The Little Cactus

Sunlight streamed through the translucent cracks on the windows, filling the room with a warm, morning glow. The fragrance of flowers wafted along with the gentle wind. A pair of birds sang a light tune. Everything was perfect.

Not until the door opened.

"Ino," A gentle hand stroked my head. Slowly, I peeked through my lashes. Dad's blue-green eyes were crinkled with a smile. "It's time to wake up."

"Let me sleep for a minute," Pulling the blanket over my head, I groaned. "Sunday. It's Sunday."

"Come on, Ino," Dad tugged my blanket and gently nudged me on the head. "We have to water the flowers. Mind helping me?"

Sighing, I scratched a mosquito bite on my arm and dragged myself out of bed. "Fine."

Yep, this is the routine, I, Yamanaka Ino, have to go through: water the flowers, water the flowers, and water the flowers. Although I admired them, sometimes, a girl has to sleep in to look beautiful, right? Reaching for the watering can on the kitchen counter, I stared emptily at the tap water drizzling into it. My eyes trailed towards a small cardboard box on the counter.

"Hey, what's this?" Gingerly picking it up, I called out to Dad.

"Ah, I found that in the middle of the desert, while I was on a mission in Sunagakure." I took a seat and lifted the covers of the box. A mini cactus was snugly placed in it, surrounded by soil. "You can take responsibility of growing it, if you'd like."

Wordlessly, I stared at the cactus for some time and closed the covers of the box. Holding it tightly against my chest, I peered over the window to the sky.

"A cactus…eh?"

"Hey, Ino-pig! Shikamaru-kun was looking for you." Sakura waved her hand towards me as I entered the classroom. Ugh, that billboard brow. I stuck out my tongue and flipped her off. Her face reddened and her mouth sputtered with inconceivable words. Chuckling, I gave her a smirk and walked away.

"What," Strolling towards Shikamaru, I crossed my arms in front of my chest and tapped my foot on the floor. My teammate, who looked bored most of the time, had a disturbed expression. In fact, Choji, who would always stuff his mouth with chips, was staring at the floor, lightly kicking his foot time to time. "What is it?"

"Actually…" Choji stammered, fiddling with his scarf. "Today–"

"–the Fifth Kazekage…is coming soon to Konohagakure, which is here." Shikamaru lifted his sharp eyes and carefully observed my face. "We thought you should know."

"Hey, did you hear, did you hear?" Naruto jumped around like a wild monkey, laughing and shouting. His blue eyes were wide with excitement. "Gaara is coming!"

The classmates bustled around, excitedly chatting about the famous young kazekage visiting their village. I leaned against the wall, massaging my throbbing head.

"You're pale," Shikamaru stood next to me, staring at me with silent concern. "Go home. I'll tell the teachers you felt sick."

"I'm–" Raising my voice, I whipped my head around with a veneer of the best smile I could put on. As soon as I was about to tell him I was fine, the room was in an excited frenzy. Dreading the cause of the uproar, I forced myself to glance towards the mass of people.

There he was. The Fifth Kazekage. He ran his hand through his hair, which was crimson like red roses, and silently stared at the others with pale sky-blue eyes. It was him.

"Ino–" Choji hesitantly extended his arm to touch my shoulder, but I tightened my jaw and trusted wherever my legs would take me.

"How troublesome." Shikamaru shook his head and sighed.

Outside, the sky was pouring. The clouds were dark grey, and the wind howled. Usually, I would have never gone outside in this weather because the rain ruined my hair. Today, however, I didn't care. I just ran and ran until I could no longer feel or hear anything. I was numb. My body heavy, I found myself standing in front of my house.

"Dad," I pounded against the door desperately. Please, open the door. Don't leave me alone. "Daddy!"

"Ino?" As soon as he opened the door, I threw myself at him and hugged him tightly. I knew he was perplexed, but he loosened and stroked my head. To silence my cries, I bit my lip and clamped my teeth down hard until little specks of blood dewed on my lips. Dad's calm hands settled around my shuddering shoulders, and he held me wordlessly. Like back then, he rocked me like a child and whispered reassurances. "It's alright. It'll be okay."

After that, I couldn't remember anything.

When I woke, I was in my bed. Excruciating pain jabbed my head, but I rose to my feet. Outside, it was still raining.

Going down the stairs, I ambled into the kitchen and noticed that Dad wasn't home. A note was stuck on the fridge, reading, "Ino, I must attend some meetings I have today. Since I won't be back for dinner, heat the soup in the fridge. Hope you feel better."

Pressing my fingers against my throbbing temples, I made my way towards the shop. I could tell the flowers were in full bloom as I took in the sweet fragrances. My toe nudged a red petal on the floor. Picking it up, I silently stared. It was a vermilion color, just like-

"-Ah!" The sound of thunder pierced through the air, my ears ringing from the noise. At that moment, the bells to the store jangled. Instinctively, I crouched down in a defensive stance and examined my surroundings. Was someone there?

"Hello?" I tip-toed towards the entrance of the shop and kept my breathing even. It was dark because of the bad weather and the noise of the rain falling down the roof made my hearing unclear. I gradually encroached closer and closer, my feet slowly padding along the floor. "Whoever is out there, come out!"

In front of the store, a figure was heavily leaning against the door. He was writhing, as if in pain. Big water puddles soaked the wooden floors. Who the hell was this guy?

Slowly, I made my way towards him and scrutinized to see his face. Just then, lightning crackled and illuminated the dark store. My pulse quickened, and my breathing became uneven. His hair was the color of vermilion.

After a few minutes of being completely still and dumbfounded, I slowly unraveled my fingers from my fist. Only the noises of our irregular breathing filled the air. Suddenly, his legs gave in, and he crashed to the floor.

Aghast, I took in a sharp breath. Why was he here? I hesitantly extended my arm and nudged his arm. No response. I nudged again. Still nothing. Dreading the worst, I placed my hand against his forehead. It was burning.

"Oh god," Huffing, my arms were underneath his armpits, dragging him up the stairs to my room. His pale lips were twisted as if in pain, and his hands were clenched into fists. His clothes were soaking wet, and his face was pale like fresh snow: so pale that I was scared that he might be dead.

"Calm down, Ino. Think." Pacing back and forth, I tried to find ways that could help a feverish boy. I mean, I wasn't the type to take care of others. "First, I have to get him warm."

Glancing back, I gulped. To get him warm, I had to do something about the wet clothes. Although I had seen many guys go topless, I have never stripped a guy before.

"Of course, it's only to help him," Tying my hair back, I reached out to unbutton his crimson coat and the grey holster vest. Under the coat, his lean neck appeared, and his mesh armor was stretched tightly against his built upper body. My heart fluttered wildly like the beating of a bird's wings. Light veins stood from his neck, and his shoulders were broad. I frantically shook my head. "B-boys are just boys."

I've managed to get rid of his coat. But there was still one huge problem.


"Shit." I could still remember back when I was five, Dad wore only undies around the house, and we took baths together. Also, I even saw a lot of kids back then without their undies on. It would be fine, right? I mean, I was Yamanaka Ino.

With shaking fingers, I fumbled with his belts and unwrapped them. Next, it was the zipper. Bit by bit, I pulled it down. My eyes were squeezed shut, and my palms were sweating. Unconsciously, my eyes opened and stared at him. Although I should've looked away, I couldn't do it. Oh god, I was going crazy. Cringing from his zipper, I sighed. The top had to go, but the bottom will have to stay on.

Glancing back to his face, I could feel a growing sense of unease. His blood-red hair was matted against his forehead, and sweat dribbled down the bridge of his nose. Was he in a lot of pain? I placed a cold towel on his damp forehead and tucked him under the blankets. He was shivering, and his brow was furrowed in agony. Whimpers escaped his throat. What could I do? Slowly, I reached out my fingers and brushed his matted hair to the side. His lashes rested lightly on his cheeks, and the paleness of his skin accentuated his black eye rings. My fingers continued to stroke his wet hair as I leaned my chin against my palm.

Realizing what I was doing, I hastily jerked my fingers back and stood to get some more ice. Just then, a firm grip grabbed my wrist and before I knew it, I was pinned down on the bed.

"Who…" Gaara was staring down at me, with puzzled eyes. Ah, those pale blue eyes… Swallowing, I turned my head to the side and kept quiet. His face was startled as he opened his mouth to speak. "…Ino."

Staring down at his clenched fists around my wrists, he wordlessly let me go and sat up. I massaged my wrists and tried to keep my eyes distracted.

"You have a fever," Trying to avoid the unbearable awkward silence, I straightened my skirt and stood up. "I will get you some more ice."

Before I could walk away, his low voice stopped me.

"...Thank you."

I turned my head ever-so-slightly to meet his intense gaze upon my face. Although I could feel a lump in my throat, I grinned. Whipping my blonde hair to the back, I made my way to the door. But I stopped. I bit my lip and turned my head to see him through the wisps of my hair.

"Why, of all places, did you come…here?"

His brow furrowed, and his eyes casted down to the floor.

"Haha, ignore that." Closing the door behind me, I gripped my reddened wrists. "Stupid."

Gaara placed his spoon down on the table and peered over to the window. He seemed much better than a few hours ago. Without thinking, I let a small smile touch my lips. What the heck.

He stood up, sauntering towards the clothes on a nearby bench. They were still soaked with rain, but he didn't seem to care.

"I have to leave now." Throwing his clothes over his shoulder, he made his way to the door. I nodded in reply.

Before he left, he hesitated for a few seconds and turned back. Slowly, he gave me a thin smile. "The salted tongue soup was good."

I still couldn't get my blushing cheeks to calm down even after he had walked out of the store. Sighing, I started to pile the dishes. I had to go overboard and make his favorite dish. Stupid me. What did I expect?


It was unpleasantly quiet after he had left. He was gone. This was how it was going to be for the two of us.

No, there will never be an "us".

Biting my lip, I dashed out the store.


Halting, Gaara spun around, leaning his head to the side in confusion.

"Idiot!" My fists trembled. My heart thumped loudly against my ribs. I couldn't let him go. Not like this. "Get back here."

He hesitantly made his way back until he looked at me with clueless eyes.

Then I started to hit him.

"You should've told me before you left! You should've waited for me!" My firsts pounded against his chest repeatedly. "Baka! Baka! Baka!"

Gaara grabbed my wrists and gazed at me intensely.

"I never wanted to have sex with him!"

Suddenly, we were back inside the shop and only our raggedy breaths could be heard.

"What?" Gaara pushed me up against the wall, his eyes searching mine frantically. I whipped my head to the side, my eyes lowering to the floor. "Say it again, Ino."

"I…never wanted it."

That was right. Rumored to be the so-called "experienced" girl or even a whore, I was raped as a virgin. The revolting boy accused me of his doing, asserting that I've asked for it. Gaara, surrounded by whispers of the horrid news, confronted me: asking and pleading what the truth was. Too distraught and disgusted by my dirtied body, I couldn't say a word. Soon after, as a newly appointed Kazekage of Sunagakure, Gaara had new responsibilities. He left without saying goodbye. He never came back...until today.

"It hurt. It was scary," Tears started to fill my eyes, making my vision foggy. "I was scared you would hate me because I was dirty."

I started to sob. It was too painful. It felt like a knife was ripping through my heart. Gaara's hands let my wrists go, and he just stood there.

"I wanted you to tell me you were leaving," Tears dribbled down my chin. "I wanted to say goodbye."



"…don't forgive me."

Raising his hand to his face, he turned his head away.

His strong yet shaking shoulders looked so pitiful that I reached out to lift his chin gently. I gasped. He, who never showed tears to anyone, was crying. A single tear drop made its way down his cheek. Wincing, I wrapped my arms around his neck. At that moment, I knew what I've always felt. I never stopped caring for him.

"I never stopped loving you."

Next thing I knew, his hand reached up to the back of my neck and pulled me into his embrace. This nostalgic feeling. This scent. This warmth. This strength. It was him. Gaara.

"I-" His warm breath caressed my ear and made me tingle. "-I'm sorry."

Before he could pull away, I kissed him. Placing my hands on his bare back, I refused to let him go.

"Please," Breaking away from the kiss, I leaned my forehead against his heaving chest. "Stay with me."

His brows furrowing, Gaara bit his lip and pulled me against his chest. His eyes never leaving my gaze, he stroked my cheek and leaned forward, barely touching our lips together. It was too sweet. Too gentle for me to bear. As our lips explored each other, the kiss got impatient and frantic. His tongue licked my bottom lip as he drew a deep breath from me. Suddenly, he pulled away.

"I'm sorry," His eyes were dark with silent fury. "After what I did-"

Silencing him with my lips, I held on to him. Hissing, his lips found mine again, slowly sucking my tongue with his mouth and biting my lips lightly. I was lost. I didn't know what was going on. All I could see, hear, and feel was Gaara. The next thing I knew, we were in the bedroom.

Gently placing me on the bed, he drew tiny circles around my navel, attempting me to breathe out soft moans. With half-lidded eyes, he slowly traced his fingers lightly against my stomach and trailed towards the sides of my breasts. Shivering from his touch, I stared at him through my lashes. Anticipation and longing burned within me. My ears got red when I realized my nipples were straining against my purple blouse.

Ignoring my response, Gaara leaned in to kiss my collarbone and his hands palmed over my breasts. Gasping, I watched him as he kneaded them. My toes curled as he got hold of my nipples, rubbing them in circles with his thumbs. Whimpering, I placed my hands on his chest. Through his auburn hair, his eyes burned with desire as he quickly unbuttoned my blouse. He slid his hand under the material and clasped my breast.

"Ah!" My back thrusted upward, trying to get close to him as possible. His hands were warm and big, massaging both of my breasts in a circular motion, leaving me completely breathless. Embarrassed by my cries of pleasure, I placed my hand against my mouth to smother them. Gaara grabbed my wrist and pulled it away from my lips. "Ah, no-"

"I want to hear you." His lips slowly traced my wrists, leaving light kisses here and there. Frustrated, I pushed him down to the bed and straddled him.

"I want to hear you, too." My fingers swiftly trailed down his throat, and I began to taste him. I lightly traced a path with my tongue from the top of his chin down to his navel. He tasted like the warm sun. His muscles tensed when my hand palmed him over his pants.

"Ino…I won't be able to stop," Gaara pushed me back on the bed, reversing our positions. His eyes were dark, his scarlet hair glistening with sweat. Scared about his pulling away, I started to protest. "Still, I can't help but want you."

Gaara growled under his breath and snaked his hands up my thighs and undid my skirt. His lips caressed my thigh, and his teeth slowly peeled my fishnet shorts off. Suddenly overcome by embarrassment, I tried to close my legs, but he refused to let me. Placing my thighs over his strong shoulders and settling on his stomach, he stared at my flushed face.

As soon as his fingers stroked me, I cried. I could feel my underwear getting wet from ecstasy as he continued to move his fingers. Biting my lips to cover my escaping moans, I tugged his hair with my fingers. Pulling my underwear off, he kissed my inner thigh, getting closer and closer to my core. Ever so slightly, his tongue was on me. I bucked against his mouth, tears welling up from pleasure. He sucked me so deeply, I couldn't keep my voice down. I shattered to pieces. He continued to drink me until I couldn't feel myself anymore.

"B-Baka," I gasped as I came back to earth. He was still pleasuring me with his tongue, making me flinch as I was sensitive to his every touch. Brushing his lips against the little nub, Gaara drove me to buck against his mouth as I mewled. Before I could drown in sheer ecstasy, I pushed him away, closing my thighs together. "I want to satisfy you too."

Going down to my elbows, I gave a little chuckle as his face turned light peach. I fumbled with his belts impatiently and pulled the zipper down. Oh god. I couldn't keep my mouth closed. He was fully aroused and throbbing with desire. Eager to please him, I tugged his pants down and got hold of his member through his boxers. Despite the thin layer that deprived me of direct contact with his skin, I could feel he was thick, hot, and powerful.

Slowly, I peeled his boxers off. My mouth went dry. Freed from the fence, his member coiled up, ready to go.

Wordlessly, I gripped his member and started to move my hands. His breath caught, and a moan escaped his lips. Pleased to see he was aroused by me, I tentatively let my tongue lick the tip. Immediately, his hips rose to meet my mouth, shuddering uncontrollably.

"…Ino," Gaara groaned, his voice husky from pleasure. Wanting to please him more, I pulled his whole length in my mouth. It was hot and throbbing with need. The more I pleasured him, the more he cringed from arousal. As soon as his member quivered, he grabbed my shoulders and pushed me. He shuddered and let out deep gushes of breath to calm himself.

Stroking my burning cheeks, he silently gazed at me. His eyes were shrouded with unmitigated lust.

"I want to embrace you."

Slowly rising to my knees, I let his head rest against my fluttering chest. His musky scent of sweat made me tingle down there. Tightening my arms around his head, I nodded.

"Though I can't be forgiven," Gaara closed his eyes, his voice strained in pain. "I want you."


Pushing me to the bed, he lifted my thighs with his hands. I left a trail of kisses down the nape of his neck and wrapped my legs around him. Feeling him probing at my core, I raked my fingers through his hair.

"Let me erase your pain."

I almost sobbed. I couldn't help it. I needed him to embrace me.


Groaning under his breath, his hips slowly moved towards me, his fists taut against the bed sheets. My breath caught when I could feel his hot length stretching me. Oh, this bittersweet ecstasy! Such lust made me squeeze on him in a wet embrace.

Growling, he thrusted his hips and entered me. All the way in.

Tears formed as I couldn't help the wave of pleasure he gave me as his every intake of breath made him embed deeper in me.

"Ino," Murmuring under his breath, Gaara hugged me tightly and buried his head in the nape of my neck. "I'll make you remember me and me only."

Nodding, I kissed his collarbone and drew in his scent. Gaara started to move in me, as I ran my fingers through his crimson hair. He was so warm that I felt like I was basking under the sun in the desert. All I could focus on was him: his kisses, whispers, and touch. So this was how it feels to be one with someone you love. It was neither scary nor repulsive. Instead, it was filled with pleasure and bliss. I couldn't get enough of him, no matter how hard he thrusted in me.

"A-Ah, Gaara-" I bit his shoulder as he thrusted himself harder and harder in me until I thought I would break. But it still wasn't enough. I had to have him whole. I wanted him to devour me. His sweat dribbled down to his chin as he stared at me with feverish eyes. Turning my head away from his intense gaze, I could feel the heat rising on my cheeks. He got hold of my chin and forced me to meet his sight again. Suddenly aroused, I grabbed on to his back. "Ah, I'm c-cumming. I'm cumming!"

"Ino," His hips moved faster and faster as he plunged himself in me over and over again. Whimpering, I could feel I was reaching my climax. He groaned as he pulled my legs on his shoulders, allowing his thrusts to go in deeper and deeper. "I'm going to-"

"Come," Gasping, I held on tight to his hands as he moved faster and harder. "T-Together-"

"Ungh!" Gaara thrusted long and hard for the last time, and I could feel warmth filling me as he trembled with pleasure. The ecstasy was unbearable as I gave out a long moan. His weight leaned on me, his breath whispering in my ear. Glistening sweat dewed on his forehead as I brushed his matted hair to the side. Slowly, he intertwined his fingers with mine and traced my lips with the tip of his tongue. Gazing at me, he stroked my cheeks. "I love you."

While I was wiping the dust away from the store's windows, I noticed a little box crammed in the corner. Smiling, I let my fingers open the box. There it was. The little cactus. Placing it on the counter, I looked out the window and admired the clear sky.

"I love you."

Remembering his whispers, I giggled under my breath. Though he had to return and though both of us didn't know when we could meet each other again, we knew we would always reunite. Besides, I would be here, waiting for his return.


Please feel free to let me know what you thought about this by leaving a review! :)

(Though SaiIno is canon, I enjoyed writing this fanfic)