A very clever person who left a review as a guest suggested that I build a GaaSaku story around a myth instead of a fairy tale. It took some searching but I finally found something that fit, so this is based around Hephaestus and Aglaia (youngest of the Graces). Once I narrowed it down everything basically fell into place. Aglaia is the daughter of Helios and Aegle (one version of the parents of the Graces).
I decided to make this somewhat literal but with liberties. If you like the premise let me know and I'll pump some energy into it (3 chapters and an epilogue I'm thinking.)
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto! This is just playin' around with names and personalities.
Being a virgin sacrifice is extremely overrated, Sakura thought as Hinata checked over her bundles for what felt like the twelfth time in an hour. The horse shifted nervously next to her, skin twitching. A little ways away, Ino argued with their mother who in turn was arguing with their uncle. The whole family had to be present to send her off because it was an "honor" that Sakura had been chosen, and while people gave her pitying looks behind her back to her face all she got was congratulations on her impending nuptials. Her smooth pink hair was in an extra tight bun, glossy and clean, and her chiton was a shiny white that would have dazzled if the morning hadn't been so drizzly and grey. Sakura wrapped her shawl around her shoulders more tightly. The sun was nowhere to be seen, a bleak January day as usual.
"Everything seems ready," Hinata said, but without any certainty in her voice. "It might rain on the way but I'm sure your wedding costume will stay dry. The dyes set into the fabric recently, I hope they don't run…" Her pale eyes shifted from Sakura to the packs and back to the ground before cycling through all those things again. Sakura felt dizzy on her behalf.
"How many cows do you think were sent to him by our father?" Sakura only asked this to make Hinata feel uncomfortable. She immediately felt bad for doing so as her older sister blushed and stammered. "Don't worry, I'm sure whatever he sent is a pittance to my betrothed anyway." Betrothed came out something like captor, even though Sakura knew she should be happy that she was marrying someone so powerful. It was an honor not a punishment, but her slightly red eyes gave away the few tears she had had this morning out of sight of her family.
Ino finally wandered over having been shouted out by their mother and uncle. The drizzle from the sky dampened her hair and made her cross. Normally smiling eyes full of guile and adventure just reflected the same helpless rage all three of them felt. "You can still run away."
"And then what, and then he punishes our family and takes one of you instead? Or kills the lot of us? He can do anything he wants. We're not exactly in a good bargaining position, you know, and we can thank our father for that directly the next time he shows his face." Her eyes darted to the sky as if he would suddenly appear ready to scold her for her ungrateful words.
Hinata picked at the corner of her skirts, flattening and fluffing the white folds in turn. "You shouldn't think badly of our father. He was probably bragging of us and then..." She couldn't finish her sentence as she obviously was out of excuses. Sakura loved her sister and the eternal good will Hinata held for their celestial dad, but Sakura was not blessed with that kind of natural good opinion of others, nor did she have Ino's energetic zest for entertainment. Clever, practical, solid—often strangers thought Sakura was eldest instead of youngest among the three of them.
It was less than a week's worth of walking but to Sakura it looked more like a long rocky road leading to the underworld. It wasn't exactly fair of her to say that, knowing as she did that Orochimaru's domain lay leagues away in another direction, but it was about the symbolism not the reality. It would be much nicer if her reality conformed to something that made sense, but it was at the end of summer that the note from Gaara's emissary had come, swiftly followed by a rare visit from their father in all his shining glory. Ino, who had been betrothed for almost a year, had thought at first word had finally arrived from Shikamaru but it seemed he was still dawdling in regards to some important details and her own marriage was still delayed until the potential groom woke up from his infamous slumber long enough to take formal action.
Sakura had gone from amused at Ino's consternation to horrified as their mother read the missive and promptly burst into tears. Sakura to marry Gaara? It had to be some sort of sick joke. Gaara's former marriage had only been officially dissolved less than a year ago, according to rumor, so no one would have expected him to enter into another union so fast. Damn her father and his nosy interest in the dark and troubled man. Unlike him, his daughters were only minor gods of inspiration and they were lucky enough to have the freedoms they did unlike some children of more significant deities. Obscurity had been freedom, but now the baleful eye of a major god had turned directly towards her.
What had her father even said about her that had interested Gaara?
Unable to travel so far from her fresh water home into the volcanic mountains that Gaara resided near, Sakura bid her mother goodbye and the three sisters began their journey. If they walked day and night they could reach the mountains in a mere three days, and while they didn't need rest the way a mortal might it didn't suit them to be so energetic towards a destination they all dreaded.
Under a cloud of smoke, Gaara seethed. Molten rock and metal flowed around him and, if he willed it, would overcome the small village he looked upon below this workshop. It was his favorite, the one he came to when he needed to do his best work. As if distracting him with tasks would break him from his madness. As if he cared that Tsunade wanted golden shoes with heels of diamond or that Jiraiya had plans for a miniature liquid metal dog that would head butt anyone who interrupted him while he rested. Requests by the hundreds from his fellow gods, and by the thousands from mortals looking to escape his anger or plead for his intervention, were just a matter of annoyance.
Every shuddering breath he took pumped the bellows and the heat was suffocating, cloaking him and comforting him while the voices in his head churned. Every slightly limping step reminded him of how of his siblings he was the one that had been cast out. Gaara was imperfect, no that was too gentle, he was a monster. And as lava slid down the mountain, lighting the village on fire for the first time in decades, he watched people flee towards the sea and asked himself why he was inviting someone into his life. He didn't even know them and they would just become another despised interloper to his daily routines. He had already had a hard lesson about what love really was.
By the light of the magma Gaara picked up his hammer, and while the mortals below fled and died he reminded himself that what was capable of destruction was also capable of creation. It had to be true, otherwise the voice telling him to destroy had no redemption.