It wasn’t a surprise when Temari came into his office, even though it was well past third watch. Her chakra was known, easy to pick out in the deserted admin complex, and Gaara had been absently following it for several minutes already. Still, the hollow sound of her fan tapping against his door was…pleasing. He set down his pen and flared his chakra in a silent welcome.
She looked tired, he thought, although he still couldn’t always read humans well. She must have just gotten back from a mission near the border of Wind country. Though she was freshly bathed and bandaged, her hair had been left down and she only carried her small hand-fan. She smiled at him, and let the door fall closed behind her. “Gaara,” she said, voice warm.
She hadn’t said anything of value yet, and so Gaara didn’t bother to respond, watching instead the careful way she moved. She favored her left knee, and sighed a bit when she leaned against the front of his desk. “Mission completed, Kazekage-sama,” she said, flashing a sharp grin. Gaara nodded, noted the lack of a mission report before deciding she probably hadn’t had time to write it yet and setting the thought aside. Tomorrow would be soon enough.
“It took you more time than I expected,” Gaara observed, indifferent. But the statement drew another of her quick smiles, and Temari nodded, leaning back in her chair.
“Feh—those losers couldn’t challenge me. I’d found and killed them the first day after I reached Wind. It just took me a little while to get back—one of them winged me just as he went down.” Hm. The knee had been damaged after all. Gaara nodded. “Still, it’s good to be back. I kind of miss going on missions together with you and Kankuro.” She stood and reached one hand out to ruffle Gaara’s hair. “I’mma turn in. I’ll check in with the—“
Temari frowned down at where a cuff of Sand had caught her wrist, two inches from Gaara’s head.
Gaara was staring up at her, eyes wide with alarm but voice deadly calm. “How did you do that?”
The Sand stirred in the gourd, and Temari had to force down an instinctive flash of terror. “D-do what?”
Gaara wasn’t even looking at her anymore, fingers curled nearly into a fist over the left side of his chest. “Here,” he said, still speaking as if to himself, soft and bewildered. “It still hurts, but…less, now.” The eyes flicked up to meet hers, deeply suspicious. “What. Did you. Do?”
Temari let out a startled little breath, forbidding herself to let it develop into the half-hysterical laughter it wanted to.
“Gaara,” she waited until he was really seeing her instead of the things inside his own head, and then gave him the “you great moron” look she’d perfected for Kankuro. “You’re my important little brother. I know you. Give me some credit here.” Gaara’s whole face went slack with shock, and Temari took advantage of the Sand’s loosening grip to raise the hand the rest of the way into a little wave, turning her back in a deceptively casual gesture of trust.
“Night, you,” she called over her shoulder, and couldn’t help but smile a little to herself at the way the Kazekage was still mouthing the words “my important brother” behind her.