Marriage in the Sand
A Gaara and Hinata Story, in a time of insecure peace treaties a marriage of convince is drawn up between the two villages and who better to marry off but the heiress of one of the most powerful clans in the leaf village and the Kazekage of the Sand. Hinata and Gaara go through the common problems of married life, and learn to depend on each other, and in the end learn to love and be loved in return.
She stood at the edge of the green leafy woods her feet on the lush green grass, the cool shade of the trees blocked out the intense heat of the sun. If you followed the grass, it eventually faded into the white sand and into the great desert before her. She hesitated, for as soon as she stepped foot on the sand it would be the start of a new life, she would no longer be a Konoha nin. This was a new beginning, a new start in a village that didn't know her faults, her imperfections, and her failures. Yet she hesitated, couldn't quite make herself step foot on the sand.
"Hinata!" Neji yelled up ahead. "Please keep up with us."
Hinata's head flew up as she spotted Neji up ahead standing in the sand in the blaring heat of the sun, Shikamaru stood next to him. She blushed slightly knowing she was holding them up.
"You go on ahead Neji, we'll catch up with you." Shikamaru said as he walked back to where Hinata stood.
"I…I." Hinata began then shut her mouth cursing herself for stuttering like that again.
"Relax Hinata." Shikamaru replied as he stood there in front of her hands in his pockets eyes half closed looking at her. "I know your having second thoughts that as soon as you step foot on the sand that you can't go back."
"Yes that's exactly what my thoughts are." Hinata agreed.
"Sunagakure is a beautiful village, you'll like it."
Hinata smiled at him. "You're just saying that because the woman you love lives there."
Shikamaru smiled down at Hinata and shrugged his shoulders. "Alright I admit it I'm biased." Then with a more serious look on his face he continued. "Think about it Hinata, this is your chance to live out from the shadow of your Father. This is what Kurenai wanted for you, to start somewhere new where people would appreciate you for your strengths and love you for your weaknesses."
Hinata felt herself growing red in the face again at his complements. "Kurenai will miss me."
"Don't worry I'll look after her." Shikamaru replied.
Hinata nodded her head and gave a shaky smile before stepping out from the shade of the forest and into the blazing sun. Shikamaru grinned as he set the pace ahead of her. It was late morning and it was already exceedingly hot out. The sun was bright and hot on her back. She thought the heat would have pressed her to pick up speed to reach her destination. However when the destination was Sunagakure and what awaited her there was a marriage, it just made her slow her pace even further. Marriage to a stranger was decidedly unattractive. Even though she had seen him a few times and heard much about him, he still was a stranger.
She had no say in the matter. This marriage was being thrust upon her. Her Father, whom she never held much love or affection for, had jumped at the prospect of marrying her off. Sighing, she couldn't blame him, as she was of little to no use to him. What hurt a little was that Kurenai, her former Sensei, was the one who suggested thatHinata be the one given in marriage. Her Father was very excited at the prospect of having the Hyuuga name closely connected to another powerful village and to one of the most elite families. It didn't matter that Sunagakure and Konohagakure were still relatively wary of each other; all that mattered was the prestige and power that union would bring to both villages, and both families.
"Hinata, you're lagging behind again." Neji snapped from ahead of her.
"Sorry Neji." Hinata said as she increased her speed a little bit.
"Do you need a moment of rest?" Neji asked.
Hinata really didn't need a break but if it slowed down their arrival she would take it. So the three of them took cover in the shade of a nearby boulder. Shikamaru sprawled out on his back hands behind head staring up at the wisps of clouds in the sky above. Neji stood survey the nearby area for potential danger, and Hinata sat down cross legged staring at the sand before her.
"Do…y-y-you think he will prove tolerable?" Hinata finally asked.
"If you mean does he have a heart, I think not." Neji said in a cool voice. "I hope you're not foolish enough to think you'll find love in this arrangement."
"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend." Shikamaru commented dryly.
"I wouldn't rule it out completely."
Hinata threw a reproachful look at her cousin. "As if I have any love in me to give. I just wanted your opinion on the man."
"I hardly know him." Neji said with a shake of his head.
"He is a good man Hinata, that's all you need to know." Shikamaru interrupted.
They rested for another couple of minutes and started out again, only this time Hinata kept up.
The office was large with plenty of natural light from the expansive windows. He sat behind his large oak desk a stack of papers in front of him. Matsuri stood on his left waiting for him to respond to Baki's request to reinforce the Northern Sand walls of the village. He knew he had an irritated look on his face but he wasn't bothered by Matsuri. He had a general liking of the girl. It was Temari who was provoking him at the moment. His older sister was pacing in front of his desk, huffing and puffing; she'd wear a hole right there in front of his desk until he addressed what was bothering her, she was that stubborn.
"Matsuri." Gaara suddenly said after reading the letter, his voice was dry and monotone. "Tell Baki his request is granted."
He hid his amusement at the way Matsuri jumped to attention whenever he spoke with her. "Right away Kazekage." Matsuri said bowing low and hurrying out the door.
Temari had stopped her pacing and was now staring out the window. Gaara ignored her and started reading another letter. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Temari turn around and glare at him, her blue eyes icy cold as they stared at him. Finally he raised his head and made eye contact.
"What is it?" Gaara finally asked.
"The more I think about this union you have to enter into the more I worry it isn't right." Temari snapped.
"I don't have a say in the matter." Gaara replied.
"You're the Kazekage." Temari said in exasperation.
"I am well aware of who I am." Gaara replied in a low voice, he made eye contact once more with Temari and watched her shift uncomfortable under his gaze. "I also am aware of the responsibility that comes with my title. One of which is strengthening alliances among other villages."
"You don't have to be forced into this." Temari began.
"Then who will take my place?" Gaara asked. "Yourself or maybe Kankuro?"
Temari was silent as she turned away from Gaara and looked out the window once more.
"I can handle my personal life just fine." Gaara said firmly.
"What greater thing is there, but for two human souls to feel that they are joined for life – to strengthen each other in all labors, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain? You can't have that with someone you barely know." Temari broke off hesitantly her voice wavering.
Gaara raised his green blue eyes to his sister's once more. Temari was always eloquent with words, but never had he heard her speak with such feeling in her voice such yearning as if she spoke of herself.
"Love? Is that what you speak of?" Gaara moved his chair slightly back and looked out the window.
"Gaara." Temari began again.
He raised his hand for silence. "When did you become such a romantic? It's not like that in the real world. I know my fate; I know how my life will play out. No woman would marry me of her own free will. And love, well who could ever love a monster like me?" Temari looked away, a brief moment of guilt showing on her face before she hid it. He knew she was thinking of their childhood, where Gaara was left alone to fend for himself, and she and Kankuro were loved and cared for. A childhood where she had feared Gaara and had once called him a monster when she thought he wasn't listening.
"If you are content, that is all that matters." Temari replied in irritation at feeling guilty for something that was in the past and best to be forgotten. "She arrives later today."
"You will be there to greet her?" Gaara replied in a monotone as he turned back to his desk.
"Yes, I will greet her with open arms." Temari said in a sarcastic tone her arms crossed over her chest. "The question is, are you ready for her?"
Gaara kept his face blank even though he wanted to smirk at Temari. "I will meet her tomorrow. I am behind in my work because someone is taking up my time."
"Fine, I get the hint." Temari said with an eye roll. "Enjoy your day." She huffed as she walked out.
Gaara sat back he should feel honored that his older sister was worried about him. He did to a certain extent appreciate her concern for his happiness. It was a moot point though, for he had never been happy and didn't expect to be. Finally he closed his eyes and muttered. "How do people make it through life without a sister to meddle in it?"
"How did it go with Gaara?" Kankuro asked Temari.
"He's bull-headed, that's what he is." Temari growled as they stood waiting for the group that was escorting the bride-to-be. The sun was setting and the temperature was dropping.
"If he is fine with the arrangement, I wouldn't dwell on it." Kankuro said with a lazy shrug.
"To marry someone you don't even know..." Temari continued, her voice rising in passion.
"Gaara knows who she is." Kankuro argued. "You're acting strange Temari."
"Just be quiet." Temari hissed.
Kankuro frowned at his sister; she had been acting strange ever since she came back from Konohagakure village with the news of who was going to be Gaara's future wife. He turned back to the horizon, his eyes immediately picking out the group. When Kankuro had heard the name of the woman picked for the union, it sounded familiar but he couldn't remember her clearly. Gaara seemed to recall her and Temari frowned every time it was brought up. Now he was curious as to whom she was.
He hid his smile when he saw the excitement on Temari's face; even though she tried to hide her growing attachment to Shikamaru, she had only succeeded in fooling Gaara who was usually clueless when it came to matters of the heart. As the group grew closer, he was able to pick out Shikamaru, Neji, and…
"Shit." Kankuro swore as he recognized the girl.
"You see, that is why I am concerned." Temari said in a tone of voice that screamed 'I told you so.'
"Of all the women they chose her." Kankuro said in disbelief.
"She is the heiress of the Hyuuga clan, and therefore the only woman of the village that is worthy of being married to a Kazekage."
"They want a war, that's what they want." Kankuro muttered darkly as he watched them grow closer.
"She won't last a month with Gaara's cold personality. She won't understand why he is so uncaring, and when she leaves Gaara won't understand the reason and he'll get hurt, he'll vent his anger and hurt by cutting off any alliance with Konohagakure."
Temari swallowed the unease she felt at Kankuro's words. "Let's hope she's stronger than that."
Kankuro gave a snort of disbelief, but was quiet as the group finally made it to them.
"How was your journey, not troublesome?" Temari was the first to speak.
"Any journey that ends with seeing you is well worth the trouble." Shikamaru commented, his eyes on Temari.
Kankuro felt the hair rising on the back of his neck at the way the insolent Nara man was eyeing his sister. Before he could snap at him to keep his eyes off his sister, the girl spoke.
"It… was a… pleasant journey." Hinata's voice wavered.
Kankuro stared at Hinata; she was slim, with long hair, pale skin, lips that quivered; everything that screamed weak and insecure. She was swaying slightly, and that's when he noticed her face was sheen of sweat and her violet eyes looked blood shot. His frown deepened. Heat stroke. Those who were not used to the desert did not hydrate enough. Thankfully, it was Neji who caught her when she fainted. It gave enough distraction to interrupt the way Shikamaru and Temari where staring at each other.
"Heat stroke?" Temari asked Kankuro.
"I think so." He replied. He smiled as he watched his sister glare at Shikamaru.
"You both had a simple assignment to escort her here in one piece." Temari snapped.
"Hey, she is here in one piece." Shikamaru snapped back. "I can't help it if she won't speak up when she needed a break."
"You're utterly hopeless, you know that?" Temari argued.
"Can we argue about this later? Right now we should get her to the infirmary." Neji asked as he shifted his hold on Hinata.
"Right. Follow me." Temari said as she took off.
Kankuro kept pace with Temari.
"This is a bad beginning." Kankuro stated low enough for only her to hear.
"Shh." Temari hushed Kankuro, but she felt the same unease of the situation, and she feared for the future.