The distinct sound of thunder came into the hall. Some of the younger people huddled inside of the building shuddered in fear. A twenty three year old girl glared out the window at the thunder storm in frustration. It had been raining for a week now. The heavy rainfall had created a flood in the city and because of that flood everyone who did not have a tall enough house (including her) had to be evacuated to the City Hall, the only place big enough in the city to accommodate everyone. Despite its large size, everyone was still crammed together. Almost every inch of space (except a few of the office spaces) was filled with a mat and someone lying on it. Heck even the bathrooms had a few people! And the authorities said that they were going to have to stay here for a month! A month!
Too make matters worse; she had just had her house renovated. And it just had to be all on one floor. That was a few thousand dollars and a whole lot of work down the toilet. One month till she could see what damages had been done and one month till she could fix anything. She hoped that at least the new paint job would be alright, but she knew not to get her hopes up.
And to top things off they didn't have enough mats for her! Even though she had arrived with enough time to get one. Apparently Naruto (who had been helping organize the supplies) had noticed that there might be a shortage and decided that she would be alright without one. After she yelled at him about it, he had suggested that maybe she could share with someone, after all that's what some of the others were doing. She had to remind him that only couples did that and needless to say, she pounded him for it.
So here she was, watching the storm from the window. A beam of lightning appeared, as if mocking her. She sighed in annoyance. It was times like this when she believed that life hated her.
"Sakura," a voice announced from behind her. Sakura turned, it was a maid girl. She was probably a secretary that was just volunteering to help out. "It's getting late. You should probably get to bed." Before she could have a chance to explain the situation, the girl left.
Great, what was she supposed to do now? She turned and looked around the room. At the far end there was Naruto fast asleep with Hinata. A small drop of drool was evident on the boy's face. They looked cute together. Her gaze turned elsewhere and she saw that Tenten was in a sleeping bag with Neji, Ino with Chouji and some blonde girl with Shikamaru...What was this? Couples night? The sight of all the pairs and the fact that she herself was single only added to her pent up frustration.
Her eyes wandered the mats and sleeping bags, desperate to find one that had one person. Unfortunately, the only ones she could see like that were either a) only big enough for one person b) the occupant looked threatening or disgusting or c) the sight of the mat or the person just looked plain uninviting. Just as she was about to give up and try to think some other option, she saw someone out of the corner of her eye.
It was a male at the very far end of the room. Farther than anyone else, right up against the wall. Almost as if he was trying to get away from everyone else. She probably wouldn't have noticed him if it wasn't for his bright red hair. That and the fact that he was the only male there shirtless. It was very evident even though only a small portion of his chest was visible. A small blush rose to her cheeks as she looked at the visible muscle. She forced her eyes away to look at his sleeping bag. It looked big enough for two people, big enough so that two people could sleep in it without the awkwardness of having to be shoved together.
Before she had the chance to think about it, she was walking towards him. By the time she registered what she was doing, she was right next to him and he was now awake and glaring at her. "Yes?" he hissed.
She had to force herself to speak and hope that her nervousness wasn't showing. He was even more good looking close up. Her gaze drifted down briefly to his exposed abdomen, but she looked away before she thought that he noticed anything. "Umm, hi." She smiled nervously. "Umm...because of a stupid friend of mine I don't have a sleeping bag and...since you have one that looks big enough for two people, I was wondering if you could...you know...share yours." He grunted with annoyance. She took this a sign of being unwelcome so she quickly added in, "I don't snore or anything, and I'll try to touch you as little as possible."
He stared at her for a few moments. Then he grunted again and moved over to the far side of the sleeping bag. "Just don't touch me."
She smiled and was going to thank him but his eyes were already shut, like he was trying to force himself back to sleep. So she crawled in as carefully as she could and scooted as far away from redhead as possible. Then, when she was sure that she was in no way touching him, her eyes shut and she fell asleep.
When Sakura awoke, she saw that the male had already left the sleeping bag. She looked around the room and didn't see any sign of him. Ah well, not like that really affected her. Slowly, she got up from sleeping bag. Wow she was sore. She guessed that trying to sleep like a board could do that to you.
When she stepped out from the sleeping bag she stretched slightly then walked over towards the area where her bag was. It was in a storage closet and after rummaging around for about five or so minutes, she found it. With the bag in hand she walked over to the showers, grateful that they weren't all communal. There were a few that were separate and allowed privacy; she was intending to get one of those ones.
The only problem with those kinds of showers was that there was a bit of a line up for them, even at this time of the day. Fortunately, it wasn't that long yet so she wouldn't have a long time to wait. As she stood in line she saw Tenten walk up with the girl that had been sleeping in Shikamaru's sleeping bag come up behind her. "Hey Sakura," Tenten greeted.
Sakura smiled at them. "Hey Tenten."
Tenten motioned towards the other girl. "This is Temari. She's dating Shikamau."
Instead of greeting Sakura, Temari grinned and said, "So you're the one that got cozy with my brother last night." After seeing the confused look on Sakura's face, the girl continued. "The redhead that you shared a sleeping with was my brother. His name's Gaara."
"Ohhh," Sakura replied. So that's what his name was. She studied Temari. The two didn't seem very alike. For one thing they looked quite different; she had to squint to see any resemblance between the two. Also Temari seemed talkative and 'in your face' while Gaara seemed to be distant and preferred to stay away from people.
"You really surprised me. I didn't think Gaara would let anyone sleep ten feet near him, let alone sleep in his sleeping bag with him," Temari explained. "You are one lucky girl."
Sakura's face turned beat red as she interpreted Temari's words. Temari thought that she and Gaara were lovers? "Oh no, it's nothing like that!" Sakura exclaimed. She quickly explained her situation to the blonde girl.
However the girl's grin still remained on her face. "Is that so?" she asked. "You have quite the situation. Even so, it's quite remarkable that he let you sleep by him. I've rarely ever seen that happen. So it must mean something."
Sakura shook her head furiously "I really don't think so." When she saw that it was her turn for the showers she quickly said her goodbyes and walked into the shower area.
The large shower stall was divided into two: the front was for the actual shower area, the back for a towel and clothes. Sakura put her clothes and duffel bag down at the back, and then went to the front with her shampoo, conditioner, and soap. She proceeded to turn on the water and begin washing herself. Why was Temari so convinced that she and Gaara were together? Was the male that picky about who was near him? In that case, why did he let her near him? Did he actually possess feelings for her? She doubted it, but then again, she had always been slightly pessimistic.
She worked the shampoo into a lather on her hair, worked it in, and let it rinse out. Then she applied conditioner. If he did like her, what were her feelings for him? Sure he was cute (more like drop-dead gorgeous), but she wasn't sure if she did have feelings for him. After all, she had only known him for one night. She needed more time to think about this.
After she emerged from the shower area she walked towards the room that was serving as the kitchen for the time being. One of the biggest concerns for the hall was getting enough food. They had enough to get by for the first two weeks, and after that a helicopter would ship them food. So for now they had to ration everything. Big meals were now a privilege everyone had to do without for now.
Five minutes later she held a tray holding a glass of orange juice, an apple and a piece of toast with a small amount of butter scrapped on it. She looked around, trying to find a place to sit when she saw Ino waving at her. With a smile on her face, she walked over to her friend.
Ino was sitting at a table beside Tenten, Hinata and Temari. "Hey." The two greeted each other as Sakura sat down next to Ino.
"So what are you planning on doing while we're cooped up in here Sakura?" Tenten asked. "Personally, I'm still going to try and train some more. Yes I know space is an issue but I don't care. Heck, I'll train in a washroom stall if I have too!"
"Nice," Sakura replied. "I've volunteered to be a medic for the time being. Hopefully that will keep me busy enough."
"I'll be working in the kitchen most of the time," Hinata added in.
"Well for the majority of us, we will be doing pretty much nothing," Ino complained. "Personally, I hope I don't get cabin fever or something by the end of this." She turned to Sakura, a mischievous glint evident in her eyes. "So Sakura, I heard that you got cozy with Temari's brother last night."
Sakura rolled her eyes. She should have known last night's events would have ended up as gossip for Ino. "Nothing happened," she explained. "We didn't even make any actual contact."
Ino frowned. "But there must be something. Otherwise Gaara wouldn't have let you sleep beside him."
"Honestly, I doubt it. When I asked him he didn't seem all that happy about it," Sakura explained. She wanted to end this now. Mainly because she knew how Ino was with gossip, not only would everyone in the hall know about it but she would exaggerate to the point where people would believe she and Gaara were dating.
Ino pouted. "Well...if you're sure."
The rest of the day passed by quickly. There was a small room that had been converted into some sort of a clinic. That was where Sakura was positioned. She and one other very...preppy girl named Ani were the only people there as medics. At first the two didn't really hit it off, but after awhile the fact that they would be forced together for a month helped them to try and find some common ground. The basic rule they decided upon was that Ani got all the cute guy patients.
After they established that rule they swapped family stories. Sakura told her about she had often travelled around the country with her mom growing up and about how she graduated high school two years early and made it into medical school on a scholarship. In turn Ani told Sakura about how she lived in Miami in a big house with her parents and older brother and how her parents made sure that she went into the best medical school they could pay for.
Ever since then the day went by pretty quickly. Pretty soon it was the call for everyone to go off to bed. Sakura sighed; she had to go see Naruto. The previous day he had told her that he would try to get her a mat today since she obviously didn't like the idea of sharing one.
It only took a few minutes to locate the hyper blonde. And he was exactly where she thought he'd be: at the kitchen trying to convince Hinata to let him have just one more bowl of ramen before they had to go to bed. "Naruto," she said, going up to him. "Did you find me a mat yet?"
As he looked at her, she saw his once happy expression drop. "Oh right." His voice had the tone she had heard many times before, his 'please don't kill me' tone. His right arm had gone up to scratch the back of his head. "About that...I kinda, forgot. So do ya think you can bunk up with someone again for the night?"
Sakura was now seeing red. Go try to pair up with someone...again? "You forgetful little!" she began yelling out, following up with a string of insults that would make any sailor proud.
By the time she had finished the cursing had effectively let her release all of her steam so she told Naruto and Hinata to have a goodnight and went off to the sleeping area. She had already slipped into her pyjamas, but many people had gone to bed in their day clothes, probably embarrassed at the thought of having to show the crowds of people their night clothes. So she was ready to crawl into bed...that is if she had one. What was she supposed to do now?
As she gazed around the room for the second time, she found that she was pretty much in the same predicament as she was the night before. What to do now... She could either stay up all night, sleep in a bathroom stall or something with no mat or sleeping bag, or try to bunk with Gaara again. As much as she didn't want to try the third option, she knew the first two were no good. So she walked over once again to Gaara's sleeping bag.
This time she was actually paying attention to her surroundings so she noticed that she was still pretty far from Gaara when he woke up this time. He was probably a very light sleeper. "Hey, it's me again," Sakura told him, still nervous but not quite as much as she was the night before. "Yeah I was hoping that I could, you know, use your sleeping bag again tonight. I'm really sorry and-". Before she finished he had already scooted over to the other side of the sleeping bag. Even though he had an annoyed expression on his face, she took his actions as a good sign and crawled in with him, again careful to prevent herself from making any contact with him.
By now, the days were becoming more routine. Because of Naruto's forgetfulness, she always had to go ask Gaara to share his sleeping bag. When she woke up in the morning he would be gone so she would have a shower, have breakfast then work with Ani until dinner came along. Finally, she would go ask Naruto, watch him just remember it at that moment and say that he forgot, then go to Gaara and ask him again. This was what she doing now.
Because she had asked quite a few times now, all she really had to do was stand by his bed and wave. He looked at her with same annoyed expression (although it was growing softer by the day) and moved over for her. But this time when she moved to the edge of the bag she heard his voice for the first time, "Is this going to become a daily thing?"
She took a moment to make sure that she was the one he was talking to. Then she flipped over and sat up somewhat. "If you don't mind maybe. It really depends on whether a certain forgetful friend of mine remembers to try to get me my own sleeping bag. But seeing as he has forgotten to do so for about five days now, I doubt it."
Thankfully, he didn't look really annoyed. He nodded and proceeded to lay back down and shut his eyes.
Since she probably was going to have bunk with him for the rest of the month, she decided to try to get to know him a bit better. And right now was probably the only time she could do such a thing, seeing as he was probably still awake. She had learned from Temari that they had come from a city called Suna and had only planned on staying a few days. "So..." she began."You're Gaara right?"
His eyes went open and he stared at her curiously before saying, "How did you know that?"
"I met Temari," she replied to him. He nodded and then looked as if he was going to try and fall asleep again. But before he did, she asked another question. "So how come you came to Konoha?"
He only cracked one eye open this time. "Business and to see what the fighting techniques here are." His eyes shut with a determined expression and he turned over.
Knowing he wouldn't answer anything else, or make any other comments, she repeated his action and rolled over as well. He didn't seem too friendly, and based on how he talked tonight, not very social either. But then why did he let her sleep by him? That was the part that didn't make sense. And why did she care so much? That was another part she wasn't sure of either.
She forced her confusion to the back of her mind, knowing that it would keep her up all night. Sleep began taking over and soon she fell into it.
Sakura walked towards the breakfast table, intent on talking to Temari. Today she would learn more about Gaara. Her goal provided her confidence. She sat down at the table and greeted everyone. Then she turned to Temari. "Believe it or not, I'm actually wondering about Gaara." She heard a few surprise gasps from around the table and she was aware that all eyes were on her, but she continued nevertheless. "Since Naruto keeps forgetting about me, I think I'll have to spend the remainder of the nights here using his sleeping bag. So I might as well get to know more about him."
She ignored Ino's bright, glittering eyes and focused on Temari. Surprisingly, Temari didn't break out in giggles and smirk but instead gave a simple smile and began talking about how their father was the something called the Kazekage of the city. They had a big house and rich upbringing, but things weren't always great. Their mother died when Gaara was born and their father had blamed Gaara until his dying days, which had finally come a few years ago. Their father had always kept Gaara separate from the rest of the family and so he spent much of his youth alone. But after their father died from an overdose, they were able to bond more as a family. A while after that, Gaara became the new Kazekage of the city.
"Wow," Sakura blinked when Temari finished. "That's...wow."
Temari nodded. "Yeah it's not really the norm, but it's his life. So that explains why he acts sort of anti-social sometimes."
Sometimes? How about all the time? Sakura shook the thought away and asked Temari, "So where does he go for most of the day?"
"He trains." Temari replied swiftly. "Sometimes alone, but usually with Naruto and Neji."
He trained with Naruto? So that means that he would have plenty of time to mention to Naruto that she needed a mat. So why hasn't he done so yet? He was really making her confused. But, at the same time, he made her curious. She wanted to know more about him and his actions, when he was the one talking about it. And that's just what would happen. She would make sure of it.
The rest of the day was unfortunately slow. She didn't even bother going to ask Naruto today. She knew what the answer would be. So instead she just went straight to the sleeping bag. And as usual, he was already there. This time his eyes only open halfway as she walked towards him. This was the first time that she crawled in without asking. She looked over at him. "So Temari told me you're the Kazy-thingy."
"Kazekage," he replied, turning to his side so that he was facing away from her. Unfortunately for him she wasn't done yet.
"Do you like it?" she asked him.
"Would I be doing it if I didn't?" he asked, sounding annoyed. She took this as a warning sign and stopped talking. Then she slid down into the sleeping bag more. She didn't even have to use try to not touch him anymore. It just came naturally.
Gaara jumped out of the way of Naruto's kick, following it up with one of his own. Although he was fighting with Naruto, his thoughts were on the pink haired girl who shared his sleeping bag. Thanks to Temari, he had learned that her name was Sakura. And the girl was having a strange effect on him, but for life of him he couldn't put his finger on why.
The first night she had asked him to occupy his sleeping bag, he wasn't in a particularly good mood. In fact, he was still surprised by the fact that he allowed her to do so. He had come to the city to discuss immigration with Tsunade and to see how things were fairing in the Konoha Martial Arts Academy, only planning to stay for a few days. It was one of few the times that he hadn't bothered to check the weather report. Never again. It was also one of few the times that he was jealous of Kankurou who probably took a walk in the dry desert just to spite him. The fact that he would have to stay in this bloody city for a month really dampened his mood.
He had almost fallen asleep when the pink haired feline came to him. He had always had a degree of insomnia throughout his life, causing him to only get around two or three hours of sleep per night, if that. For him going three or four nights with no sleep was normal. So sleep was always a challenge, a goal. He had almost accomplished this goal when Sakura had arrived. At first he was angry at her, for causing him to become wide awake again. But, when she talked to him, something changed. When she spoke, her voice seemed to have a soothing effect on him. It was calming and comforting. And she had asked him because she genuinely wanted him to help her. Not because she wanted to get in bed with him, like many girls have, or because of any other hidden intention, but because she really needed help from him. That was something that rarely ever happened, and when it did, people usually tried to demand it.
He had found that it was easier to sleep when she was next to him. It was easy in the nights that followed as well. The down side to this situation was that her coming up randomly each night was hurting his schedule. He needed to have routine, repetition. And her coming to him wasn't helping that. That was why he felt sort of grateful when she said she would be staying permanently. Her coming wouldn't throw him off anymore.
And then she started talking to him. Trying to engage him in conversation, even though it was usually just her asking questions and him responding with one word answers. But she was trying to talk with him, and he appreciated the effort. After the third night of their "talks" he actually began to look forward to when the pink haired woman would come and walk with him. All in all, she was growing on him, both as a friend, and as something else. He was a male, and he was not blind. He could see that she was attractive, and he could see her attraction for him on the first day, even though she had tried to hide it.
For once Gaara was finding himself feeling nervous. He had to admit, he did like this girl Sakura very much. Much more than any other girl. But the fear of rejection was plaguing him. It had never stopped him before, but then again, he had never had to try at any of his previous relationships. Girls had sort of launched themselves at him. She wasn't like that, and this was causing him heck. He had made up his mind that he would not make a move until he had another sign that she was attracted to him. Now, he was looking forward to tonight.
Sakura came at the usual time and climbed into her side of the sleeping bag. Then she looked towards him, her gaze lingered at him. Over the past few days whatever she had felt for him before had begun to grow. Even though it made her confused, she found herself beginning to enjoy the feelings, even though nothing would probably ever come of them. But when she remembered that she was staring a blush formed on her cheeks and she quickly looked away. "So..." she began her usual one-way talk sessions."Do you think you're enjoying your time here?"
He looked at her and shrugged. But then he did something different. "Are you?"
She blinked in surprise. Did he just ask her a question? She hadn't been imagining it? Well, she better answer it or it might never happen again. "I think it's alright. I mean, I'm helping out as a medic and even though there's a lot less equipment here, it's pretty much the same thing I'd be doing anyways, except it's a lot slower." She laughed quietly. "Thank you, for letting me use your sleeping bag like this."
He raised a nonexistent eyebrow. "You're welcome."
She smiled at him before lying down and drifting off to sleep. "Goodnight."
When Sakura awoke, she felt another heat source beside her. Right beside her. Slowly, her eyes drifted open only to find that not only was she right next to Gaara, but they were also in a very...interesting position. Her arms were wrapped around his shoulders and his were around her waist, to top it off her head was buried in his chest while his was securely in the crook of her neck. Suddenly she felt very awake.
She followed her first impulse and tried to push away and break their position. But he only grunted and pulled her closer to him. This was strange. Not only was he still here, but now they seemed to be locked into an intimate position. What would he think when he was fully awake? He was probably going to get really pissed. After all, this definitely went against the 'no touching' rule. But how had she gotten in this position?
She got her answer when she saw his eyelids flutter open. But instead of doing what she thought he'd do, he simply looked at their position, then at Sakura's blushing face and chuckled. Then he got up out of the sleeping bag and walked away without a word, leaving Sakura with a very blank and confused look on her face. What just happened?
She got up from the sleeping bag and went to do her usual morning routine. Even though she was trying quite hard to forget the incident that had just taken place, she couldn't. It was plaguing her mind.
Fortunately, when she sat down for breakfast her blush was gone. But that was the only success she had so far. "Hey Sakura," Ino said. "I saw the pose you and Gaara were in this morning. I didn't know he liked to cuddle."
Her blush flared up again and she began quickly explaining how she had no idea about it. "We just woke up like that." "No idea how it happened." "I was so confused."
They all laughed at her. "Don't worry Sakura," Tenten assured her. "It's fine."
"Yeah," agreed Temari. "Besides, Gaara needs a good relationship." Sakura blushed once again and everyone begun laughing once more.
"He really said that?" Sakura asked Ani as she took a blood sample from a small boy. It was about one o clock and there were both in the small medic room.
"Yep, no joke," Ani replied.
"Weird," Sakura replied as she took the needle out of the boy's arm. She smiled at him. "Alright that's it, you can leave now." He scurried off immediately after she gave him a sticker. She placed the blood sample away. Now she needed to do his brother's.
A loud noise made her spin around. She saw Naruto come into the room, yelling like a lunatic. He wasn't alone, she saw Gaara with him. Judging by his calm facial expression he was fine, but if you looked down you could see that he was limping. "What happened?" she asked.
From Naruto's violent yelling she heard that they were sparring with two other people and Gaara got his left ankle sprained. She was going to help Gaara but Ani got in front of her. "Remember," the girl teased quietly, "I get the cute guys."
Sakura laughed slowly and nodded. "Alright have fun." Then she went to get the blood sample from the other small boy.
The boy was a lot less brave then his brother was, but thanks to her calming words he stayed still long enough for her to take the sample. His eyes sparkled when he got his sticker and he held it with pride as he left calling for his mommy.
With that done Sakura only had paperwork for the remainder of the day. She went over to the small desk made for her and got out some files. Out of the corner of her eye she watched Ani bandage Gaara's ankle. She saw how the girl was too busy gawking over the redhead to do a proper job with the bandage. A laugh escaped from her lips when she saw the annoyed expression on Gaara's face. Little did she know that she would have to experience that exact same expression directed on her later that night.
For the first time since the beginning of the month she actually arrived at the sleeping bag before the notorious redhead. A grin appeared on her face at the small accomplishment. She crawled into the sleeping bag, the grin small yet evident on her face.
The sound of a grunt made her look up. She saw Gaara standing beside the bag, leaning on a pair of crutches. A laugh escaped her lips and she crawled out and waited for him to get into it. He had a small note of confusion on his face as he tried to figure out how he was going to get into the bag. Knowing he probably wasn't about to ask for help, she got up and helped him into the bag. Although his only reply was another grunt, she was pretty sure that he appreciated her help.
"You're welcome," she told him in the voice parents used for their child when they forgot to say 'thank you'. He glared at her in response. Her eyebrow rose at his hostility. He was acting harsher than usual. Like he was throwing his anger out at everything that could receive it. After a few moments of thinking about his behaviour and observing the glare he threw at his crutches, she figured it out. He was embarrassed. The great and powerful Gaara was ashamed of his injury. It was actually kind of cute, in an odd sort of way.
She let out a small giggle and immediately tried to hide it by covering her mouth with her hand. However this action came too late, he had already heard the laughter. "What's so funny?" he demanded.
"You," she replied, smiling sweetly. He glared at her, but her smile remained. Getting more serious, she sat down inside of the sleeping bag. "At least you'll have more time to do paperwork this way," she told him, trying to find a way to cheer him up. Unfortunately he hated paperwork.
He let out a small growl. "Why did that other girl help me and not you?"
She shrugged. "The other girl, whose name is Ani by the way, has this rule that she gets to help any guys she thinks are cute. So you should feel lucky." He groaned and she continued. "Anyway, it's not really all that bad. From what I heard, you should be fine within a month. Isn't that good news?"
"Hardly." He glared at her once more.
She frowned. Her temper was rising. She could put up with so much. "Hey buddy I was trying to make you feel better," she snapped. "So stop acting so frigging rude."
This brought a surprised expression to his face. Aside from his siblings (mainly Temari) no one dared speak to him with such audacity. How could she speak to him like that so easily? Either she didn't think much of him, or she felt comfortable around him. He preferred the latter. Seeing her temper flash like this was rather amusing, he must admit. But for now, he would try to stay in her good terms. "I apologize if my actions may have offended you," he told her swiftly.
It was her turn to be surprised. "Oh." She tried to regain her composure, and then voiced the question that had been running through her mind since the beginning of the day. "By the way, about what happened this morning. What was that about?"
"Did you not enjoy being close to me?" His eyes held amusement, but if you looked closely enough, there was a small bit of nervousness.
"It's not like that," she replied, a blush beginning to form. "It's not that I didn't...enjoy it per say. But, it was strange, I mean, it's usually only something that lovers or people dating do. Besides, you're the one who said they didn't want any contact."
"I changed my mind." He said flatly. "I think that for now, contact between us is alright."
"Um...ok?" she replied, getting lower into the sleeping bag until she was lying down inside it. Without another word, she let her eyelids drop and was about to fall asleep until she felt a pair of arms wrap around her and pull her. She squeaked as she landed right next to Gaara. He merely grunted at this and, with his arms still around her, placed his head in the crook of her neck and fell asleep.
"Need any help?" Sakura asked with a mischievous glint in her eyes.
"Not right now woman!" Gaara exclaimed, holding his crutches as he entered the medic room.
That made her laugh. When his brows furrowed at her laughs only grew louder. "Alright fine, but remember, you need to sit down so Ani can look at your ankle."
"No," he replied. "Not her again. You do this." Ani, who had been watching from the other side of the room waiting to help him, now had a hurt expression on her face.
Sakura frowned at his bluntness but nodded nonetheless, knowing that he'd probably keep protesting until he got his way. "Let's start then."
Twenty minutes later Gaara walked out with his crutches. She found that he was making a speedy recovery and would only take three weeks to recover instead of the suspected four. She turned back and saw that Ani was still sulking and when she saw Sakura staring at her, she glared.
"Ani," she said in a harsh tone. "Stop it. I cannot control his want for me to heal him. And although I am not entirely sure, I believe that he would have been alright with you helping if last time you spent more time helping him and less time just staring at him like a lovesick teenager."
Ani looked surprised. Probably shocked that the fact that for once, not only did she not get what she wanted, but she was scolding for being sad about it. She grumbled and busied herself with other work.
Sakura stifled a yawn when she went to the sleeping bag. She found that Gaara already there, his crutches laid out by the side of the bed. Without a second thought she climbed in with him and snuggled close to him. "You made Ani feel sad today," she scolded him lightly.
He grumbled. "So?"
She shrugged. "Well, I don't think it was necessarily a bad thing, I mean, she kind of deserved it, and it was a good lesson. I think that's the first time she's ever been told that she can't get what she wants."
"Well, that's just great," he mumbled. "Now fall asleep."
She smothered a giggle as he tightened his hold on her, as if to assert his statement even more. Her eyes dropped and darkness surrounded her. Sleep came easy to her when he was there with her.
Day Twenty Nine
"Sakura Sakura!" Naruto yelled out, running into the medic room. When he entered the room he began circling it, looking for her.
"Yes?" she replied, looking at Naruto expectantly.
He whirled around to face her and grinned. "Guess what? I finally remembered! Tonight you have your own sleeping bag!"
A wide smile spread on her face. Only Naruto would remember that on the very last night. Still, she was glad that he finally remembered it. Now she could have her own place to sleep! She ran to Naruto and captured him a giant hug. "Thank you!" she exclaimed.
He quickly returned the gesture. "Welcome, now I got to get back to help with the final preparations for returning home. See ya!" He got out of the hug and ran out.
A smile was plastered on her face as she cleaned up the room and put items in boxes. "Excited?" She asked Ani, who was just returning from the bathroom.
"For what?" Ani asked, a confused expression on her face.
Sakura's eye brows rose. "...For leaving."
Ani's eyes became bright. "Oh yes! The sooner I can get out of this place the better, I was getting claustrophobic here."
Sakura laughed. "Agreed. Hopefully I won't have to see this place again for at least six months."
"I know," Ani agreed, sorting through piles of medical supplies. "What are you going to do when you're finished here?"
"Well first I should probably go back to my house and see what the damages are. Then try to fix them up best I can. It's really disappointing seeing as I just got it renovated. But I guess I can't do much about that. After I do those things then I got a two week vacation. Anyways what are you going to do?" Sakura asked.
Ani grinned. "Trip to Hawaii. Getting a serious tan and checking out some hot surfers. Oh, I can bring another person with me. Want to come?"
Sakura gasped and her eyes widened. "Really?"
"Yep. For real," Ani replied.
"Yes!" Sakura exclaimed, running up and embracing Ani "Thank you so so so much!"
Ani laughed. "Welcome. How about we exchange numbers and I'll give you the details later?"
"Sure," Sakura grabbed a piece of paper and two pins. Then she ripped the paper in two and gave one half of the paper and one pen to Ani. She scribbled down her number and gave to Ani, who in turn gave Sakura her number. The smile returned to Sakura's face, the day now had great additions to it. This was awesome!
Sakura was nearly skipping her way over to the place where she would sleep. Her sleeping bag held tightly in her hand. She had eagerly told Ino and Tenten about her new sleeping bag and they both told her they were happy for her (after they stopped laughing at her enthusiasm). After scanning the area, she chose a vacant spot near the window.
She plopped down and unrolled her sleeping bag. Then she opened it and crawled in. Now completely free to move around exactly how she wanted, she wiggled around until she felt completely comfortable. A sigh escaped her lips as she shut her eyes. Even if she didn't get a lot of sleep tonight, she would enjoy th-
"Whoa!' Her eyes burst open when she felt herself being picked up. By the time she realized what was happening she was thrown up over someone's shoulder and was moving away from her sleeping bag. She looked up to glare at whoever was causing this and surprise hit her when she saw that it was Gaara. "What are you doing?" she asked.
He grumbled as he walked with his crutches. "You're supposed to sleep next to me the entire time we're here. That includes tonight."
Her eyes widened and a blush formed on her cheeks as he carried her off. She began to look around at the room and saw that both Temari and Ino were awake and watching her from the sleeping bags they shared with their lovers. They both winked at her and she glared back at them. She looked back up towards Gaara. "But... but I was so comfy."
He looked down at her with an uncaring expression. "So?" By then they reached his sleeping bag so knelt down and somehow manoeuvred in such a way that they both fitted into the sleeping bag at once. When they were both inside he immediately draped his arms around her and pulled her close to him. She knew it was pretty pointless to try to get out of the hold, but tried just for the heck of it anyway. She found that his arms were pretty much locked in place. So she snuggled closer to him and wrapped her arms around him. He responded by moving his head forward so that their foreheads were touching. She smiled once again as she grew comfortable with the heat radiating off his bare upper torso. Maybe sharing the sleeping bag with him one last time wouldn't be so bad after all.
Sakura woke up to the feel of someone tracing her lips. Her eyes opened as she registered what was happening. She saw Gaara standing fully dressed quite close in proximity to her face. "Good morning" He nodded in reply and placed the hand that had been touching her face back down. She shifted in the sleeping bag. Even though she didn't do it often she liked sleeping in once in a while. And since she didn't have to do much today since she was leaving, she could. "Mind if I sleep in for a while?" she asked Gaara. Usually she wouldn't bother answering, but it was his sleeping bag after all.
He shrugged. "Go ahead. I'll come back to roll it up in half an hour." He left, leaving her to shut her eyes and enjoy the bliss of sleeping in.
After what seemed like only a few seconds she felt someone lightly shaking. She groaned and tried to move away from it, but the shaking continued. "Sakura, it's been half an hour," she heard Gaara say.
Half an hour? No, that couldn't be right. He was just messing with her. "No it hasn't," she mumbled, trying to curl up again. "It's only been a few seconds." For a second, she thought she heard him sigh. Then she yelped when she felt two arms come under her arms and drag her out of the sleeping bag. She glared at Gaara. "Hey!"
Her protest did nothing to him as he shrugged. "I told you half an hour."
She pouted and stuck her tongue out at him, but she looked over at the sleeping bag anyway. "Want any help with that?" When he shrugged, she walked over and began to roll it up. "So are you looking forward to leaving?"
"Obviously," he replied as he pressed the air out of the sleeping bag so that it would fit in the bag it came from.
Well duh, he was probably looking forward to going back to where he came from. By now he must really dislike this city. She could see how he could be looking forward to getting back to his old life. He must be itching to get away from everything here. Wait, would 'everything here' include her to? "...Do you want to stay in touch?" she asked him, trying to hide any nervousness in her voice. She knew it would be easy for him, after all Temari already knew her number and email. It would just be a matter of him asking for it.
He turned and looked at her. She could see surprise in his eyes. But before he could answer she heard Tenten calling her over. "Sorry," she said quickly as she ran over to her friend.
It turned out that all Tenten wanted was for Sakura to hurry up so that they could have breakfast soon. So Sakura rushed to grab her bag, had a shower and finished all the small aspects of getting ready then rushed over to the table.
"What I miss?" she asked to no one in particular.
Surprisingly, it was Hinata who replied. "We were just talking about how we get to leave this afternoon."
"I can't wait till I get to leave!" Temari exclaimed. "Suna here I come."
"I feel sorry for the people that have actual offices here," Sakura put in. "It would really suck to know you still have to come back here."
"Agreed," All four of the other girls said in unison.
"So Sakura," Ino said, moving forward slightly. "Are you going to miss Gaara?"
Sakura crouched down and blushed as the table fell silent. "I umm, asked Gaara if he wanted to stay in touch."
"Ohh," Ino cooed. "What did he say after that?"
"He didn't get to yet," Sakura replied. "Right before he was about to Tenten called me over."
"Sorry," Tenten mumbled while shrinking lower in her seat to get away from Ino's glare.
"Hopefully I'll get to talk to him before we all have to leave though," Sakura quickly added, somewhat because she actually meant it and somewhat because she didn't want Tenten to get hurt by Ino.
"Don't worry Sakura; I'll make sure it happens," Temari assured her.
"I hope everything works out aright for you Sakura," Hinata added.
Sakura looked up at all the girls, so they really all wanted this for her. Did she want it? Did she want to be in a relationship with Gaara? Well, she did really like him a lot, and wouldn't mind being with him even though she was pretty sure that she would be the one doing most of the communicating. But did he really think of her like that? Would he want to be with her? She knew how he had wanted to cuddle with her in the sleeping bag and if it was any other guy, she would have been sure that it meant a very good sign. However with Gaara she just didn't know. She would just have to wait and see. Good thing she was patient.
After breakfast she rushed over to the medic room as quickly as possible to pack all of the boxes. To her surprise Ani was there as well. The two worked as fast as their hands would allow, leaving no time for chatting. Five hours later all the boxes of medical equipment, samples and records were transferred away from the medic room and Sakura and Ani walked out of it for the final time.
By the time Sakura retrieved her bag people were already starting to leave. Most of the windows were open and the outside was calling to her. She desperately wanted to answer its call, but she had one more thing to do first. Find Gaara.
She found him near the entrance of the hall with Temari. He was leaning on the wall as she said her goodbyes to Shikamaru. Sakura walked over to Gaara and smiled at Temari, who winked at her then led Shikamaru and herself away to allow Sakura and Gaara more space. "Hey," she told him.
His eyes opened and relaxed when he saw her. "Hello."
"So," she began, "Did you decide on an answer yet?"
He nodded, "I think..." Then he moved quickly and planted a shy kiss on her lips. She gasped as he moved away. "That we should." While she was still in a daze he pressed a piece of paper into her palm.
"Goodbye," she whispered, just recovering. A blush had already settled on her cheeks.
He brushed his lips against hers once more before walking away. "Goodbye for now. I shall look forward to contacting you in the future."
After he and Temari left she stood by the entrance smiling like an idiot. Then about five minutes later of standing in a daze, she lifted her hand and looked at the piece of paper he gave her. It was the address of his office, as well as his phone number and email. Her smile only grew bigger. Suddenly it felt like the flood was the best thing that ever happened to her.