So this is a fanfic I wrote for my dear friend RogueChimera for Christmas, and she gave me the OK to post it here. So here it is! Not much else to say, umm... enjoy? This is my first finished Naruto fanfiction, so review and lemme know what you think! Oh, and for the record, the lullaby in this story was written by me, so no fears of copyright infrigements! Yaaay!
Grumble mumble grumble grumble.
A sigh. "I'm busy." He wrapped his arms tighter around his head.
"I hardly call falling asleep on your papers 'busy.'" The annoyance in her voice was rising.
Slowly, he raised his heavy head off of his desk and looked up at her, his unkempt mass of fiery hair obscuring his vision.
"Seriously, Gaara, what are you doing here? It's almost two in the morning already!" She was adopting that condescending tone she'd been using more and more on him lately.
"I need to finish these papers before the meeting tomorrow and—"
"No. What you need to do is sleep."
"I was sleeping."
She sighed. Gaara still didn't seem to understand the function of a bed, even after a month of Shukaku-free nights.
"Gaara, you have a meeting at eight AM tomorrow, and it's late, so—"
"Why are you still up?" he brought up in calm retaliation. His face was mostly expressionless, yet she picked up on the subtle look of interest in his black-rimmed teal eyes.
She sighed again, frustrated by his change in subject. She answered him anyway, knowing that he would not cooperate until she had. "I was helping inspect the night patrol, if you must know." Her hands migrated to her hips as she glared at him condescendingly. "Gaara, I know for a fact that you finished the papers for tomorrow's meeting last week, you don't need to finish those now." She motioned with a hand to the documents he had formerly been using as a pillow.
A glaring contest ensued.
"Temari," Gaara said firmly. "I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself." His glare was piercing. "I don't need you to look after me."
The older girl was silent for a moment, regarding him expressionlessly. Finally she said, "It's my duty as a Suna kunoichi to look out for the Kazekage."
"And it's also your duty to obey me," he countered coldly.
Temari was silent again. Gaara sat up straighter in his chair, feeling victorious as she stared at him, her list of options growing thin. Only one remained; it was amusing, and at the same time probably life-threatening.
She quickly stalked around the desk and stood beside his chair. He flinched only slightly in alarm; her presence was hostile, yet nonviolent, and somehow he knew she would not- no, could not- severely hurt him. For a moment she did not move, only looked down at him from where she stood. Then, gently yet swiftly she leaned forward, sliding one arm behind his back and the other under the crook of his knees, lifting him into her arms.
The boy was too shocked to say anything as she carried him across the room and out into the hall, sliding the office door shut behind her with her foot.
"Temari, what are you doing?" he managed to squeak out through his shock, trying desperately to keep his voice from sounding too panicky.
Without looking down at him she said, "It's also my duty as an older sister to make sure my little brother gets some sleep."
She continued to carry him down the hallway, acquiring confused and sometimes disturbed looks from the passing night guards. Temari either did not notice or ignored them, Gaara couldn't tell which.
When they had entered his room, she made a beeline for his bed and dropped unceremoniously onto it. She looked down at him smugly, and he set his face into the tiniest of pouts.
"There. Isn't that better?" she lilted teasingly, making him feel like he might loose his dinner. She turned around and walked back to the door. "Don't bother trying to leave either," she added, looking over her shoulder at him from the doorframe. "I'll be in the hallway until I'm sure you're actually asleep." With that she exited the room, closing the door behind her.
He couldn't decide if he found her last words troubling or comforting.
He sat still for a moment, finding that the room's darkness made his eyes feel heavier than they had before, and he decided might as well just get some rest. It wasn't like it would kill him. Anymore, at least.
He slid off his bed, and slowly walked over to his dresser, where he picked out a pair of light blue pajamas. He changed quickly and then got into bed. He lay there a moment, still in a state of shock over Temari's actions. They irked him that she had the gall to treat him, the Kazekage, the most powerful ninja in Suna, in such a way. He was not about to let her get away with it so easily; she wasn't the only stubborn one around here.
Out in the hallway, Temari was trying to make herself comfortable. It would still be a while before she would feel convinced that Gaara had actually given in and gone to bed, so she sat down beside the door, her back against the wall. She sighed, feeling the weight of her long day drop upon her. Her eyes slowly drooped, even though she fought desperately against it. She was just sliding into a light, uncomfortable state of sleep when:
She startled awake. The call was muffled slightly, and hardly loud, but she had grown to be easily alerted by that voice.
Temari got up quickly, her heart still pounding from her rude awakening, and opened the door to Gaara's room a sliver.
He was sitting up in his bed, staring calmly at her as she asked "What, Gaara?"
"I can't fall asleep."
"It's only been a few minutes. Just lie down and you'll fall asleep eventually."
"I tried that, and it didn't work."
"Try it again."
"It won't work."
Temari rolled her eyes in annoyance. He was being ridiculous, and they both knew it.
"What do you want me to do about it?" she asked, more or less rhetorically, but she could see that this was what Gaara had been waiting for.
"Sing me a lullaby."
Gaara found it hard not to smirk at his sisters gaping expression. She wasn't the only one who could be shocking around here, either.
"What?" was her faint retort.
"Sing me a lullaby," he repeated.
Temari had no idea what to say, or do for that matter. She had a good feeling that Gaara would force himself to stay awake as long as possible if she declined. She couldn't just leave either, since he might sneak back to his office if she did that...
She placed her face somewhere between a frown and a pout and entered the room quickly, closing the door behind her.
"Fine," she said indignantly, walking over to his bed and sitting in the chair beside it. "But I don't have that great a voice, and I have no idea what you're expecting me to sing." The first part was a bit of a fib; she voice was actually halfway decent, for a kunoichi who had never had formal training. The second part was the honest-to-goodness truth.
Her little brother shrugged. "It doesn't matter."
Temari continued to rack her brain, finding that she didn't know many songs that could double a lullaby, not to mention any real lullabies. Then, a distant, forgotten memory resurfaced in her mind. It was somewhat fuzzy, but the more she thought of it, the clearer it became. She sat in silence for a moment, eyes closed, her memories threatening to overwhelm her.
"Okay," she said, opening her eyes slowly. "I've got one." And she began to sing:
Wind blows, wind blows
Down across the valley
Who knows, who knows
Where it will lead us to
We go, we go
Down in to the valley
Who knows, who knows
When we will come back home
Don't cry, don't cry
My dearest little child
I will, I will
Be home again someday...
The last note rang in the air a moment after she had stopped singing, leading to a heavy silence between the two siblings. Temari eyes were closed again as she watched old memories play back in her head. Gaara could only stare quietly at her.
"I recognize that song," he said, his voice barely breaking the silence of the room.
She nodded. "Mother used to sing it to me when I was younger." She noticed him tense, even though she kept her eyes away from him on the dresser across the room. "I..." she barely whispered, "I sang it to you a few times, too, when we were little..." She looked up at him finally, smiling calmly. From the look in his wide eyes, he could tell that she had shocked him for the second time that night, putting her again in the lead in their bizarre little game.
"Well," she said, satisfied with this and feeling the need to get away from his silent stare, "I did what you asked, and now I'm sure you'll get to sleep fine, right? Then I suppose I can go try to get some sleep as well." She got up from her seat, flashing him a big smile. "G'night, Gaara." With that, she turned and walked to the door.
Temari paused, her hand seemingly frozen to the door handle. Finally she smiled quickly, muttering another "Goodnight," and heading out the door.
They were even.