Hmm...first try at Gaasaku. A little weird; probably OOC, too.

She smells of sweat, salt, and fear. The sand above him hovers impatiently, greedily, because the scent of fear is thick and sweet, and the prey is vulnerable and there for the taking. He restrains it, though – the sand flicks faintly in protest.

Not much longer, he soothes, and it obeys, half-reluctantly.

He looks at her, and she stares back at him with burning green eyes. He's going to test her out a little, he decides, and the sand shifts merrily in agreement, whispering lovely nothings in his ear as it swirls towards her, weaving itself around her neck into a deadly, golden scarf, and she stiffens, eyes widening.

"W-what are you doing?" she whispers between clenched teeth, because the sand is brushing against her skin, prodding, caressing, ever-near, and feeling of death.

He doesn't answer her, only watches silently.

She struggles to keep her chin raised above the sifting mass of sand that's strung itself around her neck and forces herself to stare him square in the eye. He finds it funny that she's trying to act defiant even though it's painfully obvious she's afraid. He can see from where he is that her knees are shaking and her lips are trembling faintly, and strangely, he finds it endearing.

He blinks, mutedly surprised with this acknowledgment, then brushes it aside and tells himself that it's only the predator's instinct inside of him that finds this particular weakness attractive.

Shukaku yawns loudly and it rings from within.

His attention is diverted again when the girl speaks, her voice stronger this time; but he can still hear the unease in the undertones, in the trembling of the last syllable.

"What do you want from me?"

He watches in faint amusement as her hand reaches discreetly towards the holster tied around her leg, wonders what she's planning to do with a mere kunai.

Just this once, he'll play with her a little, if only for a short while.

So he lets her pretend that he didn't see.

Her jaw clenches when he doesn't answer, and the anger returns, trickling back until it gives her enough bravado to speak again.

"Why are you doing this?"

Her body is pleading and screaming but her eyes are biting and vicious; she's a living, breathing paradox if he's ever seen one. Maybe he'll answer her, just this once.

"Because I want to," he says, simple as his hair is red.

She seems taken aback by this, and he can't fully understand why, so he waits for her response.

"You," she hisses above the sand's subtle taunts, green eyes narrowed. "You disgust me."

He smiles then, because it's the funniest thing he's heard in years. It shouldn't be funny, but it is, and he can't help it, much less comprehend it.

She senses more than sees his smile, but it makes her mad all the same.

"What's so funny?" she challenges, commands herself to ignore the tender brushing of the sand tickling her throat, the rough scratchiness and the soft silkiness spun into one hateful concoction.

"You," he says, simple as the fact that he is a monster and doesn't even try to deny it anymore.

She doesn't know what to say to this, the grip on her kunai slackening slightly for a brief moment. Then she regains her poise, fists tightening, her voice growing louder and the greenness of her eyes magnifying the venom in her words.

"Only someone like you would find humor in death," she spits bitterly, as if the words are vinegar in her mouth, and she's glad to get rid of the taste.

"Only someone like me would be able to understand what a joke life is," he says, eyes blank, the emptiness of his clashing with the ferocity of hers, hands limp at his sides while hers are clenched at hers.

She's dumbstruck by his words, and just as she is about to retaliate, he breaks in, cutting her off cleanly, effortlessly.

"Don't say it isn't true," he murmurs, his voice deep and low and above all, dangerous. Her teeth grit together and he fancies he can hear the enamel wearing together, grinding, that he can hear her nails digging crescents into her palm, a lovely, extraordinarily beautiful kind of music.

Her fear is only a perfume to his nostrils.

His eyes close, and his hands reach up to his pale face, to his eyelids. His eyes slide open slowly, and he peers at her through the cage of his fingers.

"Open your eyes," he says, the ends of his lips twisting up.

He sees her throat bobbing up and down as she swallows thickly, the sand crushing closer on her neck, kissing her skin, a prompting she cannot ignore.

"And what if I already have?" she manages, a bit tremulously, though her gaze is as steady as ever. The smile spreads across his face again, and then there's an unfamiliar rumbling inside of him that blooms into a laugh.

Shukaku laughs with him, barking his glee.

"But you haven't," he breathes out, the words sliding out along with his chuckle, his lips still tugging upwards, a devious smile of strange proportions. He laughs a little longer, more to himself than to her; laughs at the confusion on her face, at how afraid she is, at how beautiful she looks with his sand around her neck.

"Don't try," he says suddenly. Her brows crease imperceptibly together because she doesn't understand what he's really saying to her.

It would be so easy for me to kill you.

And suddenly the sand winds itself around her wrist, squeezing it ferociously, and she lets out a gasp as the kunai drops from her fingers and thuds dully onto the ground behind her. She looks up at him, and for once the fear is reflected in her eyes.

It's the most beautiful thing he's seen in years.

"Open your eyes," he whispers, smiling.


Dedicated to Lidens, who suggested a Gaasaku one-shot. Thanks so much for your support and reviews. Sorry if it's not what you had in mind...:cough:D 33