Hey guys. (Is pelted with rocks.) Yes I know. I am ashamed of myself, for it has been more than a year since my last update of The Way We Change. I really have no excuse other than the fact that I am lazy. However, there are more chapters written beyond what has been posted, and a while ago I started typing Chapter Ten. Since it is summer time now, and the nightmare that was my Junior year of high school has ended, I sincerely hope to post the next chapter soon. Now that I have given you guys this hope, I will truly be an ass if I can't deliver.

This oneshot however, marks my re-entrance into fanfiction writing here on ffdotnet. This was done for a challenge on the GaaSaku community lethalempathy on livejournal. The prompt was "cheerful violence" and there was a stipulation that there must be no proper dialogue, that is, no dialogue marked by quotations or any other symbol of any kind. You'll see what I mean.

Anyway, I hope you guys like this, because I do.

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Sakura watches Gaara cut down his enemies like a scythe through so many stalks of grain. Blood rains in round red drops, falls on the ground, the rocks, her face, with soft splashes.

At first terror blooms in her breast, but that's not really what it is. She watches the mad grin on his face contort and change with every new streak of red on his face, clothes, hands, neck. What she first thought to be terror is now something huge and sparking, expanding, filling up her lungs, her heart, and now flying out of her chest in a gusting breath of relief.

Because she had been so worried, at first, that the way she felt for him was not real. Do I really love him? She thought she did, but how could she be sure when she had never really seen him like this, in his element, surrounded by death and blood.

But now she is sure, because the death, the red, is so beautiful, and she is not frightened at all. The reckless freedom, the cheerful violence of killing the enemy is etched into his face. And there is no one else here to see besides him, so she strips off her gloves and puts her fist through the face of an enemy, through his brains, and is not sick like she should be. She has no obligation to heal these men, feels no pity for them, and so the blood is only a beautiful decoration, bright cherry red on pale skin and pink lips.

They fight sometimes separately, but mostly together. Back to back they let blades, fists, boots, stinging whips of sand, fly into the enemy. A blade grazes her arm, but it's not poisoned, so she leaves the scratch there, unhealed, because the sting, the tingle, is pleasurable, and reminds her that she's so, so alive.

When it's over, when all of the enemy has been reduced to pulp, Gaara stands in a daze to the side, watching her clean her one remaining blade, then slowly sinks to his knees, not out of fatigue, not out of horror at all the death they both caused, but out of confusion, because they both caused it.

And when she is suddenly at his side, tries to put a questioning hand on his shoulder, he grabs her, turns his weight over her and pins her to the earth. He breaths hot on her neck, into her ear, questions why.

She whispers her heart to him and he has his way with her. And there is more viciousness left in him, but of a different sort now, a different need, and again, she is not afraid. She struggles, but only in the way that encourages him, and she loves it. They don't care about the blood and sweat and dirt that smears between their bodies, not when it feels this good.

They exhaust themselves. There is a stream nearby and she gently guides him to it. She dips his head back, submerges him, then pulls his head back up so that his hair floats on the surface of the water. Red streams from it, and for a minute Sakura can't tell where his beautiful hair ends and the blood begins.

They float naked in the water stomach to stomach, with his head cradled on her breasts. Their hands give each other gentle attention and the blood, the dirt and sweat, is all washed away. She heals the scratches the bruises and the love-bites, her own as well as his, and now there are no marks left on pale beautiful flesh, no grime, and no red.

She loves his face, his cool hands, the freedom of the violence that he encompasses, that he can share with her, when no one is watching. She loves his beautiful hair, the mark on his forehead, and the destruction he wreaks upon those who would oppose him. She loves that it can all be washed away in her arms, that afterwards they can be sane again.

She loves him, and is not afraid.