[GaaSaku] Following the same themes as the other collections, it's now up to Gaara to figure out how to handle an arranged marriage with a pink-haired medic that somehow, he doesn't mind to have around, bad temper and all. His siblings are all too amused by this.
Disclaimer: No, not mine. STFU.
Theme 1: Meeting the Family
To say that Sunagakure no Sato was a village flagellated under the merciless rays of the sun was an understatement, Sakura concluded with a sigh as she made her way towards the exit of her private quarters. Granted, it felt good to be regarded with so much respect – with her being the Kazekage's bride and all – but she wished for some familiarity once in a while.
This day marked the end of her first week of her permanent stay in the Village Hidden in the Sand. She had been received by the Sand Elders with great delight, because she had been the one that voluntarily chose to move – and marry – to the great Godaime Kazekage, Sabaku no Gaara.
Her arrival with her team had been celebrated by the entire village; she and Naruto were especially cheered because of their participation in the mission to rescue their beloved leader. Sakura had also been regarded with great deference, due to her almost miraculous performance when saving Kankurou's life from certain death after he was poisoned.
Gaara received them with crisp civility, and had not shown any discomfort when he sat next to her when the marriage ceremony rolled in. He also extended a hand to allow her to sign the scroll first, in a cold display that deep inside, made her feel as if she were sealing her fate.
It wasn't as if Gaara hadn't been painstakingly polite, even a bit haughty, towards her, during the last days. She had been left to her own devices from day one, forgoing the embarrassment of the wedding night for an early night's sleep. Her room was across the hall from Gaara's, and he hadn't even tried to enter. Thankfully, they shared the large apartment with his siblings, so the discomfort was somewhat quelled by their presence.
Something told her that red-haired Kazekage was one of two things: he was asexual, or he played for the other team. Sakura hadn't been really amused with her Inner persona's conclusions.
The day after the wedding she received the tailor who fitted Gaara's robes in order to prepare her own. Given the nature that surrounded the village, it was only logical that she adopted their customs in garments as soon as possible. She could get away with her shorts and skirt in the lush forests of Konoha, but under the scorching heat in Suna, wearing such clothing was like begging for a sunburn.
However, she was given the liberty to change the severe style in the clothes – she had to wear the robes when meeting with the elders, but the rest of the time she was allowed to dress as she pleased. This allowed her to brainstorm about the best way to don her garments without hampering the movement she needed as a kunoichi.
That was one of her conditions upon her agreement to this arranged marriage: she was not going to give up her life as a ninja, and as a medic. She fought tooth and nail against the Konoha elders, who thought it was best for her to remain under the Kazekage's sandy protection. Tsunade had been as livid as her, but in the end the Sand Elder – sent to work out the arrangement in Gaara's behalf – had agreed wholeheartedly with her demands. After all, Suna remembered how well Sakura had acted to help them. Ebizo, Chiyo's brother, had been the one who put her name up for consideration as Gaara's bride. He remembered how gentle the pink-haired kunoichi had been with his sister and how sad she looked during the funeral.
Ebizo told her he could see that she had a wonderful heart hidden by that spunky, fiery temper and those violent fists of hers, and this assured her upon her arrival at the meeting. At least she had someone in the Sand Council who worked to her favor.
Now, wearing long, black pants and her trademark red shirt under a white trench coat that showed her status as the Kazehime and Suna's head medic, she stepped out to the sweltering, bustling streets of her new home. The villagers always gave her a wide berth during her strolls, some of them even bowing at her as she passed by. This never failed to make her uncomfortable, especially since she wasn't the one that should receive those attentions, but their leader. She was just Haruno Sakura, now Sabaku in name, but even then, she felt she hadn't changed from the Sakura that lived in Konoha.
She asked herself if she ever was going to get used to such deference paid to her as she made her way toward the restaurant and smiled at the elderly people who greeted her.
A happy exclamation from Kankurou greeted her as she walked into the restaurant. Her brother-in-law was sitting next to Temari, whose ever-present smirk was in place. Truly, they had helped her greatly during her moving and settling in Suna, and Sakura had to admit that having them around was refreshing. They knew the real her, who she was and how she grew up.
"Hey guys," she greeted them as she took a seat, "Thank you for the invitation. I was hoping to spend some time with you."
"No problem," Kankurou said as he waved his hand to the waitress, "it's not everyday we can invite our sister-in-law to lunch."
"Especially when said imoutou is so busy with her duties as Kazehime," Temari piped in, grinning. She laughed as she saw Sakura's scowl. "Relax, Sakura-chan. You can bitch at us for as long as you want if that helps you cope with this situation."
"I'm not feeling bitchy today, but I'll take you up on the offer one of these days," she shot back as her scowl diminished slightly. "It's... it's just that..."
"You didn't expect so much fanfare, did you?" Temari asked knowingly. Sakura nodded with a sigh. "It's okay; it's just that the people felt reassured that Gaara is not alone anymore. Some of them – especially his fangirls – are still crying rivers over the whole matter, but it's nothing you can't handle."
Sakura rolled her eyes blatantly, ignoring the blonde's taunt. "I know, I've noticed a few glares since I got here. I can't believe that he, of all people, has rabid fangirls."
"I thought Uchiha had a fanclub as well," Kankurou sneered. "I must say I'm jealous of my little brother, he gets all the hotties for himself," he winked at Sakura, who lifted a skeptical eyebrow.
"Get your act together, Kankurou, or I'll poison your sake," she threatened grumpily. He just laughed, knowing that Sakura could not ever hurt him. With poison, at least.
"How's the hospital?" Temari asked as the waitress left after taking their orders, "are the nurses giving you a hard time?"
"Nah, they know I have the power to fire them if I find out they're slacking off," Sakura answered after a much needed sip of water.
"I think it's your reputation as a poison expert that keeps them in line," Kankurou joked, "but it's great to have you around, Sakura. I never got to thank you properly for saving my ass back in that time."
"Likewise," she smiled. "The elders have been demanding that I learn Sand's history as soon as possible, along with the laws and stuff. I feel as if I'm back in the academy."
"I can lend you my books. They should be somewhere in a box at home," Temari offered. "They should help you with the history of Suna."
"Thank you, Temari, I think it would help me greatly," Sakura nodded gratefully, "I'll do everything I can to learn everything fast; so I'll have to ask you to be patient with me."
"Please, Sakura," Kankurou said with a smirk. "The ones asking you to be patient are us, especially when you have to deal with our brother. I know he's not the easiest to be around, but we thought we should let you know this arrangement has been as... unnerving for him as much as it has for you."
"Somehow I kinda doubt that," Sakura snorted, waving her chopsticks, "he avoids me like the plague. I think I'm not really his type."
"Didn't I tell you my brother doesn't know how to deal with women?" Temari asked with a laugh. "His social skills are akin to none! He's a great leader, but mostly because he gives the orders and everyone follows them without complaints. He works hard, that Gaara," she added with a fond look in her eyes, surprising Sakura in the process because she didn't expect Sabaku no Temari to show such emotion regarding her former psycho-murderer brother of hers. "He agreed to the marriage to someone from Konoha because he knew Naruto and the Hokage would send someone fitting for him, but we could see how unsettled he was. I have to admit I was surprised when we found out it was you, of all people... but I'm grateful, Sakura. I hope you give Gaara a chance. Despite everything, he's a good man."
Sakura didn't know what to say after such insight from the usually tight-lipped, badass Temari. She nodded, a smile blossoming on her face.
"Thank you for your trust, guys. I promise I'll be a good wife for him, if he lets me."
"Give time to time, Sakura. He'll get used to your presence soon enough."
"Oi, Sakura..." Kankurou piped in with a thoughtful look. "Aren't you... you know, afraid of Gaara? Of what he was, back then?"
"Honestly?" Sakura tilted her head with an amused smile as she picked another morsel from her plate. "No."
"It's... difficult to say. I know he tried to kill me, but then again many people had tried that, so it's unfair for me to say I condemn him for what happened in the past. Naruto forgave him, and it's the least I can do."
"...You're weird, Sakura-chan."
She laughed. "Look it from my side, Kankurou. Naruto tried to kill me once, under the influence of... you know what," she lowered her voice, "I forgave him because he's my brother, and I know he wasn't exactly there when he lashed out. The same principle applies to Gaara, see?"
"How much do you know about the Shukaku?" Kankuro fired back.
"As much as I know about the Kyuubi," she answered truthfully. "Ebizo-jiji gave me a bunch of scrolls about the One Tail, and I'm pretty much sure that Gaara wasn't really thinking straight when he attacked me when we were kids."
Temari and Kankurou stared at her. Sakura blinked several times, puzzled.
The Sand kunoichi grinned, seemingly pleased. "I'm glad you're here with us, Sakura. I promise we'll be there for you when you need us."
Kankurou scratched his head and nodded his assent. Sakura beamed at them.
"Thanks, guys. I really appreciate it."
- Tenna' ento lye omenta -
A/N: Manolito strikes again! He really didn't want to leave me be without forcing me to plot this. I have to admit I'm having as much fun with this one as I did with Crimson Genii back in the time.
No Gaara this time, but they gossiped so much about him that his presence was somewhat felt, right?
Much love to my beta Rapturesrevenge for looking over this, and thank you guys for reading!