Title: Quintessence

Pairing: Gaara/Sakura
Chapter: One
Rating: K+, Offensive language content
Summary: "Control was a virtue befitting a Kage. Control."

Disclaimer: Naruto doesn't belong to me! If it did, this would have happened canon, sheesh.

Chapter One: Confusion


There was no hesitation in his voice. No caprice. It was a statement.

"I'm sorry, what was that?"

There she stood, not ten feet away, shuffling papers. Her head tilted slightly, staring at him in confusion. The simple fact that she had remained in his immediate field of vision grated. If he had been in a more stable state of mind he might have appreciated the gesture of willingly given trust. Unfortunately for her, for the time being, he'd decided to interpret it as taunting his own good will. Did she truly consider his new existence so complaisant? The fact that he was the Kazekage didn't raise him above terrorizing those would denigrate him. At least when he could get away with it. And right now this kunoichi was in serious danger of actually pissing him off.

Her eyes didn't waver from his as he splayed his fingers on the desk, slowly raising his body up from a regrettably comfortable seated position. Aquamarine eyes narrowed in resentment as he rounded the desk to invade her "personal space", as his brother was so fond of complaining when implemented on the puppeteer. The same brother who continued to waste oxygen in Suna thanks to his current source of aggravation. He fought back a wave of black anger at the thought, steadying his breath. Control was a virtue befitting a Kage. Control.

He'd felt off-kilter ever since his arrival in Konoha, his presence necessary for participation in the signing of a formal peace treaty long neglected. This was probably due to his frustration over the increase of needless political minutiae, but his lack of understanding in the case of this Konoha delegate's motives weren't helping. The kunoichi, as expected, had been unfailingly polite. What hadn't been expected was her general attentiveness. Friendliness that didn't verge on the brusque mannerisms he had previously observed. His arms flexed as they crossed defensively against the breadth of his chest.

He leaned in to hover over her, using his admittedly small height difference to full advantage. And she was wearing heels. Point, he tallied.

"No. Sakura," he spat.

He'd tried to kill her. It wasn't logical. She wasn't logical. What the fuck was she up to? He hated the instability, the insidiousness of it all.

Her hands wavered in their handling of documents. Taking an unsteady breath, she looked down at her hands, breaking eye contact. Once, twice, she opened her mouth only to smooth her lips, hesitantly.

"Not hungry then?" She queried, lightly, flipping to a page and studying it intently.

She shifted her weight from left to right at the sound of his rapid fire nasal exhalation.


"I am hungry," he replied smoothly.

"Ah." Her voice was tremulous. His ego felt marginally recouped at the falter. Seconds passed as his suspicion mounted.

He ducked his head down to peer into her eyes, voice lowered to a dangerous rasp,

"I'm not a project, or one of your pretty little medical experiments you work on, reporting back to the Hokage."

Her face paled, clashing horribly with her roseate hair. "What are you tal...?"

He cut her off, racing on with exponential rage at the confirmation. Sand was sluggishly churning in the gourd that sat conveniently in a corner. His fingers itched for it. Medics. He sneered. Prying into his life, monitoring his every move, every meal..

"I've seen what a friend is to you. You don't sugarcoat your words with them."

Her every word seemed carefully chosen. Not that he wasn't used to people being wary of him, but then again they didn't approach him out of fear, while she did. Friend of Naruto or not, it reeked of ulterior motive. Especially given her position to the Hokage.

Her eyes flashed, widening minutely, face reddening.

"That's because I don't have to walk around on eggshells constantly due to their mental state, Gaara," she bellowed, "You've been edgy since the moment you got here, and I don't know a damned thing about you personally besides Chuunin Exams and Naruto's rants! I got thrown into this position just as much as you were, so I thought I'd try to make the best of it. Not because of Hokage-sama! Not as a, as a medical experiment!"

She suddenly stood straight, prodding a finger into his forearm in accusation.

"You arrogant... shit!"

Small amounts of sand cycloned furiously in the air surrounding them, beyond his control.

"So when I ask you to lunch on the pretense of friendship, my apologies if I can't appear more sincere. Your Royal Higness," she grit out, and slammed the papers on the desk. She promptly jerked, face once again pallid in apparent retrospect of her actions.

The sand dropped to the floor. He blinked, straightening. Eye muscles that had been curiously straining to twitch had relaxed. Interesting.

Naruto had been apt in describing her interpersonal skills. "She's cute and kind, yet twisted and scary at the same time." He agreed. Even watching her bean his former adversary with an oak tree on a whim hadn't been nearly as unexpected as today's little exhibition.

Control? Oh yeah. Interesting.

The sound of her shaky breathing seemed to fill the room as his fingers gently worked the buckles into place, securing his gourd to his back on bended knee. It left the ground as he rose with a heavy scrape. Footfalls befitting a ninja paused in the doorway.

"Ramen is acceptable."

He walked out with a mental smirk to her indignant sputtering.


Author's Note:

Well. That was a doozy. I'd nap if I didn't have a PHL 140 exam to study for xP Whoot exam week! Hope everyone isn't slacking off as much as I am.

About the title:

Quintessence, or, the fifth element among water, earth, fire, and air.

c.1430, in ancient and medieval philosophy, "pure essence, substance of which the heavenly bodies are composed," lit. "fifth essence," from M.Fr. quinte essence (14c.), from M.L. quinta essentia, from L. quinta, fem. of quintus "fifth" + essentia (see essence). Loan-translation of Gk. pempte ousia, the "ether" added by Aristotle to the four known elements (water, earth, fire, air) and said to permeate all things. Its extraction was one of the chief goals of alchemy. Sense of "purest essence" (of a situation, character, etc.) is first recorded 1570; quintessential (n.) is from 1899, in this sense.

-Citation- "quintessence." Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 17 Apr. 2007.