Pieces of Colored Glass and Stone:
Word Count: 656
A/N: Well, this is it, guys: the last installment! It's a little sad, but I had to end it eventually. I'm very grateful for all the wonderful reviews and support I've received since starting this collection. Thanks so much! I love seeing how this pairing has grown. A couple of years ago, there was barely anything about GaaMatsu, and now look at it! Okay, it still is a rather small fandom, but, lets face it, GaaMatsu is just too awesome for the masses.
Again, thank you. It was a lot of fun, and I look forward to writing more GaaMatsu fics in the future.
Naruto and all of its respective characters, including Gaara and Matsuri, belong to Masashi Kishimoto.
Due to Gaara's role as Kazekage, family vacations were practically nonexistent. Still, the redhead made it a priority to find regular time to spend with his wife and two children. It was this responsibility -- no, this desire which prompted the young couple to take an outing to Suna's historic district. Their eight-year-old son, Hiro, requested the visit last week. Now, as the family toured the museum, the small boy was currently ranting to his older sister about . . . something. Gaara lost track of the timeline after the coronation of the Shodai Kazekage.
"The Puppet Technique was actually used centuries before Suna's foundation as a Hidden Village, but it wasn't utilized by Sand ninjas until the development of -- ."
"Hiro," Matsuri interjected softly, ruffling her son's unruly reddish-brown hair. "Sweetie, this is a museum. Keep the tone down a few decibels, okay?" Behind them, Gaara caught Aisune release a silent breath of relief before turning her attention to a nearby display. He was pleased to see his daughter (who proudly wore her hitai-ate even in civilian clothing) taking an interest in the exhibits. Unless the subject dealt with family, the village, fighting, missions, or training, the redheaded pre-teen seemed to have difficulty finding most things worth her attention. Aisune was intelligent, like her brother, but, perhaps, that was part of the problem.
"Mom, Dad, did you know the pre-shinobi Sand warriors would hang the heads of their enemies as a wall display? It was seen as a symbol of one's skill and power . . . Oh, there's even an artist's rendering."
"Wow -- No, I didn't. That's . . . fascinating," Matsuri said, frowning at the much-too-detailed drawing.
"Gross is what it is. Can you imagine what that must have smelled like? In the desert? Before air-conditioning?" Hiro stated bluntly, wearing a frown identical to his mother's.
"That's not the point," Aisune replied, giving her brother a reproachful stare. "It was about honor. Who cares what your house smells like when you're the most respected warrior in the village?"
"I'd rather not have my home look - and smell - like something from a horror movie, thanks. Besides, it hardly seems like an honorable way to treat your enemies. If killing others and showing off their dismembered body parts is what it takes to gain respect, then I'd rather live without it."
Aisune never verbally expressed her annoyance. Instead, her ebony, almond-shaped eyes narrowed in a cold, firm, and very Gaara-like manner . Currently, that exact look was being aimed toward Hiro . . .
"So, I heard there are special exhibits on shinobi weaponry and medical-jutsu," Gara stated carelessly before looking straight into his son's large, aqua-blue eyes. "Supposedly, their collection consists of over a thousand plant species from several different countries."
With those magic words said, the two children were off. Their previous debate forgotten. Running down the hallway and disappearing around a corner, the pair was out of sight within seconds. Gaara and Matsuri were just able to hear Aisune's voice ("Wait -- Hiro! You can't go by yourself!") before the peaceful silence of the museum returned.
"Nice one," Matsuri said gratefully, smiling at her husband for preventing the looming argument.
"I've had plenty of practice," the redhead retorted dryly, his gaze lingering where their children disappeared from. "They really do love each other."
Matsuri laughed. "There's no need to reassure me. I already know. Aisune and Hiro are just . . . overly opinionated."
"They get it from you," Gaara said accusingly, though the words were marred by the fond tone lacing his voice.
"And I'm proud of it. Expressing one's self is healthy. What's not is allowing a certain someone into a room full of weapons without parental supervision."
". . . Aisune wouldn't try anything."
"I don't know," Matsuri said teasingly with an innocent shrug. "I'm mean, what with your side of the family . . ."