A Monster Like Me
"She's gonna be my girlfriend when we grow up!"
"He's gonna be my boyfriend when we grow up!"
That's what they told everyone when they were younger. Things were so much simpler back then and it was so easy to say what they felt right at that moment.
Well, that's because they were only 8.
They grew up together, played together and they had each other's backs.
She remembered how they would lay outside in her front yard staring up at the clouds and then she would reach over and ruffle his red hair. He would smile…she missed that…and then he'd play with her pink strands, gently tracing it down to the tips.
She remembered how he used to be so kind to her. He would listen to her no matter how annoying she got and he was there through it all when she cried and when she laughed.
And then she remembered that day when he finally asked her to be his girlfriend. That day was the happiest moment of her life. No doubt, they already knew their feelings for each other, but she was just waiting for him to make it official…that she was his.
She could still feel the warmth of his lips…she replayed that heart fluttering moment when he first kissed her over and over again.
Just thinking about the way he used to look at her like she was everything to him still made her heart ache. It seemed then that they were inseparable.
That was when they were 16.
It happened on a rainy day.
She would never forget that moment.
That moment when he stared at her like she was a stranger.
That moment when his warm, and gentle gaze turned cold and piercing.
That moment when he stood there, drenched with his parents' blood, and his expression held so many emotions…fear, anger, sorrow, and hatred.
She could only watch as the police dragged him away from the scene. When she glanced into the house, she stood in shock at what she saw. There on the floor, just behind the front door, were the lifeless and blood-stained bodies of his parents.
The first time she visited him in jail was strange.
He did not look at her. He did not respond to anything she asked. Even when she cried and pounded on the glass wall that separated them, he did not even flinch.
Why did he kill his parents?
Why did he suddenly turn from being someone who she knew and loved, into someone who she now barely recognizes?
"….do you even love me anymore…?" She asked sorrowfully, staring at him with her tear stained face.
When she asked that question, he finally moved. He narrowed his eyes and then slowly, he got up and faced her.
He raised his hand and pressed it against the glass wall near her face. His thumb gently caressed where her cheek would have been if the wall wasn't separating them. It was as if he wanted to wipe away her tears.
"A monster like me doesn't deserve to love and be loved by anyone. Don't come anymore."
She still went.
Even though he refused her visits, even though she sat there staring at an empty glass wall with no one on the other side, she still went.
Because….because he was everything to her.
He was the one and only person she imagined her future with. And if it wasn't him, then it can't be anyone else.
No matter how many days, months, or years she would have to keep coming…no matter how many times she was just going to face an empty glass wall….she didn't care. If she had to wait until his time in jail was over, so be it.
She loved him too much to let him go.
8 years passed.
It was an awfully short time for someone to be in prison, especially when that someone killed their own parents. It was despicable to society to let someone like that out into the world again.
But to Sakura, it was the most joyous moment she's ever experienced. She was the only one waiting eagerly outside the gates.
When the gates swung open and he walked out, she didn't waste any time. She ran to him and embraced him tightly, scared that if she didn't go and hold him at that moment, he would suddenly disappear.
He merely pushed her away and walked the opposite direction.
She, of course, followed him.
She winced when he suddenly grasped her wrist tightly and glared menacingly at her. "If you don't stay away from me, you will end up just like them."
She knew who he was referring to….but she pushed her fears away and took a deep breath. She stared at his mint green eyes…the very eyes that she fell in love with…and then she gave him a smile.
"No, I won't. Because then, you'd have no one."
"I don't need anyone. I don't need you."
"….then you should have thrown that away a long a time ago."
Her gaze fell on the ring on his finger. She was also wearing one. When they both turned 18, they got promise rings.
It was to promise that as long as they both wore it, they'd be together. If one of them no longer has the ring, then it would mean they were no longer lovers.
But, he still had it. He could have taken it off during these 8 years in jail, but he kept it on. That was proof enough that he didn't completely forget about her….that he still loves her.
He couldn't respond back to that. He stayed quiet and just loosened his grip on her.
Then, in a blink of a moment, she managed to step closer to him and leaned up.
The second her lips touched his, he felt himself crumble.
Why did she still love him?
How can she still love someone who was a murderer?
How can she love a monster like him?
The first few months that they lived together were difficult. He still refused to talk to her many times and he would often pull away from her when she reached for him.
He was scared to open up to her. He didn't deserve to be loved by her. He didn't deserve to love her.
So many times he thought about ending his own life, but then he would see her smile and all thoughts were gone.
She never asked him why he killed his parents. After that first jail visit, she never brought it up anymore.
It was like she was trying to help him to forget and bury those memories. It was like she was making it ok for him to move on and be happy….but he couldn't. He couldn't forgive himself.
One night, after dinner, she offered to let him sleep on the bed with her. He's only been sleeping on the couch this whole time and she didn't have the courage to ask him until now.
He refused, of course. But he never guessed that she would be so persistent.
That damn couch could fit two people, so while he was lying down, getting ready to sleep, she jumped in right beside him.
"If you're not sleeping on the bed with me, then I'll sleep on the couch with you."
He immediately sat up, but she reached forward and hugged him from behind before he could stand and walk away.
His heart ached at the way she leaned on his back. "..please? It's been 8 years since I've seen you, talked to you, touched you….so please…just for tonight, let me sleep in your arms."
He hated it. He hated it that she got him like that. He hated how, no matter how many times he told himself he didn't deserve to love her….he still did.
He eventually laid back down on the couch and then she snuggled next to him, clinging tightly to his shirt.
Boldly, he turned and looked at her face. She gazed back at him and he was surprised that she still looked at him like how she did years ago….with such love and affection that made him tremble.
They were so close to each other. He hadn't felt this kind of human contact in so long…it was both strange and heartwarming.
His eyes roamed over her features and he realized that she was no longer that young girl he grew up with. Her hair grew so beautifully and so much longer, her emerald eyes shined brighter than ever before, her cherry pink lips made him want to lean in and just kiss her all day, and the way her curves fitted against his felt so perfect.
He let himself fall in that slight moment. He raised his arm up to her face and then brushed away her bangs so they wouldn't cover her eyes.
She smiled ever so lovingly at him, happy that he finally made a move to touch her and react back. She blushed when his eyes traveled down to her lips. Her eyes fluttered closed and her heart thumped furiously when he leaned in and gave her a feather-light kiss.
It seemed like it was forever since he's kissed her first. She almost cried because of how nostalgic it felt.
He moved away, but was taken by surprise when she followed him. Her lips stayed glued on his and she deepened the kiss.
When she finally pulled away, she was blushing at her actions. "…sorry, I just….I miss you…"
Her heat fluttered at what he did next…because it's been so long since she's seen it.
It's now been a year and half since he's been released.
Everytime she came home from work, he welcomed her with a warm hug, but that was all. He still didn't talk much, but he did interact with her a lot more.
This particular day, she surprised him when she showed him two small boxes.
"We already have promise rings, but I figured, why not get the real thing?"
He narrowed his eyes at that statement. Did she mean marriage?
"I know you don't want a ceremony, so I can just go get the official documents to sign that we're legally married. It'll be easy that way. You know…I'm kind of proposing to you right now." She smiled happily at him.
Then, her smile slowly disappeared when he glared at her.
It wasn't that he didn't want to…it was just that he couldn't. He couldn't tie her to him like that. The promise rings, they could take it off whenever, but marriage? If they were married, it would mean she was going to devote her life to him. She was going to marry a killer…and he couldn't do that to her.
"You don't want to?" She asked. He could hear the hurt in her voice, but he looked away anyways.
"We won't always be together, Sakura."
She felt a little angry at what he just said. She put the two boxes down and reached for his hand and held it firmly. "…why? Why can't we? Give me a good reason."
"….you want to marry me? You want to marry someone who's killed people? Worse yet, my own parents? You want to spend the rest of your life with someone who people will point at and be scared of?"
His words didn't even make her flinch and there was no hint of worry or hesitation in her eyes. "Yes."
They were simple words, but they were words that he couldn't understand. Why? Why would she, with no hesitation at all, be willing to be with him? What was so good about him that she was so persistent on staying by his side? She was so beautiful and so perfect…she deserved someone who was pure and someone who will make her life better.
If she married him, she would forever be tied down by his past. She will forever be called the wife of a murderer. If they had children in the future, he didn't want others to bully them because their father was a murderer. It was too much of a burden for anyone to carry. He was someone who deserved to be alone, and to die alone. He didn't deserve this woman who loved him so much like this. He didn't deserve to have a family because he killed his own.
"I don't deserve you, Sakura."
Her eyes saddened when he finally confessed that to her. Even though he said that with the intention of her letting him go, that only made her want to hold onto him even more.
"Why do you think I never hold you to your past? Why do you think I've been here through all these years even when I could have left and started my own life? For me, there's no one else. You're still my Gaara…you're still that boy who I grew up with, that man who I first loved and will always love. Can you just…please, forgive yourself already?"
His lips quivered at her words. Forgive himself? How can he do that? It was impossible. Whenever he looked down at his hands or saw a kitchen knife, he would forever be reminded of that night.
She saw his expression and tears formed at the corner of her eyes. She didn't know how to convince him. Why couldn't he just accept the fact that it was ok for him to be loved by her?
"It's ok to let go. It's ok, Gaara…"
He just shook his head and pulled his hand away from her grip.
She sighed in frustration and her tears finally fell. She was pissed and her heart felt like it was breaking into a million pieces over and over again.
"You think I'll be better off without you? Do you really think that out there in the world, there will be a man who will love me as much you do?"
Why did she know exactly what to say to shake him? Why did she have to say the things that he wanted to say to her the most?
"You love me, don't you?"
Of course he did. He just never said it to her because he didn't have the right to even say those words anymore.
"...please don't push me away anymore. It's ok to be happy now. If you aren't happy with me, then that's ok, too…just please, don't isolate yourself like this anymore. If you don't want to be with me, then it's ok to find someone else. If I'm the problem, then tell me what you want me to do. If you want me to leave, I'll leave….so please…just please, I just want to see you happy again." She pleaded over and over and she told him it was ok over and over again.
He finally looked at her straight in the eyes and then he saw a glimpse of hope in her expression.
…was it really ok? Was it ok to be happy? Was it ok for a killer to live a normal life again?
God, he hated it when she cried…and especially when she cried because of him.
He reached over and wiped her tears away. Then, abandoning all his previous thoughts, he pulled her into an embrace, comforting her.
She wrapped her arms around his waist and buried her face into his chest. She loved him so, so much. Even if he did tell her to leave, even if someone else came along and loved her, she didn't think she would be able to love them back as much as she loved Gaara right now.
His eyes averted to the two boxes she had earlier and then he sighed in defeat.
For her, he would give it try.
They've been married for 3 years now.
The memories of his parents faded away.
His guilt, his doubts, and his fears, thanks to her, were now gone.
He thought that they wouldn't last together because he couldn't tolerate the fact that she was married to someone like him. But when she smiled at him, hugged him, and kissed him, slowly….those thoughts disappeared, one after another. She made it easier to smile and laugh and she made it ok for him to be happy. She finally convinced him to forgive himself and they even visited his parents' grave, where he wept until he couldn't catch his breath anymore….where he pounded his chest and screamed out all his anger and regrets, where he apologized over and over again until his voice gave out.
After that, he felt the ice around his heart melt. He felt free. And he was thankful for her every moment because she was the one that held onto hope for him when he lost it all.
It was a truly crazy thing…that she loved a monster like him...and he loved an angel like her.
I decided to make a GaaraSaku for those of you who always wanted them to be together in my other stories, lol. I took a darker approach to it, though, just to make it more heart wrenching.
I also wanted to raise up a controversial issue: Does a murderer deserve to have a second chance at living a normal, happy life again?
Review, please :)