The Way That A Father Should Love His Daughter

//~~//

Her faded smoke eyes, flecked with sharp colors of jade, stared up at him quietly. She never cried. Never had. He assumed that was one of the stronger traits he had passed on to her, aside from the green in her eyes or the slightest hint of blood color in her mostly brown hair. She had her mother's face, his attitude. Sometimes that wasn't the best of things, considering her lack of reactions put her on the outside most of the time. That, and the fact that she was his daughter.

She laughed and played like any normal child would, but only with him and her mother. With the others, she was shy. Awkward. Like her mother used to be before he took her under his wing. He hoped that that would happen with her, too. That she would one day find a true friend and come out of her small corner. Like Uzumaki had been to him.

He smothered her with his attention, with the little knowledge he knew of loving a person, and tried to show her that she had precious people. In truth, he was fascinated by her just as much, if not more, than she was of him. It seemed so unreal, to actually have a child. A little person that didn't know anything about his harsh past. One that could look up at him and not have that flash of insecurity in their gaze, but, instead, have one of wonder and innocence. That someone could love him in a way that no one else could.

Her small body curled against his tensed chest, wrapping her small arms around his neck and tucking her head under his chin. His arms slowly folded over her fragile frame, drawing her closer and sharing her warmth. It amazed him that she was so tiny. It had worried him at first, seeing her so small and so...breakable. Even Matsuri, devoted mother, wife, and Suna Kunoichi, had been in an exhausted state after the birth.

It had almost driven him mad with anxiety to have neither of them awake, just to show him they were alright. Though the only movement that showed his emotions boiling just under the surface was the slightest narrowing of his eyes and the need to constantly be by their sides. He was rarely found in his office for weeks. Even after Matsuri and his little girl had been released from the hospital, he had done his work from home, taking in the wonders of the small bundle of blankets and the primal look in Matsuri's eyes as she allowed the baby to suckle her breast or watch over their daughter.

As he breathed in deeply, taking in her sweet childlike scent, he remembered how he had been next to useless that first week. And he had hated that, not being able to take control of something, since control was what he thrived upon.

"Gaara, it's fine, really." Matsuri would laugh quietly at him, watching animatedly as he would stare at the small bundle suckling her breast as if he was ready to pounce at the slightest sign of discomfort. His eyes would flick between the two, distressed and confused from the winces of pain in his wife's eyes and the small noises from his daughter. "I'm just sore is all, and she has a Kankurou appetite."

Although he would nod to her, his eyes never left them for long. It was a new experience for him, and he hadn't quite gotten the hang of being a father yet. It almost felt like he was walking on ice all the time, sidestepping the sunken in places, only to hear the crack of ice as his feet hit another place. Though it was all new to Matsuri too, she seemed to know what to do, her motherly instincts kicking into overdrive most of the time. He wanted to help, but he didn't know how.

It wasn't until she was a few months old, and Matsuri was cleared for missions again, that his own fatherly urge to protect and guide became clearer.

"I have a mission on the borders today, Gaara. I'm leaving her with you." She held a secret smile on her lips, her eyes warm and tired as she walked behind his desk and gently placed her in his arms. He abruptly stood, getting distressed at the idea of having the child in his care, worried that, somehow, even though the Shukaku was gone, he would harm her somehow.

"Gaara," Matsuri had placed a caring hand on his cheek, calming him slightly at her touch. "It's fine." Her eyes bored up into his, seeing through him neatly. It unnerved him slightly that she was able to do that to him. It gave her power of him when he wanted to keep his emotions from her, but she always managed to know. She stood on her toes, pressing her lips softly against his own before drawing back and smiling almost sadly at him. "You won't hurt her."

Once Matsuri had left for her mission, Gaara had backed slowly to his office chair, sat down, and stared at the small girl wrapped in a soft red blanket. He cradled her easily against his chest, just like he had seen Kankurou do with his own son with his Hyuuga wife gazing tenderly from beside him. He had no idea how long he had just watched her as she slept, but after some time, her eyes had opened.

Looking up at him, much like she had done just moments ago before curling up to him, her eyes seemed to see through him. It was more unnerving than Matsuri's stare. She had the eyes that could be ice and fire at the same moment, and could see the lies that would be told to her. To him, she had seemed too wise for her age. Too knowing. And too innocent for the world that awaited her.

Unconciously, his hold tightened, as if she would fall from his grasp to the unforgiving ground. Her eyes had opened more, and it seemed like they were passing her thoughts to him. I know who you are. They said. Do you know me?

He brought her form closer to his face, watching for the sign of fear in her eyes that would inevitably flash across. Instead, she had blinked her dark, gleaming eyes and reached her hand out easily from the blanket wrapped around her. As her small warm hand connected with his skin, his own gleaming eyes had widened and he froze like the victims he had taken all those years ago.

Her small fingers traced over the scar that marred the skin over his left eye, running over it softly like he was the one made glass. Her eyes frowned, not understanding why it was there but aching to know. As her hand stilled, stopping her exploration, he felt her warm fingers spread out against his mark. It seemed like she was covering it, seeing if she could remove the pain he had been put through when he was small. Covering it, this time, with the right kind of love instead of the blood of so many people.

"I will never put you through that type of torture, Ai." He had said in a whisper, barely loud enough for even her ears, though she probably didn't understand anyway. But he had a feeling that she did. Gaara had carefully tucked her against his body, rubbing his hands slowly over her fragile back and resting his head on her small shoulder, as he whispered her promise quietly once more, "Never."

Like she did now, curled against him, she had wrapped her arms around his neck and layed her head on his broad shoulder. Without making a sound in the silence of the room, she had spoken clearly to him. I know.

Over the time of her growth, she had been almost silent, talking only to him and Matsuri, and in a way he was glad. The almost animalistic urge to protect her from what he had been through was always raging inside him, ever present and demanding. He would catch Matsuri looking at him from time to time when she thought he couldn't see her, and he would see that secret smile and a look in her eyes that was soft and grateful. Proud even.

But other times, he wished she would be more open. Being the daughter of a monster would not be something people would take kindly to, and he knew would be hard on her in the future. And it hurt him in ways he couldn't understand. Gaara wanted everything for her, to make her happy and to see her smile. She looked just like her mother when she smiled, and he drank in every minute of their happiness. It was like a dream to think that he had a family that wanted him and smiled for him.

As she breathed against his neck now, calmly and quietly, he closed his eyes and relaxed his tense muscles into the chair he occupied. The walls of her bedroom offered comfort and solace as he held her, and the moon's glow creeped against the floor like a mother's caress. The small domain had become a place he was in often. A place he was found holding his daughter.

She moved in his hold, and he opened his eyes slowly and pulled back to look his six year old daughter in the eyes. She sat in his lap comfortably, his arms holding her safely in place, and her hand reached out to him.

It had become something of a ritual for them every night or when she was troubled. her fingers would caress his scar before lying flat upon it. Her eyes would bore into his own as he mirrored her look of intensity and a silent understanding. Her lips formed a smile, and his eyes would warm and gaze softly at her.

"I love you, Daddy." she whispered quietly, her hand pressing against his mark.

His own lips turned upwards the slightest, just enough for her to see, and her too-knowing-eyes glanced down and caught the movement. Her eyes slid back up to his own and they seemed to brighten at the sight of his own.

He removed one hand from her back and covered her smaller one on his scar with his own. He watched her gaze at her enveloped hand, and smile at the sight. It was his own silent agreement, not knowing how to voice what he wanted to say to her.

"I know." she whispered and removed her hand from his skin, holding onto his palm as she brought them down between them. "You always will."

He removed his hand from her grasp and wrapped his arms carefully around her, bringing her in close and placing his lips on the crown of her head. Her reddish-brown hair smelled freshly of the shampoo she had used, exactly like Matsuri's scent.

"Always." he said quietly. "My sweet Ai."

//~~//

Matsuri rested the back of her head against the wall as she leaned her weight against it. Her hands interwined with each other abover her heart as she bowed her head. Gaara's whispered words to their daughter still floated around her, making her eyes close in silent ecstasy.

Her lips formed her own quiet smile, the one directed at Gaara in the privacy of her thoughts over the years of Ai's growth and her eyes opened slowly to gaze at the floor of their home.

He understands, she thought. and he knows the way that a father, Her eyes slid from the floor and looked quietly into the room. should love his daughter.


(sniffle) I know that this was pretty random, especially since I really need to update my stories, but my stepdad came home for a visit. It's rare we get to see him because his job keeps him a few states away. And I made him a mix CD with the song 'Zoe Jane' by Staind as the last one. He listened to it and he actually got teary eyed, and I felt like I should write something for it because it is special to me. Anyway, I hope you liked it as much as I do, and I hope you fav it and read everytime you need some fatherly love because, to me, this is the way a father should be. He should love his little girls with everything he has, and Gaara seems like he would be the perfect father. And of course it had to be GaaxMatsu because I love them so much. Thank you for reading and please review!