((Well, it's been about a month or so since I've posted a new chapter onto Desert Snow. It's been busy over here with work and I'm currently surrounded by family for a late X-mas get-together. A little awkward being around people- what a recluse I've become...

Anyway, thanks to everyone who has favorited and reviewed this story! You are the people who keep this story going!))

Chapter 5: Suna's First Impression

It had been 2 days since Gaara had given Hinata her new coat. Temari was adament about not apologizing to her but in the end, it was okay. They just silently agreed that there was nothing that could be done about the missing clothes and that was that. Now they were approaching Sunagakure and the heat index had shot through the roof in a matter of 15 minutes. The coat was now tied around her waist, exposing the lavender sundress (courtesy of Temari's fashion line) that clung to her curves.

The blunette wiped the sweat off her forehead, looking around at the landscape. Sand... and more sand. There were a few cacti in the distance but for the most part, it was all sand. She used to love the way the sand sparkled in the sunlight, mimicking gold. One of her favorite forms of art was sand-art. Yeah... not anymore.

The Sabaku siblings surrounded the Hyuga princess as they entered the city of Suna. People parted to make way for them before stopping in shock at the new face. Men blushed, women glared, and the occasional crying child stopped crying. Temari grinned and leaned into her new friend (?).

"Get ready to be eyecandy..." she whispered before shoving Kankuro to the left and going to the right, exposing Hinata in all her foreign glory. Her skin was like porcelain, soft pearl eyes looking around in embarrassment. Her cheeks started flushing and she moved closer to Gaara, hiding behind him as her shyness took control.

The men rushed over to her, slowing in caution as they tried to get her away from the resident demon. But the closer they got, the closer she got to said demon, and the more uncomfortable Gaara got. His sand puffed up in aggravation. This caused more panic and one fool lashed out, grabbing the girl in a bruising grip, pulling her away.

She didn't make it a step away before sand wrapped around her body, up the man's arm, and effectively crushed it at the wrist. Screams of hysteria rang through the streets as everybody ran away from the scene. The injured male was begging Gaara not to kill him but he didn't seem to hear it. His eyes were unfocused as the scent of blood slowly seeped through the sand-vice. Temari was screaming at her brother to let the man go. Kankuro was looking nervously around as if trying to find someone who could actually help. The situation was about as bad as it could get without resorting to murder.

Hinata's brain didn't seem to process any of the chaos around them. She could feel the sand around her body and with her kunoichi training, she could feel his emotions. And she had to stop them from taking control of the situation.

She turned around within the sand's bindings, calm as can be. She slowly stepped towards the enraged demon-vessel and gently put her hand on his arm. Sand latched on, squeezing in warning but she didn't let go. She didn't flinch at the sudden contact. "Gaara-san... Gaara-san, it's okay." Any stuttering that normally affected her speech was non-existant.

The sand froze as if recognizing her voice. Gaara's eyes locked onto Hinata's, seafoam against lavender. She softly smiled at him and asked, "Please let him go... I'm safe now. I'm not going anywhere."

Slowly... ever so slowly... the sand receded back to his gourd. It wrapped back around her body the way it had come and she shivered slightly as she felt the blood that had come from the man slide passed her cheek. The injured man just ran away, yelling out for medical attention.

Soon, all the sand was put away and he looked down at her hand. The sand had rubbed at the flesh of her wrist, bruises slowly forming. He lightly touched the wounds and felt her wince as her adrenaline-high wore down. "Sorry..." he whispered softly, still fingering the reddening areas.

Hinata was still smiling a bit, her face now flushed at the closeness of the young man. "N-no problem... but remember, I AM a ninja... I can take care of myself..."

The redhead looked down at his feet before re-establishing eye contract with a smirk. "Not in that dress..." The statement only made her blush more as she pulled her wrist away from the young man.


The moment was ruined as Temari stomped up to them, pissed as all Hell. "What part of 'Lovely Item' didn't you understand?! First, you totally blow your chances with the people by raising Kane and injuring civilians! And now you've HURT Hinata! You've double-damned yourself, Gaara!"

Kankuro cleared his throat and commented, "I don't think it's bad as we think..."

The blond rounded on her brother, green eyes ablaze. "HOW is this NOT AS BAD AS I THINK?!"

"Well, think about it. Yeah, Gaara freaked out but... that scene was something else..."

Temari shut up as she thought about it. Hinata had really proved herself as a lovely item. She was able to calm down her little brother and she almost looked angelic as she did so. Her indigo hair fluttered in a breeze that no one could feel at the time. The sand almost made her skin look like diamonds. There was a definite charge in the air when their eyes clashed and the emotional understanding between the two were beyond any outsider's comprehension. For better or for worse, this plan was going to work out. She just hope that it was the best of both situations.

Hinata softly took his hand and pulled him along. "W-we shouldn't st-stay here... we n-need to make sure that that man is o-okay. He w-was only trying to do what h-he thought was r-right b-b-b-but he was still wr-wrong when it came to how he de-ealt with the situation..."

The demon-vessel growled but didn't say a word as he followed, ignoring his now smirking siblings. He knew what he was supposed to be working on the situation at hand but he couldn't help it. How was he supposed to succeed when he flies off the handle as soon as he arrives home? So much for a well-laid plan...

"Rome was not built in a day... there will be more chances..."

He looked at her in slight surprise. How did she know what he was thinking? Without looking at him, she said words that pushed all his worries away. Hinata Hyuga was quite a girl...

((Yes, she's not stammering as much as usual. But hey, adrenaline is a funny thing. And perhaps her new clothes are giving her a bit of confidence? I really don't know, I just wanted a scene like that between the two. It's a shorter chapter. Sorry! Review and tell me what you think!))