Disclaimer: Not mine.

Plot: Hinata pays Gaara a visit at night. Light fluff ( I suppose)

She hadn't meant to walk into the room.

Curiosity made her walk into the building made of sand.

The loneliness drew her in deeper…

Past the stairs…

Through the guards…

Deeper still…

Past the open doors…

Amidst the whispered lies…

And into the darkness.

He was sprawled on the floor, paperwork strewn around him. He didn't notice her enter… People rarely did.

There were candles around him, encircling him… engulfing him. They burnt like the color of his hair… his eyes… his lips… He sighed, running a hand through his crimson hair with pale hands, still ignorant of his guest. He threw a file over his shoulder, adding onto the pile, and took another file from the pile on his right.

She felt herself being drawn to him, could barely stop herself advancing towards him stealthily on slightly uneven feet.

The light touched her hair, giving it a blue tint amidst the darkness. She opened her mouth. And closed it. What was she to say? The flicker of light caught her eyes, mirroring their uncertainty.

He had one leg drawn to his chest and another carelessly sprawled out on top of files. He looked tired. Her heart went out to him.

She sighed, without meaning to. She hastily shut herself up with both her hands but the damage had been done.

He raised his head up slowly, uncaring. His expression did not change when he met her eyes. She was wearing the blue dress today. Temari had bought her that dress. She said it showed off her curves. It certainly did. She was breathtaking.

'I-I'm s-s-sorry, I-I- d-din't mean t-t-to,' she stuttered, backing away, attempting to escape.

'The dress looks good on you,' he sounded tired. Perhaps, even with a tint of annoyance. Why did she come?

Blood rose to her cheeks. She stopped backing away. The annoyance did not go unnoticed. She bowed her head in apology, 'I missed you,' she said softly. He almost didn't catch it.

'I'm sorry,' he softened. She missed him. He felt… oddly pleased.

'You passed through today…' she whispered, her bangs covering her face. He wanted to see her face, her expressions. She had expressions for every emotion that goes through her mind.

'I was on my way back from Konoha.'

She refused to look up, 'why didn't you stop by?' she sounded accusing.

He stood up, something's wrong, he thought.

He advanced towards her slowly, giving her time to think, to breath. Standing feet to feet, he attempted to put his hand on her cheek.

She slapped it away.

He surprised.

No… he was more than surprised. He was hurt.

The trip had been disastrous.

They were attacked on their way to Konoha.

Temari was badly injured.

Kankuro was badly injured.

He was badly injured.

There's runaway sand Shinobi, who apparently, was strong as hell.

His job as Kazekage was slowing dragging him back into the realm of insanity.

His head is swirling from the tiring trip back.

He hadn't had any rest since god-knows-when.

His chest was still hurting from the injury he obtained two weeks ago.

And now, this.

He turned away.

'Leave.'

Silence from her side.

He wondered if she had left.

A couple of minutes of silence.

She sniffed.

He realized she was sobbing.

Now he felt guilty. He turned back and wrapped his arms around her. 'I'm sorry,' she kept crying. 'I didn't mean that.'

'Shhh…' he rubbed her back gently.

He waited for her to stop crying.

'I-I-I t-thought,' she hiccupped and rubbed the tears off her cheeks, 'y-y-you were d-d-dead.'

He was surprised.

She pulled herself out of his grasped and stared at his face, tears dripping down her cheeks. She placed two small shivering hands on the sides of his face, 'I-I-I tho-thought-'

He leant in and brushed his lips onto hers, ever so gently.

She was being very fragile today.

She looked surprised, touching her lips with her fingertips, 'I-I-I t-t-think I'm d-d-dreaming,' she whispered.

He raised his eyebrows in mild amusement, 'You dreamt of me before?'

'S-S-Shadows…' she said grimly, nodding.

'Shadows?'

'I-I t-t-t-tried to g-g-get y-you out,' she looked pained, one hand caressing his slightly stubbled chin.

'I'm out,' he smiled.

She shook her head gently, 'not yet…'

'Almost,' he didn't realize she noticed the shadows. She was always so… happy around him.

Her expression softened. 'A-almost,' she agreed. 'You look tired,' she had stopped stuttering. He wished the tears will stop too. 'You should get some sleep,' she took his calloused hands in her soft ones and lifted them to her tear-stained lips.

'You're tired,' he stated, noting the bags under her eyes.

She shook her head, 'I-I-I'm n-n-not.'

'Who told you I was dead?' he wanted to know.

She closed her eyes, 'it-it doesn't matter.' Her breath was warm against his knuckles.

'Tell me.'

'Karuma,' she guided his hands to rest onto the sides of her cheeks.

That name sounded familiar… he frowned.

She smiled, 'the bad man,' she helped.

'How did you-' she kept surprising him today. 'You're the runaway Sand Shinobi.'

She frowned, 'no, I'm not.'

Tsunade's words came flooding back to him,

He was barely listening…

'-attacked the tribe while they were in the middle of burning down the village. She didn't leave any survivors…'

'How do you know it's a "she"?' Sakura asked.

'A little boy saw her, apparently. He was being held captive by the leader, Karuma. He wanted her to take off her mask. She took it off and threw it at him.'

A fellow patient beside him snorted.

Tsunade didn't crack a smile, 'it took two inches off his forehead.'

The patient stopped smiling.

'He said she looked…'

Sakura waited.

'He said she looked pretty.'

He frowned from his bed, 'why are you telling me this?'

'We think she's from Suna,' Tsunade didn't sound happy about telling him this.

'Why?'

'The boy said she was asking her about Suna's Kazekage.'

He frowned, 'About me?'

'Apparently so,' she looked grim.

'But taking out Karuma's good… right?' Sakura asked, not quite getting what all the fuss was about.

'She took out the entire tribe alone… countless bounty hunters have tried. She finished the fight in less than five minutes. Two minutes were spent on talking. The elders don't like anonymous heroes. Anonymity means she has something to hide.'

'That doesn't make sense,' Sakura was frowning.

'Politics never do,' he focused his attention at the hokage, 'she's not from Suna.'

'How do you know?'

'She's not from Suna.' He was insistent.

Tsunade sighed, she'll pursue the topic when he's being less stubborn. 'Anyway, we've managed to heal most of your wounds,' she smirked, 'next time someone punch a hole through your chest, it's a good idea to stop fighting.'

'They had to be taken out.'

'Stubborn kid,' she smiled.

'That was nice of you though, taking the hit for your sister,' Sakura said.

He looked away a failed attempt to hide his embarrassment.

Tsunade's smile widened. It took all of Sakura's willpower to keep herself from saying, 'awww…'

They decided to leave him alone.

'You were asking about me.'

She stopped smiling, 'he had some of his men follow you on your way to Konoha. I wanted to know why.'

'How did you know?'

'Itachi-kun saw them,' her grasps on his hands tightened, 'I was worried…'

He smirked, 'and you asked Karuma?'

She giggled through tears, 'that was stupid, wasn't it?'

He nodded and kissed her forehead, 'stop crying.'

'I'm sorry…' she sniffed.

'How are you?' he asked.

She giggled again, 'people usually ask that one first, don't they?'

He grinned, 'I suppose they do.'

'I love you,' she grinned.

'I know.'

'You're supposed to say "I love you, too",' she giggled.

He shrugged, 'it means the same thing.'

'No, it doesn't,' she challenged, letting go of his hands. She wrapped her arms around his neck tightly, burying her face in the nape of his neck.

He pulled her in closer, his hands on her waist. He lifted her off the floor easily, 'you lost weight.'

She giggled, 'no, I haven't.'

'Stay with me,' he whispered into her ears.

'I have to go back. I didn't tell Itachi-kun I went out,' she was comfortable in his arms.

He put her feet back on the floor, 'for breakfast. He wouldn't miss a thing.'

She frowned, 'they depend on me for meals.'

He grinned, 'they'll survive.'

'I doubt that.' She started laughing.

'It's late,' he breathed in her scent. She smelled like Lilacs.

'The place felt as if someone had died,' she frowned.

'I was in a bad mood.'

She pulled herself out of his grasp, 'I really have to go. I need to hand Karuma's head to Pain-sama.' And she wasn't speaking figuratively.

He found himself grinning, 'you had time to change into the dress.'

She wrinkled her nose, 'my clothes smelt bad…' she blushed, 'I needed something to put his head in.' she walked towards the window.

She was wearing the dress under those clothes. She was planning to see him as soon as she finished her mission.

He was pleased.

'I'll see you soon?' he wanted to know.

'As soon as I finish,' she stared at the sky. No moon tonight. That's nice.

And she was gone.

He stood staring at the window before walking over to his desk. He pulled out an empty slip of paper and wrote:

Tsunade,

Do the villagers know what an Akatsuki looks like?

-Gaara