This is my first Naruto fic so I hope you'll all be kind.


It was midnight and Gaara was sat on the roof of the Kazekage tower staring at the stars. The pinpricks of light dotted the dark sky in patterns Gaara did not care to identify. All he wanted to do was admire their simple beauty. A few months ago this would never have happened. Back when Gaara had loved and lived for only himself he would never have wasted his time admiring something that was too far away to kill. However, ever since Naruto had defeated him he'd started to change. Gaara had taken the blond ninja's words to heart and decided that there must be more to life than death.

Love. Such a foreign concept once upon a time had become more familiar to Gaara. Temari and Kankuro had now lost the majority of their fear of him and they were now closer than they ever had imagined they could be. Gaara was no longer completely alone – he had a family who accepted him for who he was and didn't hold his past threats on their lives against him.

There was something missing though. Gaara sensed this and thought he knew what it was. Naruto Uzumaki. When he thought about Naruto in detail, for long periods of time (which he often did), he knew that it was the blond ninja's blood mixed in with his sand that he was missing. Thoughts of Naruto made his pulse increase and made adrenalin running through his veins, heightening his senses, as if he was about to go into battle. It had happened before when he'd imagined killing a strong opponent and there was no doubt in Gaara's mind that Naruto was strong. He was the first to defeat Gaara – a feat many had thought impossible. But it had happened and now Gaara would return the favour.

Shukaku stirred, revelling in the bloody thoughts. The demon had not been able to kill anything in so long; its host had actually tried to form bonds with people instead of just killing them. Now, however, its host was giving up its passive existence. Shukaku could already taste the rich blood that would flow from the Shinobi's corpse.

Gaara felt the sand stirring. He stilled it for they would not leave for Konoha for another day. He and his siblings had been given the task of transporting some scrolls to Konoha that were apparently vital in trying to reform an alliance with the village hidden in leaves. They were to deliver the scrolls and wait in the village for the Hokage's reply. This was fine with Gaara for he had already planned exactly what he would do while he waited for the reply…

Naruto was breathing heavily as he lay on his back. Team 7 had spent the day training out in the forest with Kakashi and the hard work had finally taken its toll on the most enthusiastic member of the group. The others had all gone home, leaving Naruto to get in that extra bit of practice since he still felt he could continue. Even he had his limits though and it seemed he had reached them.

As Naruto's heart continued to pound in his chest his thoughts from earlier began to drift through his mind. Most of these thoughts centred around this recurring dream he'd been having recently. Each dream was slightly different but they all had one thing in common: they all had some link to Gaara.

Two weeks ago Naruto had relived his first encounter with the Sand shinobi. Every night that week he'd dreamt of their meetings, their battles. Naruto hadn't thought much of these dreams until the second week when things became more cryptic. One night he was looking into a mirror and seeing Gaara's reflection instead of his own, the next they were both children and their shadows were reaching out to each other in the forms of their inner demons.

Naruto wasn't an expert on dreams but he assumed that his subconscious was trying to tell him something. He'd asked Kakashi if Gaara was coming to Konoha any time soon and his teacher had been more than a little surprised that Naruto knew something that was supposed to have been kept secret. Naruto had quickly put Kakashi's fears of a breach of security to rest by saying that it was only curiosity that had prompted him to ask the question. Luckily Kakashi had accepted the answer without asking too many other questions – Naruto didn't think the answer 'I dreamt it would happen' would go down too well with anyone.

Naruto stood up, dusting grass off his pants. Those dreams had a deep meaning as well but he wasn't quite sure what that meaning was just yet. Most likely they were just trying to hammer home the fact that Gaara was probably the only one who would ever understand him since he too was host to a bloodthirsty demon. It was one of the reasons Naruto was hoping to see him again when he arrived in Konoha. If Gaara had mellowed out a bit then perhaps they could become friends. It was a thought that brought a smile to Naruto's face. A friend who truly understood how he felt and who he was.

A noise from behind made Naruto spin around. The sand hit him in the chest at a high speed and pinned him to the tree behind him. Naruto wriggled about, trying to reach for his kunai. It was no use – the sand held him fast and unmoving as its wielder stepped silently forward. Naruto looked up, his eyes widening in surprise. "Gaara!" he cried out in a mix of surprise and alarm.

Gaara's face was impassive as ever as he moved closer to his victim. "Naruto."

"What the hell are you doing here? Master Kakashi said you weren't going to arrive until tomorrow!"

"We arrived in Konoha earlier than expected," was the monotone reply.

Naruto nodded before trying again to wiggle his way out of the sand trap. "Alright, you've made your point that I shouldn't let my guard down so will you let me go already?"


Naruto stopped struggling to take a good look at Gaara's face. His eyes were as cold as ever, it was as if he hadn't changed since their last encounter. But that couldn't possibly be true. Temari had sent him a letter saying thank you for making her brother a little less psychotic than before. She'd ended it nicely by saying that didn't mean they weren't going to beat the shit out of him the next time they met. Naruto had assumed that was just her way of saving face and hadn't been bothered by it in the least. Looking back perhaps he had been wrong to not consider the Sand siblings as still a threat.

Naruto laughed nervously. "Hey jokes over, you can let me go now."

Gaara's face remained a mask of nonchalance. "I found my precious people. My brother and sister don't hate me anymore because I fight to protect them just like you protect your precious people. I have a purpose other than to kill to verify my existence. I'm no longer alone."

"That's great," Naruto said with a smile, wondering exactly where Gaara was going with this.

"It's not enough though," Gaara said, his eyes burning into Naruto's with dark intensity. "There's something missing. I keep trying to work out what it is and I think I've finally found it."

The sand holding Naruto shifted so that his limbs were spread out and encased in sand. Every technique Naruto knew was running through his head as he tried to think of a way out of this with his depleted amount of chakra. Nothing sprang to mind and Gaara was talking again, a look of insanity seeping into his features.

"You're the only person to ever defeat me. I'll savour your screams and your blood and your pain and your death. I've been dreaming of this for a long time."

Naruto gasped as Gaara raised his hand as if he was about to execute his finishing move. "I thought you said you didn't verify your existence by killing anymore!"

"I don't but…this is something I have to do."


Gaara didn't answer. Shukaku's consciousness was growing and demanding blood. Gaara was happy to comply if this would fill the space within him. He focused his attention on the sand surrounding Naruto's right arm. He'd do it slowly to drag out the pain – that was what Shukaku was telling him to do. Naruto had made him feel pain so he should return the favour.

Gaara balled his fist and the sand closed in on Naruto's arm. Naruto screamed as flesh was torn and bones were broken; blood mingled with sand as it gushed out of the crushed arm.

Naruto's scream pierced Gaara in a way he had never imagined it would. It went straight to his heart where it pierced it like a knife. The sensation was worse than it had been when Gaara realized his uncle had tried to assassinate him. The emotional pain made his head hurt as his spirit thought back against Shukaku who wanted nothing more than to continue the torture. Gaara didn't want that though; he didn't want to hurt Naruto anymore. The bloodlust was gone and in its place was pure horror at what he had done.

Naruto blinked in surprise as the sand slithered away from him back to its master. He glanced at the damage done to his arm before looking back to Gaara. The sand ninja's eyes were also focused on his arm. Naruto noticed through the pain that there was regret in those eyes; regret and shame.

Before Naruto could say anything Gaara was gone in a storm of swirling sand. The young ninja continued to stare at the spot where Gaara had been a few seconds ago until he realized that he really should seek medical attention. Wincing as he touched the bloody arm, he quickly set off back to Konoha, wondering what the hell had just happened.

Temari looked up from polishing her fan when Gaara walked into the apartment the sand siblings had been allocated. From the way Gaara was holding his head she immediately knew that something wasn't right. "Gaara, what's wrong?" she asked, the concern in her voice also making Kankuro look up.

Instead of answering Gaara moved into the bedroom and out of their line of sight. The older sand siblings shared a look. Now was definitely not the best time for Gaara not have a psychotic episode. The situation needed to be diffused quickly before Shukaku decided it was time to kill something since that something would either be one of them or one of the village residents; it was in the best interests of the peace negotiations to make Gaara normal again.

The two carefully made their way over to the bedroom. Gaara was sitting on the bed with his head in his hands. He was silent – a good sign since it meant the voices hadn't started talking to him. That didn't mean he wouldn't get violent though.

"Ladies first," whispered Kankuro.

Temari shot him a glare. Only in times like this did he ever become chivalrous. With a weary sigh she hesitantly approached her youngest brother. "Gaara?"

If he heard her he didn't show it. Temari considered touching his shoulder to get his attention but decided against it. The sand still wasn't use to discerning between friend and foe; any contact with Gaara had to be previously announced unless you wanted to be crushed by a tonne of sand.

Temari was about to try and contact Gaara again but instead froze when the young sand wielder spoke. "I tried to kill him but I couldn't."

There was tense silence in the room before Kankuro asked, "Who did you try to kill?"

"Naruto." Gaara paused so his siblings could glance at each other again before continuing. "I thought I wanted to kill him. Thinking about it excited me but when I crushed his arm it hurt inside. I didn't like seeing him in pain even though I thought that would help me feel whole."

Temari bit her lip nervously. Attacking one of the village ninja was not going to go down well with the Hokage. The only reason Temari had allowed Gaara to go out on his own was because she'd thought he had gotten over his violent impulses and wouldn't attempt a stunt like this. She wasn't exactly sure why Gaara had attacked Naruto but such a thing should be sorted out later – right now they needed to find a way to smooth things over so Konoha wouldn't throw out Sand's attempt to restore peace.

Kankuro was thinking along the same lines as his sister. "So you crushed his arm, then what did you do?"

"I came here."

"You're going to have to apologize to Naruto and the Hokage," Temari informed him morosely.

"I know."

"I'll go explain the incident to the Hokage then," Kankuro said before leaving, hoping that Gaara pleading insanity would be enough to get them off the hook.

Temari took a seat next to Gaara. "Are you alright?"

Gaara looked at her and she gasped softly. His eyes were like those of a child – scared, confused, innocent. These emotions were not Gaara by any stretch of the imagination. That is, they hadn't been until recently. He was terrified of opening up to people and being hurt again; he was confused by all the new emotion he was feeling for the first time; he was innocent in that he had no idea of the rituals and actions of ordinary human beings.

Seeing any emotion other than hate or aloofness on her little brother's face always surprised her. It had been a long road getting Gaara to the stage he was at now but moments like this reminded Temari that there was still a long way to go in terms of Gaara's emotional development. Obviously his inability to kill had deeply shaken him as that had been his only purpose for so many years. The question was: what was she going to do about it?

Temari took a deep breath before saying, "It's alright, we'll work this out together."

Gaara nodded slowly, secretly hoping Temari was right while a large part of him still refused to trust her even though she was one of his special people.

"Let's start off with you telling me why you wanted to kill him."

"When I thought of him my body reacted in the same way it does when I think of killing someone; my pulse increased, I felt excited…"

"Did imagining him dead make you feel this way?"

Gaara tipped his head to the side in thought. "I don't think I ever imagined him dead."

"So you got excited when you thought about him as he is normally?"


"When you saw him today, did your heart beat quicken at all?"


Temari paused in thought. All the signs the romance novels she secretly read told her to look out for were there. Gaara's pulse increased when he thought of or saw Naruto and he couldn't force himself to kill him. It sounded like Gaara loved Naruto. It couldn't be possible though, could it? They were both guys! But then, Gaara had never been one to discriminate. It was an unusual thought – Gaara in love! A few weeks ago she would have laughed at the person who told her Gaara would fall in love with Naruto Uzumaki of all people. Now, however, she could see the logic in it. Two people who knew true loneliness finding acceptance in each other – it could be a bestseller! The only problem was that now she needed to explain love to her emotionally retarded brother. Great.

Gaara's eyes continued to bore into her in that cold, analytical way they always did. "Am I ill?"

Temari blinked, not expecting the question. "What? No, you're not ill at all!"

"Then what's wrong with me?"

Temari took a deep breath before giving her diagnosis. "I think you're in love with Naruto."

Gaara was silent, contemplative. "Why?"

"Why what?"

"Why would I be in love with him?"

"Well, when you're around the person that you're in love with you're supposed to get excited and have your heart flutter-"


"Like a butterfly," Temari explained, fluttering her hand to try and help Gaara understand. Her brother nodded thoughtfully and she continued. "You get upset when the one you love is hurt and angry with the one who hurt them. Would you be angry with me if I hit Naruto?"

Again Gaara tilted his head to the side in thought. "Perhaps."

"Well there you go then! My best guess is that you love him and that's why you couldn't kill him."

"So it's only him that I can't kill?"

"I think so," Temari replied, slightly unnerved by the satisfaction in Gaara's eyes. "Anyway, I hope that's helped clear things up for you."

"Yes but…what am I to do now?"

"Wait for Kankuro to get back. Once we know the Hokage's response we can work out what to do."

"I meant about Naruto."

"Oh…" Temari quickly recovered from her misunderstanding. "Well when you go to apologize just tell him you love him."

"But what if…"

Gaara looked away as if he'd decided he'd rather not voice the thought. Temari gently coaxed it out of him. "What if?"

"What if he doesn't love me back," Gaara whispered breathlessly, the mere thought of such rejection making his insides twist.

"If he says no then punch him," was Temari's simple answer. "If the idiot can't see that you're the best he'll ever get then there's no point wasting your time on him. My thinking is that if a guy breaks your heart it's only fair you break his nose."

Before Temari knew what was happening Gaara had embraced her in an awkward hug. She smiled softly after the initial shock had worn off. It was once again proof of how far they had come as a family. Gaara saw through the tough words the love she had for him and the concern she felt for his emotional wellbeing.

Gently, she pushed him back, patting his shoulder lovingly before leaving the room. Gaara watched her go silently. He then lay back on the bed, thoughts of what he had to do swimming through his head. He knew he had to confess his love to Naruto or go crazy but he hadn't a clue exactly what he was going to say. Oh well, he probably had all night to figure that out since he probably wouldn't be allowed near Naruto until then.

Gaara sighed softly, his fingers tracing the bloody lines of the tattoo on his forehead. Love; it was love he felt for the blond shinobi. Gaara had always wondered what love felt like. It was a strange feeling that was totally alien and yet made perfect sense at the same time. It made Gaara's lips twitch into something that resembled a half smile as he wondered exactly what new sensations he would discover when he admitted his love to Naruto Uzumaki.

Naruto sighed as the medic left the room. He'd been in the hospital for 24 hours now and he was starting to get impatient. His arm was in a sling and already beginning to heal but he'd been told that he would still need to stay in the hospital for at least another night. Naruto hated being confined in a place where there was nothing to do since he became bored far too easily. All his friends had already been around to see him that morning but now that visiting hours were over there was nobody for him to talk to.

Grumbling to himself, Naruto picked up the box of chocolates Iruka had brought him. Once he had torn off the wrapping and placed one of the chocolates in his mouth a large grin spread across his face. At least there was one upside to being stuck in the hospital.

As Naruto continued to stuff his face the door opened to admit Temari, Gaara and two unknown Konoha shinobi. When Naruto spotted Gaara he immediately began choking on the chocolate and went into a violent coughing fit.

Once he had regained his breath, Naruto pointed at Gaara and shouted, "What's he doing here?"

Temari (looking as impatient as ever) replied, "Gaara is here to apologize for attacking you yesterday."

"That's my next question! Why did you attack me?" Naruto said loudly, his eyes fixed on Gaara's expressionless face.

Gaara bowed his head in response to Naruto's questioning. Temari looked from him to Naruto to their escorts. To the older ninja she said, "I think we should give them some privacy."

The man to her left looked at her harshly. "Our orders were to not leave them alone together."

The glare Temari turned on him would have sent any normal person running. "I don't think the Hokage would have allowed this meeting if Gaara was considered a threat to Naruto's life. I do, however, think it would be in your best interests to step outside until they're finished talking."

The escort pinned by Temari's gaze swallowed hard but remained strong. "We'll leave them alone if all weapons are handed over to us until the discussion is over."

Temari looked questioningly at Gaara who silently removed his gourd and handed it to the nearest ninja. "That's it," Gaara said quietly but in a tone that brooked no argument.

The leaf shinobi nodded before following Temari out of the room, feeling satisfied that neither teen could do too much harm to the other before they were able to intervene.

Just before she left the room Temari caught the glance her youngest brother sent her: quietly thankful and appreciative. Temari closed the door and leaned back against the wall, letting out a deep sigh, hoping to high heavens that Naruto didn't shoot Gaara down and cause her brother to start a massacre.

Then there were two; Gaara standing as impassive as ever while Naruto eyed him suspiciously. There was a tense silence between the two that was full of uncertainty and seemed to last eternity.

"I'm sorry," Gaara said, punctuating the silence.

Naruto nodded, accepting the apology. "Why did you attack me? Why did you say you were going to kill me and then not do it?"

Gaara looked out the small window, away from Naruto. "Before I met you I knew very little about people. I knew that I hated them and they hated me but that was it; things like family and love were a mystery to me. Ever since I decided to change I've been feeling these new emotions that I've been unable to identify. It's hard to voice these feelings, to ask someone to name them, so I compared them to the emotions I already knew. I know how my body reacts when I lust for blood and when I thought of you the reactions were so similar that I assumed that was what I wanted – what I needed.

"I couldn't kill you though. Something inside stopped me because it didn't want you to get hurt. I…I didn't understand it until Temari explained it." Gaara decided it best to leave out the part where he had borrowed one of his sister's 'secret' romance novels to do some more research on the subject of love.

Naruto tipped his head to the side in confusion. He got that Gaara didn't want to hurt him even though he originally thought he did but he still couldn't understand why. Gaara definitely seemed to be acting strange (well, stranger than normal) and it was all almost as confusing to Naruto as his reactions to the redhead's words. It felt as if he had swallowed butterflies and they were fluttering about inside of him. Also, while Gaara had been talking Naruto had been unable to tear his eyes away from him. His mind had absently been admiring the lovely tint Gaara's pale skin acquired when it was bathed in the glow of the descending sun while at the same time noticing how much better he looked when he was no longer dwarfed by the massive gourd on his back.

Naruto was broken out of his agitated thoughts when Gaara turned to look at him, fixing him with that piercing stare that made him shiver subconsciously. Those eyes were so deep and held so much history – of pain, of sorrow, of loneliness. Naruto absently wondered if Gaara could see the same history in his eyes.

Gaara moved forward slowly, almost hesitantly, closing the gap between the two. Temari's book had told him that two people show their love for each other by kissing. The concept (like everything else to do with love) was foreign to Gaara but he was willing to try it – especially since it seemed far easier to do than to actually speak the words that held so much meaning. The only problem was getting close enough to Naruto to actually do it. Already the blond was eyeing him wearily, pressing himself back against the headboard to create more space between them.

"What are you doing?" Naruto asked, the apprehension clear in his voice.

Gaara paused for a second, seeing the fear in the blond ninja's eyes and disliking it intensely. It was the look people who knew what he was capable of gave him and as always he was filled with anger and sadness that all they could see was the demon and not the little boy that was its host.

Shukaku stirred, telling him that he should just kill the other for his insolence. Gaara pushed down the other's consciousness; telling the creature within him that there would be no more death. Shukaku merely laughed and told him that his only purpose in life was to bring death and denying it would not help him.

Naruto's eyes widened as Gaara's hand sprung to his head which was bowed as if he was suffering great pain. Naruto remembered this happening before; knew Gaara's inner demon was trying to get out. It was pure instinct – a reaction to the pain the other was in – that made him touch the arm of the shinobi from Sand. Gaara's head immediately jerked up, the wide eyes acting as a window to his soul. Naruto saw the expected pain and fear but also hope; hope that this other person was reaching out to him because he wanted to help rather than harm.

"It's alright Gaara," Naruto said gently, forcing a smile onto his face.

All Gaara could do at that point was stare. He felt like the wind had been knocked right out of him – he was breathless and frozen. Shukaku's voice was being drowned out by the pounding of his own heart as his world became centred around the blond shinobi in front of him. Naruto had reached out instead of cowering in fear, had tried to help and reassure him instead of screaming for help. It made Gaara feel very weird and was most likely the reason he did what he did next.

Out of all the responses Naruto was expecting to receive, being kissed was not one of them. His mind nearly exploded in confusion when Gaara leaned forward, awkwardly pressing their lips together as he pushed Naruto back against the headboard.

When Gaara pulled away Naruto's jaw very nearly dropped off. His mind was churning out a thousand questions a second, the most prominent being, "What the hell was that?!"

"It was supposed to be a kiss," Gaara replied stoically.

"I know that! I meant why did you just kiss me out of the blue?"

"Because I love you."

It was then that Naruto's brain shut down. Gaara didn't know if this was a good response or not. When the girl in Temari's book had received her first kiss she'd swooned right into her lover's arms. Gaara was glad Naruto wasn't swooning (that would have been very annoying) but the incredulity on his face was not very reassuring.

Once Naruto's brain had taken the time to process all the information it was being bombarded with, the blond blinked repeatedly before pinching himself to make sure he wasn't dreaming. When Gaara didn't disappear Naruto realized a response was in order. "You've not kissed many people before have you?"

Gaara shook his head, once again wondering if this was a good or bad response. He continued to stare at Naruto until the other shinobi started rubbing the back of his head in embarrassment, laughing nervously.

"Well, I can't say I've ever considered you in that way before. I mean, yeah, I like you as a friend and as a person who understands what it's like to be completely alone and I guess you are kind of handsome in a psychotic bad boy sort of way but I've never thought of you like that."

Gaara didn't look impressed by Naruto's ramblings. "Does that mean you love me or not?"

"Hold on a minute; you can't just spring something like that on me and get an answer straight away!" Naruto cried, holding up his arm as if Gaara was about to rum into him.

Gaara crossed his arms and took a seat on the side of Naruto's bed, his eyes trained on the other ninja's face. "I can wait."

Naruto considered telling Gaara that he meant he needed a few days to think about it but didn't think the sand wielder would take that too well so kept his mouth shut. That left Naruto the only option of trying to work out if he loved Gaara or not – which was pretty hard to do when the other had a deadly, unwavering stare trained on him. Naruto stared right back until he was too freaked out to continue. Moving his gaze away from Gaara's eyes he took the time to get a proper look at the other teen. As he'd noticed before, Gaara's skin was pale and flawless. A part of Naruto's mind wondered what it would feel like to run his fingers over a pristine arm. He blushed slightly as he realized the intimacy of such an action and hurriedly returned to studying the redhead before him.

Unfortunately for Naruto the more he studied Gaara the more he found himself blushing and thinking inappropriate thoughts. He was surprised he hadn't had such thoughts before as they seemed to fill and fit into his mind as easily as water takes the shape of the container it is poured into. It made him panic slightly (to think that he was having such thoughts about someone of the same gender!) but slowly curiosity was overriding the panic. He wanted to know what it would feel like if they kissed again – properly this time. He wanted to know if there would be fireworks when they touched, kissed; he wanted to know if this would make him whole.

"There's only one way to find out."

Gaara blinked when he heard Naruto muttering to himself. His heart skipped a beat as deep blue eyes lifted to meet his and Naruto's good hand reached out to cup his cheek. The feel of another person touching him elated Gaara more than watching his sand draw blood from another, more than watching a person beg for him not to crush their existence. He leaned into the touch, feeling a strange warmth in his chest as Naruto leaned forward and captured his lips.

Bliss. It was the best way Naruto could describe it. Somehow this simple kiss brought to life feelings he had only partially felt before – ones of love and acceptance. He'd felt it when he'd realized he had friends; when he'd heard Iruka say that he cared for him. This was much more intense though – this was a love of a much deeper sort that only one person should be able to give, and that person was Gaara.

They moved away from each other, savouring the moment. Gaara was so amazed that Naruto was still touching his cheek (still wanted to touch him) that he didn't open his eyes for a minute. When he did he saw the tears slipping down Naruto's cheeks as the blond tried to suppress them. Gaara was immediately filled with alarm, worry, fear of rejection easily surfacing to the top. He reached out to touch the wetness of the other's cheek, feeling a certain amount of satisfaction when Naruto didn't wince or shy away. "I'm sorry." It was a breathless, hesitant apology of one who wasn't sure exactly what they'd done wrong.

Naruto laughed before dragging his fist across his cheek to wipe away the evidence. "Don't apologize, I'm crying because I'm happy."

Gaara blinked, hesitantly brushing away the rest of the tears. "You're happy?"

"Yeah, I am, because I think I love you too."

The beaming smile directed at him made Gaara feel warm and caused a smile to slowly creep onto his face. He threw himself at Naruto, burying his face in the other's shoulder as he encased the blond in a hug.

Naruto laughed before wincing as Gaara put a little too much pressure on his injured arm. "Err, Gaara, could you not crush my arm in a death grip?"

Gaara immediately moved away, looking down sheepishly. "Sorry," he muttered.

"It's alright," said Naruto as he inwardly thought how cute Gaara looked like that.

There was a moment of silence before Gaara asked, "Naruto, why do I have this warm feeling in my chest?"

Naruto tipped his head to the side in confusion. It took him a little while to find an answer but when he did he laughed. "That's happiness Gaara! That warm feeling is happiness!"

"Happiness," Gaara whispered, mulling over the answer. Eventually he too smiled and let the happiness flood through him. He'd finally found the thing that was missing in his life and now that Naruto loved him back he was complete. For lack of a better way of expressing his joy, Gaara hugged Naruto again, this time being more careful of his injured arm. Naruto hugged him back, knowing exactly how he felt.

Outside in the corridor Gaara's siblings were spying on him. "When you said Gaara had a valid reason for not wanting to hurt the blond idiot I didn't know you meant this!" Kankuro hissed at his sister.

"Oh be quiet! If Gaara has someone he really cares for then it's more likely Shukaku will have less influence over him," Temari hissed back.

"I know that, but why couldn't Gaara have fallen for a girl?"

"Because it's Gaara. Remember that this is the person who confused lust with bloodlust."

"Good point," Kankuro admitted lowly. "Still, even if he'd fallen for a girl from Konoha there would still be problems wouldn't there? We're going to have to return to Suna soon and Naruto's going to be staying here; Gaara won't be pleased about that."

"We'll talk to the Hokage – I'm sure we can work out something."

Kankuro nodded before noticing the Konoha ninja that were babysitting them were giving them funny looks. Kankuro felt tempted to invite them over to join him in spying on the love birds (he could imagine the delightful looks of horror on their faces when they saw the monster of Sand kissing another guy) but decided against it in the end since Temari would probably go on at him about it until they got back to Suna and she already nagged him enough as it was. Kankuro sighed – it was hard being the middle child. "I guess it's time to end this love fest," he muttered before opening the door. All eyes were suddenly upon him as he entered. Kankuro turned to Gaara, disregarding his brother's glare. "Come on Gaara visiting hours are over."

With a minute sigh Gaara turned to Naruto and whispered, "I'll be back tomorrow," before pressing a light kiss to the other's lips.

Naruto grinned as Gaara headed towards the door. "You better or I'm going to hunt down your ass and drag you here."

Kankuro noticed his brother's lips twitch up into a smile as he passed. Perhaps Naruto being Gaara's lover wouldn't be such a bad thing after all…as long as they didn't kiss in front of him. Kankuro shivered at that thought. "Later brat," he called over his shoulder as he followed Gaara into the corridor.

"Brat!?" was the last word anyone heard before the door was firmly closed on Naruto's hospital room.

The next day Kakashi arrived to see Naruto and bring the good news that he was being discharged from the hospital. When he first walked into the room he noticed that Naruto was not in bed (the place the doctor had ordered him to stay) instead he was trying to dress himself in his regular clothes with only his good hand. Needless to say, it was not going well.

"Stupid shirt," Naruto muttered before he noticed he was no longer alone. "Sensei!"

"I was going to tell you that you're being discharged but it seems you've already found out," Kakashi said coolly.

Naruto grinned, abandoning his struggle with his shirt. "Well they said there was nothing really wrong with me so I assumed that meant they were going to let me out some time soon."

"I see. Here, let me help you with that."

A few minutes later Naruto was ready to leave. "Thanks for that, I never realized how hard it was to do things with just one arm," Naruto said as he rubbed the back of his head, grinning like an idiot.

"No problem."

There was a moment of silence between them before Naruto said, "Kakashi-sensei can I ask you something?"

"You just did." Naruto scowled at him until he said, "Go on then, what's your question?" Kakashi noticed Naruto twiddling his fingers and wondered what was making the teen so nervous.

"Well, you see, I'm kind of, sort of, in love."

"With Sakura?"


Kakashi blinked. As far as he was aware Naruto had had a huge crush on Sakura since they first met. Apparently Naruto had moved on and found someone else. How interesting. Kakashi smiled, leaning forward to ask teasingly, "So who's the lucky girl?"


Kakashi laughed lightly until he saw the serious look on Naruto's face. "You've fallen for the guy who put you in the hospital?" Kakashi mused over the statement for a moment before admitting, "It does sound like love."

"So you don't hate me for liking a guy?"

Kakashi raised an eyebrow. "No – love is love no matter what form it takes. Is this the question you wanted to ask me?"

"No, what I wanted to ask was what do you do when you're in a relationship with someone? I mean, I've never been out on a date before or anything like that so I'm kind of stumped as to what I'm supposed to do or whatever."

Kakashi laughed and affectionately tousled Naruto's hair. "You never cease to amaze me Naruto."

Naruto didn't know if this was a compliment or insult. He pushed Kakashi back and scowled at him until the other lost that annoying twinkle in his eye that meant he was inwardly laughing – most likely at Naruto's expense.

"Love is not a ninja art Naruto; there are no rules to it. You're supposed to do what you think is right when it feels right."

"I know that, but I still don't know anything about love or kissing or whatever! I'm…I'm kind of afraid that I'll mess it up," Naruto finished quietly, looking away so that Kakashi wouldn't see him blushing.

Kakashi sighed and rooted through one of his pockets. He eventually pulled out a small book and handed it to Naruto. "I was going to give this to Iruka to annoy him but I suppose I can let you borrow it first."

Naruto looked at the book handed to him. At first glance it was the same book Kakashi was always seen reading. On closer inspection, however, there were two guys on the front cover instead of a guy and a girl. Naruto grinned and hugged Kakashi, not the least bit curious as to why his sensei would want to annoy Iruka or how he would accomplish this by giving him this book. "Thank you Kakashi-sensei!"

Kakashi pushed the boy back, unable to stop the grin creeping onto his face. Naruto may be annoying but he was also very endearing. "I'll leave you to it then. Have fun and good luck."

Naruto nodded as Kakashi closed the door behind him. He then made himself comfortable before settling down to read his new book.

Later that day, after doing nothing but reading, Naruto had finished his book. Naruto was surprised and impressed by his accomplishment since he was renowned for having a short attention span and reading a whole book in one day was pretty good for him. It was true he had skipped some of the boring parts and if questioned on what happened in the novel he would probably not be able to recall anything plot related but that didn't mean he hadn't gained some valuable insight into the laws of relationships. He also had an idea as to why Kakashi liked these books so much – they were really quite entertaining.

Naruto lay back on the hospital bed, musing over the thought that Gaara should be arriving soon. He was looking forward to showing the redhead what tricks that lovely little book had taught him as he was sure Gaara would appreciate them. A perverted grin spread across Naruto's face as he imagined Gaara's expression: a soft blush marring his pale skin, his full lips parted sensuously, his eyes wide and clouded with pleasure and lust.

Naruto felt his body temperature begin to rise as the image lingered in his mind, even after his daydream was interrupted by someone entering the room. He sat up quickly to see who it was, his cheeks becoming a shade darker than before when he saw that it was Gaara who was staring at him.

"The nurse said you were permitted to leave now," Gaara said in a tone that suggested that was exactly what Naruto should do.

"Yep! I'm ready to go!" Naruto said, jumping to his feet and rushing over to the redhead.

Gaara stared at him blankly before commenting, "Your face is very red."

Naruto chuckled nervously, his face reddening even more. He quickly grabbed Gaara's hand before any more painful observations were made and proceeded to drag him away down the hall. "You're right we really should be getting out of here! This place is so boring; we shouldn't waste our time hanging around!"

Gaara didn't reply as he was too busy trying not to fall over as Naruto dragged him along at a pace that was very nearly a run. He silently cursed the blond for having so much energy and enthusiasm. Then again, that was part of his charm…in small doses.

When they had made it out of the hospital Gaara firmly put his foot down and brought them both to a standstill. When Naruto gave him an inquisitive glance he asked, "Where are we going?"

Naruto shrugged, he hadn't thought that far in advance. "Where do you want to go?"


Naruto frowned at the unhelpful answer. "I guess we could just wonder around until we see something."

With that they set off again – this time at a much more leisurely pace. It was then that Gaara noticed they were still holding hands. A light blush covered his cheeks as he again rejoiced that he had found someone willing to offer that pain-relieving drug that one could only get from another person. Already Gaara was feeling that hole inside him shrink as Naruto continued to give him love and comfort.

They continued to wander the streets of Konoha (receiving more than one odd or curious look from those they passed) until they reached a shaded area where a lone swing was suspended from a tree branch. Naruto grinned when he saw the place, immediately dragging Gaara over to look. The blond took a seat on the swing, his eyes roaming over the familiar surroundings. "When I was younger I use to sit here and stare at the Academy for ages. I always wanted to go there and learn to be a ninja so the other villagers would learn to accept me. I use to watch the other kids laughing with their friends as they ran out and be so jealous of them. I wanted to be one of them so badly – I wanted to complain about how unfair my parents were or tell a joke and have someone laugh at it instead of me."

Naruto trailed off, a deep sadness washing over him. This place was a double-edged sword for him. The good memories blended in so easily with the bad ones that it was easy to fall into depression. It was very much the story of his life – the story of his life until recently that is.

Gaara frowned down at this new Naruto. He didn't like it – didn't like the pain etched onto that beautiful face. Naruto was usually so very full of life; seeing him like this just felt wrong.

Gaara took a seat in Naruto's lap, his arms slinking around the Shinobi's neck. Naruto looked at him and smiled, glad he now had someone to drag him out of his melancholy misery. To show his gratitude Naruto wrapped his arm around Gaara's waist, a smile gracing his lips as he leaned forward to plant them on his lover's. It was a slow, tender kiss in a perfect moment.

After awhile however, Naruto decided it was time to try out the tips Kakashi's book had given him. He pressed his tongue against Gaara's lips, slowly, sensuously, sliding it over the bottom one. Gaara remembered reading that this was a method of asking for more and obligingly parted his lips. The tongue glided over the areas of Gaara's mouth teasingly making the redhead's pulse speed up ever so slightly and his hand slide up into Naruto's thick blond locks.

Naruto pulled back, his face flushed, licking his lips to relish the taste that was Gaara. His eyes locked onto said Shinobi's (whose face was also flushed) and he saw the eagerness in those eyes to carry on their activities. Naruto grinned in a very predatory manner, secretly delighted that he could elicit such lust in those eyes.

The kiss was started once again, becoming more passionate by the second. As two tongues battled Naruto's hand was sneakily making its way under Gaara's shirt while the Sand shinobi stroked the pulse in the other's neck in a way that was oddly arousing. In their little world of lust both teens were ignorant to what was going on around them.

"Mommy, what are they doing to each other?"

The two shinobi quickly turned around to see that they were being watched by a little girl who was tugging at her mother's dress and pointing at them while the mother looked on in disgust, muttering under her breath, "Disgraceful; doing such things in front of children."

When she caught sight of Naruto her scorn increased. Naruto saw the look and knew exactly what it meant: 'I should have known it would be that boy causing trouble and inconveniencing others, as usual.'

Gaara felt Naruto tense and also saw the look. He looked the woman directly in the eye, his glare promising her a swift death if she lingered any longer. The woman wisely took the hint and dragged her daughter away before the teen with the murderous eyes took it upon himself to get rid of them.

Once they were gone Gaara returned his attention to the still tense blond. He nuzzled the other's neck in a way he hoped would reassure him. It did – a few moments later Naruto's fingers were trailing through Gaara's hair in a very soothing manner.

"I know I shouldn't let it affect me – what other people think – but it's hard."

"I understand," Gaara whispered back before looking Naruto directly in the eye. "You seek their acceptance and when they deny it you feel like they've slapped you in the face. Everyone feels like that (I think) we all long to be accepted by everyone even if such a feat isn't possible." Gaara ended his speech by reminding Naruto of the good time they were having before the stupid woman and her brat had interrupted them.

Naruto groaned as Gaara pulled away, knowing he was right and feeling some odd comfort in this. "Damn you and your words of wisdom," he muttered before dragging Gaara in for another kiss that transmitted all the love he had for the other and the deep gratitude he felt that the other loved him back when so few did. The sentiment was returned with equal vigour and the two were once again lost in their passion, undisturbed by the outside world until one unfortunate teacher called Iruka looked out the window to see what had caught the class' attention and got the shock of his life.

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