With identical deadpans and red-rimmed eyes, Kankuro, Shikamaru, Temari, Kabuto, Matsuri, and a sleepy Sayaka assembled outside of Gaara's bedroom that morning. From one of the guest rooms several topless Narutos also emerged, one who was clad only in a metallic thong. Everyone eyed the Narutos but no one dared say a word.
The blonde noticed the looks, and shrugged. "Being a jinchuuriki makes you kinky."
Oh they had no idea.
Temari rapped twice on Gaara's bedroom door as Kankuro scratched his ass, clad in his cat suit, which, conveniently enough, also served as his pajamas. More looks were exchanged among the party, most of them annoyed. Gaara had put on quite the racket last night. Strange, clanging noises had reverberated throughout the entire floor for hours on end. Not one of them had gotten a wink of sleep that night. What exactly – ("the fuck") – had Gaara been doing in there all evening?
"The nerve of that guy..." Naruto muttered to himself, just as Gaara's door swung open.
A fresh-faced Hyuuga answered it to their collective surprise. Her hair was moist with water, and she was wearing one of Gaara's oversized bathrobes. Shikamaru glanced past her, and immediately covered his daughter's eyes.
Beyond Hinata, the bedroom was a wreck. There was sand everywhere, and all the furniture was in tatters. The naked Kage lay face-down on the floor, unconscious.
"'Morning," Hinata chirped.
"What the hell-?" said Kankuro.
"Oh," Hinata blushed, just realizing the appearance of the bedroom. "Gaara's just – resting."
An air of paranoia hovered over the group.
"Guys – it's me," said Hinata.
"Oh," said Temari, before processing this information. "...Oh."
"It's good to see...you're back," said Kabuto, as a bit of blood dripped from his nose at the thought of their despicable deeds.
"G-gaara-sama?" said Matsuri.
"Well, see you guys at breakfast. I'm making pancakes," said Hinata, quickly closing the door in their faces.
An hour later, after thoroughly scrubbing their bodies, faces, and eyeballs, the tower's residents gathered in the small kitchen area. The six seats at the circular table were quickly filled, to leave the rest standing around it holding plates and absorbed in good-humored conversation with each other. Naruto – thank the gods – was accompanied by Sakura when he arrived, both who regularly vacationed in Suna under the guise of top secret missions. Hinata was dressed in white shorts and a T-shirt, and busily making a mountain of pancakes with astonishing prompt and expertise.
"I thought you were in Konoha," Temari said.
"I decided to come back," said Hinata. She weakly smiled. "Besides – Kankuro needs me."
At the table, her brother-in-law nodded as he watched her cook, a deranged look on his face.
Gaara impassively made coffee, as though he hadn't nakedly mooned them all only an hour prior. As an afterthought, he added a teabag to his beverage in hopes of disguising it. Then he added a little more coffee.
Hinata lowered a stack of pancakes in front of Kankuro. "And we have news," she said. Her face flushing, she pressed her pointer fingers together.
She retained a habit, Gaara observed. Traits of her young self seemed to have carried over despite her recovery. He took another sip of his coffee.
"We're going to have a baby!" said Hinata.
The room fell into silence.
"But I thought you had amnesia."
"...what the hell."
"How does he do it! ?"
Hinata paid no mind to their disbelief. She was lost in her own world, too giddy to even intercept her husband's impending caffeine overdose. She grabbed Gaara's free arm as he lowered his mug, and didn't miss the rare lift of the corner of his lips.
Eight Months Later
"Come, Sayaka, meet your cousin," said Temari, raising her daughter up to Hinata's level.
Sayaka peered at the infant in Hinata's arms before contorting her little blonde face in distaste. The girl clearly didn't like competition.
Hinata raised an eyebrow as Temari lowered Sayaka who wobbled off to find something more entertaining than newborns. The two mothers were seated in the kitchen, Temari sipping coffee as Hinata rocked her sleeping infant.
"Coddling him already, I see," said Temari.
Hinata inwardly smiled. She knew Temari insulted with affection. "Sayaka's getting awfully spoiled," she observed.
"Hmph," said Temari.
Hinata rolled her eyes. Despite her cynicism, Hinata was grateful to have Temari, especially in these past few days.
Her sister-in-law looked pointedly away from her as Hinata stroked her baby's head and sighed. "Gaara still hasn't met this little one."
Gaara had been away for weeks for a summit in the Lightening Country. He'd left Kankuro in charge, and things had gotten awfully queer in Suna. For one, the female ANBU operatives had all become required to wear V-necks and mini-skirts in place of armor. Hinata found it was a convenient time to be on maternity leave.
With the birth of her child – hers and Gaara's – her citizenship was officialized in Suna and annulled in Konoha. Her home was the place of her immediate family, and that was Suna. Now she would be free to travel without the threat of being captured. She could visit Konoha and see her comrades again.
The hardest part of her life at that moment was missing Gaara...not knowing how he was or where he was, with none of his correspondence – if any – ever reaching her hands. Civil tensions were running high, and it was an unreliable time for messenger hawks in the Lightening Country. Hinata wasn't even sure if Gaara had ever gotten word that his child had been born already a week ago.
Hinata went to bed that night, feeling increasingly lonely with each evening she closed her eyes. She reached out to Gaara's side of the bed, her fingers resting on the mattress and wrapping in the sheets. She kept her child's crib with her in the room for the time being. She was still nervy about her newfound parenthood, and found herself constantly checking on the baby to make sure he hadn't spontaneously combusted.
But he was always sleeping peacefully, or just gazing up at her, some of his fingers stuffed into his mouth. He was quiet and content – like his father. Kankuro called him a drool-monster. Kabuto called him low-maintenance. She called him perfect. A weary smile crossed Hinata's face as she drifted off, thinking of her child.
A few hours later, she stirred. She could tell it was still night time by her body's unwillingness to move. She didn't know what had awoken her. She opened her eyes to slits when she noticed a lamp on across the room.
Hinata abruptly sat up.
She stared at the figure standing over the crib, peering into it, a stunned expression on his own face. Gaara looked exhausted. His clothes were torn, and there were scratches on his cheeks. It didn't take from the way he scrutinized his child.
Hinata's heart pounded. "I want to introduce you to – to-"
He'd spoiled the surprise.
"I'm late," said Gaara, finally looking at her.
Her weary smile didn't falter.
He was a week late, to be exact. A whole week of missing out on meeting the baby and learning all the things she already loved about him.
She climbed out of bed, walking toward crib. "I call him Kikai. He – has your hair, and nose, and – he likes this stuffed rabbit. And – let me show you how to hold him, but you have to-"
Gaara kissed her.
He'd acquaint himself with fatherhood later that evening, at 3AM, when Kikai was usually due for a diaper change.
It was just as well.
I'm really happy to have finally completed another story. To critique myself, I'd say, Hinata was extraordinarily nervy in this story, even for someone having amnesia. I also feel Gaara became kind of an asshat in the latter half of the story. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the way things came out.
Thanks for sticking by me all this time. It was really cool experimenting with this super-random, super-fun pairing.