AUTHORS NOTE: I'm not being very true to the actual story in Naruto here. Please realize that I know this and try to enjoy the story nonetheless.
It's actually kind of funny that I'm writing a Naruto fanfic, since I grew out of the series about two years ago. The thing is, while I can't stand watching our favorite brightly colored hooligan shout out ninjustu techniques for more than a minute, I still am madly in love with well-written Naruto fanfiction. And for some strange reason, I absolutely adore GaaraxHinata. Their personalities clash so badly that they make an awesome couple. And, because Kishimoto didn't exactly let them interact, they leave a lot to the imagination. Which I like. A lot.
The problem is, there aren't that many good GaaraxHinatas out there. I have my favorites, like 39 point 948 (which just screams beastliness, look it up and read it), but I'm often disappointed.
Still, I felt a very strange urge to dole out some GaaHina stuff myself.
Some general facts remain the same. This takes place in Naruto's world—still divided into Konoha and Suna, etc. There are still Academies. Everyone who has a demon still has a demon. I try to keep the characters true to their normal personalities, with some tweaks here and there, of course.
Everything else? *chucks out of window* For example, the Academy goes on until high school, mostly because I wanted everyone to be a little more mature (and, *cough cough* really wanted to describe how frickin hot Gaara is, which would be a little weird if he was still 12…) and Tsunade is Hokage even from early on. Also, this is a modern fic. 21st century, with all the shindings included. The Shinobi are a dying sort of race, and only a few Academies are left. There are built-up cities and cell phones and cars. They wear jeans sometimes.
Don't like that? Deal with it. It's quite important.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, although I would love to have Gaara. XD
Gaara spat on the floor. Even that action was one of malice, done out of total disregard for the groaning boy whose head he had nearly splattered with spittle. Three of the other boys lay sprawled on the concrete floor, unmoving but for the shallow rise and fall of their chests and the occasional agonized moan. Four stupid, stinking, useless idiots who had, for some reason, thought it would be hilarious to test him, to try him. Didn't they understand by now that he would always have the last laugh?
His eyes narrowed with a sudden pulse of belated rage; he kicked the still writhing body of the closest boy. He barely responded, only rolled over and shuddered. Not enough. The Shukaku wanted more. It had tasted blood, but now it wanted to bathe in it, wanted to engulf itself in a sea of crimson.
Nevertheless, Gaara turned away and left the quiet of the locker room unsatisfied, his hands stuffed into his pockets.
"…beaten to the point of unconsciousness—do you have any idea how serious this is, you three?" roared the principal of the Suna Academy, Mr. Rodori. Rodori was just over five feet tall, and his tan complexion, scratchy black beard and propensity to nag gave him the impression of an extremely yappy Chihuahua. He glared down as viciously as he could on the three Kaze siblings, who, unfortunately, were not easily intimidated.
Gaara narrowed his eyes. Their color, a delicate sea-foam green, gleamed sharply, uncharacteristic for such a soft, gentle hue. His sister, Temari, painted her nails in such a blatant display of boredom that Rodori turned the color of puce. Their oldest brother, Kankorou, watched Rodori yip, bemused, and feigned interest although he was really mentally noting possible "That's what She Said"s to make fun of later.
"They asked for it, we said," Temari said exasperatedly, as though that explanation alone justified their actions. "Fricking retards. They knew what they were getting into."
"You went too far."
Kankorou laughed. "Too far? You give us too much credit. No one's dead, right?"
Rodori fumed, his nostrils flaring. "Two of them are in the hospital, suffering from hemorrhages. One of them had his two front teeth kicked out. The locker room floor was layered in blood and spit. That, my friends, is called going too far."
Temari buckled over in her seat, still managing to keep her wet nails from smudging as she laughed her head off. "No. That's called kicking ass."
Rodori sighed. There was no reasoning with these kids. When he had taken up a job as a principal in the dirty, inner cesspool of Suna, he had expected ruthless street urchins. But before his transfer, he had been too naïve, too gullible. He had a strange theory that all human beings, no matter how evil, were not heartless. That they, unless they were psychotic, did not actually enjoy hurting others.
These Kaze kids certainly threw him out of that stupid Utopia.
"You realize that this is your third strike, and that because of your circumstances, I've been extremely lenient with you? You do realize that I can no longer grant you this leniency?"
Gaara shrugged, ready for whatever piece of crap punishment he was to face.
"You realize that I have to expel you now, don't you?"
At this, Temari and Kankorou leapt simultaneously to their feet.
Rodori looked strangely triumphant at finally having caught the attention he craved. Two out of three Kazes stared up at him in stupid shock. The youngest one did not move but only looked slightly annoyed. He tousled his crimson-red hair and sighed aloud, tilting his head back and crossing his arms. His skin was smooth, unblemished, and pale—pale like death, completely devoid of flush or color. The rims around his eyes were dark from lack of sleep, and his knuckles were cracked from overuse.
"Where are you going to send us?" Temari wailed aloud. In her passion, she threw down her nail polish, which spread in an inky puddle all over the tile. She ignored it. "Look, you might not understand this, so I'm going to spell it out for you. We. Are. Shinobi. This is Suna's only Academy! What about my classes?" She shuddered; just the thought of attending a normal high school was nightmarish.
At this, Rodori grimaced. A large part of the reason why he had not yet expelled the Kazes was that they were the top of their classes. Little, misled geniuses. They surpassed the second guy in flurries of memorized technique, publish-able reports, impenetrable genjustsu and ninjustu and overall intelligence. Kicking out the Kazes would have a toll on him, too. He would have to explain to the superintendent how his school's average standardized test scores had dropped thirty percent.
The Kazes, indeed, were unique in many ways. Children of the late Kazekage, they had grown up fearless and spoiled and therefore, dangerous. The youngest was the worst of all, because he had only recently joined the rest of society again. Inside his body, he housed the dangerous Shukaku, which had rendered him untouchable and volatile for the first thirteen years of his life. The boy had suffered, Rodori admitted, far more haunting things than any child should endure. He had watched as his village and those he wished to love shunned him and feared him. The man he looked up to like a father had tried to kill him. He had evaded more assassination attempts that the past five Kazekages combined. Really, Rodori was surprised that he had the control to attend the Academy, although, to weaken him a bit, he was required to leave his gourd at home.
That hadn't stopped him from destroying about 20 of the other students, though.
"You're going to have to transfer out of Suna," Rodori finally sighed. Kankarou rolled his eyes and plopped onto his chair. "I have already contacted their Hokage, and she has graciously accepted. You will be transferring to Konoha. You can start tomorrow, as I've already filled out the paperwork."
Gaara finally stood up, still expressionless.
"Are you finished?" he asked, in a low, quiet growl.
Rodori shivered. "Yes, yes. You may go."
Gaara left, not really needing his permission. His siblings followed. Temari turned around, cocking her head toward the black nail polish seeping into the spaces between the wood.
"I hope you never get that out," she spat, and then slammed the door shut behind her.
Konoha was much brighter than Suna, much more alive, although, Gaara thought, the people looked stupider. They smiled too much; they laughed too much. They drove their pretty, gas-guzzling cars and chatted oblivious on their pretty, slim cell phones. They gossiped in the market place and on the patios of cozy outdoor cages.
They had no worries on their minds. He looked away from them impassively, focusing only on the looming red stucco building before them. Konoha's Academy. He could already see the students lounging outside, chatting incessantly and checking their watches to time themselves. Gaara felt Kankorou shift to look at his and growled. His brother had never been one to care about punctuality.
"They look weaker than the Suna girls," Temari scoffed, stretching.
Kankarou nodded. "Uglier, too."
Gaara pursed his lips and walked onto the lawn. He could see people staring at him, their eyes roving over the black kanji on his forehead, the huge gourd on his back. They could tell he was not one of them. He could taste their fear and apprehension as he walked into the school, his siblings flanking his sides like bodyguards. Perhaps they had heard of him. He was mildly pleased by this, but also slightly disappointed. The Shukaku would not stay silent unless he fed it well, and nothing satiated its appetite more than bratty, healthy youth who didn't keep their mouths shut.
Hinata Hyuga hugged her books to her chest and pursed her lips together as she tried to remember the correct incantation for a jutsu Neji had taught her. Her hair, which she was working to grow out, hung in a brilliant blue-black sheet around the nape of her neck. Suddenly, the words came to her mind, and she whispered them to herself as she channeled chakra into her feet. Immediately, she felt the floor underneath her feel slippery, like ice, and she glided down it at breakneck speed, careful to use her Byakugan to make sure she didn't run into any unfortunate passersby. Exhilirating—that was how Neji had described it, and she admitted that he couldn't have found a better word for it. Dead useful too, seeing as she would not get to class in time without it. She laughed, and then closed her eyes, breathing in the air that was rushing into her mouth…
And suddenly she felt herself run into something solid, like a brick wall. The impact was painful and she cried out and stumbled backward. Friction returned to her feet- the jutsu had shattered. She cursed aloud, wondering how she hadn't seen an obstacle. After all, she had only blinked.
The wall was thick and curved and the texture of sandpaper. It deteriorated quickly, rushing to the floor and then slithering away.
She caught the tumultuous glare of the boy head-on and gasped.
So this was Gaara of the Sand. Her father had spoken of him once, his tone a strange mix of admiration and revulsion as he described the power and brutality of the Kazekage's youngest son. He housed a demon, she knew. Like Naruto. A blush rose to her cheeks.
She was surprised that he was so… beautiful. Demonic, true, frightening, true. For some reason, she imagined the bearer of the Shukaku to be hunched and ugly, sun-burned and sore from sand. But this boy was not. His skin was pale and flawless, carved from marble, and all of his features seemed delicate and perfect. His dark red hair was tousled and messy and just short enough to display the kanji on his forehead. He was tall and lithe and his eyes were the color of a calm sea. The shadowy bags underneath them only served to make him look more ghostly, more ethereal, more like a dream.
She didn't know how long she just stared at him, agape. Just that he glared back coldly all the while, neither moving nor speaking, waiting for her, obviously, to make the first move.
Quickly she stepped aside and jerked into a bow, her palms pressed together in front of her. "I'm so sorry!"
He glowered down at her for a moment more, and then glided past her wordlessly. She held her breath as the sand at his feet slithered back into the gourd behind him and didn't release it until he had disappeared down the hall.
By the time she had staggered into class, late, of course, the new Suna students had already become a big topic. Kurenai-sensei didn't even bother reprimanding her with anything more than a quick, "Take your seat, Hinata" and a smile. Hinata nodded and quickly obeyed. As it had been for most of the year, the chair next to her at her two-person desk was empty. Earlier that year, a student aide, a pretty, young shinobi named Tenten, had sat in the back with her, but when she left after passing her Chunin exams, Hinata had been left all alone.
As she stacked her books on the space next to her, she noticed the way Sakura and Ino, who were whispering to each other, kept throwing her strangely furtive glances. She blushed and looked down, brushing her black bangs out of her eyes. Not for the first time, she found herself wishing the Byakugan could read minds.
To her surprise, Sakura made this quite unnecessary.
"Have you really seen him already?" she whispered, her eyes wide with anticipation. Ino turned too, not to be outdone, and added, "The youngest one, we mean. Gaara of the Sand."
Hinata bit her lips and started unloading her pencil bag. "Why do you ask?" she replied daringly, and then colored a deeper red at her own audacity.
Kiba, who was sitting a few feet away with Akamaru tucked safely in his jacket, grinned triumphantly. "We saw your little face-off with him. What kind of jutsu was that back there, Hyuuga?"
Ino and Sakura exchanged glances of shock, and suddenly Hinata understood what Kiba was implying. She stood up and brushed her hair out of her eyes again. "D-don't be ridiculous!" she exclaimed, "Of course I didn't try to fight him!"
At that, Kiba laughed aloud, his furry companion chortling in short, amused barks. The other girls let out a breath of relief. Everyone in the class seemed to relax at that, although Sakura seemed infinitely curious.
"So, what did you do, then?"
Hinata pursed her lips, wishing her little interrogation to end. She liked Sakura-chan, most of the time, but the pink-haired student had never before bothered to strike a real conversation with her. Since Hinata no longer craved her friendship, her questioning only annoyed her where it would have excited her before.
"I-I," Hinata paused and scowled, disappointed that her stuttering seemed to have resurfaced. She breathed and tried again. "I ran into him."
Sakura stifled a laugh. "You did what? What did he do?"
Hinata flushed red as she remembered his eyes, those steely, green eyes, lock reprovingly on hers. The way his stare did not ever falter…
"Nothing," she admitted, shrugging. Her answer didn't seem satisfactory to Sakura, who cocked her head to one side, shrugged again, and turned away.
A moment later, Kurenai calmed her class to silence. "We have a new student, as many of you may already know," she announced, her red lips spread into a wide smile. "Please welcome Sabaku Gaara. Gaara, please come in."
The entire room seemed to stiffen with anticipation. The fact that the Konoha Academy would be housing not one, but two 'Containers' was a great honor, but also a frightening concept. And by the sounds of it, this Container was not going to be a cheerful, happy-go-lucky, obnoxious kid like Naruto.
Gaara entered, arms crossed, eyes focused forward. He did not bother to even look at the group of ogling children in front of him, only at Kurenai-sensei, and he looked at her like she was a target.
"Hinata," Kurenai said brightly. "Move your things. Gaara, see that girl in the back with the pale eyes?" When Gaara finally turned and nodded, she continued, "Please sit there."
Hinata's heart stopped in her chest as the Sand-nin's eyes locked on her own. They seemed to be stuck in a permanent glare.
He removed his gourd slowly, using the sand to carefully put it behind his chair. He sat down soundlessly, not turning to her once.
Hinata forced herself to look away from him and at the work in front of her. Kurenai-sensei was talking about something, asking the class a relatively easy question, but she found herself unable to answer.
She could almost taste the sand in her mouth.
The bell rang to release the students for lunch. The room cleared out quickly and noisily, and while many still threw furtive glances, almost everyone seemed to be trying to forget he was there. He knew their attempts were failing, because he could still feel the fear radiating through them, but he didn't care. He was in an Academy to learn how to control himself, not entertain a bunch of Leaf-Village nitwits.
The girl next to him intrigued him, however. Despite his brief show of power in the hallway, she did not seem scared of him in the least. Instead, she was fascinated, endlessly curious, but too shy to speak. He noticed how she seemed to glance at him every few seconds, hoping to maybe initiate conversation, and then turn away disheartened when she saw the expression on his face.
His stomach growled, and his hairless brow creased. He had sourly declined the breakfast that Temari had offered, and, naturally, had not thought to bring any money for food. It was not a habit for him—in Suna, he would always squeeze the cash out of his classmates. However, since any other power-shows like that would undoubtedly get him thrown out of this school, he decided not to risk obtaining the money.
At that moment, he heard footsteps approaching the empty classroom. He looked up. It was that girl.
Hinata nearly dropped the large, boxy bento from her hands. Gaara of the Sand was still in the room, and again, his gaze had started boring holes into her skull. She could almost feel the pressure.
"Oh! Y-you're still here then, Sabaku-san," she whispered. He raised one brow as though to say, "well duh" and dropped his stare.
At that moment, she remembered that she didn't have a seat to herself anymore. All of the other aspiring shinobi ate in the cafeteria, but Hinata found out early on that lunch was a purely social event. Friends gathered at tables, and once a table was claimed by a group, it might as well be protected with a barb-wire fence. Last year, Neji-ni-san had sat with her, and in the beginning of the year Tenten. But now that they were both gone, she found herself alone and miserable amongst a sea of happy, chatting students.
She bit her lip. Gaara was distant and quiet and potentially deadly. The room was completely empty—there were available desks everywhere. If she sat in one, however, Gaara might assume she was scared stiff of him. If she sat next to him, though—
What would he do? Nothing. He could do nothing. If he tried to attack her, he would be expelled. And if he didn't like her—well, he could just move away or tell her to. Figuring that whatever consequence there was couldn't be too bad, Hinata plopped down comfortably on her seat and began opening up her bento. She took off the first layer, which had three mini-onigiri with salted plums pressed into their centers, and then the second, which had tightly rolled omelette rolls, a large prawn, and three cutely-cut hot dogs. Snapping open a pair of chopsticks, she muttered, "Itadakimasu" to herself and slowly lifted an omelette roll to her lips.
She heard a low rumbling next to her and turned to Gaara, who, at that moment, had cast a longing glance over her lunch. She smiled, put down the egg, and pushed her onigiri over to him.
"You can have some," she offered quietly.
He didn't answer her, only turned away.
She sighed, took one of the onigiri, and took a healthy bite out. She noticed that Gaara had turned to look at her again, following the rice ball with undisguised longing. She frowned again after taking another bite.
"Are you sure you don't want any?" she asked, bemused.
Finally, he turned and gave her something like a leer, studying her as though she were some kind of interesting, ugly beast, and then he reached out and stole her onigiri right out of her hands. Before she could utter a complaint, he had stuffed it into his mouth whole.
His eyes widened as he chewed, and for a moment, Hinata was sure he would choke. He didn't, instead, he swallowed quickly and went back to staring longingly after her food.
She lifted her egg to her lips again, took a bite, and the minute she'd swallowed it he'd stolen the rest. The pattern continued to the last rice ball, at which point she sighed exasperatedly. Taking the ball, she broke it in half, took a slow bite out of one half, and handed that one to him. He took it from her and ate this one slowly, closing his eyes so tightly that all she saw of his eyes was a thick, dark line.
"Do you like it?" she asked quietly, stacking her bento again. He ignored her and crossed his arms, satiated.
"Make the same thing tomorrow."
It was the first time she'd heard him speak above a murmur, and she found herself even more intrigued. The sound was deep and somehow soft while still retaining a husky quality. Low and slightly guttural, like a growl, but not quite. His words came out in a seemingly flat snarl that was slow and strangely sexy.
Nevertheless, her smile faltered, because he was looking at her again so intently.
"I-I usually bring something different on Tuesdays," she muttered, trying to break from his gaze and failing. A flush rose to her cheeks when he raised a brow. "It'll be as good, I promise."
He grunted, a disbelieving glower in his eyes, and then closed his eyes again.
It wasn't until she had returned home to the Hyuga compound before she realized something shocking. Although she had passed him several times in the halls and seen him in class, not once had she really thought about Naruto that day. She had watched absentmindedly as he cuffed Sasuke on the shoulder, his bright blonde hair obscuring his eyes, but she had not marveled at his strong-looking arms or his cerulean colored eyes.
Instead, she had planned the next day's lunch.