Wife of the Desert

My husband is a strange and confusing man. My husband can be as calm and quiet as the spring breeze, and a moment later become as wild and angry as the sandstorms of our land. My husband seems stern and solid, but inside there is some form of soft, caring man that only comes out at the quietest moments, with the closest people. My husband is the Kazekage of Suna.

I met him without even meaning to. He was walking the streets of his city, taking a break from mind-numbing meetings, he said later, and in my absent-mindedness I accidentally tripped, bumping shoulders with him as I stumbled. I felt the strange feeling of sand where skin should be and my dim mind vaguely made the connection. I raised my eyes in horror to look into the piercing, dark-circled aqua orbs. I was surprised, shocked, that he didn't seem agitated. Instead, he caught my elbow as I continued my clumsy decent towards the ground and steadied me.

"Careful." He said. "Don't twist your ankle."

And he said it like he really cared. He was kazekage after all, I realized. So the horrible beast within him had not eaten his heart like my sisters said. My heart fluttered into my throat at that thought, that this man's care could be directed at me.

His hand tested my balance by letting go slightly, and then he released me, nodded his head to me and continued down the road, as I watched, entranced. When my eyes dared to wander from his back, I noticed others stealing glances at him…so I wasn't the only one.

I finished my shopping and stopped by a ramen stand for a cheap dinner with the change, hoping mother wouldn't mind. I ducked under the entry way, and sat heavily on one of the stools, waving hello to the owner before letting my face drop into my hands.

"How's your ankle?"

In my exhaustion I hadn't even noticed him sitting there, right beside me. Through my babbling and stammering I somehow inquired as to what he was doing in such a casual place, and he mentioned with a smile in his voice but not on his face that he came to places like this every so often in honor of a good friend.

Somehow, we ended up talking all night. I asked him questions, becuase I don't know what to do with myself if I'm with someone and not running my mouth, and he actually answered, and he inquired into my simple and clumsy life as if it were the most intriguing thing he could hear about. I don't know why. My life was nothing beyond that of the average girl who chose not to be a kunoichi. I don't know why, of all the lives he could have heard about, he wanted to hear about mine, to this day I don't know what brought him to me that fateful night, but I will always be thankful that it happened. He asked me, as we left the stand so the owner could close up, to meet him there again a week from the day, and what could I do but agree?

Somehow, a year passed, and all I remember clearly of that year is the weekly evenings together. Often we would go for walks, finding deserted secret places out of the prying eyes that stared at us as we walked the streets, often leaving the city entirely. I was always anxious to see him, nervous he wouldn't come, but as soon as he arrived I would relax and fall into the most comfortable pace my life would ever be in.

He made me tell him everything. From my first memories to the events of the past week and soon he knew everything about me. There wasn't a single secret that I had managed to keep from him, while he remained completely a mystery to me. He would tell me small things; the stress of being Kazekage, a brief mention of that close friend here and there, a small story about something his siblings had done that amused him. But everything that could be pivotal to his life…he never spoke about.

When I first started falling in love with him, I second-guessed myself. Every young girl had a fantastical crush on him, with his stoic and mysterious way of carrying himself, his strangely beautiful face, all the dark history that made him so intriguing…my feelings were no more than what they felt.

But then I saw him smile.

It was about a year and a half since that first day I had met him. We sat on the edge of the city wall, the quickly cooling night-wind of the desert blowing our hair and clothing about us in a mess. I never even realized I hadn't seen him smile before. I knew when he was happy, although his expression rarely changed, by the way his eyes became more focused and almost shone. When he was serious or angry or sad his gaze became distant and blank.

I don't remember exactly what I said, which ridiculous story I was recalling, but it was one of those moments when I got carried away in the telling and my hand gestures became more enthusiastic and my face became flushed as I practically yelled my story. As I swept my hand out in a long sweep I lost my balance, and as I started slipping he grabbed my arm to steady me, catching me just before I tumbled down, his strange sandy skin rubbing my arm roughly as he pulled me back. I covered my blushing face in embarrassment, moaning again and again about my clumsiness and stupidity and then I realized there was a strange sound on the wind.

Laughter. Laughter the likes of which I had never heard. Loud and pure, and when I finally looked at him Gaara was shaking with the force of it. I stared at him as he laughed, his usually straight face lifted with mirth, and I became entranced. He was so…so brilliantly happy. Laughing to him seemed like the most wonderful thing he could possibly do, and, overwhelmed by the beauty of him laughing, I joined him in his giddiness and we spent most of the rest of night doing nothing else.

Even after that night laughter was rare, but I had broken the mask. And when I saw his face come alive with expression I knew I was completely in love with him. I don't know how we became closer, when I was the only one telling anything, but he started sitting closer to me, walking closer to me, his hands hovering at my arm to catch should I trip over my own feet again. I don't even know when it started, but one day he started holding my hand at all times, keeping my balance for me. His skin always felt of sand, rough and warm, and I would often loose track of my own thoughts as I got lost in the feeling of his hand.

He missed an evening every now and then, when duties far more important that spending the night with a young, clumsy girl came up. But he always sent a message so I would know he would not be there.

At one point there was a period of two months during which war from the wave country was threatened and he had to be in his office at all times, and I was left to spend my time remembering the past evenings and trying to create something worthwhile to tell him about when he returned. I couldn't believe how lonely I felt without him. He sent me letters, that he had written late at night when some dared to sleep lightly, just to let me know he was still alive and that he would see me again soon. I couldn't send return letters, for at this time nothing could be allowed into the Kazekage's sheltering walls, but I would spend my free time sitting on my window ledge, dreaming of him and everything I would say when I finally saw him again. His letters, though comforting, told me little more than he ever did. He was a man of few words, even on paper. But still, I would read them over and over, imagining his soft voice speaking them to me.

Finally, the threat subsided. I expected to wait a while more as the last treaties were written but he surprised me by showing up at my door only a few days later, asking if I would like to spend the evening with him.

He told me nothing of what happened over those two months, but he looked thinner, and even more tired than usual. I prattled on about my life for the past two months, how the common people had tried living their lives under a constant pressure, and he seemed happy to hear the views of his people. I didn't ask him what had happened to him over our time apart, but I hoped he would say something. He never did.

We couldn't make a schedule to meet for the next few weeks, as there was still a lot to clean up, so he ended up finding me whenever he had free time. It was sporadic, at best, and he apologized for it, but I was just happy to see him again.

It didn't take long for him to start looking healthy again. The little color he had to his face returned, his eyes sharpened again, and his proud stance returned. I inquired as to how he had regained his energy with everything else that was still going on, and he reached out and stroked my hair, a small smile on his face.

"Because I'm with you." He said and I breathed an 'oh' before turning my blushing face away quickly.

He seemed embarrassed as well, for he withdrew his hand back to his side as if afraid he had burned me. We sat in silence, and I continued staring at the floor instead of even glancing at him, afraid of what his expression would be…not even sure what I wanted him to be doing. His hand came towards my face again, brushing the line of my jaw, and he gently turned my head to look at him. He was staring at me, eyes so deep and shining I couldn't even begin to fathom what he was thinking, I could only get lost in them. He had leaned in, our faces an inch apart, and he stared into my eyes, trying to tell me something with his eyes that his few words couldn't encompass. Then our eyes closed and we kissed.

After that I spent the night in his arms, leaning against his strong chest and listening to him breathe, listening to the beat of the heart that I, until not-so-long ago, had believed didn't exist.

For the first time, he did the talking, whispering into my ear with his soft, gentle voice, and every syllable that fell off his lips made me feel so safe and warm… He told me how much he had missed me while he was dealing with the wave country. He told me more than anything else being without me had been what taxed his strength during that time, and that he never wanted that to happen again.

He asked me to marry him.

For once, I was the one who had no words. I could only lean closer into him and try not to cry my happiness.

We were married as soon as everything was completely settled, an entire three months later. He saw me every moment he could during that time. He would come to me for just five minutes, if he had them to spare, and every full evening we had we spent holding each other while he had me talk to him again.

The wedding was amazing, for the sheer fact that I was standing before all of Suna, while Gaara professed his love to me. I cried through most of the ceremony, as did my mother and several other family members. I had never met Gaara's siblings before, but they seemed to approve of me, but as I never left Gaara's side I couldn't be sure right away if they weren't just giving their approval to make Gaara happy.

I never did grow very close to those two. We both knew different versions of my husband; the fact that the three of us all loved him was enough to make us get along with and like each other. But because we three knew him in such different light it was hard for us to make the connection and become friends.

Living with him was such a change…at first I didn't know where I fit in the strange and complicated life of a Kazekage now that I had to stand as his wife. I knew nothing of politics or strategy, all I could do was wait for him in our bed. Soon enough, I learned that that was all I was expected to and he wanted me to do. To be there as someone he could spend time with and enjoy the company of without worrying about being kazekage, without being anyone but himself…his beautiful self.

He spent every moment he could with me, I think he worried abut me. He worried that I wouldn't be able to cope with the pressure of being his wife. He would check on me whenever he could, taking a moment just to hold me, and his glances always seemed to be checking on me, making sure I was still holding up. When his days were filled with nothing but endless paperwork I would sit in his office with him, just sitting there beside him, keeping him company through the drudgery. I couldn't distract him so I did not talk much, but by then I was so comfortable around him my usual instincts had subsided and I was fine with that. We would talk, but only briefly, when I asked if he wanted some tea, or when he told me I didn't have to stay and I would refuse to leave; I could see how happy that made him.

When his work was done, and we were alone with nothing but each other to fill our attention but one another we would have some of the most wonderful and loving times together. When we made love, even though I could feel his power coursing under his skin, he was tender and gentle with me, as if afraid to break me, as if I was porcelain. Afterwards, when I was just on the edge of sleep, I would feel him lying awake next to me, his hands lightly brushing my skin, as he watched me, entranced, as I fell into sleep. Though I knew sleep was impossible for him, I knew also that he lay beside me all night, and every morning when I woke up he was still watching me with eyes so deep and inexplicable I could only blush and kiss him good morning.

Publicly, Gaara was too shy to show his affection for me and some people questioned the closeness of the Kazekage to his wife. Some said he had only married me to have a vessel for children, and though Suna being how it is no one saw that as wrong necessarily, but when I went into town some women would come to me and express their sympathy and regret for my situation. I could only explain weakly that I was happy as his wife, and the more stubborn ones would nod and say 'it's not such a bad position, I suppose' and others would blink in surprise and walk away confused.

After some several months as Gaara's wife, the Hokage of Konoha came for a visit. Though when Gaara discussed it with his council he held a serious and professional tone I saw a glimmer in his eyes that belied an excitement about the visit that I couldn't comprehend why it should be there.

The Hokage, a man slightly younger than Gaara by name of Naruto Uzumaki, arrived not long after and I was shocked when they met each with wide grins and warm embraces. Gaara introduced me, and without so much as looking me over the Hokage gave me an equally strong hug and declared his happiness for us and his regret at not being able to attend the wedding. I accepted as graciously as I could while trying to return the surprising embrace.

He then returned his attention to Gaara, exclaiming his high approval of me, and proceeding to tease him about his previous doubts that Gaara would ever get himself a wife that could stand him. After many hours more of friendly conversation and dinner I discovered to my surprise this to be the old, most cherished friend my husband had spoken of on many occasions.

The Hokage stayed for several days and then headed back to his own village, and my husband looked decidedly morose at his departure. He sulked for a day or so, and then got back into his usual pace.

Through Uzumaki's visit one thing had become glaringly clear to me: how very little I knew about my husband. Naruto and he had spent hours reminiscing on a strange and sordid past, and some odd years during when Gaara had begun his reign as Kazekage and Naruto and he had grown all the closer. It became clear just how much Naruto knew of and understood my husband…on levels I couldn't even fathom. That left a slight sting for me, and I started feeling hollowness within me, longing to be filled by an understanding of my beloved Gaara.

I fell into a slight depression, and started spending less time with him during his work time; even though I was dying to become closer to him I pulled away slightly. I suppose he mistook this for something else, or maybe he really did just want it on his own, for not long after that he asked if I wanted to have a child. I thought perhaps a child would bring me closer to him, and if nothing else fill the hollow that was aching inside me, so I eagerly agreed.

We tried for nearly a year, with no results, and I was starting to become worried, so we went to the old midwife of Suna, to have me examined. We waited for three long and painful days as we waited for her to tell us if she had found anything. To my horror, when we finally received news, it was the worst I could imagine. She told me I was unable to bear any children, and that I would never be able to.

I very nearly broke after receiving that news, and the cracks were deep and long, and I could barely speak for weeks afterwards, for my throat was swollen from sobbing. Gaara knew not what he could do. He had no experience in the healing of broken hearts. He would try to sit with me every time the news sunk in again and I would have another fit, but I would send him away and refuse to speak to him, and soon he simply stayed away except for to lie with me while I slept.

I shifted from the denial and the hurting into a more quiet depression, which I spent staring out windows and lying in bed eating very little of anything. I no longer sent Gaara away when he tried to support me, but I also barely registered that he was there and could not appreciate his company. Despite my coolness he never abandoned me entirely. He still spent every open moment beside me, holding me, even when I would simply stare at a wall instead of return the embrace.

I'm lying in my bed now, as I reminisce on all of this. I was crying earlier, a relapse into the first stage of this. I'm not anymore. I feel like I should be blaming God, or myself, or Gaara for this, but I don't. I don't care enough to blame anyone. I stopped caring a few weeks ago, because right now it's better to feel nothing at all instead of the pain I'm going through.

The door just opened…it must be Gaara. Yes, it's him; these are his arms around me. He's lying behind me, his breath is stirring the light hairs on my neck…I know I love him, but I know so little about him. I wish I could love him better.

"Please talk to me." He whispers into my ear. "I miss hearing your voice."

"I have nothing to say…" I reply weakly.

"Say anything."

"Why don't you ever talk?"

He pauses now, and I wonder why I just said what I said…what this confrontation is going to turn into.

"What would I talk about?" He asks slowly.

"Something…anything…I'm sure I don't know about it."

He turns me around so I'm facing him, I don't resist but I don't help him either.

"What does that mean?" He asks, trying to look into my eyes but I'm too busy staring at the half-inch of fabric between us.

"I don't know anything about you."

Another pause, slightly shorter. "Why are you suddenly talking about this?"

"It's the only thing I haven't talked about." I feel the wall of apathy crumbling, emotions and thoughts that I had been smothering finally gasping for air. "You know every tiny detail and secret about me, Gaara. Why don't I know anything about you?"

He has no reply; he just stares at me as I finally make eye-contact, through my water-bleared pupils. I don't know what I'm feeling or thinking. I'm angry, sad, frustrated…so much all boiling up before I can register it.

"I love you so much…" I half-cry, "I want to know you better…I want to know my husband…"

He looks away from me now, his aqua eyes looking conflicted and unsure, I need this confrontation to fix everything or else I know I'll die of heartache.

"Why should the Hokage know my husband better than I do? Why should those old men whom don't even care about or trust you know you better than your wife?"

Gaara makes a noise, but I can't tell if he's just sighing or trying to form words. Finally he turns even further away, his back almost facing me, and he says, his voice cracking;

"I'm afraid that…if you…if you knew everything about me, you wouldn't love me anymore."

I fall silent know, listening eagerly as my husband speaks in a voice I've never heard from him. Full of uncertainty, frail…wavering as if he could begin to cry at any moment. I have never seen Gaara come close to tears. I sit up looking over his shoulder at his pale face and slowly he sits up as well, eyes cast down.

"I never meant to with-hold myself from you. I …from the moment I met you, I've felt different. You never knew me from the days before I became Kazekage; you never had to see what I had been. I can be someone else with you. I can be…normal. It felt so wonderful; it made me so happy; I never wanted to risk losing that by letting you see me as they all do. I wanted you to only think of me as the man I am with you. But if by doing that I've hurt you at all then I—" His words caught and tears glimmered on the edge of his eyes. "I never meant for that. I love you…I love you so much sometimes it makes me ache to see you. If I could I would never leave your side, I would never go to another meeting with that stuffy council. I worry sometimes that…that I'm failing as a kazekage because I hold you so far above everyone else in my town."

I'm crying. I don't know which of his shocking and beautiful words started it, but suddenly I realize there are tears rolling down my cheeks. He looks at me with worry, and his hands hesitantly wipe my eyes, only to have fresh tears replace the ones he dried. He looks so confused, and concerned, and because my swelling heart is blocking my words he fills the silence with more of his halting voice.

"Don't you see? You mean so much to me that I can never risk losing you. If I've hurt you…you must know that's the last thing I ever intended to do to you. My love, I'm so sorry."

He's said everything he needs to, everything I could ever want to hear. I place my hands on either side of his face and kiss him long and soft, and can feel the relief rush through him and he puts his arms around me.

"How could you ever think I would stop loving you?" I asked. "There is nothing in the world that could make me do that."

His response is to hold me tighter. By now, we're both crying, both so relieved and overwhelmed we can do nothing else.

I see in this moment, that for as many times as Gaara has changed my life this moment is the greatest. For as much as he has changed me and as much as I apparently have done for him at this moment we finally became completely together, sharing a catalytic moment that would take us through the rest of our lives. Just as the night I first saw him laugh, I'm beginning to break through the layers around him, each guarding his delicate emotions with an iron shield that I can only take down with my loving words.

My husband is a strange and confusing man, but I think now I'm beginning to unravel the mystery.

This story...oh my god this story. It breaks all my usual rules: No Original characters in main roles, no heterosexuality, no getting Gaara married to someone besides Lee or Naruto...but I dunno, I just wanted to write this. I feel bad for breaking my own rules but I really liked this becuase I thought Gaara's wife was very real with her insecurities and clumsiness, and the way she was hopelessly in love and overwhelmed when it was returned. I think it was a bit much of a monologue but it turned out all right, she's the monologuing type.

In the end this is really a story about Gaara. How he seems to someone off the battlefield and what it means to him to finally find someone that he can be human around. Who wont always think about what he was. The way the man of few word's life became shaped by them.

I hope you all read this with patience, and tell me what you think. I love Gaara I hope I did him justice. Thank you

Much Love

Angel Lucifel