((Disclaimer) I don't own anything Naruto related nor do I own the song "Beautiful Disaster" etc etc.)

BEAUTIFUL DISASTER

It had been ages since a festival like this had taken place in the village of Konoha. In order to memorialize the long stretch of peace and re-enforce the bonds between the villages Tsunade had proposed a day-long celebration. Having trained under the Hokage for a couple years new, Sakura couldn't help but suspect that Tsunade had just wanted a whole day to induldge herself in her sake. Not that she nor anyone was complaining, though. The bright and joyful festivities were very much welcome and relaxing. It was nice to see everyone so happy and carefree. Sakura knew that it was one of very few times the shinobi like herself would get the chance to really let go.

It was rolling around evening now, though that did little to quiet the activity. The cool air came as a wonderful welcome while the never-ending dancing ensued at the center of the village. Everyone had begun to sweat by this point – the day had been warm and even warmer in the crowds. Sakura sat aside from the conglomeration to avoid the ever-rising aura of heat they emitted. Her cheeks were still red from when she joined in the dancing and drink. Now she was just pleased to sit on the crates lining the edge of Ichiraku and cool down. She suspected this must be a good night for the merchants feeding not only their home village but also the leaders of many others. They had stayed open way past their usual hours.

The pinked haired kunoichi rested her hands in her lap and let her eyes skim the crowd for faces she recognized. Many of her old classmates were easily found here and there amongst the craziness. Naruto was always easy to pick out – he was the "loud ninja" after all. Having expelled a lot of his energy dancing about like a wild animal he was replenishing himself on more than one shiskabob at a time. Beside him, Kiba was doing the same and she wondered if they were having an eating contest. Hinata completed their trio, though she wasn't taking part. Perhaps she was the judge.

At the edge of the dancing crowd it wasn't hard to spot the unmistakable black bowl cut of Rock Lee. He was currently taking part in a rather amusing form of dance with his teammate TenTen. He seemed to notice that Sakura was looking in his direction because he looked at her and flashed her the "good guy" expression complete with thumbs up. Sakura smiled and gave him a little wave. He wasn't a bad dancer by any means… it just seemed a lot of his moves were a tad outdated – or else they were typical "Gai" moves. She wouldn't have been surprised if the jounin had taught Lee every move he knew. A lot of them resembled the old age disco.

Sakura had to shake the thought of Gai in disco pants out of her head then.

There was a small crash off to the side that caused Sakura to lift her head. It was not big enough to halt the festivities but it was quite a sight nonetheless. Shikamaru had fallen backwards into a crate of open and waiting fish. Temari was looking down at him like he was the biggest clutz in the world. No doubt they had been dancing and hadn't watched where they were going. Temari and Shikamaru had a strange relationship where no one knew who was the dominant one. In everything they did it seemed they were challenging each other. Shikamaru wasn't about to give up his manhood to a woman and Temari seemed just as unwilling to let a man stand above her. It was a fair guess that they had been trying to fight over who was leading their dance. A small eruption of laughter followed their accident and it seemed Shikamaru had lost his pride for at least one night.

Things began to wane a little bit as the night drew on and the crowd thinned enough that Sakura could see to all sides of the village square through their gaps. She was scanning across the way when a bit of red hair caught her eyes. They fell across the square on the form of the Kazekage who sat on a stone bench in the flickering shadows of an unoccupied shop. It was then that she became aware that his piercing black-lined eyes were staring right back at her. Absently, she looked away as if she hadn't been looking at him at all. She knew that some of the other village leaders had attended but she'd almost forgotten Gaara was one of them now.

After a moment when she was sure he wasn't looking at her she lifted her eyes just slightly to him again. His hair had gotten slightly longer and a little shaggier than it was when he had joined them in the Chuunin exams. He seemed a little slumped in his seat, as if he didn't really want to be there. Once or twice a couple of shied girls approached him and either turned before saying anything or talked to him embarrassedly. Sakura didn't know what they were saying but considering their body language it must have been something along the lines of asking the Kazekage to dance. Gaara seemed about as interested in dancing as he did in the entire festival. He muttered a few words to them and lifted a hand to refuse them as politely as he could. The girls left him alone then, despite being a bit disappointed.

As he turned slightly to the side he caught Sakura's eyes on him again. Although her initial reaction was to look away again she felt it might give him the wrong impression – plus it would be rude. Instead, she lifted her hand slightly to give him a small wave. Gaara watched her blankly for a moment before straightening his posture and getting up. He glanced at her one more time before walking off to a place she couldn't see. Well, at least she tried.

As the night continued to tone down, the music played turned softer and the dancing slowed. It began to make Sakura feel a little bit heartsick. It made her think of Sasuke. Sasuke wasn't here. He'd been gone for what seemed like ages and she had begun to lose faith he would ever come back. It always plagued her with negativity to think of him anymore. She could barely think of any good times. Even when she tried to fantasize about him his face always changed to one of distaste and the words broke through everything, "You're annoying". She began to wonder if she aught to take the advice of so many of her friends and teachers and just….move on.

That didn't sound much more appealing.

She shook her head to clear it and rested it upon her palm. Just think about anything else, she told herself. This was supposed to be a happy day. Her mind searched for anything to pop up and replace her current thoughts.

Not so surprisingly, the first thing to come to mind was Gaara. Her mind numbly mused over the warped enigma that he was. There were times that he still made her wonder but he had become a lot more….what was a good word…? Tame? Maybe not, but it was the only word she could think of. He didn't seem as out of control these days. She suspected that it was because he had all the duties of a Kazekage to think of now. Was he still plagued by his inner demons, though? How distracting for a leader.

His shaded eyes flickered into her head and she began to wonder how a leader could work without ever sleeping. How did he function without sleep? She supposed if she had been forced to become an insomniac she would have gone a little crazy herself.

He drowns in his dreams
An exquisite extreme I know
He's as damned as he seems
And more heaven than a heart could hold

She suddenly became aware amidst her reverie that there was someone standing in front of her. Glancing up she realized it was none other than the object of her thoughts himself. She lifted her head from her hand and blinked a couple of times. Gaara simply looked down on her a moment in silence.

"Um… Hello?" she offered, continuing to look up at him. He still said nothing – a man of fewer words than ever – and lifted a hand to her. She looked at it as if it were a foreign object and then for the sake of not looking like an idiot she put her hand in his. He pulled her deftly to her feet at such a proximity that it caused her already reddened cheeks to flush deeper. Luckily, he didn't give her much time to rush to conclusions before he turned and let her away towards the emptying center of the square. So they were going to dance. Okay, she could handle that.

And if I try to save him
My whole world would cave in
Lord, it just ain't right
Lord, it just ain't right

Once he had found a place that suited him Gaara slowed to a stop and turned to face her again, causing her to stumble a bit. She couldn't help but feel a little clumsy compared to how graceful he kept moving. He placed one hand on her slender hip and kept the other on her hand, but he didn't move at first. Sakura realized he was waiting for her to follow suit and she put her hand up on his shoulder hesitantly. With everything in the right place, Gaara fell into soft, slow motions. After a moment Sakura couldn't take it anymore.

"Going to say anything?" she said lightly, not looking directly at him.

"Why?" he asked simply.

"Um… Because the silence is overwhelming," she offered.

"Silence bothers you," he stated.

"No.. it's just…"

"I bother you," he corrected himself.

"What? No.. no, no..," she jumped to defend.

"You're nervous," he continued in the same tone he was known well for.

"You know what, just quit," she finally said in frustration. "You're the one who just dragged me up here to dance. I didn't ask to be interrogated…" She blushed deeply. For a split second Gaara's eyes seemed to hold a glimmer of amusement like he was doing it on purpose.

"You wanted me to say something," he said. Sakura shot him an agitated look but he continued to look at her blankly as if he meant it in all seriousness. She continued to dance with him in silence awhile longer. Just like his sand he was almost excessively graceful. His hand at her hip gripped there with just enough pressure to lead her without seeming possessive. He smelled of heat, a definitive masculine smell that wasn't bad but could easily send the hormones of all his recently acquired fangirls flying through the roof.

While Sakura idly admired this she couldn't help but wonder why he was dancing now when he seemed to have no care for it before. And why did he bother to ask, (if that was even asking), her?

Oh and I don't know
I don't know what he's after
But he's so beautiful
Such a beautiful disaster

She realized that she was looking straight at him now, into his eyes and he was staring back, unblinking.

"Why?" she finally asked.

"What?" he asked, whirling her out to the side before bringing her back in to where he her back was against him, their clasped hands crossing her front.

"Why are you dancing with me?" she completed the phrase. He whirled her out and brought her in straight, catching her eyes again.

"Why not?"

"You're difficult."

"Yes." Sakura offered him a crooked, half quizzical and half amused expression. The very slight beginnings of a smirk quirked at Gaara's lips.

And if I could hold on
Through the tears and the laughter
Would it be beautiful?
Or just a beautiful disaster

"You like dancing then," she tried after a moment, trying to break this code.

"No," he replied, again simply. "I hate dancing."

"Then why are you dancing?" she asked, confused. He swept her close, bringing his hand against the small of her back and stared at her closely for a moment, mere inches from her face. He didn't answer.

He's magic and myth
As strong as what I believe
A tragedy with
More damage than a soul should see

Needless to say, Sakura was thoroughly confused by now. She had no idea what was going on beyond the obvious. Her analytical mind that craved concrete answers to everything begged her to continue her search but the other half told her to forget it. Part of her just didn't care. She was really beginning to enjoy herself. As strange as it was to be dancing with Subaku no Gaara, the fact is she was. Was there any need to really question it? She supposed she would have plenty of hours in the days to come to mull over it – when Gaara had returned home to his duties.

And do I try to change him
So hard not to blame him
Hold me tight
Baby, hold me tight

It was a pleasure to not think for once, just to let things be. All things forgotten all she knew was she was being held close by a gentleman. As forceful and raging as Gaara was in battle he more than made up for it in softness now. Even if his visage and his tone never changed, his body language did. His hands were gentle, as if he was afraid he might break her. His motions were unrushed. He seemed incredibly attentive to everything about her. Every time her eyes rose he had his locked onto them. Was he trying to read her, maybe?

Oh 'cause I don't know
I don't know what he's after
But he's so beautiful
Such a beautiful disaster

"You're different," she said lightly.

"I thought I was difficult."

"That too," she chuckled softly. "But you're not…. Harsh."

"I don't need to be," he replied.

"That's true." She continued to watch him a little warmer and a little less nervous.

And if I could hold on
Through the tears and the laughter
Would it be beautiful?
Or just a beautiful disaster

"What about now?"

"What?"

"Do you like dancing now?"

"No."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes."

"You seem to be enjoying yourself." Gaara eyed her waywardly.

"I've never been what I seem." Sakura pondered this a moment and then decided it was true.

I'm longing for love and the logical
But he's only happy hysterical
I'm searching for some kind of miracle
Waited so long
So long

There were very few people out in the square now with them, allowing them more room to move. They didn't seem to need it, however, as they continued to stay close and their dance waned to soft sway. Sakura pulled her hand from his, which he released readily, and brought her arms up around his neck. Gaara's free hand remained lifted a little and he seemed unsure of what to do with it. He turned his head to glance away from her, his body and his motions becoming a little stiffer.

Sakura's brows curved up as she noticed this change in his demeanor. He didn't stop dancing with her but it was obvious he was suddenly very uncomfortable with her familiarity. She pulled back slightly and loosened her hold around his neck so her hands rested on his shoulders. He was okay with being near people as long as he was in control, but the minute she took initiative he became uneasy.

He's soft to the touch
But frayed at the end he breaks
He's never enough
And still he's more than I can take

"Sorry," she said with a light smile, trying to lighten the mood of things. Awkwardly, he glanced back over at her, seeming to relax once there was space between then. She felt him release a breath she didn't know he'd been holding. She pressed her hand against his again to let him know they could go back to the way they were dancing before. His eyes wandered to their hands and he bowed his head slightly.

"Turn around," he said. She tilted her head, confused.

"What?" His hands moved to her shoulders and he gently turned her around. She blinked and then felt his hands over her arms, sliding down to grasp hers and pull them up to embrace herself. She could feel her cheeks growing red again as he stepped close behind her, feeling his warmth against her back. They stood like this for a moment and Gaara gradually began to relax behind her, his arms loosening their nervous grip against hers.

Oh 'cause I don't know
I don't know what he's after
But he's so beautiful
Such a beautiful disaster

"Are you okay?" she finally whispered back to him. He had his eyes closed and only opened them a little to her question as he stood close to her, drinking in her warmth and her smell.

"Yes."

"Sure?"

"Yes," he murmured. He was so close she could feel his breath on her shoulder and neck when he spoke. She couldn't help but swallow a little thickly.

"You're nervous."

"Yes," she replied.

"Why?"

And if I could hold on
Through the tears and the laughter
Would it be beautiful?
Or just a beautiful disaster

"Because I don't know what you're doing," she replied, honestly.

"Me either," he replied.

"Good. We're in the same boat then," she said, coaxing herself to relax in his embrace. Leaning back into him a little she was almost sure she could feel his heartbeat against her back. "Are you nervous?"

"No."

"You're lying." Gaara said nothing and simply closed his eyes again, resting his head just lightly against hers. Sakura cracked a soft smile and closed her eyes, letting herself drown in the dying light and music……

He's beautiful
He's such a beautiful disaster

…..and this beautiful disaster.