Title: Sleep.Dream.Wake.Live
Winter Ashby (rosweldrmr)
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto and I am in NO way affiliated with Masashi Kishimoto-sama. :pout: He's doing a great job, though. Ganbatte Kishimoto-sama.
Summary: Gaara sleeps and dreams and wakes with a hole in his chest and an image of pink, green, red, and pale skin drawing him out and away from what he used to be. He finds her broken and covered in blood that's not her own. Will they ever find solace?
Authors Notes:
Okay, so I know this took me a little while, but it totally sucked before. I'm still not sure that I'm happy with this ending. Oh well, what's done in done. I don't want to make you guys wait anymore.

Sakura talks! Gaara talks! Oh my god, is that conversation? (Nods head) Well I tried, anyways... I hope this is to everyone's likes. There is a little, kind of implied-ness at the end, but I really tried hard to make nothing explicit, but anyway, that is the reason I've changed the rating.

Sakura slept and dreamt of lifeless, cold, empty bodies as she drowned in a sea of red that should have been orange. She struggled against the pounding current and pulled her battered heart to the surface to breathe new air. But she choked on the green sky because it should have been blue and hated herself because she liked the red and green better than she'd ever loved the orange and blue. So she wept from her dreams and drew ever closer to the faceless shadow that stood behind her with gentle, strong hands and silent understanding.

Sakura woke to find a vacant dip where his body should have been and she was gripped with the overwhelming urge to scream. But the terrible fear that clenched her heart and ripped at her throat stopped midway between sleep and dream as she made out his silent form leaning against the far wall, much like he had that first night. And she hated herself for the paralyzing fear that ate away within her then. So she looked past him to the closed door and wondered if she'd ever be whole again.

Gaara slept and dreamt and woke before the sun rose. He watched her sleep, and considered leaving her because it was her voice that pulled him from his dreams of pink orchards and silky skin. So he stood, finally looking into those deep green pools that drew him in and readied his gourd. He could see the fear well up in her eyes and he hated himself because he put it there. But it was his name spilling from her sleeping lips that had moved him to the opposite side of the room. And yet, he knew it wasn't far enough from her and her eyes and her complete dependence.

He could still hear his name dripping from her parted lips and the accompanying jealousy that gnawed at him. He was devastated at the prospect that he could be jealous of his own name. That was the moment he made the decision to stand and retreat from her domineering presence. The urge to lean in and run his tongue over her lips was suffocating. So he hated himself a little more than usual and decided with all the authority he still possessed: duties in the Wind County required his attention. He was still the Kazekage, but she was still in pain. So he stayed until her eyes met his and then he wished he hadn't.

She was mortal, flawed, damaged – and he was so drawn to her he could barely breath at the thought of spending a night without her. But she wasn't his and he had no right because the human Kage knew she dreamt of someone else while he held her. And suddenly all the empty space in the room wasn't enough for him. So he sighed and crossed his arms because this was his gesture now, and dared to look at her once more.

"Docoe?" her voice spurned the image of her alone in a huge bed and he closed his eyes closed to block it out. Why did she need such a large bed anyway? He pushed the thought back and focused on the hurt in her eyes because her pain gave him an unknown strength that made the hole left from Sabaku shrink. He didn't answer at first, unsure of what to say. So he stood, with his arms crossed and watched her watch him.

"There is something I must do." His vague answer worried her, for some reason. She was overtaken by the fearsome urge to take hold of him and demand he stay. It was only then that she realized he was once again dressed in the formal Kazekage's attire. It looked better than her old brown bathrobe, but she still hated it. And he wore his gourd again; it made him look much larger and more menacing. She hated it too, because she couldn't go with him and she hated herself because she wanted to.

"Soca." She was so small in that damn big bed, all he wanted to do was sit next to her and take up the space she filled with aching disappoint. He said nothing, but stood silently and enjoying the feel of the weight on his back. It felt natural, it felt like home. "Will you…" she started to speak but censored herself and started again. "Naruto's memorial is in three days, will you make it back in time?"

He looked away, as if her question was insulting. "Of course." He might have heard her sigh or whimper, but he wasn't sure. He was too busy trying to remain uninterested in her suffocating pain. Trying to pretend that he didn't care was eating away at the edges of his soul bit by bit until he feared that she would consume everything he was. Part of him liked this idea, part of him hated it and that little empty center of him mocked him with all the nothingness it gave on the topic. He wished he was still crazy, at least then he'd have something to blame these infuriating feelings on. He made a note to himself, crazy good, human bad.

Then he decided that the distance was too infuriating to continue, he took a small step from the wall toward her tiny form as it was swallowed by the stark, contrasting white linen. She watched him take a step and pause, like he was trying to decide if he really wanted to take another one. He looked tired in the sunrise; she wished she could hug him or hold him like he'd done for her the previous night. Sakura held the sheets just a little tighter knowing that she would have to sleep alone for three days, then the gripping fear that she may have to sleep alone forever pooled in her heart and made her inch forward just a little on the bed.

Gaara pondered the insignificance of her inching forward and decided that it was far too meaningful to comprehend. He took another step and had to restrain the urge to continue until he was so wrapped up in her he'd never be free again. Gaara scowled at the thought, it was different than a frown because you could see the tips of his teeth past his pursing lips. Gaara waited one more moment and tried to keep the infuriating thought and sentence from his mind. But she just looked so small, and alone. Gaara spoke. "Your fears are unfounded."

Sakura was still occupied with the all consuming fear of sleeping alone forever when he spoke she barely registered it. But once her clouded mind cleared, she tilted her head and tried to figure out if he could read her mind. She must have been wearing a confusing look on her face because he sighed, crossed his arms, took another step and closed his eyes. "You did not kill him." She was infuriating, and it was taking all the power he had to just take one step. Her pain angered him; he wished to stop the haunted look in her eyes.

She didn't understand how he could stand there: savior of her sanity; bringer of uncommon amusement; healer of broken hearts – and tell her that she wasn't responsible. She could still see his body lying in the clearing, motionless, lifeless. She inched closer. "But I left him."

"Eya." His voice was harsh, and dark. If it were a color she imagined it would be dark grey, like clouds that gathered in a violent thunderstorm when she sky turned green. He seemed quite intent on making her admit that she wasn't the murderer she knew in her heart she was. "You are no killer." She looked up at him in the growing light and stifled the urge to lunge into his arms and cry for all she was worth.

"How can you say that?" he watched, with only a minute amount of anger still swirling inside him. He wished he could just shake her until the traitorous thoughts fell from her mind so he could destroy them without breaking her further. He absolutely admonished himself for the plainly human desire to be compassionate. But he was human now, after all. The least he could do to repay her role in his recovery from the land of demon-less despair was to be honest.

"I can see it in your eyes – your pain. Murderers don't feel that kind of pain." He felt the sudden prick at the base of his skull where the most primitive of his desires still sat and waited to be released. That was where he felt the pull to be a mindless murderer the most. It was still there, or perhaps now it was just the lingering memory of what was once there. He mused that perhaps it was like an amputee who can still feel their limps – phantom pains. Were these dormant urges to destroy and breathe in thick heavy air filled with blood just the phantom pains of a life he used to live? He almost hoped so.

"How would you know?" She snapped and let the anger she held for herself cloud her thoughts and obscure the vision of him with a demon arm rising through the sunlight filtering through green leaves. He was terrifying then, he was angry now. She cowered because she knew he what he used to be.

"I know the feeling of innocent blood staining yours hands, because I was a murderer." He let the malice coat his words as recalled those days with almost wistful adoration hidden just beneath the surface of petulant self hate. "I'm sure you remember." He bared his teeth at her, and she mustered all the courage she could and met his gaze.

"You were…?" her voice was once again soft, probing. Damn her for picking up on the entire wrong part of his chilling confession. And the momentary craving to fill her bitter green eyes with a fear that could finally drive her from his mind was short lived. She was stronger than she seemed and he was weaker than he cared to admit. He turned his face from her in the shadows of her room and wished for space.

"I am no longer the person I was." He was sure that he looked menacing with his arms across his chest and his teeth scowling at the prospect of her infuriating insight. And he was suddenly assaulted with the memory of her defiant green eyes as they slipped shut under the crushing weight of his sand. He hated that memory and himself for creating it with such glee. He paused to watch her and she frowned and seemed to settle back into her bed a little farther, angry.

"So you felt nothing when you tried to kill me?" He winced, noticeable in the sunlight, but made no more either towards her or away. She could still see him that day in the trees. She could taste her tears and feel her arms wrapped around a broken body. She tasted her own blood in her mouth as it mixed with heavy air and sand. It was everywhere, crawling over her skin and under her clothes and gripped at every inch of her body. The coming darkness brought the fading image of a defenseless boy and fox eyes burning with determination. She thought she might still be able to hear his voice in the distance and feel his chakra explode. But it wasn't until sometime after that she'd really understood what happened that day.

But the man standing in front of her now wasn't him or even the same man that haunted her dreams for weeks all those years ago. He was soft and warm and when he held her all the rest of the world faded away and all that was left was him and her and a bed. He was strong and she was sure part of him would always wish for more power. But she knew that he'd never betray his own village or an ally to seek that selfish power. It seemed to take forever for him to answer, and she was beginning to think he might never speak again.

"The part of me that was a murderer did not." He was finally satisfied with the thought as he let it dribble from his mind and bathe her in the overbearing waves of deep rooted regret that her small form incited in him. She watched him, and he took another step closer because he didn't know any other way to respond to the look she wore at that moment.

"And the other part?" her question was soft as it passed over his face like a warm summer breeze. She watched him with shinning eyes that betrayed everything she felt. There was a hopeful, morose sensation that filtered through them now as she stood at the edge of his most cherished sin. Yet she was just hopeful, and that gave him the strength to speak.

"Regrets it deeply." He was honest, and cold and sad and alone. He shivered and wondered if her arms would give him any warmth. He imagined he'd be full, and warm, and happy. He imagined being happy, and what it would feel like to laugh like she did so freely. He imagined that it would be as glorious as her lips would be. He took another step forward, only two more and he would be standing at the edge of the bed – so close and yet still so far from her and all the sweet reprieves her presence offered.

"And who is standing in front of me now?" she pulled him from his long glance at the shrinking distance that separated them. She sat up on her knees and scooted forward, towards the edge of the bed. She wondered what he would taste like; part of her imagined he'd be cold and metallic. But there was another part of her that just knew he'd be warm and sweet. She wondered if he'd taste like honey, she liked honey. He looked at her with those unreadable green eyes and let them flicker over her lips. She scooted a little closer.

"The empty shell of the murderer." He took another step because the look on her face as she knelt in her bed and drew ever closer towards him made it impossible to remain still. Her lips looked so soft, he imagined being able to run his thumb over her lower lip so he could feel her breath on his finger. She watched him watch her and he tried to keep his feet rooted to the floor, so close – too close now. He felt like he was burning.

"Why are you empty?" she whispered it, because she knew that anything louder would break the spell she was under. She let the sheets drop and she knelt just at the edge of the bed and look up at him with everything her soul felt for the magnificent kage at the foot of her bed. And she wanted to lean up and in and taste his honey lips. She licked her own lips just imagining what it would be like. She thought they looked soft, unused.

"Because I can not be whole without…" his voice hitched in his throat as her tongue snaked out of her perfect pink lips and ran across them. And then he couldn't breathe and all the massive vacant air that stood the foot between them was like a chasm. He wasn't close enough, and he felt like he'd suffocate on all the air that was between them. He needed to be closer, he needed to touch her face and taste her lips that shimmered with her own saliva. He closed the last step and he thought it felt like jumping across a canyon and he was floating on the breeze that carried him to her.

"Without …what?" She sat straight up on her knees and drowned in his eyes. And he was leaning down so she leaned in and there was so much space still between them as the cursed inches dripped away as their faces dipped closer. She was so close she could almost taste him in the air but it still wasn't close enough. Her eyes closed in the anticipation of the inevitable and she trembled because he was still too far.

Gaara inched down, so close, so far. A restless desire building in him as he watched in fixated awe as her perfect eyes slipped shut and he could almost taste her. He wanted to taste her, he was dying inside each second that his lips remained untouched and unfulfilled. He closed the distance and with some greater force his eyes were forces shut in the wake of the indescribable power of her lips sliding under his.

She was soft and warm and the kiss was light and barely there. But the growing need was bubbling over and made him lean harder because he still wasn't close enough. So he reached out a shaking hand and trembled as it instinctively found its way to mix with her impossibly pink hair and pull her even closer. She was so soft and warm and he wanted to cry because she was real and sweet. She tasted like fresh rain falling on his swollen tongue. It was so new, and innocent, and painfully perfect. She was everything he'd imagined and so much more.

Sakura let her hands glide up his arms that held her and tangle her fingers in his rough locks. She tasted him, and was delighted to find that he was sweet. He still tasted like the plum sauce from her dumplings and she wondered if he'd always be this sweet. His mouth was so soft and his tongue on hers made her want to weep all over again. He wasn't gritty like that cynical side of her imagined, but it was like liquid, hot velvet that slid under her tongue as she desperately pressed her chest against his.

She was still too far, too alone, too singular. She wanted to be a part of him, she wanted to get so close to him she'd never be able to pull herself back out again and she'd forever be part of someone else. His perfect lips, and perfect hands, and perfect hair were everywhere and she knew she'd never be the same again. Sakura wanted. She desperately pulled at the leather strap of his gourd in an effort to feel the full length of his body against hers.

She was so close now, he could feel the rise and fall of her chest against his and he wanted more. He wanted to feel her skin against his and lay on top of her so that every inch of him would be heated by her naked body. Gaara freaked out. It was too much, her skin, her little noises that only got as far as his mouth, her tongue, her chest against his and suddenly her hands pulling him forward from the strap of his gourd. If there had been a demon in him then, he would have ripped her to shreds.

Then he was gone, stumbling back through the thick, heated air of her stifling bedroom. She thought he almost looked scared, that was if the Kage knew that fear was. But all she could think about was the impassible distance he'd put between them and she hated him for taking away her warmth. She held out a hand that had been trying to pull him down on top of her like a kind of silent plea. "Wha…?" her lips were swollen and her faces was flushed as she met his fearful filled eyes with trepidation.

"Without you." He whispered it as he fell even further away from her and her bed that was too large and her pain that was too raw and her eyes that were too expressive and her hair that was too bright and her mouth which was too perfect and her life which was too much not his. "I can't be whole without you." Then he was gone in a cloud of swirling sand, and his voice hanging in the air echoed in her ears until she was sure she'd imagined it.

She could still taste him on her lips as she let the hated tears well in her eyes and burn streaked tracks down her pale cheeks. She was sure then that he'd never return and she'd waste away alone, an insomniac by necessity, and die without ever being fulfilled. She'd never felt this kind of passion and she was sure she'd never find it again. She already knew she'd never sleep again if his arms weren't around her. So she balled her tight body into an adult fetal position in the large bed and cried from sunrise to sunset because there was no power great enough to move her from her living mourning for the kage she would always regret tasting and yet know she could never have enough of.

So in his absence she grew restless because she couldn't sleep alone and missed the sand in between her sheets. She counted the moments she'd long for him and chastised herself because she had no right to miss what wasn't hers. But for all the protests her mind gave, she knew that she was lost without him and found within him. Nothing had ever felt as right as his lips on hers as his fingers roamed through her hair. Her first kiss, she cried harder. Another sun rose and set and she was still motionless in the world that she'd let him rule and hated her heart because it just couldn't let go.

Finally on the sunrise of the third day, she'd entered a catatonic state of constant tears and silent hate that festered for each second she couldn't erase the feeling of him from her mind. How had he managed to grip at her heart and tear at her soul in such a short time? She pondered the depths of his control over her as she willed her aching legs to stand and carry her through dusty streets, dressed in the black this cloudy day deserved.

She was a living corpse, a dying deity in a land of false hopes and lost dreams. She was ruler over all the pain she had and all she could think about was his eyes as he backed away from her in the morning light. She hated him then, and then hated herself for letting such a vicious thought enter her mind. Sakura hated, cold heart, reserved soul, and all the events of years that slipped away and chances left unfulfilled made her hate. Her heart was dead and she was still alive, so she hated her heart and followed the trickle of bodies to the all too familiar clearing that held the memorial stone.

The clouds in the sky as the small group of people gathered around the slate black memorial stone were ominous. And her vibrant pink hair almost looked inappropriate in the sea of somber black and white. She hated her hair then for demeaning Naruto's memorial. Then she allowed herself a sad, sobbing laugh as she realized how much his hair would have stood out. She cried, still alone in her mourning and Gaara-less-ness. She gave one last look around before she made her way into the clearing, Kakashi and Tsunade right behind her.

She couldn't remember a time when Kakashi had looked so close to tears than he did then. She hated knowing that she was responsible for taking away yet another person he cared for. She hated herself more and more and with nothing to stop it, she walked in silent hate towards the stone that held the immortal name of the man she killed. She wished she'd loved him then, really loved him like she knew he felt about her. She hated herself for wasting so many years on Sasuke. Then she decided to hate him instead, it was all his fault anyway. If he hadn't been so power hungry, if he would have just loved her… she cried harder. She was no better than him.

So she bowed her head in an unspoken adoration for the memory of a man that would have sacrificed everything for her, and did. Maybe she did love him, but not enough – but then again she'd never known a love that was ever good enough. She'd never really been in love. She squeezed her fists closed and let her perfect nails dig perfect little semi-circles into her perfectly helpless hands while she wept for all her ineptitude. She wished for red, pale green, black-rimmed eyes and grainy sand. The she hated herself for wishing it more.

The heavens opened and the rain fell and she mourned alone in a crowd of their closest friends because it was her fault. She saw the faces of all the people around her and watched in horror as they gave her long, sideways pitiful glances under curved lashes of grave misunderstand. She hated them and their pity, but she loved the rain for masking her tears and washing her face.

There was a speech she didn't hear and weeping faces she didn't meet. Minutes stretched out into hours as the crowd slowly disappeared, each offering condolences as if he was hers. So she stood defiantly in the rain and made herself at least acknowledge that she never even wanted him. If she were a better person, she would have, but she knew she wasn't and tried to live with it as the rain soaked her and chilled her heart just a little bit more.

Her tears dried up as the rain passed and was replaced by the cool breeze that rustled her hair around her face and she was glad she'd foregone the forehead protector. She liked the feel of her hair tickling her face and hiding her swollen eyes. Eventually she stood alone in the coming night, afraid to move because it would mean it was over and she was alone again but too sad to stay because his cheerful name looked so wrong on the somber black stone. There was a prick at the base of her neck and she nearly sighed with relief. She didn't have to turn to know who stood behind her in the cascading shadows of twilight. "You made it."

Her soft, trembling voice betrayed the stiff posture she used. Her strength was a façade, one that he saw through with ease. Even with her back to him he could almost taste the tears that dried on her face and stained her shirt. The smell of fresh rain practically drove away the metallic taste of her tears on the wind that pick up her hair and danced with lacking headbands. He wished she'd pull her hair back.

"I told you I would." His voice filled the empty air as he stepped forward and took his place by her side. Without a second's hesitation he slipped his hand in hers and entwined their fingers. She didn't object, somehow he knew she wouldn't. He was glad he'd missed the crowd but the swelling complacency that this hidden village spurned in him was aggravating.

"Ah." A sad noise escaped her lips and made her seem stronger than he knew she was. "Thank you for coming, Kazekage-sama." She smiled. It was a sad, distant smile that didn't reach her eyes. His hand tightened just in the slightest at the sight of what he deemed to be the most devastating expression he'd ever seen. The lingering memory of it gripped at his heart long after it had faded from her pale face.

"It's just Gaara now." He turned just enough to let her see his pale eyes shine with defiance. But she was so lost in her own, tried room of grief that she'd managed to miss his once-in-a-life-time moment. Part of him was upset at her for that, he blamed the phantom pains of a demon voice. But the new Gaara side of him saw the beginnings of her own black rimmed eyes and knew that she hadn't slept either.

"Nani?" he looked so intense in the fading light, with the harsh shadows cast across his pale face, he reminded her of a painting. He seemed to be trying to convey some important message to her and she was missing it. So she closed her eyes and replayed what he had said. 'It's just Gaara now.' It still resonated with the air of some great revelation, yet she was unable to comprehend.

He sighed, noting that she would never get to the correct conclusion on her own. Then he closed his eyes, smirked and responded. "I am no longer the Kazekage of Suna." He wasn't exactly sure what made him smirk, he thought it might have been the image of her confused face that flashed in his mind, or maybe it was the idea of how she would respond. Or just maybe it was nothing, a passing twitching nerve that made him sneer at the night and hold her hand a little tighter.

"Doshde?" suddenly, she was quite awake. She looked at him, still smirking and was lost in a sea of very serious implications. She could still feel his lips moving under hers as they drew ever closer in the rising sun of days past. She tried to imagine him looking angry, at least then she could openly hate herself for taking up his time and getting him removed from office. But that little smirk just wouldn't let her. So she watches him and waited because she knows there's more he hasn't said.

"I am no longer strong enough to protect my people." He let his head hang, weary from the journey and his newfound lack of power. This was his truth now, his demon-less body craved to be full of strength again, but it was just full of unfamiliar chakra and the unquenchable need to see pink, green, red and pale skin again. Her eyes begged for more and he was compelled to comply. "I can only protect one person now."

She might have cried. He might have pulled her closer. They might have stood for years in the coming night as the stars alighted their path across the infinite sky. They might have loved each other, or loved the promise of love. They might have fit perfectly together, like a puzzle even a two year old can see will fit in just the right way to complete the picture. They might have noticed too, but they said nothing. They let the silence fill the space around them as the stood hand in hand and watched the memorial stone disappear into the rising darkness until all that was left was him and her.

Finally, he spoke with a hushed, raspy voice. The silence was too calm for his turbulent soul or the fears swirling around on his chest as he held her perfect hand. It was a fear that had been growing in him for three days, and even as he resigned as Kage and watched the faces of his sister and brother fall in an unknown emotion that resembled something like shock, it wouldn't leave him. It was there as he fled from her room and her lips. It was there as he arrived home, frustrated because it no longer felt like home. It was there as he flew back on his magic carpet of sand in the heat of the summer sun. It was there as he held her hand and watched her mourn. "I'm not him."

She turned her head to look at him from the corners of her eyes. In the moonlight, she thought his skin almost shone and made the deep black rims of his eyes more exaggerated. He was tired, so was she. She turned back to the darkness that stretched out like an endless sea in front of them. Sakura spoke. "I never asked you to be."

It seemed out of place to him that her soft voice could be so strong when in contrast his seemed so weak and frail. Perhaps she was stronger than he realized, perhaps she was so broken inside the shattered pieces of her heart almost resembled the real thing. Maybe she was so broken she was whole. Maybe he was insane, and not in the previous maniacal way. Gaara spoke. "Were you in love with him?" his distant fears were suddenly thrust threw his lips as he imagined her pulling him close and whispering another man's name.

She didn't smile this time. She seemed sad to answer, like she didn't want to. He suddenly didn't want her to either. He would have stopped her, but she held his hand and her heart and she didn't even know how his breath hitched as he waited for her answer. "No, but I did love him."

He didn't understand the difference, but her hand in his made him think that someday he would and just like that, he was glad she'd answered. The mounting fear slowed in his chest and he held her hand tighter. "It wasn't your fault." He had an odd sense of déjà vu as she sighed and shook her head.

"I don't think I'll ever believe that." Sakura was quite sure they'd had this conversation before. But this time, it didn't feel the same. His hand in hers and the darkness that surround them made her draw ever closer to the shinning man at her side.

"You don't have to, just know that I do." She looked at him then, really looked deep into his pale green eyes that shimmered in the moonlight and imagined him with a leaf forehead-protector wrapped around the strap of his gourd. She let her eyes linger over him longer than she should have but never long enough to allow her to memorize every inch of him. She wanted to reach out her hands, to touch him. She thought then she might be able to know every curve of his face from the confines of her blank mind.

"Hai." Her sweet voice finally admitted in trepid reservation. And she was quite certain then that she loved him or was in love with him. The swirling of the chakras inside him made her waiver just at the edge of the two wholly other distinctions. "How long will you stay?" So a love she didn't understand grew from a pain she would never forget. And they stood as she watched him from the corners of her eyes and loved him with the corners of her heart. Sakura loved.

He looked at her, this perfect woman who encased herself with a perfectly unreachable pain and wished he could touch her soul just to see what it would feel like as it passed through his fingers. He imagined it felt like her hair. He made a note to himself: he loved her. He was certain of that. And the blank, newly filled hole in his chest that used to be occupied by a psychopathic demon was now shaded with all things Sakura and ached to be completed by her. He found no objection to his newest addition to the list and died a little because of it. But it was that part of him that yearned for the reprieve of mindless murderer that died and an equal piece of the new Gaara was born in its place, while he held her hand. Gaara loved.

Under the blanket of the dark, they remained clasped together in silent mourning as the night passed away and was replaced by the cresting sun at their backs. As the first rays reflected off the black slate, he carried away on his enchanted sand and cradled her in his all too eager arms. He took his rightful place by her side that morning and held her close because she was his and he was hers.

She was finally able to memorize every inch of his body with her aching hands and eager eyes. She trembled and pulled him back and down so that the bed against her back and his lips hovering just above hers made her whimper for him. She held him close with strong arms and useless fears that disappeared when he looked at her and silently asked for permission. She might have cried then, because she loved the way his lips felt on hers and his comforting weight pinning her against the soft mattress. She smiled under the weight of his body because she knew that she'd never be as whole as she was then. He finished her in everyway she was fragmented. Sakura was complete.

So he desperately leaned in and down and tasted her lips again and again. He was amazed by the feeling of her skin under his palms, and he desperately wanted more. He gave a silent thanks to god as he watched her in the new light of the day that filtered in through dirty windows and he couldn't imagine her being any more perfect. He worshiped her body, and would forever replay the sensation of what it was like to be one with such a perfect creature. He wept in her arms that morning as he learned what it was like to truly love because he knew no other way to feel for the flower petal he'd snatched from the wind. Gaara was complete.

They were broken and mended in each others arms that night. So they lived, hand in hand as the seldom articulated promise of companionship and shared grief waned until it was obscured by the cresting sun on her silken face until it became the simple desire to sleep and dream and wake and live… together.


There is also a sequel to this now called Love 'Bakemono no hanabira' You can find it on my profile, I kept it 'T' so I got to post it here!

But on my profile, I also have links to some of my mature fics over at media miner. Please, let me know what you think - you can send me a PM to review those, if you're so inclinded. I think they are pretty good - but hey, I wrote them so what would I know?