Title: A Streetcar to Nowhere
Pairing: GaaSaku (Gaara/Sakura)
Warning(s): This wasn't originally going to include any lemony goodness, but freaking Gaara just can't seem to keep his hands off of our dear Saku-chan. Horny lil' bugger.
Summary: His feelings stemmed from inherent loneliness and the desire to feel alive. For her, it was easy for black to bleed red, and for a few peaceful moments the boy who broke her fragile heart long ago didn't haunt her. GaaSaku, Oneshot.
Author's Note: Hi, friends! Long time no see! I promise you all that I'm working on the next installment of Illicit, but I wanted to get my GaaSaku groove back on by playing with an idea that's been floating around for a while now. I wanted to take a look into the concept that a romance between villages was forbidden. Most stories seem to approach it with a much more cavalier, "Whoops! We live hours away! Long distance luvin', here we goooo!" which is totally fine in most circumstances, but I wanted to play a bit. It's also helped get me out of this dry spell I've been having. I feel really good about how it turned out. This is set a bit after the Kazekage rescue arc, and sometime before the shinobi war.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or anything remotely connected to the series. Except a bunch of t-shirts, manga, and box sets, but that's beside the point.
The hospital struggled in the sand waterfall, a final reminder of the otherwise eradicated tyranny of his predecessors. The young Kazekage learned long ago from a simpleton of a shinobi that accepting help from the other villages was not something to be frowned upon, and he was hardly too proud to embrace this philosophy. It had worked for him thus far, and Suna was now reaping the benefits. So, without much deliberation, the young leader sent out a request to the Village Hidden in the Leaves.
Gaara didn't have to wait long to receive a response. The legendary Sannin was aware of the residing tension between the their acreages, and they both sought to reach a feeling of mutual contentment. She promised to send only her best and brightest, and they should arrive within two days' time. The Kazekage allowed a brief smile to break through his usually stoic composure. At long last, the shadow following his home would be gone for good.
Gaara was surprised to see the girl before him, exhausted from the long and swift trek between their homes. Grim coated her clothes and hair, leaving the usually bright pink dulled. The way she eyed him warily confirmed that she was the same girl he remembered from before, in both the chunin exams and in his rescue mission. A memory nagged at him, the moment of an attempted kill, and his failure stood out prominently. She was but a child then, breakable and fragile, yet stubborn and willful. Or just plain foolish, he had suspected at the time. He was shocked when, years later, he learned that she was responsible for the defeat of a certain nuke-nin. Surely the little girl he remembered couldn't take on a shinobi of that stature. However, countless people had confirmed it, and he was forced to come to terms with the idea of her obvious growth. Regardless, the puppet master had always been a thorn in his side, and Gaara was relieved to hear the nuisance had been taken care of. Though, he never got the opportunity to properly thank the young kunoichi before him. He made a mental note to do something about that.
Now, she was an advanced medical nin, trained by the Hokage herself. It was fitting, he supposed. She didn't seem to have the same desire for destruction that characterized so many of their peers. He quickly and efficiently explained her task, though he was certain her mentor has already done so, and sent her to clean up. She was covered in dirt and grime, no doubt from the trying environment of her journey. The desert could be a merciless place to those who are not used to the terrain.
He watched her bow politely, and scurry off to follow his sister. Mentally, he was still trying to come to terms with the idea that such a slender being could possibly do the things he had been told.
"Oi, if you're going to check her out, at least be more discreet about it next time."
He was secretly relieved to see his brother had tactfully waited until after she had departed to make such an outrageous comment. As if he would ever make a move on a Konoha shinobi. The repercussions would be much too bothersome. Regardless, he had much larger concerns to worry about. He wasn't interested in love, or anything of the sort. Women were more trouble than they were worth.
"Hn. Don't be ridiculous."
The splendor of the desert was always lost on her. Yes, she would gladly acknowledge that the village had grown tremendously, but the endless land of beige left a stale taste in her mouth. Growing up in the lush environment of Konoha spoiled her for any place lacking in the obvious greenery. They felt empty, alien. Like an isolated room sparsely decorated with only the bare essentials. Silently, the medic berated herself. She reminded herself not to dwell too long on the sprawling sea of sand. She was here on a mission.
When her mentor assigned her this task, she had been a mixture of flattered, excited, and nervous. It was her chance to fully establish herself in the medical field. She could have her name known for something other than being a Sannin's apprentice. She could finally prove that she alone was a force to be reckoned with.
Her reservations stemmed, not from the mission itself, but from the client. The reigning Kazekage had gained humility, yet she couldn't help but feel reluctant. The wounds left courtesy of the chunin exams never fully healed, the image of a boy half human half monster floating amongst them. She had been assured many a time by her blond best friend that it was all in the past, she could even give a personal guarantee that the demon no longer resided within its host, but self-preservation warned her not to get too comfortable.
Optimistically, she had hoped that a stop at her room would be permitted so she could cleanse herself of all the grime, dust, and sweat that had accumulated during her fast paced excursion. Unfortunately, the cause of her recent headaches seemed to have a different plan. The moment she stepped foot into the slowly darkening city, a guard approached her and asked her to join him to speak with their leader. She followed reluctantly, the wistful idea of a refreshing bath pushed to the back of her mind.
It had only been a few months since their last interaction, but he had grown. Or perhaps it was just the image of him sitting imposingly at his desk that seemed to make him larger than he actually was. He was at home in his position of power, as if leading an entire hidden village was a breeze. And this time, he wasn't recovering from having a demon forcefully removed from within. She was fortunate that he was keeping things brief, the mission analysis, while unnecessary, was just following protocol. She sent him a thankful look when he dismissed her to be shown to her room; no doubt she looked a mess.
She felt a strong gaze follow her as she left the room, but resisted the urge to turn around. She didn't need to check to see whom it was, she was already well aware.
She was working on a cure for a disease that had abruptly appeared. So far only a handful of citizens had been affected, but it was enough to warrant immediate attention. In fact, her return to her homeland had been delayed due to the recent medical crisis. He was unsure why he found this fact so satisfying.
"You know, you don't need to monitor me. I know what I'm doing."
He didn't doubt that. Over the past few weeks, he found he liked watching her work. The way she focused wholeheartedly on the task at hand, the way her fingers moved expertly across a broken canvas, the way she healed an otherwise hopeless case, it was all astounding to him. She was a miracle worker, giving life to the lifeless. He was the man renown for causing the injuries she slaved to repair. She was the woman repairing the damaged he had sown. It was beautiful in a tragic sense, as most things in his life were.
"It's not that I don't trust you."
Trust was a tricky word, and he found he regretted choosing it the moment it left his mouth. He didn't truly trust anyone. Those he had attempted to gift with the idea had used it, twisting him for their own personal gain. He supposed it was more that he had faith in her capabilities. And he found her amusing. He couldn't help the slight turn of his lips when she looked at him doubtfully.
"Then why are you here?"
He pondered that. The truth was, he was unsure of the answer himself. It was not that he simply found her powers intriguing, nor did he have a professional reason for his sporadic hovering. He supposed he was interested in finding the truth behind this mysterious illness that was plaguing his people, but even then he could have her report the findings directly to him at the end of her shift. Slowly, he revealed an answer that was as honest as he could manage.
She seemed surprised by his answer, if her slightly parted lips and widened eyes were anything to go by. He decided, idly, that he rather liked that expression on her face. When she unconsciously shook her head, a light scowl betraying her confusion, he realized he wanted to see it again. Slowly, he reached out, grasping softly at a stray piece of hair floating in her face. Her head snapped up, and once again the delicious expression coated her already dainty features. He observed her face, being sure to keep his impassive mask in place, before turning his attention to the rosy strand between his calloused fingers. It was soft, silky, and choppy at the ends. He remembered it being long when they first met. This suited her better.
After a moment, he lowered his hand; eyes following as he selfishly let it brush against her collarbone, before turning away. As he left the hospital, he berated himself. Only fools acted so impulsively, and he was hardly a fool. His clever mind abruptly realized he was lusting after the pink haired medic, had been for a while, but he had no right to act on such impulses. He was still new to his post; he couldn't go around breaking international laws. To get involved with a shinobi of another village is a liability. Every shinobi harbored the secrets of their home, all of the strengths and weaknesses. To be so intimately involved with someone else put those secrets in danger, and was a potential security risk. Politically, if there were to be a falling out between their homes, she would be treated as an enemy, and taken in for questioning. He could lose his already precarious appointment, and his village would be without a leader. That was something he could not allow to happen, no matter how damn appealing the vixen was.
The disease was of human engineering. The patterns within the cells left no room for argument. Whether someone was targeting the village or, indirectly, their leader, was still up in the air. But first, Sakura needed to report her findings to the man in charge.
She hadn't seen much of the burgundy haired man since last week. When their paths happened to cross, he had seemed distant, more detached than usual. Initially, Sakura had been hurt by his curt responses and hurried conversations. She thought they were making progress. After a few days, she began making excuses as to why he was behaving so oddly. Perhaps he had become busier, or there had been an increase in paperwork. That had to be why Gaara had not stopped by to watch her work. When he silently stroked her hair in the hospital, her heart had been palpitating dangerously fast. Sakura was hardly a stupid girl. She was aware that the increased heart rate, the incessant butterflies, the mixture of nervousness and excitement were all symptoms of romantic feelings. It was just like her to get a crush on an ex-homicidal Kazekage, so characteristically irrational. She had never had good taste in men.
Which is why she was so nervous to just knock on the door to his office. If he were being diffident, she would just turn around and leave the rest to him. She ignored the part of her that was hoping, moronically, he'd be back to normal. Taking a deep breath, she knocked twice.
His soft voice made her smile softly. He sounded tired. Her suspicions were confirmed when she opened the wooden door and eyed the handsome ruler. His head was resting on his chin as he stared out the window at the lights decorating the town. The sun had set a few hours ago, yet the village was still bustling. She liked that about Suna. It came alive when most other places would be quieting with the night, yet maintained a relaxing atmosphere.
"Sorry to bother you."
Sakura felt a wave of disappointment. His only response was a noncommittal grunt. He didn't so much as glance in her direction. She let her eyes gaze over his profile. His features were angular, but not harsh; they were intimidating, but wise. He was so different from the boy she remembered, hanging upside down from a tree, tossing about unapologetic condolences. That boy had been bloodthirsty and dangerous, even to her. He hadn't grown into himself, his small frame lanky, his face still littered with baby fat. That boy had become the hypnotizing man in front of her.
"If you have nothing to say I suggest you leave."
Even as he said the words, he never glanced at her. Sakura couldn't help but wonder what she had done to merit such a treatment. She used to find his constant staring intimidating. Now, she missed his attention. The side of his face she could see was characteristically indifferent, not even betraying the ice that was seeping through his words. The only hint that he was even aware of her presence was the obvious tension flowing from his frame. Annoyed, and hurt, that her being here was such a hassle for him; Sakura couldn't contain the hostility in her words.
"The disease is manmade. I thought you'd want to know in case your people started dropping like flies. Now I guess I'll just get out of your hair, since you're obviously so busy."
Sakura whipped around, turning her back to the arrogant boy behind her. She was doing this for him. She could have easily left his amateur medics to contend with the problem themselves, but she stayed. She was concerned that he would not be able to handle the problem alone, and this is how he treated her. She made to storm off, but just as her hand touched the knob, she hesitated.
Reluctantly, she turned her head, only to come in contact with a solid chest. In the time she had taken to reach the door, Gaara had risen soundlessly, following her. She watched his long-fingered hand as it rose to lightly caress her cheek. Sakura's breath caught as she glanced at his face. A smile, small and hesitant, made it's way onto the face she had spent so much time admiring. She could feel the heat pooling in her face, no doubt she was red, and she watched as his eyes softened marginally.
"I can't win against you."
Before she had time to question what he meant, he moved, and she felt something soft come in contact with her lips. It wasn't until he had moved away that she realized he had placed a delicate kiss upon her lips. Her heart pounding, she grabbed his hand as he made to pull away, keeping it firmly in place. He had obviously taken her surprise to mean rejection, when it was painfully far from the truth.
She looked at him imploringly, eyes wide with anticipation, as he gazed down at her. Wordlessly, Gaara moved in, meeting her waiting lips with his own. The kiss was shockingly soft, as if he were scared she would break if he tired anything more. It was so at odds with his usually aloof personality, Sakura couldn't help but feel overwhelmed. Who knew the Kazekage was capable-
Sakura froze. The Kazekage. She pulled away quickly, whipping her hand away from his as if she had been burned. His questioning look caused a feeling of Earth-shattering guilt to wreck through her system. He could lose his position of this were to leak. All of his hard work to not only reform Suna, but also himself, would be a waste. She couldn't allow that. Shaking her head, she let out a soft apology, before running out of the office, leaving Gaara behind to simply watch her go.
It was raining, the one day a year in which the dry landscape was revitalized. It was known as a day of hope and optimism in his land, and he watched as children laughingly played in the puddles forming in the streets. He watched as shops closed so their owners could be with their families. He watched as couples lovingly held hands and affectionately embraced under the canopy of droplets. The very sight made him sick, but not for the same reason as it would have years ago. Now, he longed to have the same chance with the girl only rooms down from him. He wished to grab her as all the lovers below him could, without the constant reminder of all that was wrong between them. But no, they would never be allowed to be together. He didn't have the freedom to love her, to cherish her. He was a slave to his village, just as he had always been. At least now, he was helping instead of hurting. Though the idea had never left a bitter taste in his mouth until the pink haired medic came into his life.
Gaara never knew it was possible to crave another person to this extent. She always managed to slither to front of his mind, his fingers itching to once again feel the soft skin of her innocent face. Ever since their kiss two days prior, he hadn't seen or heard from her. He knew she had been working herself to the bone, he had sent Kankuro over to tell her to take a break, and reported her looking exhausted. As per his instructions, she had stayed in her room today, sleeping in and reflecting on her finds.
Knowing that she was there, just within reach, was enough to drive him mad. He should just let it go before either of them got involved in something they couldn't change. He should just ignore her until she finishes the cure for the disease, pay her, and let her go. She deserved better than him- someone from Konoha, who was not responsible for thousands of lives. Someone kind, who wasn't known throughout the nations as a merciless killer. Someone who could make her laugh, and would bring her happiness; someone like Naruto. He knew the blond had always been hopelessly infatuated with the girl, and he couldn't help but feel like a horrendous friend for developing identical feelings. Somehow, it felt like a betrayal on his part. It should be Naruto.
But the very idea of someone else holding her, caressing her, loving her made Gaara want to cause a sandstorm. Even his best friend, to whom he owed his life, shouldn't have that right. She wanted him, didn't she? If her reaction the other day was anything to go by, she was as conflicted, but willing. For some odd, unfathomable reason, she wanted him.
That was it. He had to see her. Maybe the rain was causing him to behave so selfishly, or maybe it was the irrational jealousy, but he made his way swiftly to her room. Impatiently, he knocked on her door, and after a few empty beats, knocked again. Finally, the door opened, revealing a disheveled Sakura. She had obviously been relaxing, wearing a shirt that was much too large for her frame and comfortable shorts. Her short pink hair was ruffled, and framed his favorite look of perplexity. He thought she looked delectable.
"Gaara? What are you-"
He didn't give her the chance to finish her question. In one move, he grabbed her waist, shut the door, and slammed her against it before attacking her lips with his own. Despite her obvious surprise, she responded enthusiastically, throwing her arms around his neck and pulling him even closer. She tasted just like he remembered, sweet but sharp, like the strawberry champagne Temari was so fond of. He ran his tongue across her lower lip, causing her to gasp, and took advantage of her surprise to plunge greedily into the tavern.
The feel of her, the taste of her, the smell of her- it was all toxic. His hand moved from its perch on her hip (when did it get there?) and he traced one finger up her side until reaching the underside of her breast. It one quick movement he had grabbed it, squeezing slightly. She moaned deliciously into his mouth, and he felt whatever was left of his self-control melt away.
He hastily pulled up her shirt and felt a surge of heat when he realized she hadn't been wearing a bra, before pulling away from the kiss to trail his lips down her neck. She whimpered at the loss of contact, looking thoroughly embarrassed with herself, only to gasp when he hit a particularly sensitive spot. Smirking, he scrapped against it with his teeth, running his tongue over it to sooth the wound. His hand that was massaging her chest moved its attention to the pale pink tip, pinching it, and thinking his name never sounded as good as it did when she moaned it. He repeated the action. The result was very much the same. Licking his way along her collarbone, he moved downward until he replaced his hand with his mouth. Sucking lightly, he rolled the nub between his teeth, glancing up to gauge her reaction. Her eyes were shut, her cheeks flushed, and her head was tilted upwards in pleasure. Damn, she was beautiful.
He continued his assault to her breast, licking and biting, as his hand kneaded its twin. The other casually worked its way down her elegant frame until it reached the waistband of her shorts. He pulled them away, intent on reaching his next destination, only to pause when he felt her tense. Releasing her swollen peak, he glanced up at her open eyes. The usually emerald hue had darkened considerably, but they held a hint of something he never wished to cause her. Fear. Before he could inquire what was causing the shift in emotion, she spoke.
"Gaara, we can't. This is wrong."
Understanding washed over him. She had yet to decide what she wanted to do. He couldn't help but smile softly, tentatively, at her. Kissing her much like he did the first time, tenderly, as if she were something breakable, he moved his hand once again to her chest. She pulled away, scowling, but looked surprised when his large hand landed above her round globes.
"Your heart says otherwise."
Her eyes softened, but maintained the internal conflict she was experiencing. Silently, he caressed the skin, deciding the best way to approach this. Ultimately, he decided on the truth. He had nothing to lose, his mind already made, but he would give her a choice.
"I won't force you to do something you don't want to do. Say the word, and I will walk away right now. We can go back to being distant acquaintances whose paths rarely cross. But my feelings for you will not change. I had always considered myself too damaged, too cynical to ever find someone to share my life with. But with you, I could do that. I refuse to believe that those feelings can be wrong, regardless of what the laws state. But if you don't choose this, choose me, then I thank you for showing me compassion, when so many in my life had only shown fear. Now, what do you want, Sakura?"
She didn't respond. Her eyes remained wide, shocked that he had so willingly and openly admitted his feelings. Unable to resist, Gaara wrapped his arms around her thin waist, nuzzling the area just below her ear. He breathed in her scent, delighting in the freshness of it. If nothing else, he would make the most of their last minutes together like this.
"Your time's running out, Sakura."
He wasn't expecting her to answer yet; despite his words, he would give her as much time as she needed to sort out her thoughts. So he was caught off guard when her small hands reached up to cradle his face. She pulled him back from his position on her neck, and met his blue eyes with watery green.
"Idiot. You're not fair, you know."
He couldn't help the boyish grin from forming on his lips. He wouldn't realize until later that he had never smiled quite like that before. It didn't last long, however, before the looked turned predatory. He swooped in, claiming her lips as his own. This time, she didn't hesitate to respond zealously. He smirked when she used her uncanny strength to quite literally rip his shirt from his body, the sound of tearing fabric echoing in her room. Perhaps he was a bit of a masochist, but he found the action to be unbelievably attractive.
He efficiently eliminated the floral shorts obstructing his way, looping his thumbs to next pull down her white boy shorts, but was stopped when Sakura dipped her hand into his black pants. She grasped his erection, slowly stroking it from end to tip. He hissed. Torrents of pleasure shot through his frame, making him growl as she increased the pressure and speed of her action. Just as he was about to reach his limit, he grabbed her limb, and used one arm to pin it behind her back. The other grabbed her bottom and lifted, her legs instinctually lifting to wrap around his waist.
Once again capturing her lips, he carried her over to the bed, never breaking the kiss as he threw her down upon it. He crawled over her, grinding his hips harshly into hers. He hastily removed the remaining cloth between them, noticing the white fabric that was on her lower half was marked by a large wet spot. He felt a shot of masculine pride at the discovery. She was like that for him.
Long fingers massaged inside her thigh, leisurely making their way up to her soaking sex. He taunted her, asking what she wanted, and smirked when she only whimpered in response. The husky chuckle he responded with was foreign to him. Graciously, he allowed one finger to trace her folds, before rubbing lightly at the pearl above her entrance. Her hands, still pinned behind her back, fought to be free as she divulged more sounds of pleasure. Moving his calloused digit from her bud, Gaara plunged it into her wetness. She arched against him, her chest meeting his as he maneuvered the appendage in and out. The whole time, he watched her face as it creased in sheer pleasure. As if the act wasn't enough, her expressions made it much, much more erotic.
Unable to restrain himself any longer, Gaara relinquished his hands from their present duties, and positioned himself at her entrance. Looking up to meet her captivating eyes, he conveyed his message without words. She smiled at him, beautifully.
"Don't you dare back out on me now, Lord Kazekage."
With her breathy words, he moved, piercing the barrier and cherishing the feel of her. She was so tight, so wet; he was certain this is what grace felt like. Noticing her expression, he flinched, feeling immediately guilty for loving the feel of her. She was no doubt uncomfortable.
He waited until she nodded and told him to move, which he gladly did. Pulling half way out of her, he plummeted back into her, panting as he did so. He continued the assault, smirking once more when he heard her noisy moan. He could very easily become addicted to the sound. It couldn't be possible to feel this good.
As he moved within her, he came to a startling realization. The stunning woman underneath him made him want to be different. With her, he was inspired to be a better person, a better leader. With her, he felt alive. He needed her. And if that was wrong, he would accept the consequences wholeheartedly. As they reached their limit, yelling each other's names in the throws of ecstasy, Gaara came to a conclusion. No matter what the rules said, he was never going to let her go.
"We're going to hell, aren't we?"
He considered that for a moment. Their entire relationship was taboo. The secrets of the hidden villages resided in their shinobi, and for the sake of preserving their traditions; no one was to get too intimately involved with a potential rival. Counting his position, the penalty would hardly be a slap on the wrist. He could lose the support of his village. The council, whose trust he worked so hard to gain, would make it their goal to remove him from his post. The dainty, and yet so very powerful, girl laying her head innocently on his chest would be shamed. Her apprenticeship would be rebuked immediately, and she would be taken in for questioning. The very idea made him want to let out a possessive growl. Even if things did escalate to that point, he would not let anyone touch her. She was his, and no one would harm her as long as he was around.
"That's always been my path. I'm afraid that I'm dragging you down with me."
And it was true. All of the blood he had drawn, all of the lives he had taken, there was little doubt he could escape his fate. He had come to terms with that long ago. Though, it didn't stop the slight ache of regret when he pictured this woman in the same position as him when all was said and done.
"I don't mind if you do."
In all honestly, she was a screwed as he. The lines of right and wrong were blurry once her job description had been laid out before her. She was a trained killer who had honed her skills to preserve her home. No matter how noble it seemed, she was still trained to end lives. Besides, she doubted whoever decided their fates counted nobility into the equation.
"That's what worries me."
They were on the streetcar to nowhere. His feelings stemmed from inherent loneliness and the desire to feel alive. For her, it was easy for black to bleed red, and for a few peaceful moments the boy who broke her fragile heart long ago didn't haunt her. So they would continue their game, rolling the dice and hoping no one would pick their card and lose everything. Because the road they were on could only lead to a dead end, and they had to be ready to reach the end of the league.
I hope you all liked it :) Be sure to leave a review, I would love some feedback.