This turned out really long I don’t like how long this turned out omg I’m sorry I hope this isn’t bad. love you too ❤

                                                      Gaara 

She takes tentative steps
toward the Kazekage’s office. Her hesitance is only overpowered by a sense of
determination, determination stemmed from years of itching aspirations that
have agonized her as of late.

When talk of war spread
throughout the Suna, her first and only concern was the Kazekage. She should have felt bad, letting her concentration drift to trivial matters when the shinobi world was
in danger… Where were her priorities? What kind of kunoichi was she?… But it was no use denying her anxiety.

Anguish had come tumbling
down into despair. She realized she might not come back from this war. So many
of them wouldn’t. If she was to be one of those shinobi… what was holding her
back? What kept her from disposing of the weight that had so grievously plagued
her for so long? She had to tell him… had to tell Gaara…

The determination
vanishes and her ambition seems a foolish one only when she comes to stand
outside the office door. She hears voices inside. Gaara’s, tentative and soft
as he discusses diplomacy. It must be important.

Her mind races for an
excuse to leave and abandon this futile endeavor. Not disturbing the Kazekage while
he tended to his duties seemed good enough. But just as she turns on her heel
to make haste, the door opens.

“I’ll have Temari send
you the report, Kazekage-sama.” The man who stands with his foot halfway out
the door is turned away from her. She freezes, unable
to move.

“Thank you,” she hears
his tender voice from inside the room. It has her heart skipping a beat, a
blush rising to her cheeks for some silly reason.

The man turns and pauses,
startled to see her quietly standing there, but only regards her a moment
longer before leaving. 

He did, however, neglect
to close the door. Gaara sees her just as she panics and turns to leave.

“______.”

His tone is curious, but
firm, persuading her attention and miraculously quelling her apprehension. Only
a little.

“Kazekage-sama.” She
gives him a faint smile, aware that it must look impaired by hesitance.

“Is there something you
need?”

Unconsciously she steps
into the office, glancing around the place as if she’ll find the courage to
speak there.  

 “I just… came to see how
you were doing.”

His brow raises in slight
curiosity, his hands cross on his desk. This is interesting. Unexpected, and probably
not a good time for courtesies, yet… interesting. 

“I’m well. And you?”

“I’m fine, I just…” She
wonders if he could see through the lie by the tap of her foot and the nervous
flicker of her eyes. Finally, she chuckles,
softly, weakly, an attempt to scatter her nerves. “This talk of war has just
been… unsettling. I can only imagine how difficult it is for you.”

That’s true. It had been
pounding at his mind. He knew it was the only way to end this dispute, yet the
volatility of his past called out for him and told him this promised chaos. 

Now, however, the apprehension is calmed by a sense of comfort. That she would take the
time out of her day and inquire on his well-being… Typical of her. She always seemed
to favor altruism, even at the expense of her own welfare. But he can tell
something is off today.

“Yes. The shinobi world
hasn’t been this active in a long time. But, I’ll be fine… more importantly,
are you sure you’re okay?”

His persistence, though
by no means assertive, is what gets her heart flaring again. She knew it was a sensible
opportunity to speak to him. Knew that if the words she so desperately wanted—needed—to
speak weren’t spoken now, they would be lost forever if she were to fall in
battle. 

Yet… would burdening him with a confession be selfish? Would she only
be pouring trivialities onto him that he didn’t need at a time like this?

All
she had ever wanted to do was support him. To comfort him. To let him know that
she never once feared him or hated him. The complete opposite, actually. She
knew she loved him. She had known for a long time now. 

“I know it’s inappropriate,”
she begins slowly, pulse quickening, “but…” 

But what? What could she say? She had this
planned out. Planned to confess, bow, leave, and hope that he could forget it
ever happened, and find it in him not to shame her with the courtesy of pity. But
pressure of long suppressed emotion can only be tamed for so long. If she’s
going to do this, let it be now, by her own volition.

She straightens, looks
him right in the eye and sucks in a deep breath. 

“I know this is sudden, but
I–“

“Kazekage-sama,” the gruff voice comes from behind her.

When she quickly shuts
her mouth and colors with distress, her first thought is in hindsight. Of course
now wasn’t the right time. Of course she was foolish to do this. They were
about to be at war. Gaara was busy. He didn’t have time for her. Her cheeks burn with the
realization of what she was about to say. A confusing mixture of disappointment and relief floods through her as she watches Gaara’s attention shift to the
envoy that steps into his office.

The Kazekage has the distinct
urge to tell the man to give him a moment. He needs to hear what she has to
say. She looks nervous, dire. What could have possibly flustered her so? What
was inappropriate? What was sudden? What did she need to say?…

But then he remembers who
he is. The Kazekage of the Sand. And he remembers the dilemma staring them in
the face: the eve of war. 

He couldn’t let emotion get in the way now… whatever
emotion it was that he was feeling at the time. He didn’t know. He
couldn’t name it.

All he knows is that
looking at her stand there, disquieted, shrinking into herself… it hurts him.

“Forgive me, _____,” he
says to her. “This is an inopportune time. But I would like to hear what you have to say. Another time, perhaps.”

It pains her to hear him
say it. As if she were a mere nuisance in the bulk of his schedule. Yet she
knows that’s her desperation fighting rationality. She was foolish to even
attempt this. It will be better left unsaid.

She bows. “Yes, Kazekage-sama.”
As she leaves, the weight of despair quickly returns like a second skin.

 ~

A few short days into the
regime, and Gaara calls for the Fourth Division to base. Injuries are regrettably
profuse, and Gaara doesn’t want to force his company to persevere any longer
than they need to. It would be foolish to run into battle with so many
incapacitated. He won’t risk that. Yet, he wonders how long they can idle. The
margin for reprieve is thin, and the causalities and wounded abundant.  

A quick visit into the
medical tent tells him as much. Gentle expressions of pain, groaning, even bones cracking. The agony fills his ears and despondent thoughts fill his
mind. He had expected nothing less from a war, but it’s harrowing,
nevertheless.

At the back of the tent,
he sees her. 

She sits on an empty cot, cleaning dirty medical utensils. A
solemn gloom curtains her features. Something is exhausting her normally
cordial aura. It unsettles him even more, for some reason.

Not sensing his approach,
she’s startled when he says her name. “____?”

She glances up at him
slowly, too drained to let the surprise register. Her eyes are heavy and red, the
skin beneath them dry and chafed. She’s been drying tears away, he realizes.

“Kazekage-sama… I…” Her
gaze moves to her lap, unable to maintain eye contact. She hopes he doesn’t inquire
on their last encounter. She can only assume it’s the reason he’s here. Why
else would he seek her out? A random, irrelevant medic in the midst of war?

“Are you alright, ____?”

She offers no answer, not
at first. The sullen constriction of her throat denies words.  Words that are better left unspoken. She knows
it would only welcome another flood of misery.

“I’m fine.” It’s meager,
choked out. Then he sees the bloodied bandage wrapped around her leg. A fresh
wound, he deduces. Either not treated, or too deep to completely heal with jutsu alone. “Your leg…”

She follows his eyes, and
folds her skirt over the bandage to hide it, as if embarrassed. A stab to her
gut had been narrowly avoided only by a quick-footed reaction, but the blade
sliced a good portion of her thigh. It stings still, as if the steel was sinking
into her flesh even now. 

But she couldn’t focus on her own wounds. Not if she
wanted to substantiate her role as a medic. Not when other lives had been lost…

“Why haven’t you healed
your wound?” he asks, softly in respect for the painfully obvious anguish that
encumbers her.

“It doesn’t hurt,” she
promises. A blatant lie he sees straight through. “I just…” 

Then he sees her eyes
glued to the bed behind him. He follows her gaze, and laments at the fresh
corpse being wrapped up in a sheet by two medics. 

He doesn’t see the kunoichi’s
face. Only the deep gash down her torso and the rags used to soak the wound,
dried with blood. A futile, last attempt to save her, he imagines.

“I’ve just been…” Her
voice is lost. It’s as they carry the kunoichi’s body away that the first tear
spills down her cheek.

Her childhood friend.
They attended the academy together. Ate lunch together every day. Played out in
the cool summer nights when the hot sun wasn’t so burdensome. Learned and
trained together. They grew together. And she had to watch her die. 

Had to
watch the life leave her eyes as she failed to save her. Her hands still
stained with her blood. These utensils, still stained with her blood. 

Gaara can only watch as
her face slowly molds with pain. The fleeting attempt to keep her composure is
in vain and before he knows it, she’s trembling and sniffling, wiping the tears
she can catch with her sleeve. 

In truth, he had come to
satisfy his curiosity. The words she left unspoken in his office that day had been
raking him ever since. Why, he didn’t know. Dozens of people flooded into his
office every hour. Questions, concerns, reports. Even kindly, innocuous visits,
as hers had seemingly been… yet he couldn’t shake it from his mind. 

What was
she going to say? He shouldn’t be so invested in the potential of it, but he is,
nevertheless. But he knows he can’t ask her now, not when she’s hurting.

The same odd, foreign
feelings of warmth and need come to him. He won’t bother interpreting them; he
never can. All he knows is that he wants to make the tears stop. Crying brought
back painful memories. He could never stand watching someone cry without their
tears dampening his mood. And seeing tears on her face make it all the worse.

“I’m… I’m sorry,” she
sniffles out. “I just…” 

Gaara is disheartened by
the frailty of her voice. He’s never seen her like this before, so dejected and
unsure of herself. She was always so strong and optimistic.

When he sits down next to
her, her first impulse is to move away. Nevertheless, it’s impossible not to
relax when a gentle arm wraps around her, clutches her opposite shoulder in a
firm, but comforting grip.

He doesn’t say anything,
not at first. He lets her cry. For however long, he doesn’t remember. Until the
tears dissipate and she’s no longer trembling with deep anguish. It’s only then
that she finds her voice. And quietly, he hears it:

“I’m sorry… I’m so weak.”

 He wants to tell her that
she’s not. Of course she’s not. Losing a comrade isn’t easy. A friend, even
less so. The grief is solicited. No one would question it. And were she to tell
him the pain in her own misgivings, that she felt she could have done more,
that it was her fault that her friend was now a corpse—he would have chastised
her—gently, albeit—for thinking such a thing. 

It wasn’t her fault. War
was war. Devastating. Somber. And unforgiving. She didn’t need to be sorry.
She wasn’t weak. He didn’t want her to think that.

“_____…” He has the
impulse to move hair out of her face, rub her back, maybe even lift her head to
look him in the eyes, but…

“Kazekage-sama.” A hefty voice calls his attention.

Of course a moment like
this could not be afforded in war. 

A shinobi approaches
hurriedly, diverting Gaara’s attention, yet he does not remove his arm. It makes
her heart beat fast in her chest.

“A report from the Intenl
Unit. Temari-san would like to speak with you.” 

Always an interruption. Always something pulling him away from her. 

It’s almost regretful
that he has to let her go, but he knows he does. Even more upsetting is that
she’s already shifted away from him and returned focus to the utensils. A commendable, but saddening effort. 

Nevertheless, Gaara sees
it unreasonable to protest, and stands to his feet.

“Heal your wound, _____.
That’s more important than cleaning.”

She glances up, confused
and unsuspecting of what sounded like… an order. His voice does register much firmer
than he intends, but his eyes are soft and pleading. 

Perhaps it’s the guilt from
having drawn Gaara’s attention from important affairs in the first place that fuels her, but she
knows she must obey, and nods. This is war. She keeps
reminding herself of that. Gaara shouldn’t have been in here, comforting her, a meager kunoichi. One in thousands that didn’t
solicit his attention. Yet here he had been anyway, the Kazekage, with
the means to console her. … Why did it pain her more than it soothed her?

Gaara watches her only a
moment longer, perplexing conflict rising in him as he juggles duty and sentiment.
As he walks away in suit of the shinobi, he can’t shake invading thoughts away. 

She gave him a small, spare smile as he left. It was faint, marred
by sorrow. Yet it left his chest tight, and his mind riddled with confusion.

~

Post-war peace is not as relieving
as she imagined it would be. The world has changed, undoubtedly. She welcomes
the equilibrium with open arms. Still, the battle has left its mark.

The Tsukuyomi engraved in
her a life she would have never imagined. The happiness she could never reach.
For that, she hated it. Hated what was supposed to be a new found peace. Hated
the life she would be forced to live. Hopeless and forever in longing. She
couldn’t settle with that.  

During the war, there
were so many moments she was certain would be her last. As a kunoichi, it’s
only expected that you be prepared for death at any moment, but she wasn’t ready. Her
heart was too heavy and her conscious too opaque. Her dream in the Tsukuyomi only
furthered this sense of impervious closure… She needed to relieve this heartache.
Even if it meant severing her calm forever. 

She enters the Kazekage’s
office once he permits her, heart clenching at the mere sight of him.

Gaara’s expression is bleak.
Not as though to offend her, not in confusion. But rather, patient expectation. She
looks nervous, as she does so often these days. 

Everyone seemed to be in good
spirits since the war was over. He certainly was. To see the world coming
together in harmony and brushing aside the contention of the past was… a
relief. Yet, watching her expression harden in reluctant concentration makes
that optimism dwindle.

When she doesn’t speak,
he clears his throat. “_____. How are you?” 

His voice is gentle,
careful. It relaxes her, but just as quickly despairs her, when the deceitfully
promising memories of her dream return. 

She remembers the way he spoke to her in the dream, soft and intimate. The way
he held her hands in his, the smile on his face before he leaned in close to
kiss her lips.

A happy life. An
unattainable life. It left her desperately aware of how much she cared for him,
and how thin the chances she would ever see that euphoria made into a reality. It
wasn’t fair.

“I’m doing well,
Kazekage-sama,” she finally answers. She wonders if the optimism in her tone is
believable or painfully false. “How are you?”

It bothers him, the
evident strain in their conversation. He entertains her, nevertheless. “I’m
well.”

After that, there’s
nothing. Every second that passes in pause makes her heart heavier.

Again, he clears his throat, tension putting him on edge. “I hear the medical unit
is scrambling to consolidate what little supplies is left after the war…”
Scarcity. So heavy now. Almost as dangerous as the battle itself. “I know that
must be frustrating. Especially when so many medical-nin are being deployed
across the land in an effort to reconstruct—”

“I’m leaving.”

That shuts him up fast.

“You’re… leaving?”

She takes a deep, unable
to relax the knot in her stomach, long tethered by conflicting emotions. So
many years. So many years of confusion and longing and heartache and she can’t
hold her tongue now. What needs to be said, must be said. This is no time for
regretful equivocation. 

She nods, but can’t look
at him. “I’m going with one of the medical teams. To the Iwa. They’re in need of
medics. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone but…”

“____. I…” What can he say? Why
is he suddenly so roused with dread and confusion? “I wasn’t aware…”

“I think it’s just best I
get away from the village for a while.” Forever, she almost says.

The thought saddens him.
His heart is heavier than he remembers. His hands grab the fabric covering his
legs. He’s antsy. 

“____… Why do you say that?”

“Well…” She couldn’t keep
the buried feelings inside forever. Ever since the war ended, a hankering desire
for reprieve had been her only accomplice. She thought of nothing else. Woke in
the mornings with nothing else on her mind but the desire to have this weight
off of her shoulders.

“The Suna has… many able medics,” she begins. “Medics that will
do good here. But me, I… don’t want to be a nuisance. I know I will be—”

“That’s not true.”

She looks at him. His expression is almost
unreadable.

Pity. That must be it. The only reason he’s trying
to reassure her. There’s no other reason he would be tolerating her right now.
But if she looked deeper into his vibrant eyes, if only she could see the
sincerity there, then she would know…

“Is there something bothering you?” he asks
abruptly, hating the silence.

Conflicting thoughts consume her. What should she
do? He furnishes the opportunity for her, why won’t she take it? 

He persists, “Does this… have anything to do with what you meant
to tell me that day, ____?”

Her heart beats fast in her chest. Her body is
almost trembling with anticipation, with long repressed frustration and pain
and doubt.

She can only nod.

He studies her closely, watches the trepidation
take hold of her. As if it’s infectious, he finds his own heart is beating
rapidly, and he can’t sit still in his chair. Why is he so anxious?

“I see… What’s on your mind? What
is it you needed to tell me?”

“I…” She
stops as quickly as she began, confidence suddenly a difficult thing to muster.
Why did the encouraging clarity come and go in frustrating waves?

Her heart plunges at the
idea of flustering him. Of annoying him. Of upsetting him. No one wants to hear such a deplorable
clamor. She had no business troubling the Kazekage with her pitiful affliction. 

“I’ve wanted to tell you
for so long, but I…”

When she braves the task
of finally glancing at him, her heart flutters and her body goes rigid at the
sight of his soft eyes, gazing into her intently, with a latent purpose and
design she can’t decipher. But he speaks no words. His expression falters, as
if he wants to say something. But nothing comes.

She sucks in a shaky breath. 

“I love–”

She stops. His eyes go
wide, the rest of his expression still tender. He doesn’t breathe. He waits for
her to continue. She doesn’t.

She wants the ground to open and swallow her. She
wants to go back in time. To never walk in this office. Never put herself or
him in this position. This was a mistake.

“I’m sorry… I—Goodbye.” Tears sting her eyes as she
bows haphazardly. Then she leaves before he can say a word.

Gaara can’t get up. He wants to. He wants to call
to her. But he can’t. He’s confused and shocked and can’t harness his racing
thoughts.

~

When he walks into the medical center the next day,
his heart clenches for some reason he can’t explain.

He had certainly thought about her for the better
half of the night. It was impossible to focus on anything else but her fragile
voice and anxious eyes. She… loved him? Is that what she was going to say?
He wasn’t so naïve or dense to assume otherwise. It would be foolish to rule out
that possibility.

But no. It couldn’t be. He knew better than to think
such a silly thing. Why would she love him? Yet… the idea of it had his body flourishing with warmth and eagerness.

Ever since they were children, she was always
there. Always in the background. In his peripheral. At the back of crowds.
Always looking at him. Even in the days where no one dared look him in the eye, when he was a monster, she defied fear and watched him. Not as if he were a freak, not like the way
everyone else watched him. No. She was gentle. Curious, perhaps. But gentle. Always
there, and always gentle. 

She was there at his Kazekage ceremony. Smiling at
him. He remembers watching her face in the crowd. She was even the first to congratulate
him in fact, when news of his anointment first spread. Always there. Smiling at
him. That… lovely, calming smile.

Always there. But now, she was going to leave.

Why did it devastate him? Why did it feel like a
piece of his life was being ripped away? He didn’t know. He didn’t understand
the alarming dismay that ran through him. All he knew was that it hurt. Somehow, he couldn’t imagine life in the Suna without her. He didn’t know what he would
do. And he definitely didn’t know what he was doing by walking into the medical
encampment to find her, yet here he was.

She’s packing supplies when he comes across her. Hushed whispers
from the other medics draw her attention to the door where attention is
centered, and she flushes when she sees him. 

The Kazekage, staring right at her and
at nothing else. Like she’s the only thing in the room.

“May I have a word with you, _____?” He wastes no
time on formalities. They were a triviality in the wind in the wake of his
anguish.

The other medics stare blankly. Some whispers
persist.

Finally, Gaara looks to the rest of the crowd. His
expression is calm, in no way sharpened with impatience, yet the others
understand. An unspoken agreement. 

They file out quickly, bowing to Gaara as
they depart. He doesn’t seem to notice.

“So you really are leaving,” he says when the room
is clear and the silence eats at them. 

Saying it out loud makes the reality of
it sting even more. And the fact she won’t even look at him does nothing for
the throbbing tightness in his chest.

She nods. A pain she’s come to accept. But it’s the
only way she can see to end her heartache. 

“Yes.”

She would see him again. One day. Hopefully. When
the idea of him and the unreachable dream of them being together no longer kept
her up at night. When she could think about him and not feel the heat in her
chest. Then, she could endure. 

Looking at her now, he knows there’s something
wrong. The way apprehension creeps into him. Not one dark and
twisted and dangerous like he had known before. But a sense of urgency. A
sense of confusion. A sense of yearning. But what did he yearn? Her? Was
that true? Is that what he’s felt all this time?

“If I had known before that you planned to leave…” He stops, not knowing what he means to say. It’s enough to have her eyes tailor
with hope, then they lose their glow just as fast.

She’s played this cyclical game of agony before.  She shouldn’t expect anything out of it… she
can’t. Yet…

“What, Kazekage-sama?” The tight desperation is crystal
in her voice.

There’s no reply he can offer her that would suffice.
His own thoughts are a chaotic horde. There’s no way to meld them into words.
All he can do is stare at her. Still, like she’s the only thing in the room. A
gaze that would normally blossom warmth within her; and it does, but not without
the dread and anguish to accompany it. 

When the silence is close to killing her, she turns
away from him, back to her bag to resume packing.

“The unit will be departing soon.” Her voice, so
soft and gentle, almost strained as she fights back tears. But she promised herself
no more. The tears shed for him the day before and all through the night would be her last. No more.

He doesn’t speak, only watches her haste with a
heavy heart. 

She’s really going to do it. She’s really going to
leave. She’s going to leave the Suna. And then… then what? Why was the void
already opening? Why all of the sudden, was it so difficult for him to imagine
his life without her? The smiles, the gentle voice, the calming but intriguing
conversations—all gone.

She’s packed now. She’s bowing, speaking tentative words
he can’t decipher under her breath. It’s
when she passes him and makes for the door that the mess of his thoughts pushes
him into action.

“You don’t have to go.”

She stops. Garbled
thoughts flutter through her head. Then there’s nothing. No anticipation. No
sense of trying to figure out what he means, but it makes her heart soar,
nonetheless.

When she turns to look at
him, his expression hasn’t changed, but his eyes are pinned on her, tinted with
a sense of disarray, revealing of the words that he struggles to speak. Words
that can’t find his tongue. 

“You… don’t have to go,”
he repeats again, methodical, as if articulation is a feeble, far cry. 

She swallows thickly,
forcing her gaze not to stray from his face.

“You mean… to the Iwa?”

He nods before he can even follow his own movements.
“Yes.”

Why the flood gates choose to break now, she won’t
bother comprehending. But she looks away from him, confused and flustered, eyes glossing, a
tear slipping down her cheek. The threads of her conviction come undone so
easily in his presence. It’s frustrating.

She wipes the tear away quickly, unable to regain
composure. Her thoughts are too riddled and her heart too heavy.

“But… why?” is all she
can manage.

He honestly didn’t know.
He hadn’t thought about what he would say to her.

“Yesterday,” he begins
quietly, “you said that you…”

“No, I didn’t.” 

The
vehemence behind the denial visibly disconcerts him. In regret, she lowers her
tone, but the pain is evident. “I didn’t mean to be so emotional… I didn’t know
what I was doing. I just…”

He allows her a moment to
collect her thoughts, though he doubts that task is completely attainable at
this point. 

Then, a question he speaks with tentative hope, “What you said—almost
said… did you mean it?”

She sniffles; the tears
fall harder. Of course she meant it. Is he playing with her? Antagonizing her?
Manipulating her already so mangled heart?

No. Gaara wouldn’t do
that. He wouldn’t… but why would he ask such a thing? Why would he care? Why?

“If you did…”
Determination is difficult to grasp, he’s finding. “If you did, then don’t go.” 

She’s confused, and lacking
the sense to understand right now. The knit of her brow says as much, and the
tears don’t stop. 

“I already said I would
go,” she insists, voice broken behind the beginnings of an easy sob. “I have to
go.”

“I…” He shuts his eyes,
as if it will help him seize the words he so desperately seeks. The words that
will convince her. The words that will keep her with him. “I don’t want
you to go.” 

Apparently, his creativity is lacking in the face of desperation.

“But why?” The
intensity returns to her voice, making worse the sound of her composure under
the tears.

He wishes he could say
something to appease her. To make those tears stop. He hates seeing her like
this, knowing he’s the source of her pain. 

The question befuddles
and daunts him at the same time: Why

He can’t say it. Not now. What could he
say? Tell her about the nights where his feelings were so quarrelsome that he
lost sleep? That he spent hours in his office wondering why his heart was so
heavy after he saw her? How cumbersome of a task it was to focus on his work
ever since she hinted at this before the war?

He still didn’t know what
it meant. All he knows is that if she left now, now that his head was cleared
most ardently for the first time in years, maybe all of his life… He can’t lose her.

“____…
I just don’t want you to go. After what you said yesterday… You can’t.” She
doesn’t deny it this time. It’s futile. At this point, he sounds like he’s
pleading. “Now that the war is over, I hope we find more time to see each other. It would be a shame for you to
leave and… If you want to stay, then you should.”

Her expression changes.
He can’t tell if that’s a good thing. If he was too vague, or too forward, if
she understands what he means. For a moment, it appears as though the tears have
stopped. But when she looks at him, they come again, fresh and hot and spilling
down her cheeks.

His stomach ties into knots.
Panic grips him. Was this too much pressure on her? Did he… Do something wrong?

In vain, she attempts to
wipe them away. Filled to the brim with emotions, she’s unable to stop it now. 

“I’m just… I don’t know.” She wonders if he
can even understand her through the slur of her words. “I feel so… stupid. I’m
sorry.”

He takes a step toward
her, takes the hand not wiping away tears into his own, and squeezes gently. He
hopes she stops crying. If not, then he at least feels better touching her… for
whatever reason.

“______…” Her name
always sounds so tender coming off his lips. So tender and genuine. “I’m sorry
if I’ve upset you.”

She sniffles, then
remarkably, she laughs. 

“You haven’t. You just…” She looks at him finally, eyes
glossed with tears. “I thought that you wouldn’t care.”

It saddens him.
To think she misinterpreted his feelings, or rather, didn’t notice them at all…
well, it wasn’t completely unfathomable. He hadn’t even understood them until
now.

Never had the idea of her
not being here been on his mind. And he certainly never would have imagined
it to be such a haunting one. Only recently had his chest began to swirl in an
odd unease when he was around her. The emotions had never been this strong.

She sniffles, timidity begging
her eyes to stray from his, but she can’t. They’re so inviting, so warm. “I’m
sorry, I just…”

“You don’t have to keep
apologizing.”

She shakes her head in
vain. It’s the only thing she knows how to do. It’s then she looks away from
him again. “I’m—”

“No.” This time he
squeezes her hand a little harder. “Don’t say it.”

The authority isn’t
assertive. It’s pleading, if anything. An attempt to comfort her in the storm
of her turmoil.

She dries her eyes with
her sleeve, sniffling and allowing the tension in her face to leave before she
gathers the courage to look at him once again. Her lip trembles. She can hear
her own heart beating. But those comforting eyes never cease to do their work.  

The
silence this time ushers in no anxiety or discomfort, only ease. 

He wonders if
she believes him. He wonders if she’s even changed her mind. Distress grips him at the notion. 

“____…
Will you stay?”

A
smile breaks the lingering strain of uncertainty in her features. She looks confident, at ease. 

Softly, she
says, “If my Kazekage orders me to.”

His
face softens. He nods. Relief floods him. He holds her hand a little tighter.

Why it took him so
long to figure it out, he doesn’t know. Happiness wasn’t always an easy thing to find. But it had been right in front of him all along.

                                                ~~~~~~

I know he he didn’t actually confess SORRY I just couldn’t see him saying it that fast. It takes a while for Gaara to say it. Hopefully this suffices though

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