they-"

"They fear me, Makoto. There is a difference between respect and fear." He replied not daring to look at her because he knew that he had just heard another sob escape her lips.

"That's not true… I respect you; I care for you, no matter what you may think. And I know they care about you… They trust you with their lives… I do too." She replied and watched him look up to see her tears spill over once more.

She was making him feel even more sick knowing that she was crying over him, that it was his doing that made her cry.

He stiffened as he felt her hand on his and she rubbed her thumb across the top of it.

"I care for you more than you will ever know." She wept looking into his shocked eyes.

"I-I felt like someone was ripping my heart out when I had shocked you after Shukaku had taken you over… To see you in that much pain… And most of all to know that I caused it…." she whispered and then gripped his hand tighter in her grasp as her head snapped up small pieces of her hair sticking to the damp sides of her face.

"I never want to see you hurt and in pain ever again!" She cried and launched herself into his arms sobbing uncontrollably as all that she could see was the absolute pain on his face as she had hurt him.

"P-please! Please forgive me!" She cried but he still hadn't moved. His mouth was partially open and his eyes were wide as he felt the girls' tears slither down his bare chest making him shiver.

"Why… Why should I forgive you?" She heard him ask and with her ear pressed up against his chest it sounded almost like it had echoed.

She felt like she wouldn't be able to breathe ever again. She looked up at him astonished and tears fell again onto his chest.

"Wh-what?" She whimpered.

"Why should I forgive you for something that you've never done?" He asked and she looked confused while he looked down at her.

"You don't need to be forgiven; you have only ever tried to help." He finished still looking down at her and watched in interest as her lips quivered once more and she then wrapped her arms around his neck and placed her face in the crock of his neck and cried.

He closed his eyes and slowly placed one hand on her back. He shivered when he felt her fingernails slowly brush across his bare shoulders and become matted in his hair as she played with the strands at the nape of his neck. He felt her crying cease and all he could feel were her wet eyelashes batting against his neck which made him swallow hard.

He felt her head pull away to look up at him. He looked down seeing her eyelashes still thick with leftover tears, but she was smiling.

She wanted to kiss him so badly. She wanted to finally feel his soft lips against hers. She wanted to know how he would react, if he would respond or pull away. She just wanted so badly to capture his lips and let him know that she wanted him to be hers.

She gulped and moved closer to him, her cheeks turning more tint the closer she got to him.

"Gaara." She whispered in a sultry voice as she kept advancing on him.

She moved so that she was only a centimeter away from his lips and whispered.

"Thank you…" She then moved forward just a small bit and then quickly pressed her lips to the far right corner of his lips.

She couldn't believe she just chickened out when she was there, ready to go for the kill and then pussied out! She pulled her lips away, not daring to look at him and then snuggled back into his unmoving grip.

"She… Is so mean… The little coward, you should go and claim your prize!" Shukaku spoke for the first time in a while, but Gaara still didn't reply or move.

She had kissed him. She had shown him affection that no other female had. She had shown him that she didn't want to leave him, and that she wanted to be fond of him. And he had now found that he wanted to be fond of her too.

He closed his eyes and felt her soft breathing on his neck as he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer, waiting to see if she objected but only fell into his grasp even more. Now and here he was able to be anything she wanted him to be, and whatever that was, he was happy with. Here, with her in his arms, he was safe to show her the affection that no one but her had ever shown him.

He didn't want to leave her; he didn't want to have anyone else have her. He wanted her to stay only his.

He would protect her, even if it cost him his life.

He looked down at her and he brought his hands up and began to take her hair down out of its ponytail.

He threw the small elastic item on the floor and inhaled her wonderful fragrance. She smelled of fresh rain and roses, her scent made his mouth water. He sighed as rested his hand on her head and stroked her hair and heard her sigh, feeling her hot breath on his neck.

"Don't ever leave me." He thought and wrapped his arms around her waist once again and closed his eyes as her breathing calmed him while he began to meditate.

Outside watching intently he smirked under his hat, his eyes never leaving the brunette in the arms of her fiancé.

"He will fight back ten times harder now that he has claimed her his… He is no longer confused about his feelings, and if we would even try to get near her he would kill us." The man next to him spoke quietly and the blonde grinned again.

"That's what will make it fun, un. He'll put up a good fight, but I'll take her right from under his nose." Deidara snickered and Sasori did not object.

"She truly is a beautiful piece of art… She's perfect; she'll be an interesting one that's for sure, un." He spoke softly.

"You better watch out for your little Tanuki, princess… You'll need to keep him close from here on out." He smirked and felt the breezy night air waft around his body.

-:-

She moaned softly and nuzzled her face against his warmth. Her eyelashes brushed against his chiseled chest as her eyes blinked open. She pulled her cheek away from his chest and looked up at his face to see his eyes shut and mouth parted slightly.

If she knew that he couldn't sleep, she would have guessed that he was. Her eyes traveled over his face in fascination she had never seen him with this expression, this expression of serenity. He looked so welcoming to her, now she really did want to kiss him and for real this time. She then came to see the sweat on his head and his flushed cheeks.

She pulled her hand away from his waist and to his head, and gasped. He fever had gotten worse over the course of the night. She cursed herself for falling asleep! She had planned to stay up and tend to him so he could wake up as rested as possible. She got up a few times that night, luckily without him noticing and rewetted his cloth, but it obviously hadn't done much for him.

She slowly pulled away from him, grabbing the cloth and moved his arms away from her waist. She was getting ready to move away from him when his arm snaked around her waist once more and pulled her back to his chest making her blush at the sudden contact.

She looked up at him, her face still flushed.

"Gaara, you're fever's gotten worse. I need to get you some medicine!" She protested looking up at him to see him open his eyes and see her pleading look.

"I'm fine." He spoke and closed his eyes again and she rested her head on his chest her face even more flushed.

He was willing to lie to her about not feeling well just so she would stay with him?

She pulled away making his eyes open again and arms wrap tighter around her waist.

"Gaara, please stop! You-… You're very sick, please let me help!" She pleaded as she placed her hands on his arms that bound her close to him. Slowly she pulled his arms away from her, not breaking eye contact.

She swung her legs over the bed and rushed out the door.

She hurried to the bathroom and ran the cool water as she quickly searched through the cabinet for the pills she had given him last night.

She grabbed the pills, quickly ran the cloth under the water and filled a glass and rushed back to see him sitting up, his face flushed.

She walked over and handed him the pills and water, and he took them willingly. Once he had swallowed them she kneeled down next to him and began pressing the cool cloth against his heated face.

His expression relaxed as he leaned back, enjoying the relief that it brought to him.

"Gaara, I really think that you need to go to a doctor… I'm scared this is going to get bad." She spoke softly while she continued to press the cloth on different parts of his face and then moved down to his neck which surprised him and he opened his eyes to see her emerald gems dart to his in fear something might be wrong. He watched her for a few seconds then closed his eyes again, letting her do as she saw fit.

"I don't need to go to a doctor. This is just a cold." He replied and felt her hesitate on pressing the cloth against his jaw line then he felt the cool relief.

"I'm not going to fight with him; that will only make him feel worse." She thought and then stopped and held the cloth in her hand.

She watched him open his eyes and look at her curiously, obviously he had been enjoying it and she smiled at the thought.

"Gaara, go and take a cold shower it will make you feel ten times better and will reduce your fever immensely." She spoke and he watched her give him a saddened look.

"Only if you'll take it with us." He heard Shukaku growl hungrily in his mind and frowned upon hearing him.

He the felt her press her hand to his cheek and rub under his eye.

"Your eyes look horrible… You need more rest. When you're done showering, go back and try to meditate, that is unless you're hungry." She spoke softly and watched him as he kept his eyes locked on hers and then stood up and watched her blush.

He smirked knowing that she didn't realize that he only had a pair of boxers on last night and she had cuddled next to him all night.

He looked back over his shoulder to see her with her hand pressed to the sides of her cheeks as she was trying to subdue her blush. She looked simply alluring like that.

He groaned trying to suppress the thoughts the Tanuki had brought to his mind as he walked into the bathroom.

-:-

She got up and walked out of the bedroom still pressing her hands to her heated face and walked out to the kitchen and got a glass of water for herself.

"Oh my gosh…" She whispered and bit her bottom lip.

She sighed and looked around the kitchen trying to find something that would be easy on his stomach.

-:-

He ran his fingers swiftly through his damp hair as he walked back to the bedroom, now wearing a pair of pants. He half expected to see her asleep on the bed, but she wasn't there. His brow furrowed as he turned and walked out into the living room seeing her laying on the couch and a plate with toast, an egg on it and a glass of water next to it.

He watched as she looked up tiredly while he walked in her direction and she sat up rubbing her eye with a smile.

"Are you feeling any better?" She asked softly and watched him take a seat next to her and grab the plate.

"Somewhat, why aren't you eating?" He answered without looking up as he began to slowly eat his food.

"I'm not very hungry, I'm fine." She mumbled and he looked over to see her head nodding forwards slightly and then she would sit back up hurriedly.

"Aw, she's tired." He heard Shukaku coo in his mind.

"If you're tired then go back to bed." He spoke again as he looked away and felt her sit up straight next to him.

"No! You need someone to take care of you! I'm not leaving you out here by yourself." She fussed and he rolled his eyes.

"Then lay down." He commanded and she wavered before she mentally agreed and reached down at the end of the couch, smiling like the Devil himself.

Gaara, still pondering his thoughts about what they had talked about last night almost jumped up when he felt her rest the pillow on his lap and lay her head on it, her face flushed and her eyes shut.

He blinked down at her in astonishment and watched her turn over, eyes still shut.

"Did you think I would fall asleep without being able to tell if you've left to go see your precious Council?" She spoke softly a smile spread across her velvety pink lips.

He smirked in defeat, and shook his head and closed his eyes.

"She's an idiot." He thought and placed his plate on the table in front of him.

She blushed at her cover up and smiled mentally cheering, adding this to her list of ways to seduce a man. She then felt him move and suddenly she felt him move her out of his lap and lay down next to her, his arms encircling her waist as if she would be the one to get up and leave. Her eyes shot open and face flushed again when she felt him rest his chin in between her neck and shoulder, his lips dangerously close to her cheekbone.

She shut her eyes and smiled leaning into his embrace.

"This… This is it, all I've ever wanted." She thought, her heart pulsing with elation. She knew that he wouldn't end up being like this around anyone but her, he may even threaten her life now and then, but she would know that it would be in vain because she had finally cracked open this side of him. Granted this did take about six months, and they still hadn't even truly kissed (or at least she thought) but that didn't matter because in the end, everything turned out how it was to be.

She brought one of her hands up to his and placed it on top of his and gave it a gentle squeeze, telling him thank you and in return he nuzzled closer and rested his cheek against hers feeling the heat of her cheek against his.

He wasn't sure if this was what Yashamaru meant by 'love', but all he knew was that whatever this feeling he had, was addicting and he wanted to always feel this way.

-:-

Well… I know this is shorter than what I normally have for you guys, and I found it relatively boring and so I promise you that the next chapter is more eventful because I've had it planned for a while now, hehehe. And, I'm not sure if any of my readers are into Fruits Basket, but I plan on making another story (Yes, yes, I know I have enough already but I plan on finishing them so it's alright) like I was saying, I plan on doing a Sm/Furuba x-over and it will be Mako/Kyou and I really want to fit in Hoatru/Momiji just because it would be terribly adorable couple! Well, tell me your thoughts on it! I hope you enjoyed the fluff like I told you there would be! Please review, kiddies!

-Katness