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A HEART'S HOWL

Chapter 9: Family

"But we are the same blood
All of us, we are, we are
While half of us were lost
The other half forgot

We are the same blood
We are the same blood
We are the same"

-The Academy is...


After meeting Gaara's brother and sister, I was completely convinced that I had gone crazy. His brother had the ability to turn corpses into puppets with his special blood, and his sister had the ability to manipulate the wind with her wings. I was surprised to even see an actual pair of vampire wings in the first place, let alone other special powers. Even when standing, just the flap of her wings could create gusts of wind that were as sharp as blades. His brother showed me his puppet collection, but I couldn't stand in his room for more than five minutes with the overwhelming stench of dead bodies.

"Where are we going?" I asked him as he led me down another hallway.

"To meet my brother, Kankuro"

We stop in front of the furthest door and knocked. "You may be disturbed by the smell."

'I'm only disturbed by the fact that I'm meeting my stalker's family.'

Once Kankuro opened the door, the most disgusting stench mixed into the air: corpses. Rotting, festering, decomposing corpses.

"Hello there!" He winked at me. "She's cute!" He smirked at Gaara.

"Yeah." Gaara remained as expressionless as ever.

"Oh don't be so grumpy." The boy with the purple tattoos on his face chuckled.

"We need to plan fast. The Atatsuki will be here in a matter of days." Gaara was getting annoyed with his brother's sense of humor. Looking closer at him, Kankuro looked very familiar…WAIT! He's the bully that threw apple sauce at Lee's face! That asshole! Gaara's related to him…just freakin' great!

"I found a nearby graveyard and dug up a few more dozen bodies. By tomorrow we can have a dead army of about a hundred or so at least. Aiming for at least two hundred in two days. Do you think that will be enough?"

"I'm not sure. Better to over-estimate than under-estimate." He picked up some papers and scanned through a map of some sort.

"Very true."

I could barely focus on the conversation at hand. I was too busy covering my nose, sticking by the door where there was air. It was bad enough that we're getting help from a freakin' prick like Kankuro, but I was getting nauseous from the smell. I did not want to see the pasta again.

"The smell bothering you?" Kankuro asked me, a little surprised. "…wait…" he looked at Gaara, "I knew her pulse was too strong, dammit, Gaara, why didn't you bite her yet?"

"Now is not the time-"

"Gaara, if you don't bite her, she will only get in the way. She won't be able to defend herself! You can't defend yourself and her and expect us to get away alive!" Kankuro was getting frustrated.

"Sorry I'm going to need to talk to my brother alone for a moment." He gently shoved me out of the room and locked the door.

I knew the whole biting thing was going to come up in conversation eventually. I just didn't think my life could potentially depend on it.

This all happened last night after I yelled at him, but waking up again in the morning made it all seemed like a dream. I couldn't recall all the details, but the main points stuck. Too bad I couldn't do that for stupid biology. The rest of the time I spent thinking about what was going on between him and I. And whether or not I would be marked, or turned into a vampire. I wasn't sure which would be better or worse.

The walk to his sister's room was awkwardly quiet after Kankuro's bad timing at bringing up conversational topics.

"Temari is not very friendly. Don't be offended by whatever she has to say. She insults everyone." He warned me.

"Excellent." Are both his sibling going to be that difficult? Another reason to love his family.

"Temari." He knocked on the door.

Seconds later, we were greeted by a girl with four blond pigtails and the most beautiful teal eyes I'd ever seen – with the exception of her red-headed brother's.

'Dammit Hinata there you go again. You're not together. Sure he saved your life, cooked you dinner, and comforted you when you cried, but still!' I reprimanded myself. I was slowly getting used to my logic slowly slipping away from any confines of my mind. I was even getting used to him invading my personal space. And I hate when people invade my personal space.

"This is her?" Temari deadpanned.

Both eyes were on me.

'Are all vampires this bad at socializing or just his family?' I was dying to know.

"…H-Hi…" I held out my hand nervously. "I'm Hinata."

She glared at me for a moment and let my hand hang in the air. "Mhm. Temari. Don't make me mad and I won't kill you."

I went pale for a slight second. She could very well kill me, but Gaara wouldn't let her, right?

"Temari, Kankuro is planning for at least one hundred by tomorrow."

"Hm." She looked thoughtful. "Hopefully that might buy us more time if anything."

The intimidating girl turned her attention back at me. "You didn't bite her yet, did you?" She stated, not questioned. "Well. When you do, don't disturb my beauty sleep. The cry of humans annoys me. Or should I say 'if you do'. It's never too late to find someone less mousy."

"Temari. She's feistier than she looks."

"We can only hope she can't completely defenseless or useless."

"Temari." Gaara warned.

"Sorry, I'm in an off mood today." She turned her back and made her way towards the balcony at her window.

Gaara took my hand and led me into the dragon lady's cave. I did not want to be near her, let alone in her private room, but I guess I am 'meeting the family'.

Entering her room, I got a full view of her fierce black bat wings. They spanned a length longer than my height and had razor sharp spikes at the end of each digit.

Looking around I noticed she liked collecting bones, mostly skulls. And even stuffed animals?

"Your mystery man sent you another stuffed animal?" Gaara picked up a stuffed polar bear and examined it.

"Hm." She smiled. "Yeah."

He handed her the bear and she looked at it with a smile. Then the smile dropped. "He sent it as an apology for being a complete idiot." She stepped towards the balcony and spread her wings. Without a second thought she threw the bear into the air, tensed her wings, and with one flap, sent the bear flying out into the night in shredded pieces. The white stuffing and the white fabric floated away and disappeared into the darkness of the night. "He needs to do a lot better than a stupid bear." She spat.

I almost saw myself in that poor bear. She really could rip me to shreds if she wanted. Needless to say she'll be on the "to-avoid" list.

I wouldn't mind if meeting his sister was a dream. Kankuro I didn't mind as much, but Temari I wouldn't mind not meeting any time soon. Possibly ever. But then I realized that whether or not I liked Kankuro or Temari didn't matter. Because they were technically all the family he had. Who else he had I had no idea, but it made me feel...good...that he wanted me to meet them. He didn't have any expectations for me to meet them. Of course they were discussing battle tactics I didn't understand more than half the time, but they...didn't treat me any different than they treated him. It's like they accepted me, no matter how mean they actually were. That made me happy. But it also made me sad knowing that a clan of blood-sucking vampires were more accepting of one another than my own family. Thoughts were flooding back about how my father or Neji would react if they found out what was going on. How would they feel if they found out that I was...being courted? by a vampire...

I sighed and looked out the window from my bed and could barely make out any sunlight. It was morning, but it was so misty it looked like night.

There was a knock on the door and for some reason I knew it was him. "Come in."

He swung the door open and closed it behind him in one graceful motion.

"Sleep well?"

"I don't understand why I'm sleeping so much. I slept for over thirty hours the other night and I can still manage to sleep."

"I'm not sure what Diedara gave you, but it was definitely potent."

'That was not comforting to hear.'

He sat next to me on the bed and began staring at me again.

"Can you stop doing that?" I said bluntly. "It's really creep-" he completely cut me off with a kiss. I was too shocked for proper words.

He backed away just enough to monitor my reaction. When I didn't say anything, he took it as permission to attack my lips again with his. But this time with more force and ran his hand through my hair and pulled me closer to him with his other hand.

I didn't know what came over me, but I ended up running my hand through his hair and started to embrace him too. My body was on fire and I couldn't stop kissing him. This never happened to me before. I've never been attracted to anyone like this before. I had never been touched by anyone like this before…I've never touched anyone like this before!

I couldn't help but starting thinking it looked like a make-out scene from a sappy romance movie: two hormone-crazed teenagers all over each other. From a practical perspective it was wrong. From the perspective of the one in the scene, it felt so right…

…until I started to feel his hand snake its way up my shirt…

"Woah!" I pulled away and pushed him away. "What do you think you are doing?"

"I would prefer to take your clothes off for you, but if it makes you more comfortable, you should do that part."

"...what?" my jaw dropped.

He looked at me with confusion. "...Do you need for me to explain what intimacy is?"

"Uh, no, I want you to explain to me why I would do anything with you, ever!"

He looked at me with an amused look. "Oh, was I mistaken in thinking it was your hand in my hair while we were just kissing?"

My face started burning from the shade of red that was taking over.

"Kissing you does not mean I'll have sex with you!" I almost screamed at him. Sakura was right. These damn vampires are horny muthafuckas. Pardon my French.

"I'm sorry." He seemed sincere, and was definitely confused. "I did not realize that… this was too fast for you."

'Did he just say that? He didn't even really ask me out or to be his girlfriend. Did I miss something here? Did I accidentally agree in a vampire-sign kind of way and not realize?'

"Since when are we together?" I asked flat out.

'Hinata, let's review.' I tried to reason with myself, 'He's been following you for…months maybe, tried to…talk to you on occasion (okay, maybe not 'talk' but whatever). He's saved you from his monster of a cousin and protected you when Dierdara spiked your crackers. He patched up your wounds (even if he did see you naked he didn't try to take advantage of you) and brought you clothes. He cooked you dinner! (Can never get enough of that fact), left you alone to sort out your feeling when you yelled at him, and even though you did yell at him, put a blanket over you and comforted you when you were crying. And…he introduced you to his family. That's definitely a sign that he likes you enough not to drain your blood and kill you.' I was not sure if I liked where this reasoning with myself was going.

He looked me dead in the eyes for a creepy moment before answering. "Since I realized my vampire charmed did not work on you. But really when you stopped being afraid of me. It's the sign that you're comfortable around me. I'm never used to that. Usually people stop at fearing me."

"Not comfortable enough for intimacy! And I never agreed to be your freaky vampire mate!"

"Are you disagreeing now?" he asked me seriously and I did not have an answer.

I surely didn't disagree but I wasn't sure if I was agreeing either.

"You really are different than what I expected." He smiled.

I shot him a look.

"I'm not complaining." He teased. "And I'm sorry about trying to seduce you just now. I forgot most humans move slower than vampires do." He rolled his eyes. Apparently he's no novice when it comes to intimacy. "Are you mad?" he asked sincerely, noticing my exasperated expression.

I chuckled and shook my head. I guess I didn't disagree after all.

"So..." I broke the slightly awkward silence. "How many vampire girls have you been with...?" I teased, but I really did want to know.

He smiled. "From watching my sister reactions to her boyfriends, I have learned that this is where I walk away slowly..."

"Oh no you don't!" I latched onto his arm.

I was not letting him off the hook for this one.

"Let's get you something to eat." He continued avoiding the subject.

I pouted. He's just as stubborn as Naruto.


Things are getting serious between then, huh?

Hope you enjoyed!

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