Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ Unrequited ( Chapter 8 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Tsuyoku: I know, I know. It’s about damn time. Mrrgrr, it’s taken too long, but here it is. And if it’s any condolences it’s a little bit longer than most of the others.

Plus……. I don’t have internet at my new apartment yet which has delayed my uploading this chapter by a few days at least. And until we get it, it might delay my updating until I can access a computer that is connected with the internet (And still remember that I have something to upload.)

Hope you like, and please review!

Sound Sleep Ch8

Sakura’s eyes opened, giving her a welcomed escape from the dream she’d been having. She didn’t suppose that her dreams recently had any meaning except to remind her that she was in this forsaken wasteland where no one even bothered to pay her any attention. In the dream Gaara stood on the sand dune next to her staring toward Suna as she called out to him. Her questions and yells warranted no response from him, and it drove her nuts. Was this dream telling her that she had no say in her future no matter what she did or said to the Kazekage?

What’s the point of that? I already know that I have no power here… Sakura rubbed the sleep from her eyes and stared at the ceiling.

Her arms rose over the top of her head, stretching and popping anything she could for the satisfaction of feeling restful as she woke up. One month; she’d been there one month where she’d hardly seen Gaara for the entirely as she busied herself in the gardens or around the house mending anything and everything that Kankuro managed to break.

The pinkette had been very disappointed that the hospital kept refusing her offer to help. Did they never need the service? Or perhaps she was just unwelcome; outsiders rarely are. Was she being of any use in Suna?

She would have liked to think so. She’d like to think that Gaara’s rest was making him a better diplomat, someone that the people of Suna could depend on for a great leader, but who knew if that was the truth? Sakura hadn’t heard a harsh word about the Kazekage since she’d arrived. That, however, could be out of fear rather than out of admiration.

As she sat up from the bed, Sakura observed as much of the outside as she could from her position. The sun was shining full blast, and a good amount of people scattered along the roads. Her late mornings had become the result of staying up later and later every night in hopes that she might see Gaara come into the room, yet she never caught a glimpse of him as if Gaara stayed away just long enough for her to fall asleep before he entered. Sakura would be lying if she said that knowing someone was sleeping in her room at night (and never being able to see them) didn’t leave a lingering chill in her spine when she woke up.

Sakura didn’t know where he slept at night either.

When she got up, she imagined that he had taken to sitting on the desk across the room at night or lying on the floor at the foot of the bed. Thinking about him crawling into bed next to her was a thought she wasn’t even going to entertain. But considering that she had found sand around the far side of the room on multiple occasions, she was pretty sure that he wasn’t getting any closer than he had to. Sakura greatly appreciated this fact.

In the first two weeks of her stay, she didn’t even think that he’d stayed with her since she never found any trace of his chakra left behind when she woke up. Nor was the silent man ever in the room unless he was sneaking in to sleep. Temari had mentioned in passing that she hadn’t even seen her brother in the palace for some time, though that could have just been him avoiding people as per usual than anything else.

He seemed to be good at that sort of thing.

Temari and Sakura had been seeing each other a lot in the past month as well. They weren’t best friends by any means, but the fact that Sakura was one of the few females the blonde ever came in contact with (let alone the only other one worth talking to that was allowed throughout the palace) was enough for Temari to abide Sakura’s presence. They ended up spending most of their off time together whether it be training, eating, or dealing with Kankuro around.

The best thing of all about staying there was that Sakura could sleep as much as she wanted, and no one said anything because it was Gaara’s suite. No one ever approached it to try and wake her or bring her food when she hadn’t called. But the kunoichi didn’t want to seem lazy or anything. There were days that she got up very early and trained in the gardens or worked out to keep her mind off Suna. She sometimes let it drift back home to thing things and people she was missing terribly. Especially Shino. He’d been her companion and (dare she think it) her protector for a while when she was hiding from Gaara in Konoha. And now that Gaara had her exactly where he wanted her, Shino had been powerless to help.

She threw her legs off the bed and felt the plush of the carpet beneath her toes. Once she had clothes on, breakfast was certainly in order and then she’d have to scour the streets of Suna for some kind of diversion for the day.

Upon setting foot into one of the dining rooms Sakura was greeted with a scroll address to her from Konoha.

Who could this be, I wonder? Sakura thought with a small smile tugging at her lips. She could only guess that it was from the very same dark man she’d been thinking of that morning. He said he would write her, but with the passing month Sakura had been worried that he’d forgotten his promise. She sat down at her place where food had already been laid out and broke the seal on the letter.

“Sakura, my lovely Sakura,

It’s been a long month since you’ve been gone, but I’ll bet you’d know that better than anyone. I apologize for it taking so long for me to write back, but things have been hectic around here without you. I constantly get asked whether I’ve heard from you, and most of my time has been spent on missions with one particular blond who has anger issues.

But don’t let me make it out to sound like paradise. I noticed that even Tsunade hasn’t been herself, and we all seem to understand that having to give up her apprentice to Suna of all places was a real shot to her ego as well as her heart. At least you’re already through one month of your stay.

Please let me know if there’s anything I can do. I’ll make a trip there if you need me.”

Shino ranted a little more in his letter. The boys were all on edge with her so far away in Suna. Tsunade seemed to need someone to fill Sakura’s place so she could do some teaching. Even the bug man let on to how much he missed her. Sakura had only noticed about the time she was forced to leave Konoha that a special bond had formed between Shino and her. It was something stronger than friendship, something as powerful as love might be, but was that what it was? Sakura couldn’t be sure. The pink-haired girl leaned back in her chair and contemplated if she was in love with the dark nin.

It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that she had a crush on a peer. Sasuke was definitely a crush; was Shino the same, or had their time together pushed them past that stage yet?

It was a decision she wasn’t ready to make. Her letters back and forth with Shino would be enough to get her through the six months, and then once she was back in Konoha they could evaluate their positions. Sakura finished her meal and quickly went back to her (read: Gaara’s) suite to reply to Shino’s long awaited letter.

Though his past few responses had been on the flirty side, Sakura hadn’t expected Shino to make a move so suddenly. Just a week after they had begun sending messages back and forth, Shino had dropped a big, emotional bomb. The pinkette stared at the scroll as if it was in another language. There, on the third paragraph of his fourth letter to her, he had said something she hadn’t expected to hear until her return.

“… I must admit that this time we’ve been apart I can’t help but think about having had you here in my apartment for that short time. I can safely say that I would very much like to have you around here as much as possible once you return from Suna. We haven’t been talking long, but hasn’t our time spent together meant as much to you as it has me? I’d like to think so.

Am I allowed to love you? Are we, as ninjas who belong to Konoha, permitted to have feelings for each other? Even if the code says we aren’t, I’m going to say it anyway.”

And he had said it. Shino had finally asked her to voice her feelings about him. This was what she had been afraid of. To her shame, she’d resumed with flirting with him through their messages, and possibly he had taken something from them that he shouldn’t have. And Sakura didn’t really know how to respond. She looked out the window beside the desk and sighed into the night. She silently asked her reflection what should be done though no reply ever came.

It was late, however, and Shino shouldn’t expect her to respond until the next day in either case. She pushed herself from the desk and settled into the bed. Despite her usual schedule of staying up late waiting for Gaara, Sakura didn’t feel like it tonight. She felt the weight of a heavy decision push her into the bed and finally into sleep.

Gaara noticed that his captive had turned in for the night sooner than she had in a while. He had suspected that she was once again playing a game with him hoping that she could stay awake long enough to see him come in from a long day. But he wasn’t ever going to give her that satisfaction. The Kazekage made his way into the room, noticing that she was already in a deep sleep before he got there. His eyes quickly adjusted to the thick dark, and he made his way to the desk where he’d been camping out the entire time.

Gaara briefly wondered what it would be like sleeping in a bed when he was around Sakura. There were nights when he would watch her slumber from his perch on the other side of the room and wonder what it would be like to feel her warmth next to him. There was something about skin to skin contact that drove other people wild (in fact Kankuro was always talking about something or other to do with flesh), but Gaara had yet to understand it until he brought Sakura to his domain. She would turn occasionally, but on a normal basis she was usually calmly resting on her side where he could study her length from afar.

This night, however, something was blocking him from lounging on the desk and finally going to sleep. He went to move it aside, passing it off as just another one of the pink-haired one’s letters. But when it saw the word “love” buried in one of the paragraphs, he was intrigued. He picked up the letter, hopped up on the desk, and began to read it.

It wasn’t as if he was a stranger to the word. It was tattooed into his forehead for goodness sake, but sometimes the meaning of the word was lost on him. He knew what it meant, but what “love” meant between two people was a complete mystery. And it seemed that the two people in this case were the woman sleeping not ten feet from him and her little knight-in-shining-armor back in Konoha.

Gaara couldn’t figure out why he was feeling heated so suddenly. Human emotions were usually as humorous to him as they were fascinating, but he couldn’t be experiencing them now, could he? The thought, however, of her talking to this man through messages and expressing their “love” and how much they missed each other made his stomach churn. He knew it was rage, but there was another emotion there he couldn’t believe was surfacing. Gaara of the Sand, the Kazekage of Sun, was above being… jealous of a weaker nin, right?

He folded the paper in his hand and gripped it firmly as he allowed her magic to work over him. No matter how riled up he was when he decided to sleep, Gaara was always able to fall under her spell when he got near. Was he willing to lose her to this Shino ninja?

He just might have to take Kankuro’s advice and finally “make a move” on her. If Sakura fell in love with him instead, he wouldn’t have to pull more strings just to keep her in Suna. First he’d have to find out how she felt about this man before he could tear them apart. After all, how was he supposed to continue with his sleeping schedule when she left in five months? Certainly he couldn’t go to Konoha and try the same “ambassador” routine again.

Yes, making her fall for him was the only way to keep Shukaku and himself happy.

And he was asleep.

Sakura Haruno woke up feeling very rested despite the evening before. Shino’s letter had come as a great shock to her, but one night’s full rest had her feeling ready to face the day… and to face writing a reply to her would-be pen pal regarding her own feelings. It wasn’t too late in the morning, so she stretched and swung her feet off the side of the bed as usual to grab some breakfast. The hunched figure toward the other end of the room was the thing that stopped her.

“Um… Gaara?” He just sat there, unmoving. This was odd. Did he die in his sleep? Had her “power” over him been so strong that she put him into some sort of coma?

It was ironic that she would find him like this the morning after she went to bed early. The only night Sakura hadn’t cared to wait up for him, she has to wake up and find him still there. And while sleep was enough to dull the stressed look he constantly had one his face, the sandman was still quite creepy to wake up to.

She sighed and went to walk past him to the bathroom to get ready. She figured she would give him plenty of time to wake up and leave while she was in the bathroom to avoid having some awkward encounter face to face, but a hand shot out and grabbed her shoulder causing her to stop in her tracks.

“What the hell is going on, Gaara?” Sakura shouted as she came face to face with her attacker. For a split second Sakura realized how comfortable she had gotten with the fact that Gaara needed her, but that thought enraged her even more. Why should she be the one who has to change just for his sake?

He didn’t make a move for a few moments; instead the Kazekage just lifted his hand and let the letter unfold itself.

She gasped. “You read my message? What the hell is wrong with you?”

“I want to know exactly what is going on between this guy and you.” He had to know. If there was something going on between them, it was going to be even harder to get her to fall for him, but hopefully she wouldn’t accept notions of love from such a low-level ninja, he thought. Surely she would have taste enough to go for someone stronger that would protect her. If she hadn’t fallen for the shaded nin, it would certainly be easier to make her his.

“Explain to me how that’s any of your business?”

“It’s my business to know everything that’s going on within this palace, and I won’t have you two sending your love letters back and forth and making a mockery of my messengers. They have better things to do. While you’re in Suna, you are to be a professional representative of Konoha. That doesn’t include having a relationship.”

Sakura couldn’t figure out why he was getting so worked up about it. He had just said more words to her than he had in the month she’d been there combined, and suddenly he had a problem with her having a love life? She was having none of that.

“Oh, that’s interesting. So, I’m here to be a professional representative? Really? Because I was under the impression that I was here to be your personal teddy bear that you couldn’t sleep without. How dare you even say something like that? Just because you’re stunted emotionally and couldn’t hold a relationship even if it had handles doesn’t mean the rest of us will suffer the same. I will have one when I want and however I want, no matter where I am. You, Gaara of the Sand, cannot stop me.” She began to walk away from him, thankful that his hand wasn’t on her shoulder anymore lest her grab her again.

“You never answered my question, woman.”

“Like I said, I don’t know what business you have in my love life, but you’re not entitled to know every damn thing about me. You may be able to hoard me here for six months, but you don’t control me.” And she was gone. Gaara scrunched the letter up in his hand once more before giving it to the sand that crawled out of his gourd. The sand wrapped around it and pulled back into its hiding place.

“Son of a bitch, I can’t believe he would even say that to me!” Sakura had ended up in the garden of all places. She was more pissed off than she had been upon finding out about being shipped to Suna in the first place. Taking her anger out on an unsuspecting herb next to her, the rosette plummeted to the ground on her knees and turned her rage and frustration into tears.

By the time she was done, Sakura had a massive headache and she was sure that her nose was the same color as her hair. “I don’t get it,” she whispered. “Why me? What the hell did I do to deserve being jerked around like this?”

“Are you talking to yourself again, Haruno?”

Sakura looked up to find Temari standing by the archway into the garden. She shifted her face away from the girl, but replied as to not look like she was hiding. “Yes, I am. Got a problem with it?”

“No,” replied Temari. “You do it pretty often. Has this got something to do with him pissing you off again?”

“How did you know?” Sakura couldn’t hide the sarcasm. Of course it was his fault. Everything wrong with her life was his fault right now.

Temari ignored her tone. “Just a guess, I suppose.” The blonde sat down next to her companion completely ready to listen to whatever ranting the girl had to do. After all, there wasn’t anything that immediately required her attention. All boredom aside, Sakura wasn’t that bad of a person to get to know, even if she was from Leaf.

“I… Well, before I was forced to come to Suna I had been staying with a friend named Shino,” Sakura said. “I’ll be the first to admit that it got very creepy staying in my room once I found Gaara sleeping by the window one night. Since I didn’t want to continue living at home very much after that, Shino offered his place until I could do something about the situation.”

“And are you two a couple now?”

Sakura blushed. “I don’t really know. Not officially, I guess.”

“But you slept in the same bed.”

“Well, yes, but it’s not like that. We never did anything.”

Temari scoffed. That was certainly obvious from the blush that covered Sakura’s face.

“We’ve been trading messages since I’ve been in Suna, and I don’t know what to make of his last one. He said, in so many words, that he loves me…”

“And is that what you’ve been crying about?” Temari said, feeling stupid that she’d sat down to console this girl who was only having man problems.

“I don’t know. The thing is, I’m not sure that I love him back. What does one reply to that when it’s been said through a letter and not face to face? I hadn’t intended to actually pursue a relationship until I returned from Suna. Now I’m not to sure about it. And it doesn’t help that Gaara saw Shino’s message and totally blew up at me this morning.”

This was certainly a new development.

“When you said he “blew up at you” what do you mean?”

Sakura could barely stand to recount the story to Temari, who was completely engrossed over her brother acting so strange. What kind of motivation could Gaara have to be so… emotional?

“So he actually touched you? That’s odd for Gaara. Well, more than odd. I’ve never seen him even come close to physical contact with another human in my life… well except when he was killing someone without his sand which is rare. I have absolutely no idea what brought that on. Unless…”

Sakura’s ears perked up when Temari trailed off.

“Well, obviously he wants to keep you here. So cutting you off from everyone is the key to doing that.”

“Obviously…” Sakura had already thought about that.

“So, what do you think will happen when you go home? What about Shino and you?”

Sakura supposed that if they got together as a couple (or if they were even allowed to be one) they’d be like any normal couple: eating together and sleeping back at his place once more. She got a rush from trying to imagine herself in an actual relationship going on dates and having someone to come home to.

“I’d no longer be a single, spinster of a woman doomed to spend my nights alone or out with all my couple friends.”

Temari smiled. “Exactly. You’ll be with Shino most of the time. Won’t it be weird when Gaara starts coming to visit at night when you two are sleeping in the same bed?”

“Hell no! He’s not going to even come close to trying to sleep around me when I get away from this cursed place!”

Temari gave no indication that she’d even heard Sakura’s reply. “Or maybe he’ll just talk to Tsunade and make sure that you stay in Suna permanently. That would be his best solution as to cut down travel time between our countries.”

The rosette just gasped. “Temari, what are you talking about? Is there something that I’m not getting?”

“You realize that this six month thing isn’t going to cut it, right? Gaara has finally tasted sleep, and I doubt that he’s going to let you go—you’re apparently able to tame Shukaku somehow. And that big fight and all those strings he had to pull to get you to Suna weren’t for nothing, Haruno. You need to start thinking about what’s going to happen in your future and what you still have control over.”

For the first time since she’d arrived in Suna, Sakura was completely and utterly speechless. She didn’t start crying or ranting about anything or begin pitying herself. Instead, Sakura just sat there and turned oxygen into carbon dioxide. She didn’t move when Temari got up and left; she didn’t move until it became so dark that even her thoughts were getting lost in the shadows.

Tsuyoku: Well, writing this chapter was a blast. I’ll admit that I got it written in a few days in notebook paper and then finally (in pieces) typed it up! R&R guys, hope this one generates a few reviews!