Summary: Baker Sakura can't help but hand out cupcakes to the unfortunate and depressed. Sakuharem

Rating: T

Word Count: 4017

Page Count: 10

Musical Inspiration: Kakakata Kataomoi-C (Artist: Hyadain), Eurovision (ESC 2010-2011), Vocaloid as always

Notes: YEAH! Updates! YEAR-LONG ABSENCES! SUSPENCE! What more could you ask for? Cupcakes? Did I hear CUPCAKES! WELL TODAY IS YOUR LUCKY DAY!

O

~~Confectioner's Sugar

~~~~Chapter Two

~~~~~~Cupcake for the Insomniac

O

Morning came right on time for Konoha's most beloved baker, who arose from her rejuvenating slumber with a long stretch. Her trademark smile formed itself as Sakura slid out of bed and prepped for the day. Bright and aware, the pinkette looked around her room, seeing the brown and pink schemed furniture the same as ever and some clothes tossed on the floor from yesterday. She would clean those up after school.

Ooh yes, school! It was without saying that one of her favorite times of day was getting ready for her trek to Konoha High. The peaceful hour of her day presented her with a chance to think of all the good things she could do today. Speaking of good things, Sakura thought while she smoothed her uniform's shirt, yesterday went ridiculously well. She had finally managed to (hopefully! Her fingers were crossed) cheer up the lump known as Uchiha Sasuke. He had been a target of hers for some time, but seemed so untouchable. Well, that might have been the fault of his impenetrable fangirl-wall, but she digressed. As she gathered her homework and snapped her bookcase shut, the baker sincerely wished for today to be as lucky as the last.

Passing through her family's large kitchen specialized for their profession, suddenly Sakura halted mid-step and gasped. She almost forgot her cupcake basket! Scrambling, the cheerful sweetheart rushed into the kitchen where her adorable wicker container of happiness sat innocently on the island. Sakura peeked in quickly, checking to ensure all the cute little cupcakes she prepared last night were accounted for. Today's medley of delectables consisted of a China inspired array, such as Green Tea, Bamboo Forest, crimson colored velvet cakes, and her favorite so far, the Great Panda who Dines Upon the Peaceful Bamboo Leaves in the New Spring.

Well, she officially named it the Great Panda cupcake, but she was still trying to convince her parents to accept the poetic title.

Pleased with what she saw, Sakura patted her bags and expertly balanced them on separate arms, heading out the door and to a new day of discoveries.

O

Alone on the roof, a red headed student sat and watched the other Konoha High attendees converse jovially with friends and greet each other. He scoffed at them, glaring down with hatred in his jade eyes. The thick rings around his eyes bent as they narrowed, hairless eyebrows shifting down in an expression of distaste. People were too noisy in the mornings, greeting each other and making a commotion. Who needed companionship this early? Or even at all?

Gaara harshly snorted at the thought of him being surrounded by such idiots. He would be forever alone, and that was just the way he liked it, because alone meant silent, around him and inside his head.

The bell beeped over the PA system over the campus, alerting the students of their dwindling hall time. The boy moved not an inch however, fixated on watching the people pass below. He smirked as the last few stragglers dashed into the gates before they closed, concentrating on a pink haired girl who tried to balance two packages at the same time briefly. The second flew by quickly, and his attention was caught by the metallic clang of the gates electronically closing. Scanning the nearly empty courtyard, Gaara was put off to find that the pink girl had gone missing.

Settling back in a laying position, the dark student contemplated skipping his first few periods to enjoy the silence. He would experience the lack of bustling teenagers to its fullest.

O

Sakura's hand flew across her paper, copying down the notes projected from the overhead. Kakashi-sensei, her eccentric literature teacher, drawled through his prepared lectures, leaning against his white board. He didn't even attempt to make any effort at all, reciting straight off the paper. At some points he would sigh and pause as if thinking of something to add, but ended up simply shrugging and continuing reading.

While Konoha High generally held itself in high esteem with equally high rules, Kakashi somehow escaped the strict fist of Tsunade-sama and wore a navy scarf around his face in lieu of a tie. No student had seen his elusive face, and it was only a matter of time before rumors circulated. Was he ugly? Deformed? Shy? Regardless of the reason, it was known throughout school that he who attempted to remove Kakashi's cover suffered something horrible, and never recovered from the trauma.

As the man began to point out an important tip in monotone, the classroom door shoved open, revealing one irritable Gaara with his hands in his pockets. Kakashi quirked an eyebrow at the boy, shifting his stance to rest a hand on his neck. "Sabaku no Gaara-san," he named, drawing out the honorific like a dramatic theater imitation, yet still remaining in a single tone, "who do you think you are, walking into my exciting literature class and interrupting the learning of my precious students?" The tardy student reacted to his teacher's prodding with a stare, not bothering to answer Kakashi as he stalked to his chair at the back of the class.

Sakura eyed him curiously as Gaara moved. Briefly, jade and emerald met, and shared a look of recognition. Gaara's eyes remained empty as he recalled the pink haired girl from the morning, wondering how he never realized someone with such a unique hair color was in his class. Annoyed when she didn't look away, he glared and continued down the row. Sakura followed him, thinking on a completely different path than Gaara.

She had just found today's cupcake recipient.

O

Fourth hour let out, and Gaara successfully used the rushing students to escape from Kakashi's disciplinary clutches. The school worked on a unique schedule where the day worked in nine periods, the fifth a lunch hour for all students and teachers, and the lunch rush a daily occurrence. It was essentially a free period for everyone.

Sakura shot up, careful to keep her wicker basket steady, and wiggled through the crowd to hawk Gaara's movements. She left her schoolbag in her classroom as every student did, but carried her cupcake carrier at all times. Sneaky like a ninja, the pinkette peered around corners, hid behind lockers, and slid across walls. She did a great job of it even if she caused a scene, since Gaara had yet to notice her presence tailing him. So far, Sakura saw nothing but further evidence to support her Gaara-needs-a-cupcake case. No one had reached out to greet him in the halls; in fact, she noticed that students actually shied away from him, some of the smaller ones even scuttling away out of his path. In a similar fashion to Moses and the Red Sea, Gaara parted the waves of students.

'So he's a lonely, intimidating, and downright frightening to the other students,' Sakura thought, organizing her findings. Pressed against the wall, she couldn't help but overhear a duo of gossiping girls whisper behind their hands about Gaara's supposed criminal history, and his shady family background. Grinning, not about the fact Gaara was covered in rumors and mysteries and everyone disliked him, but for the reason that there was another thing she could help the boy with, Sakura mentally added to her list, 'volatile, too!'

Distracted by her victory, Sakura barely noticed Gaara slip around the corner and into the stairwell, and begin to quickly ascend the many flights. She hurriedly jogged to catch up, trying to not jostle her basket and not give her position away. Step by step, the baker matched Gaara's speed, attempting to disguise her footfalls by using his heavy ones. The basket held to her chest squeaked as the wicker rubbed against itself, proving to be a worrisome, yet essential hindrance. She couldn't mope about the potentially mission-thwarting item, though, as Gaara began to slow down his climbing. Confused, Sakura watched from a lower flight as the red head bent under a chain barrier, realizing that he had led her to the roof.

'Why would he need to go to the roof?' she wondered, watching him open the metal door without a creak, as if he did it often. Students weren't allowed on the highest floor, and needed teacher permission to do anything up there. It made sense why he was so silent about the ordeal, but the question was the reason. Slowly, the roof door closed, and Sakura waited to go out there herself. Counting to ten, she imitated the technique Gaara used, twisting the knob fully before pulling the door. Mindful of the boy she was effectively stalking, the girl scooted her basket through the doorway first, and then followed with her body. Keeping the knob turned, she soothed the metal door closed before gently releasing the knob. Without meaning to, her sweaty palm lost grip, and the door clicked shut much louder than meant to. Gasping in a breath, Sakura looked back marginally, crouching to hide her being from Gaara's awareness. A moment passed before she felt safe again enough to creep toward where she thought her target was.

The roof was a pretty plain area, with various vent ducts and air conditioning generators poking out of the floor and bending back into a different section. It gave her plenty of hiding places, thankfully. Other than those few features, the roof remained empty and without a gate around much of the edge. While half of it was barricaded, the fence was still a work in progress, leaving the roof a potentially dangerous area.

'Probably why it's off-limits,' Sakura connected. Hopefully this area would be open to the other students, she wished, relishing the rather calming view. Shaking her head to clear her brain of trivial details, the pinkette refocused on her task. Leaning around the vent, she rejoiced to see Gaara in a relaxed position, resting in the bright sun. Watching him from this angle, although, made her feel for a moment that he didn't need her meddling, and was perfectly content to revel in the silent companionship of the sky.

But meddling was her business, other than baking, and Sakura was resolved to improve Gaara's attitude at least. She didn't have to make him get friends, but at least make him more approachable. Feeling a determined resolve take root in her heart, Sakura switched knees to get in a more comfortable position.

Unfortunately, that was the worst movement she would have chosen to do at all.

The unmistakeable sound of bone hitting metal rang throughout the open space of the roof as Sakura bent down to cradle her bruised knee and hide from Gaara. Said boy jumped up at the sound, surveying the seemingly empty roof with narrow eyes. Trying to keep her whimpers at a minimum, Sakura couldn't help rocking to ease the pain. This let Gaara see the tiniest slip of pink in the completely gray area.

"I see you!" he angrily shouted, crossing his arms but not bothering to stand. "Get out from over there, pink haired girl!" Gaara scrutinized Sakura's every movement as she revealed herself guiltily. He noticed the red mark her knee sported, instantly picking out the cause of the sound. He didn't feel anything about her pain other than annoyance, and turned back to gaze over the courtyard. His somewhat good mood had just exploded into a million little pieces, thanks to this pest.

Sheepishly, Sakura ambled to Gaara's side, settling down next to him. So used to the glare he directed at her, she ignored it and situated her basket in front of her. Okay, so her cover was blown, but at least she could openly observe him now. She gazed at him, unsurprised to meet his cold eyes once again. Taking the chance, she took in his appearance: red hair that she found to be a shade closer to bricks than the blood color most people associated it with, jade green eyes which pierced into your very existence, suntanned skin, and a loose uniform nowhere near the dress code standards Konoha High maintained. The most striking feature about him was the kanji for love on his forehead, Sakura thought. Or maybe his lack of eyebrows, she added. Her green irises twitched as she switched from feature to feature, and Sakura decided that with his raccoon-style rings, the entirety of Gaara's face was a bundle of foreign parts.

Fed up with the girl's prolonged silence and thorough appraisal, Gaara put on his most aggravated grimace and rumbled, "what do you even want? You're getting in my way." Sakura flinched at his tone, but refused to back down. This boy was going to be on the receiving end of one of her uplifting sweets, whether he liked it or not.

"Sabaku no Gaara!" Sakura began, feeling a bit dynamic calling him out like this on an open roof, wind blowing and all. Smiling like the maniac she was, the pinkette jutted a finger violently at Gaara's nose (which he restrained from not biting), and proclaimed her intention for the entire sky to hear, "I am here to make you happy! I am here..." Taking a swift breath to bend down and reach into her for the perfect baked good to match Gaara's face, Sakura cheerfully stuck the Great Panda out, "...to make you eat a cupcake!"

If the blank stare Gaara gave her didn't speak volumes, his actions did. Frustratedly—this was what this crazy girl bothered him for—swiping at Sakura's hands, Gaara attempted to knock the panda-faced treat over the edge. Too bad for him Sakura was tuned with her goods on a spiritual level, and sensed this coming before he raised his coarse hands. Playfully, she brought the cupcake out of his reach, holding it behind her back as if Gaara was a small child.

"I don't think so! The point is to eat the thing, not throw it away. I didn't go through all the trouble of stalking you here and collecting data to have you waste my efforts!" Sakura stared down the delinquent, happy to be standing over him. If he was standing too, then she'd have to look up, and how threatening did a short pink haired girl seem then?

"Data?" the boy echoed back incredulously, eying the fellow psycho in a new light. "Stalking?" To Sakura, these things were not violations of personal space, but a means of achieving the greater good. She just had to rely on that the people she willingly invaded didn't mind.

Nodding, the baker expanded, "for example, I know for a fact no one here likes you. You skip out on class, so you don't care about partnering or making friends, and I don't see you anywhere ever, and I would definitely notice someone with the same hair color family as mine..." Flicking off her fingers to count, Sakura put two and two together. Gaara had no one to grieve to, complain to, laugh with, or simply be with, and if she put it all into one simple feeling, she would describe it as...

"You are lonely!"

Silence drifted between the pair. Gaara almost cracked a less-than-sane grin, staring at how proud Sakura looked above him. Lonely? Him? THE Sabaku no Gaara, epitome of "go away" and "leave me be" even to his own siblings, lonely? The notion almost made him laugh at the pinkette's face, but habitual anger took over his being before mirth could. Loneliness was something other people felt, not him—Gaara had no need for friendship or love. Who was this girl to come out of nowhere and accuse him of yearning for something so foolish? Roughly, he stood to face Sakura.

"It's okay, you know, to feel that way," spoke the girl opposite of him, as if she was reading his rage as discomfort. "When we first moved to Konoha, I felt that way, too. I didn't have any friends, either—" This girl obviously did not understand what to say and not to say in front of his face; which, now that he was visibly angered, was nothing. "—and, aren't you from Suna as an exchange student? We're a bit alike in that respect, huh?" And now she was sympathizing with him! He didn't need sympathy, he was fine! "You know, if you want, I can be your friend, until you don't feel alone anymore." Then that cupcake was back in his face, for the second freaking time. Glancing from the black eyes of the panda (was she mocking him?) to her earnest green ones, Gaara felt a surge of raw emotion.

"What are you even talking about?" he yelled in her face, not stopping to examine her shocked face. At least it wasn't in that placating smile anymore. "I don't need friends! I don't care about people! What don't you understand?" He began to advance on her, backing her up to the roof's edge. Neither noticed how close they were to the unfenced section, too focused on Gaara's shouting. Sakura opened her mouth to retort, but the maddened boy was on a roll and didn't give her a chance. "No! I'm not going to listen to you! You listen to me," leaning in close, Gaara snarled with all his might and brought back his hand, "stop bothering me and go AWAY!" Furiously he slapped the black and white cupcake from Sakura's hand, sending it flying off to the side and mushing against an air vent.

This action flooded Gaara with relief, as if hitting the small, helpless panda was therapeutic for him. Immediately his body uncoiled and his anger left, Gaara's muscles relaxing at the sight of the carefully crafted gift sailing through the breeze. What he hadn't noticed was the force he really had used on Sakura, or how close they really were to the edge...

His alleviation lasted for a second, until he noticed Sakura similarly falling like the cupcake, right off the edge of the building, her eyes staring into his with a hurt emotion.

"SAKURA!"

O

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Everything happened in a blur. First she was hit back, and then she was falling. It was surreal when her brain received the electric messages from her feet to relay the feeling of nothingness, and her skin to transmit the soft caress of the wind. Her arm reached out to grab at something that wasn't there. Her mind raced at a thousand miles a minute, piecing things in her mind of what was happening, the things she hadn't done yet, the people she still had to talk to, the cupcakes she still had to try out...

Somewhere in the back of her mind, Sakura thought how silly it was that she was going to die from cupcakes, of all things.

Slowly going limp, Sakura watched Gaara as she descended in the air. At least she would be able to look at something pretty while she died. When she was ghost, she would definitely somehow communicate to Gaara he was very pretty, and if he tried to socialize more, he would manage to snag a really pretty girlfriend...

"SAKURA!" Oh, he knew her name? She vaguely wondered how he did, when she barely knew him... His arm reached out, desperately touching hers. At the contact, time resumed regular flow, Gaara's strong grip holding onto her wrist. His muscles burned from the adrenaline, and he used his feet to anchor a full body lift, tossing both him and Sakura on the floor in a heap. Breathing laboriously, from both the terror and Sakura's weight on top of him, Gaara glared at the stunned girl, but let up when he remembered he was the one to push her.

"Sorry," he mumbled out looking off to the side. Sakura did not respond, and merely lay on top of his chest. Agitated from her lack of movement, Gaara began to wiggle himself out, when a quiet whisper caught his attention. "Huh?"

"My name," Sakura repeated, a little stronger, suddenly sitting up straight and her eyes filled with life. "How did you know it?" Something in those green orbs of hers screamed out to Gaara, and he hesitated to answer.

Shifting to lean back on his elbows, Gaara slowly mumbled, "you're in my class. I know everyone's names." At first he thought that he had replied incorrectly, but the cheek-tearing smile Sakura broke into silenced him. What was she thinking now?

"You know everyone's names," repeated Sakura, feeling giddy from nowhere. Maybe it was the backlash from the fall or that she finally understood, Sakura stood and gathered up her belongings with a delightful air around her. "And you saved me. You wouldn't do that if you didn't care."

Groaning, Gaara watched her free movements, disbelieving that the girl was still going on about that. "We just went through this, and I don't care, it's just that—"

"No," Sakura interrupted, looking over at her destroyed cupcake. A brief flash of mourning ghosted her face, though when she turned back to look at Gaara it was all smiles again. "I don't care if you say you don't care—I know that you do, and that's just good enough for me." Picking out the Green Tea flavor to match his eyes, Sakura presented it to Gaara, and placed it next to him on the ground. "Sabaku no Gaara, who claims all forms of relationships are meaningless," Sakura extended her hand, which Gaara took in a daze, "my name is Haruno Sakura, and I am now your new, first friend."

At a loss for words, Gaara watched as Sakura reclaimed her dainty appendage and left, her movements surprisingly lucid for a person who almost died. She gave him another stunning smile before creaking open the door, careful to keep it silent, and walked out, her basket firmly tucked in her arm. Too tired to react accordingly, Gaara sighed and plopped on the ground, looking at the cupcake in search of answers. The silence now felt hollow, and, dare he say it, lonely.

Taking up the sweet, Gaara thought to himself, 'just what kind of monstrous person did I just meet?' and ate the dessert, his mind filled with thoughts of Sakura for the rest of the hour.

O

Lol, being alive is overrated. So is updating.

My first time writing somewhat canon Gaara. I... think it works? Oh well. Anyway, just wanted to show you guys that not everyone Sakura forces herself onto is gonna make it easy for her—Gaara is just the start of her troubles.

By the way, I was totally considering turning that whole thing into a huge angst-fest, and completely ruining the mood of the story, even giving you all a little omake AU scene where they both die together in some tragic way.

But I'm not that horrible, so enjoy your update.

Let's toast to a NOT YEAR-LONG UPDATE SCHEDULE.

But yeah, I'm really sorry about not updating. I never realized just how much time has passed... I'm a horrible person for letting you guys hang like this, and feel free to stone me.

Thanks to my reviewers, who stand by me even though I treat them so horribly:

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