A/N: One-shot GaaSaku. Yay! ;)
This wasn't supposed to be so "fluffy". I wanted there to be more resistance with the GaaSaku aspect, but ultimately, this is how it came out, so apologies ahead of time, and for any and all OOCness, although I think I'm pretty much safe there.

In the world of Shinobi, only the clans train future ninja. This means that civilians are not allowed to become ninja. So as a result, Sakura Haruno was never enrolled in the academy. In fact, there is no academy. Ninja are trained in their own clans or by a designated Sensei, and then once they "graduate", then they report to the Hokage and the rest of the ninja "society". Naruto and Sasuke are both ninja as both of their families are alive and I've decided that for the purpose of this one-shot, Kushina and Minato were both a part of an actual clan. Really though, not all of this is important for you to know, but it all came to me as I wrote this fic, so I guess it's more like that it's important for me to say.

This was originally inspired by a fic I read months ago called "How Much Do You Want From Me", by Mizuki Inuzuka. It's an old fic, which I don't usually read, but found myself drawn to.

Anyway, enough of me, hope you like it! Enjoy!

Something Blue.

Sakura Haruno was miserable. She had just arrived home to find her parents waiting for her, both looking more depressed than she'd ever seen them. Sakura's three month old sister, Naname was nestled in their mother's arms. She didn't have the trademark pink hair that Sasumi Haruno had passed onto her older daughter, looking more like her father, Taname. She had the same gruff expression too, which made getting her to giggle and play a difficult task. She definitely had the Haruno stubbornness, that was for sure. Sakura stared, dumbfounded at her parents as they relayed the news of her impending nuptials to her.

They hated to do this to her, she could tell, even her father, who was the type to be more concerned about appearances and tradition. But orders were orders. War was a tangible scent on the air these days, even the civilian populous of Konoha could feel it. So someone had to be sacrificed, for the greater good.

Sakura groaned inwardly. 'But why did it have to be me?'

She had finally realised that the Uchiha clan was out of her reach, although her desire to be the arranged wife of Sasuke Uchiha was not entirely about his good looks or family connections. She had met him once, one afternoon, when running away from the children who constantly teased her for having a large forehead. The ninja and civilian children did not interact, so it was a surprise to find the cute raven haired boy down by the creek. It was civilian territory. In exchange for not telling anyone he'd snuck away from the Uchiha compound to be alone, he'd given her a brooch that had a single flower petal engraved on it.

When she had queried him on why a boy would have such a thing, he said it was an Uchiha tradition to make these for the girl they were going to marry. But he couldn't marry her, she had told him. She was a civilian. Then he'd chuckled and said he knew that. That was why he wanted to give it to her. She was the only girl he had met that his father would not like him talking to. She had had no idea how to react, and so fell silent as she accepted the gift. Sadly, that love was one that could never blossom. A single flower petal would only wilt if left on its own after all.

Snapping her mind back to the present, Sakura was glad she had sat down to hear her parent's bad news.

"I'm sorry honey," Sasumi said sadly. "But the Hokage has asked this of us personally. We couldn't turn him down. It was decided that an arranged marriage with the Kazekage would bring our villages together."

Taname stayed solemnly quiet. His face betrayed that he would rather be at a business meeting with unscrupulous characters than being a part of this conversation. The Harunos weren't ninja, but they were well known and respected in both the fire country and the land of wind. Sakura didn't understand however, how a civilian bride would be more valuable to the Kazekage than a Kunoichi. Or maybe someone who could handle their chakra and knew how to use multiple jutsus would be too troublesome. Ninja lived their lives as though they were expendable after all.

"But why me?" The pinkette asked, her voice strained as she fought the tears.

In this world, arranged marriages were the normal way to end up wed, and very few people ever married for love. It was a sad fact that this was only common practise because of the Shinobi wars in times past. The ninja practised arranged marriages to get their numbers flourishing again, and since the nations had been under martial law since the inception of the last war, the civilian populous had not been spared this change in laws. Nobody wanted more war, not when more open hostilities could lead both civilian and ninja to their knees. Negotiations to avoid war had been going on for the better part of a year. It was a desperate situation, and even though Sakura was devastated by what was being demanded of her, she understood their sense of urgency.

And it had been this way for decades.

Her father spoke now, his voice gruff and stern. "The young Kazekage has only recently taken office and his parents are dead, so the Suna council stood in at his initiation. He has not been promised to anyone and their council believes that taking a Konoha bride will not only help to avoid war, but the Kazekage as well. You were chosen because of our affiliates, and because your betrothed has married another, in secret no less."

He sneered at that last fact. Sakura had been promised to a young man named Maiko Shira for the last ten years. She knew when she met Sasuke Uchiha that she could never be with him, and the injustice of being married off to some stranger had hardened her heart ever since. She knew she was an Ice Queen as others called her, but didn't regret hiding her heart from the world. If the rest of the world was going to control her fate, than Ice Queen was what they were going to get. Still, around her parents, she would sometimes let the old Sakura slip out – the emotional child who had grown up with few friends.

Balancing Naname in her arm with ease, Sasumi stood up and sat down next to her oldest daughter. The living room of their home was a reflection of their comfortable wealth, but they were worse off financially than they were letting on. She loved her daughter, and wanted her to be happy, more than anything. This was breaking her heart. Taname had hardened his heart to this development, not admitting out loud how much he disliked having to send his oldest daughter to another land. The only consolation would be that Sakura would not be affected by the fact that Haruno Industries was suffering. They weren't going to go bankrupt, but the strain on their personal lives was getting ridiculous.

Sasumi gripped Sakura's hands with her free hand. "We will do everything we can to help you Sakura, but this is going to happen. I wish I could see you wed to someone you have fallen in love with, or watch you find someone on your own, but we both know this can't happen."

Sakura nodded, her eyes falling to her hands. "I understand. This isn't just about me. It's for Konoha."

A single tear rolled down her cheek, but she kept her voice and expression hard. She would not become a bumbling wreck. But she couldn't stop herself as she reached out and took the fidgeting hands of her sister. The little brunette clasped her fingers, her expression softening as though she understood her big sister was in pain. Sakura had heard that babies could sense these things. Clearly this was something they lost after awhile, as most adults acted like emotions were simply a burden. She didn't want to give in, but another tear started to roll down her cheek.

"It is an honour," she said softly.

Taname sighed deeply as his wife wiped away Sakura's tears. He stood. "I will inform the Yondaime that you will be ready to depart in the morning."

"Wait, what?" Sakura's head snapped up. "Tomorrow?"

That was too soon!

He nodded. "It can't be helped. We will follow in a week, for the wedding, but must return to Konoha shortly after."

He left and Sakura dwelled on this. Everything was happening too fast! She had just celebrated her eighteenth birthday a week ago, and would now be heading to a stranger's place to marry in another week. She wouldn't even have much time to say goodbye to her friends either! It was too much to process overnight!

Sasumi hugged her. "I'm so sorry Sakura."

"I know," the pinkette said, forcing her voice to remain calm. She pushed the emotion away and put up her icy exterior. "I should start packing if I want to be ready in time."

She pried herself away from her mother, and like some automaton, walked stoically from the room, not looking back at her mother or the child in her arms who too, had started to cry. Sasumi had never been more worried for her and was terrified at what fate awaited her eldest daughter come her arrival in Suna.

X X X

Sakura looked back at Konoha, ignoring the slight breeze that played through the trees to whistle into the carriage that was snatching her away from her home. It was soft, playful and had a sandalwood scent; she didn't notice. The only thing she cared about was the fact that her home was disappearing into the distance and that her escorts were all ninja. For them, this journey to the sand village would normally last several days, but with a civilian in tow, it would take the better part of a week. It meant that when Taname Haruno had said they would be leaving Konoha in a week, that Sakura's wedding to the Kazekage was actually no sooner than two weeks time. She wasn't aware until this morning just how long it would take to even cross the border. She had never even been out of Konoha before.

She'd said goodbye to her friends, and promised to stay in touch. Her mother had made her promise the same. The sand had some excellent carrier birds available to the civilians, apparently. Bored to tears, she spent the journey daydreaming about returning to Konoha and somehow wrangling Sasuke Uchiha out of that compound, running away with him and imitating Maiko Shira. But she knew she didn't have the courage to even try.

She rested every so often and freshened up every chance she got. The Anbu who were escorting her didn't speak very often, but there was one, called Hawk, whose voice was sympathetic when he spoke. At least all ninja weren't completely heartless. She had her stone cold reputation, but didn't let it get in the way when showing emotion was expected of her. Still, she didn't complain once, during the journey, and kept her fears to herself. Sakura had inherited the Haruno stubbornness and short temper, but could do nothing when she was surrounded by masked people who could kill her on the spot. Not to mention she was going to marry someone who could kill her on the spot.

She hoped he wasn't the kind that got violent on a whim. She didn't know if she would put up with being manhandled. Hawk informed her when Suna was in sight and Sakura sat up properly, inside the carriage.

'Not long now.'

The reality of her situation was setting in and she was a bundle of nerves. The butterflies in her stomach were attempting to murder her – that was how it felt. What if he was ugly? What if he was a wife beater? What if he had some kind of weird jutsu that was going to make her his sex slave? What if their countries went to war anyway, and she was suddenly stuck behind enemy lines?

Sakura mentally slapped herself. 'One thing at a time.'

The carriage stopped and she waited with bated breath as someone opened it up. This girl was taller than Sakura, her blonde hair pulled back into four pigtails, and a large iron fan on her back. She was buxom and wearing a smile that softened Sakura's expression. She could see her becoming a friend in this strange new place and was relieved that this Kunoichi had chosen to be the one to greet her first. Sakura allowed her to help her out.

The blonde waved away Hawk and the other Anbu. "I will escort Lady Sakura from here. You should all head to your accommodations. I am sure you will need your rest after the long journey."

They did as they were told and the girl faced Sakura, several sand Anbu behind her. "I am Lady Temari," she said, "but you can just call me Temari."

Sakura smiled and bowed slightly. "Nice to meet you Temari."

"Oh dear," Temari linked their arms together. "Don't bow to me. You're going to marry my little brother, so let's dispense with the pleasantries, okay?"

"You're related to the Kazekage?" Sakura had not heard that he had any family left. Everyone just talked about how his mother died when he was young, and his father had been the fourth Kazekage, killed by rogue ninja less than a year ago.

Temari nodded. "Yes. I have two younger brothers. But Gaara is the one you'll be wedded to in a few weeks."

More questions occurred to her, but Sakura let them be for now. Except the one she needed to know. "Where will I be staying?"

The blonde giggled. "With the Kazekage of course. Don't worry; you can have a separate room until the wedding if you'd prefer that."

She led her through the village, giving her a run down on its history, and a quick tour of the sections they were passing through to get to the Kazekage mansion. It was fascinating, but Sakura was glad to finally be able to see where she would be spending the rest of her life. It depressed her to know that this fate was inescapable, but she was determined not to let it run her life. She was already liking Temari, and hopefully, her little brother was equally charming.

The Kazekage greeted them at the door to his mansion, and Sakura did not look directly at him for a moment as she bowed to him.

"Kazekage-sama," she said politely, after Temari introduced them.

Then she looked up at him and had to hide her shock. Gaara was an extremely handsome man. Sakura had not noticed this immediately, not letting her eyes focus on him as she kept her eyes downcast. She was worried that her future husband would be some freckled face freak, like the one her friend Asha Satori had recently married. But Gaara Sabaku… he was just so enchanting. His crimson hair stuck out foremost in her mind and she couldn't help but explore the rest of his body with her eyes. She didn't know how to continue the conversation, as he merely nodded, staring at her with an unreadable expression on his face.

Temari came to her rescue. "Gaara, stop staring at Sakura like she's a show piece and accompany her to her room okay?"

Gaara's expression didn't change – presumably, Temari spoke to him like this often – but Sakura visibly blushed at her words.

"Oh, now look what you've done," Temari teased him. "She's blushing. It's alright Sakura, you don't have to pretend he's good looking."

She gave Sakura a gentle nudge in the direction of her brother and in an instant had teleported out of the immediate vicinity. Sakura didn't know what to say to this.

Gaara felt sorry for her, but more than this, he was grateful. When he had agreed to marry a Konoha civilian, he was worried. During the peace talks, Minato Namikaze had been one of the few voices of reason, but he was also a very dominant negotiator. This concerned the young Kazekage so much that he was worried who he would send – some young girl that was both naïve and easy to push off onto others because no-one else wanted her, perhaps. But this civilian, Sakura Haruno was more than he could have hoped for, at least on the outside. She was incredibly beautiful.

He offered her his arm and blushing slightly, she accepted.

Yes, he could come to like her very much.

X X X

Gaara showed Sakura to her room as she'd agreed to the separate accommodations until the wedding was over. They weren't going to get a honeymoon anytime soon as he would be needed not only around the village, but on even more diplomatic missions outside of Suna. It was true that war had been averted this time, but there were always those who would take advantage of the fragile economy of the land of wind to stir up trouble, all for their own profit.

So the Kazekage left the pinkette to get acquainted with her new home and promised to catch up with her at dinner. He supposed she would be dying to shower at least, and find something more comfortable to wear. Gaara returned to his office to find Kankuro waiting for him.

"I saw your new fiancé," Kankuro said, whistling. "She's gorgeous."

"Have you been peeping around town again?" Gaara asked, annoyed at him.

He was forever finding some beautiful woman to spy on, and Gaara was forever wasting time covering up any time he got caught, to keep his antics from the council, who would use this as an excuse to run Gaara into the ground. His dislike of Kankuro's "past-times" did not go unnoticed by the older brother, but he couldn't help himself.

"It's like looking at art," Kankuro said. "Beauty must be admired."

"And while you're admiring," Gaara said, sitting at his desk, "I'm the one taking the crap from the women you offend."

"Do they think you're the one watching them?"

"Of course not, but you run away every time someone spots you and no-one can find you, so they come running to me."

Kankuro rubbed the back of his head. "Oops, sorry Gaara. I promise I won't get caught next time."

Gaara sighed. "You know that's not what I meant."

Using the status as the oldest son of the fourth Kazekage to get women into bed had worked very well for Kankuro in the past, but now he had to tell them he was the older brother of the fifth in a way that didn't make him seem inferior to Gaara. It wasn't going so well. Sure, there were women he'd been seeing that didn't care, as he'd already worked his charms on them, but some of them were getting downright clingy, and he needed a new fan base.

"Sometimes you are more trouble than the council," Gaara said absentmindedly. "I need to do paperwork."

Kankuro took the hint and left his little brother alone, but not before poking tongue at him.

Several hours later, Gaara returned to his home, almost forgetting he was now sharing it with his future wife. This still settled strangely on his mind, the idea of marrying someone chosen for him, but ever since he'd taken the position of Kazekage, he'd known this was coming. It was a rarity for anyone, ninja or not from any nation to go long without pressure from their family to marry. Temari was currently attempting a union with a Konoha Shinobi, and Kankuro couldn't make his mind up, mulling over several "choices". But Gaara was not so impressed with the politics involved in this.

Much of the preparations for this wedding had already been planned, and it was only the last minute details and Sakura's parts in the nuptials that required attention now. The kimono she would be wearing during the ceremony, the dress she needed for the reception, and so forth. Gaara was glad his preparations were mostly over, and felt guilty for the fact that this young woman would be rushed through something that she should've been given the chance to spend months to prepare for. But that was politics for you. At least he knew that Temari wouldn't let the wedding planners make all the decisions.

"Kazekage-sama," Sakura greeted him in the kitchen.

"Call me Gaara," he said. "There's no need to be so formal."

She nodded silently, but didn't know if she could bring herself to actually comply. It felt so wrong.

Gaara sighed. "Starting right now," he said. "My name is Gaara, no suffix, no title, and no honorific."

He stepped over to her and fixed a loose strand on her face, making her tremble softly. He could feel the electricity between them, his body humming at the proximity, and couldn't wait to marry her and take her into his bed. He was stunned by the ease with which his body had reacted to her, but had no intention of fighting it… once they were wed of course.

"And you are Sakura," he said softly.

He lowered his head, his lips stopping an inch from hers as he gazed into those beautiful emerald eyes. The next few weeks before the wedding were going to prove… difficult for him. He wanted to respect her and wait until their wedding night, so instead of just taking her right now, he lowered his lips to hers momentarily; just brushing her skin sent an indescribable warmth through him. And her reaction made it even harder for him to resist her.

'Kami this is torture.'

X X X

Three weeks later saw the arrival of the last of the guests for the wedding of Gaara Sabaku, Kazekage of the sand, and Sakura Haruno, daughter of the Konoha civilian entrepreneur Taname Haruno.

Everyone Sakura considered precious to her had come to Suna. They gathered inside the Shinto Shrine (jinja), in an orderly manner and took their places, facing each other, and not the couple about to get married, as was tradition. So, just to the side of the closest friends and family of Sakura Haruno and Gaara Sabaku, the Shinto priest performed the ceremony. They drank the Sake (the sharing of sake was called "san san kudo"), words were exchanged, and the rings were placed on their fingers. After the offerings were made to the Kami, the priest indicated to Gaara, who lowered his head to kiss his new bride. Sakura lifted her head to mirror the move, not wanting to shame him by not responding. He had been so respectful to her and she didn't want to cause a fuss.

The kiss lasted a few moments longer than necessary, and her hand went to the front of his official Kazekage dress uniform that the council had forced him to wear instead of the traditional montsuki kimono; but he still wore a short haori overcoat over the uniform that held the Sabaku crest. His hakama pants were plain, unlike the pleated ones that Sakura had seen other grooms wear. This was a much better look for him, she decided.

Not only was that different, but because this was such a political marriage, each of the Kages were present for the nuptials, as well as a few officials, although it was only supposed to be family and friends. Sakura was wearing a flattering shiro-maku (meaning "white" and "pure") kimono, with her semi-long pink hair pulled back, styled, and adorned with ornaments, combs, and accessories.

Gaara whispered to her that she looked beautiful as they pulled away to the exclamation of the crowd and she blushed furiously. As tradition dictated, the ceremony guests departed and Gaara and Sakura moved into an adjoining room to change out of their wedding attire and into simpler clothes, still stylish of course, and the correct crest and so forth embroidery on the material. They were expected to dance in these after all, so they had to be both formal and practical. Sakura dressed with her back to the Kazekage, trusting that Gaara would not peek. The last few weeks in his home had shown her that he was indeed a gentleman.

Her new dress was less kimono and more sleek, colourful and complimentary to her figure.

Gaara was tempted to turn his head slightly to see if he could spy her form, but if he was caught peeking, he would regret it. He was not like Kankuro. So he changed out of his formal hakama and into an equally formal tuxedo – but at least the suit would be easier to dance in. He had never been the most graceful dancer, but Temari had taught him what he needed for the reception, so he felt confident that he wasn't going to make a complete fool of himself.

Once they were done, they left the room and moved into the reception party (called "kekkon hiroen"), where the entirety of the guests were waiting, and Gaara and Sakura were re-introduced as a married couple, to great applause. The guests here numbered in the hundreds, including even more acquaintances of the couple, as well as more officials from near and far. It made Sakura's head spin. The fixed amount of money expected for this wedding from the guests had been set at 30,000 yen. Sakura's eyes swept over the table that held the shugi-bukuro (an enclosed, special envelope containing the money with the name of the guest on front).

She had no idea what the Kazekage would do with so much money, let alone her.

They spent some time on the dance floor, and with Gaara's arms on her, she couldn't think straight, hoping she wasn't going to fall over and cause a scene as a result. More and more, she'd been finding herself overwhelmed by his scent, his touch, and the deep beating of his heart. She was definitely attracted to him, and if hundreds of eyes weren't on her, she may have drifted off. So she endured the speeches after the meal was over, and the not-so-funny jokes Kankuro just had to tell everyone, and was glad when the guests finally departed, their hikidemono (souvenirs in a prepared bag) in hand.

She said her farewells to her family and friends, hugging her parents tightly and kissing the forehead of her baby sister. Naname seemed much happier than the last time she'd seen her. They left her alone with Gaara, and Sakura ignored the attendants who were there just to escort them to the Kazekage mansion as she glanced over at the Konoha Anbu who were escorting her family. That one called Hawk gave her a nod of his head and she smiled before turning away to follow her new husband.

She was glad that not all ninja were as bad as she'd heard.

X X X

The bed was soft, with puffed up pillows and that clean feeling that she always loved about newly made beds. Sakura was admiring the feel of it when Gaara re-emerged from the bathroom. He wasn't smiling of course, and she wondered if he was disgusted by her. Sure, he rarely ever showed emotion, and she herself wasn't some emotional wreck, but they had just said their vows and were now meant to consummate that. Wanting some sign that he wasn't dreading this was not too much to ask, right?

She stood up at his approach and was grateful for the softening of his features, as he looked her over. She was still wearing the colourful dress she had danced in, and as his hand went to the strap on her left shoulder, his eyes tense on hers. She was chaste, he knew, as the laws left little opportunity for breaking that barrier, although some women deliberately circumvented it. He himself had done this once before; back when he'd originally been bound to marry the daughter of a noble in the land of birds. The act had occurred because he hadn't wanted to marry that girl.

A part of him regretted it, wishing he could be doing this for the first time right now. This daughter of a business man from the land of fire was stirring something inside of him.

Sakura's expression was not the one of a woman familiar with the closeness of a man. Her hands trembled slightly and as Gaara lowered his lips to hers, the knowledge of what they were about to do gave away the inexperience in her hesitant response to his affection.

He undid the ties that crisscrossed at the back of her dress, therefore easing the amount of restraint on her body, and let the dress fall noiselessly to the floor. Her underwear came next, and he took care to brush her skin in just the right places, so that she would react favourably, but without overwhelming her. He took a step back from her to admire the perfect shape of her naked body. They were still standing and she trembled softly as a cool breeze wafted in through the window.

Gaara undid his own buttons, the tuxedo less of a bother than he'd imagined it would be, and the pinkette, feeling braver now, stepped toward him, her hand reaching out to help him undress. His contours of his chest left no doubt to his years training as a ninja; he was lean, but well built, as most Shinobi inevitably were, and had a presence about him that left no doubt in her mind that once they started sleeping together, he was the dominant type. Sakura could admit to herself she was entranced. His skin was unblemished, fair and the sight of him under the soft illumination of the lights was making her tremble again.

She took a hold of the bindings on his pants and undid them, helping them falling to the floor. Her hand brushed his groin as she went, but without hesitation, she proceeded to undress him fully. She didn't want him to be the only one doing anything after all.

She took his hand and didn't have to tug on him to get him to follow her to the bed.

Gaara knew this was her first time, so he didn't want to send her into sensory overdrive, at least until the right time. He smirked slightly at that and moved to kiss her lips once she was lying flat underneath him. She closed her eyes and let him into her mouth. His tongue brushed hers softly, teasingly and despite herself, she let out a soft moan. It was barely audible, but he caught the sound.

Sakura had been happy that her husband wasn't ugly, or rude or even just dismissive of her. Gaara was more than she could've hoped for. She let her thoughts disappear, just enjoying the kiss, her arms up and around his neck. His hands slowly moved to her sides, brushing the skin gently; his right hand kept moving, but before he could begin to occupy himself with the parted wetness between her legs, he moved his move from hers, slipping his free arm under her back as his lips made for her mounds.

Sakura cried out, his teeth raking her skin as his fingers explored her folds. She was so surprised by how good this felt, so taken by the feel of his muscle pressed against her, that she didn't need to block out the rest of the world. It just fell away.

Gaara used his body to part her legs and kept up his ministrations, not wanting to go any further until he'd had his fill. He pulled away from her breasts to watch his fingers thrust in and out of her, feeling himself harden at the sight, pushed over that threshold by the unrestrained mewling of the beautiful woman beneath him. Once his hand was coated from her involuntary, physical reaction to his labours, his mouth returned to hers, and he rested his hand on the bare skin of her inner thigh, wrestling her tongue with his. Her fingers gripped tighter to the strands of his hair as he shifted to align their bodies.

"Sakura," he whispered, still kissing her.

"Just do it," she hummed, already knowing this was going to hurt.

She bit his lip as he filled her, pushing past her hymen and sending a shockwave throughout her body. He paused as her eyes watered and waited for her to nod to him to continue. The thrusts came gently at first, but as she groaned at the lack of friction, he pushed harder, his right arm moving to hook under her leg, lifting her knee as he shifted his angle in her. He hit a spot inside of her that made her scream, and they kept the pace going, both bodies driving forward. She writhed underneath him, a warm feeling enveloping him when he finally climaxed inside of her.

They came at the same time, and he collapsed on top of her, careful not to press down onto her too hard. She just ran her hands through his hair, kissing his forehead and enjoying the sex lethargy. There was never a more pleasurable way to fall asleep, she thought, than in the arms of an attractive man.

X X X

Sakura found herself so wrapped up with learning Suna traditions, history, and policies that she even started to dream about it. Even once she'd finished her task of acquainting herself with the goings on with her husband's interests, there was still so much more to know. She was just glad that there were maids and cooks and she barely had to lift a finger around the mansion, not that she was some kind of slob. She picked up after herself, insisted on cleaning up her own messes, and even got into an argument with the maid or cleaner (she wasn't sure of the woman's title) who was doing the dishes.

Gaara had to personally chastise the pinkette; after all, these people were paid to clean up after the Kazekage, which now extended to the Kaze-hime. That title was never going to sit well with her, and she cringed every time someone called her that. It seemed to tickle Gaara however, and he loved the ways her face blushed when he teased her about it. They were getting so comfortable with each other that she had started to respond to him as one would expect her to if she were in love…

The weeks raged on, turning into six months, and by this time, Sakura had fallen into an easy routine. She spent her days with Temari when she wasn't busy with her ninja duties, strolling through the Kazekage gardens or joining the groups of women who were just like her – swept away from another country or village to marry here in Suna. She felt close to some of them more than others, because many were bitter about their circumstances, and a few disliked her thoroughly for her compliance. Sure, they were jealous that her husband was not only the Kazekage but far more attractive than theirs, but Sakura found herself happy here in the land of wind, despite the moments she would find herself missing her friends and family back in Konoha. But she combated this feeling with writing longer than necessary letters to them to comfort herself.

It did her the world of good when her family and friends responded so fervently to her.

And then of course, many of the night times brought her into Gaara's arms and she would take him into her, wholly and completely. Sure, she had found herself attracted to the Kazekage, and every time he pushed into her, every time she cried out and each and every time a clenching, knotting feeling preceded a warm sensation in her stomach, she found herself drifting closer to him as well. Sakura and Gaara had formed a friendship that could best be described as a kindred spirit.

She would tell him about her lonely childhood, how the other children didn't like her, and that her parents had spent years too busy to spend a lot of time with her. She even told him about that day when she'd met Sasuke Uchiha. She hadn't broken her promise to Sasuke; Gaara would never repeat this. It seemed so silly now though, to be worried that eighteen year old Sasuke Uchiha might get in trouble for the one time he'd snuck out of the clan district more than six years ago.

In return, Gaara told her about his mother, how Karura Sabaku had died when he was only two, so he didn't remember her, but sometimes he thought he dreamt about her, and felt protected. Then there was his father, or lack thereof. The man was distant toward his children, leaving them in the company of their uncle, Yashamaru, or a nanny, when he was on ninja missions. Sometimes, the fourth Kazekage would come home from a meeting and yell obscenities at Temari, Kankuro, and Gaara, but reserved the harshest words for his youngest.

When Gaara was sixteen, the man fell ill, though few ever knew this, and he started to mend some fences, officially naming his youngest and strongest progeny as his successor. It was redemption he was after, and the happy smile of his wife when his illness finally claimed him. The rogue ninja who had killed him less than a year ago had exhausted him, and because of his illness, he was easier to kill. But Gaara was glad for this. If he had survived, then it would have been a painful, drawn out death. This way, he had gone out fighting.

Sakura teared up as he'd said this, surprised at herself. She was finding herself opening up to him, like she did around her parents.

'No, this is different,' she thought.

After all, she had already realised they were more like kindred spirits. Love was not the beginning of their connection, but she believed that, given enough time, she could learn to truly love this man. They were sitting on the grass in the Kazekage gardens, which were situated behind the Kazekage mansion, like an oversized backyard.

"Sakura?" He asked, in that soft, deep voice. "Are you okay?"

"I think I'm melting," she said, thinking about her normally icy exterior. It seemed she had left it behind, but could not remember the exact moment it had fallen away.

He didn't understand, but that didn't matter. She entwined her fingers with his, just enjoying the moment, and the comfortable silence that now surrounded them. Yes, she was definitely happy here.

X X X

Several days after their last "heart-to-heart", Sakura was surprised to discover there were Konoha ninja in the village. She looked them over, not knowing why she was excited, but then just chalked it up to finding some kind of connection to her home.

'Former home,' she reminded herself.

Surprised at the lack of irritation this now seemed to cause in her, she went about her day, shopping with one of the maids because she had finally won the argument over the colour of the new drapes in the master bedroom. They were shadowed by her Anbu protectors of course, and even though she wasn't ninja enough to actually sense them, she knew they were there. Gaara took the detail for the safety of his hime with a passionate protectiveness. This thought made Sakura blush profusely as she turned away from the maid to admire a kimono store and her eye was drawn to a particularly beautiful one.

Meanwhile, Gaara had just ended the meeting with the Hokage, who had come to discuss the treaty with him, and was bombarded by a particularly troublesome council member.

"You are taking to that Konoha civilian too much."

His name was Hamuri Akanika, an elderly man with a deep seeded disliking of anything that came from the leaf. He had protested against the Kazekage taking a Konoha wife, even a civilian one, but had been the only one to speak out against it, so the other councillors didn't take his loathing too seriously. But Hamuri was the reason Gaara wanted Sakura watched at all times. Not that he thought he'd do anything to upset his position.

"I am married to Sakura Haruno," he reminded the decrepit old man, as he realised Hamuri was alone entering the meeting room.

Gaara was still sitting in his position at the head of the long, rectangular table.

"I know that. Have you thought on our discussion?"

"Yes."

"And?"

Gaara sighed. The council members wanted Sakura to fall with child, to solidify certain aspects of their political leverage. But the Kazekage had been stalling them, saying that it would happen when it happened. He did not want to produce a child under their whim, finding himself more and more drawn to loving this pink haired civilian woman. She had many attributes that would've made her a fine Kunoichi, and that temper of hers would have made her formidable. She wasn't scared of speaking her mind, which was a far cry from the shy girl who had arrived on his doorstep six months ago, her eyes on the ground. She just needed a nudge in the right direction.

"It will happen when it happens," he repeated himself.

"But –"

"Leave now," Kankuro had come up silently behind the old man, and his voice startled him.

Hamuri was about to tell him off for speaking to him this way when Temari also entered the room. He was scared of her it seemed, and the foul expression that was working its way onto her face. He left disrespectfully.

"You should have him assassinated," Kankuro said, only half joking.

Temari pushed past him. "The Hokage is leaving, you should see him off."

Gaara nodded, using his sand to Shunshin out, sparing his siblings only a small, wry smile of thanks for their interruption. They understood.

Minato Namikaze was indeed ready to move out, grateful to the young Kazekage for coming to see him off. He had inquired about the young woman he had sent to him, during their meeting. Sakura Haruno was a difficult woman to forget, and whether she'd remembered it or not, she had met the Hokage before her wedding, once when she was a child. He hadn't forgotten her (that pink hair she'd inherited from her mother certainly stood out), and was considering applying the marital arrangements for her to his son, but then Naruto had gone and fallen in love, and Minato could not deny his son the Hyuuga heir.

Gaara was as impassive as ever, but the Hokage knew better than to believe the rumours of him being an ice cube. The Anbu around them both stiffened as the pink haired girl in question was escorted to her husband, a handmaid trailing behind her, seemingly running into them by accident and Minato smiled and greeted her by her name.

Sakura was surprised by this, but bowed to him all the same, her eyes resting on the Anbu she recognised as Hawk. He seemed to be appraising her, but behind that mask, she couldn't tell for sure.

"Oh yes," Minato said, noting the exchange. "Hawk has been the liaison between our respective Anbu units. It seems he was concerned for you after first escorting you to Suna. Dedication to duty and all that."

Gaara stiffened next to Sakura and she inwardly giggled. Was he jealous?

"Thank you Hawk," she bowed, if just to make her husband squirm.

The Anbu nodded to her. "It was my pleasure Lady Kaze-hime."

She did not cringe when he used the affection, Gaara noticed.

"Shall we go then?" Minato asked, and smiled his goodbyes to those left behind.

Hawk glanced back at Sakura and she saw a glint of red in the eye hole of his mask. She realised then that he was an Uchiha, perhaps the Uchiha who had run from the compound six years ago, wanting time away from his father. Not that it mattered. Either way, she was just glad that someone had been able to make Gaara jealous of her, instead of the other way around. Seeing his avid fan base in action often annoyed her.

"Shall we go then?" Sakura emulated the Hokage, and then took Gaara's hand in hers.

He nodded silently, probably too wrapped up in his thoughts to respond.

They returned to the mansion, the sun setting shortly after. Gaara wanted to broach a subject with her that the council had been hassling him about. It wasn't exactly a topic he'd been looking forward to; as they started their ritual of making out before they had even reached the internal staircase, he paused to tell her, hoping he wasn't killing the mood.

"Sakura I need to tell you something."

She moaned, her hands unclasping the last of the fasteners keeping her from rubbing her hands over his well toned chest.

"Can't it wait?"

She really wanted to rub her hands over his well toned chest, and so didn't slow down her efforts to pull the clothing away.

Gaara chuckled softly. "Sure."

He slid her dress up and over her head. She undid her hair clasp, shaking her head to free her pink locks of their restraint. Gaara grabbed her, lifted her up and she let out an involuntary squeal as he spun her around, making them both disappear in an instant, landing gracefully on their bed.

Sakura giggled. "Impatient much?"

He smiled softly, but didn't comment. He ran his hands along her as she got to work on his pants. They were off a few seconds later, and he smirked at her.

"Impatient much?"

She ignored the cheek, though her mouth twitched slightly. Sakura pulled him toward her, her hands tangling in his hair roughly. She moaned as his left hand cupped her right breast, expectation parting her legs as he broke the kiss to explore her further. Once he'd had his fill of her juices, she flung him onto his back. Normally, Gaara went straight from pleasing her to the penetration, but occasionally, she took the incentive to return the favour. She wasn't as fond of this part, and perhaps he had sensed it, but she wasn't one to be selfish.

She took his full length into her mouth, just focusing on the twitching of his muscle, wanting him to feel her all around him. But Sakura pulled away before he could peak, manoeuvring herself above him. She leant forward to kiss him as he slid into her. She rose and fell above him, exclaiming her arousal, and tightening around him.

Sometimes they made love, and other times like now, it was just them venting their mutual attraction. That was how she reasoned to herself that neither of them had said the words "I love you" this time. Sakura had said it once, half mumbling it in the after sex reverie, only to have him whisper it back to her lovingly. So it didn't bother her that neither of them had said it since.

His hands gripped her thighs, pulling her toward him with one last spasm before they fell to pieces.

Sakura fell forward, spent. She kissed his toned chest, her tongue running vague circles as she listened to the sound of his heart beat.

"Sakura," he whispered, once they'd both recovered and she rolled off of him. "I need to tell you something."

"Uh huh," she said unhelpfully.

He swallowed hard, not sure how to say this. He'd put it off long enough however.

"The council is pushing for us to produce an heir."

Slowly, and with little to no energy left in her body, Sakura rolled over to look at him. He was staring at the ceiling, uncomfortable with having to broach this subject with her. She turned his head to look at his eyes, wanting to put him out of his misery.

"I wouldn't mind," she said, kissing him softly. "I would love to have a child with you."

X X X

A/N: Was it really Sasuke, or Itachi? I know the older brother is normally the Hawk in fics, due to his persona in the canon, but I wanted to leave it open here, despite that this is only a one-shot. Make your own deductions. ;P
I researched actual Japanese weddings for Gaara and Sakura's nuptials, so it should be correct. I dropped some things, for example: the tradition that the bride would be painted white from head to toe for example, but it's mostly correct.
It just occurred to me that I made no reference to Kakashi in the beginning A/N, but I'm sure he's around somewhere. ;P

Love ya, ciao!