Ten days. TEN DAYS. I promised a speedier post, and did I deliver, or did I deliver? I know, I know. I'm so proud of myself.

I knew I couldn't leave you guys with that nasty cliffhanger for long. I was already receiving threats against my life if I didn't update quickly. Haha, well here ya go.

The moment you've all been waiting for…

~Olly BaaBaa-Chan


Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto


Sakura bent forward slowly, cautiously, taking in the moment. Gaara's face looked so serene: his dark eyes sealed closed, his pale lips slightly parted, the breeze playfully sifting through his deep red hair. It all felt surreal—maybe it was a dream…And hell, if it was, then she had no reason to hold back. Sakura took a deep breath and closed the remaining distance. She hesitated, just a finger's-width from his face. She could feel the warmth radiating from his skin and smell the alcohol on his lips. The air felt electrified with tension and anticipation. She couldn't wait any longer—This was it.

She let her eyes close slowly of their own accord, and she slowly pressed forward. Finally, their lips touched.

Gaara's muscles tensed instinctively and his eyes flew open. Damn it! It was happening—their lips were touching—but he suddenly could not remember what to do! He watched in dismay as Sakura's beautiful face retreated and her eyes slid open. That was it—He'd blown it. His second and final chance with this woman was ruined, all because of his damn reflexes! He took a breath to apologize, but she cut him off.

"Relax," she said softly. "Just take a moment to be calm." Her voice quivered on the air, almost as if she was instructing herself as much as she was instructing him. "This time, take a deeper breath. You won't have to hold it for long, but it will help prepare you." Perhaps it was the significant lack of alcohol consumed, or perhaps because he had requested a lesson directly, but Sakura was actually attempting to teach him this time. He was surprised, but secretly grateful, for last time she'd simply kissed him with little warning and then left just as quickly. He gave her a single nod and breathed the air deeply, surprised at how much his lungs seemed to ache without it. It made no difference that he was receiving a lesson from Sakura, he did not want to seem the fool. I will not mess this up! he commanded himself. He expelled some air, gave his teacher a look of preparation, and let his eyes close again. He took another breath.

"Alright, ready?" Sakura asked and watched as his flawless chest expanded with air. Sakura gulped for courage, and took a deep breath of her own. This time she rested her right hand on Gaara's jaw, hopefully as a means of calming him and also providing a little more stability. Her touch was light and cool against his flushed, warm, skin. She prayed he couldn't feel her shaking.

She leaned in again, gently, gently—oh so carefully. She did not want to frighten Gaara—no, she wanted this to be perfect, if only for her own selfish desires. She kept her eyes open until the last possible moment, reveling in this stolen piece of heaven. Yes, this would be her chance; this would be her time to claim this man as her own, if only for a little while. It would be her secret from the rest of the world. Her heart was fluttering like the wings of a hummingbird. She could feel the blood pulsing in her ears and her stomach felt light, as though it had suddenly abandoned her body and dropped away. She brushed her lips lightly against his, and it sent a jolt through her body. She felt Gaara tense at the contact as well. He was nervous. It made her heart swell: proud and courageous leader though he was, this was still new to him, and she suddenly felt honored to be the one to experience this moment with Gaara. Somehow, it alleviated some of her own anxiety.

She pushed her lips down a little harder.

Gaara felt the warmth and the pressure at his mouth. He understood now why everyone raved at physical attraction and romance and the opposite sex and why a kiss was so amazingly important in such things. From a purely anatomical standpoint, there really wasn't much to it: their mouths were simply connected and their lips were moving together synchronically . He could even get a small hint of Sakura's taste behind his lips: it was sweet, but not in the way that sugar is sweet, and it could not be compared to any other taste he'd encountered in his lifetime, unless he included the remnants of alcohol that was present. In short, the mechanics of it all weren't too exciting. The internal effects, however—

They were nothing less than amazing. Gaara would have opened his eyes again out of mere shock, but he reminded himself to keep them closed this time. Every nerve in his body felt alive and ablaze. His heart was beating more heavily than if he'd just been training for hours, and every muscle was tensed in anticipation. His skin literally itched—itched for something, something else—what, he did not yet know. It was such a small area of contact, and yet his entire body was reacting. He felt frozen in place, but at the same time every limb in his body wanted to move. Outwardly, he could still hear and feel everything around him, like the cool night air on his bare skin, the whisper of a breeze, and Sakura's breath colliding softly with his cheek. But inwardly, his mind raced, fighting between maintaining control and letting go to instincts. His chest was aching and his head felt light, but he did not care. He wanted this moment—this kiss—to continue forever, if only he could keep these interesting new feelings.

Sakura pulled her lips away just long enough to shakily whisper, "Breathe through your nose," before she pressed them back down again. Breathing? Hah! Who needed air when he had a beautiful young woman attached to his face? Regardless, he did as he was told and sucked a new batch of cool night air into his lungs. He was to do everything Sakura instructed, including mimicry. He pulled his own hand up to rest on her right cheek in the same way that hers was against his. Sakura immediately took in a sharp breath and increased her pressure. Gaara pushed back, practically pulling her face to him.

"Mmm," Sakura pulled away, "Be careful to not push too hard. You'll get bruised lips." Gaara's dark eyes slid open, and they suddenly seemed aglow with something new and foreign. He sucked in several hasty breaths, and Sakura chuckled lightly, "Don't forget to breathe, okay?"

Gaara couldn't believe how Sakura seemed so clear-headed about all this. He wasn't sure if he even still retained the ability to form coherent sentences, and so he didn't even try. He just nodded.

"So, I guess that was a—uh, a normal kiss." Sakura herself seemed a little winded. Even in the darkness, her face was flushed and dark pink. "Pretty, um, simple. All lips. Some pressure is good, but not too much…And always remember to breathe." She paused thoughtfully and then said, "Um, I guess that's all you really have to remember..." She glanced shyly towards him before finishing with, "I think you'll be just fine with that."

Gaara's breathing slowed. That was it? No, it couldn't be. More! his body screamed. More, more, more! More kisses! More Sakura! That couldn't have been the whole lesson. With a deep breath and a gulp to prepare himself, Gaara asked, "What's next?"

Sakura blinked at him. "Pardon?"

"What's the next thing I'm to learn?"

If possible, the color in Sakura's cheeks darkened. "T-the n-next thing?" Her jaw dipped up and down mechanically as she struggled for words. "I-I don't know—anything stronger is… well its…its—"

"Show me."

Sakura gaped in astonishment. Was that a command? Or a request? She honestly couldn't tell. She'd never seen Gaara like this. His usually deep baritone sounded suddenly rougher, but not necessarily harsh. He looked calm and collected, but his beautiful shoulders were still rising and falling in time with his traitorously deep breaths. Sakura felt locked in place as he gazed at her. His eyes were piercing, as though he could easily see past her attempt at cutting the lesson short… No, she didn't really want to stop kissing him. It wasn't as though he was a bad kisser; for his first time, he was doing—Sakura gulped—remarkably well. She desperately wanted to continue, her body actually ached for it, but she didn't trust herself. At the moment when Gaara's hand went to cup her face, she'd accidentally slipped from instruction to animalistic indulgence. What would have happened if she hadn't stopped herself? Something horribly embarrassing, no doubt. After all, she couldn't expose her secret enjoyment, lest she would ruin this whole opportunity. For Gaara, it was still just a lesson. She had to play it safe.

But damn, did she want kiss this man again…

Sakura cleared her throat and, very business-like, attempted once more to explain, "Um, well, that was a basic kiss. From there, there are a lot of ways to, uh, change that into something deeper…"

"Such as?"

Sakura's legs felt like jelly. Gaara was being extremely persistent. But hey—she wasn't exactly about to complain. She just had to somehow hide her nerves and true intentions behind falsified confidence. No big deal…

"Well," she gulped and slowly reached for his hand. Gaara watched with fascination. Yes, yes! It wasn't over. Not yet. He would get another taste of the euphoria this woman brought upon him. Sakura spoke quietly, as though she was either nervous or hesitant. At the moment, Gaara didn't care. He only wanted more of her, of Sakura, in any possible way, shape, or form. Mine! his screamed. She's mine!

Sakura's delicate voice drew him back from his thoughts. She'd already continued, and he wasn't paying attention. "One way to deepen a kiss is to use the rest of your body." Shyly, she held Gaara's heavy, strong hand in her own. He was so complacent right now, if she had wanted to trace the lifelines on his palm or lace her smaller fingers through his, he probably wouldn't have stopped her. But no, Sakura sighed, I must refrain. Instead she continued speaking, "You can do this in a number of ways, too…Like, if you were standing, you could pull—" Me "—the woman closer to you with your arm. Or…" Sakura took a deep, shaky breath, "You can put your hand behind her neck…"

Gaara's breath hitched in his throat as he watched Sakura pull his hand up, up. At first it felt as though she was going to put it where it had previously rested along her jaw bone, but instead she pulled further. Carefully, she placed his hand at the crook of her neck, just behind her left ear. Every hair on Gaara's body felt as if it were standing straight. He stared in disbelief. This was one of the things he'd been dreaming of, he realized. For so long he'd imagined caressing her delicate, white skin and touching her petal-soft hair—and now, all at once, he was doing both. Sakura let her own hand drop, leaving his alone to explore the nape of her neck. He stretched his fingers tentatively, investigating this new experience. He could feel where her very hairline ended, could feel thousands of her little pink hairs tickling the back of his hand. His thumb dipped just below her ear, and Sakura made no move to stop him when he experimentally let it trace the crux of her jaw.

Gaara was so enthralled that he did not even notice Sakura watching him, memorizing his every feature and reaction. It was such an amazing feeling. Her neck was so slender and lovely, more so than he'd ever thought to imagine. He felt as if he were clutching a ceramic doll: one wrong move and he might bruise this delicacy. The little fuzzy hairs along her skin felt so smooth, and her head felt so small in the palm of his hand.

"You can move it," Sakura whispered quietly, regarding the placement of his hand. Gaara did not even look at her, but instead remained perplexed with the feeling of holding her neck. Slowly, he let his fingers slide up, pushing five distinct new trails through her pearly, pink hair. He closed his hand slowly, feeling the soft hair twist and tangle around his digits, and then stretched his fingers out again. He let his hand trace back down this time, all the way to the base of Sakura's neck, where the edge of his sleeping robe prevented him from going further. Her neck was so beautiful, her skin and hair like velvet. His own skin was rough to the touch, his hair coarse, as he recalled. The difference was staggering. He hoped his rough fingers weren't scratching her, for she felt so unbelievably soft.

"You see?" Sakura said brokenly. It proved extremely difficult to concentrate on her current task while Subaku no Gaara's large, strong hand was tracing through her hair and up and down along the base of her neck. It was hard enough to keep her voice steady, let alone instruct the rest of this lesson. "You can use your hands during a kiss to make it stronger."

Gaara's eyes finally flicked to her face and his hand stopped moving. "How?"

Sakura gulped. "By doing what you're doing now…but while kissing."

"While kissing?" Gaara asked. Sakura felt his fingers flex in her hair, and it sent a shiver down her spine.

"Yes…While kissing." Why is that so hard to understand? Sakura wondered.

Gaara paused for a moment. "Show me," he said again.

Butterflies swarmed in Sakura's stomach. Again he was asking—or demanding—for her to continue. She'd prolonged a deeper kiss by allowing him to practically grope her neck (which, to be clear, was by no means unenjoyable) but if they kept going, it could be treading into dangerous waters. She'd never given a kissing lesson before, but she assumed that the majority of kissing knowledge is supposed to be learned from experience. Taking a kiss to the next level was a natural response when kissing someone you cared about. It felt deceitful to learn or instruct this kind of thing through a lesson.

"Are…are you sure you want to learn something like this from me?" Sakura asked quietly. "This kind of thing is usually learned from, well…you just kind of learn it on your own…when you're ready. Are you sure you want to learn it from… me?"

Gaara stared at Sakura for a long while. He wanted this woman, wanted to kiss this woman, more than anything else. This wasn't just a lesson for him—this was an opportunity, perhaps his only opportunity, to have her for himself. Slowly, but firmly, he nodded.

Sakura inhaled sharply and squeaked, "Okay…" Embarrassed, she blinked and cleared her throat. "Right…well, then, I guess pull…pull me towards you." She couldn't help but blush again at the last, "In-into the kiss…"

Gaara felt his body flush with heat. Tentatively, he pulled his right arm inwards, dragging Sakura's neck with him. Her held fell backward slightly, so that it felt as though he was cradling it with his hand. Sakura did not hesitate or pull back. She let him pull her upward, so close. It was all up to him, Gaara realized. No longer was he receiving a kiss—this time he was the one giving it. He would not disappoint, he resolved. He sealed his lips over hers.

A feeling of relief and excitement washed through Gaara. He didn't think it was possible to want one small thing so much, and yet the moments in which they'd stopped kissing felt like eternities. It felt so good to have her face against his once more, feeling the rush of euphoric sensations cascading through his body. This time was different, though. Their faces were at a wider angle now, and he could feel more of her lips moving with his. He moved a bit clumsily at first, accidentally knocking teeth, but after a few seconds passed, his confidence grew. His hand, still cradling her head, tugged reflexively, pulling Sakura even closer. He was now angled slightly over her—not directly above, but just slightly. A new, very powerful feeling invaded Gaara's body, more strongly than he'd ever felt it before in his lifetime: possession. The muscles in his exposed back rippled with tension and his grip on Sakura tightened measurably. He leaned forward, bringing his left arm over to rest on roof tiles on the other side of Sakura's hips. Now he truly was angled over her—and that was how it should be. This woman was his. His to kiss. His to protect. His only.

To Gaara's surprise, Sakura did not attempt to stop him. Rather, she leaned back, allowing him better leverage. Her right arm snaked upward, and she placed her hand on his left shoulder, splaying her fingers out over the warm, exposed flesh. Gaara pressed his lips harder, and this time she did not pull away. His fingers twisted in her hair, angling her face as he desired.

Sakura was lost in her own Nirvana. If Gaara wanted to take this kiss farther, then fuck it. She wasn't about to stop him. I'm a fast learner, he'd said.

Truer words were never freaking spoken.

Aside from a bumpy start, this guy was a natural. He hardly even needed her instruction. This kiss was miles from where'd they'd started on Saturday. Now that he was moving his lips with hers, it was damn near impossible to not just melt against him. Her mind was practically lost already. She wanted more of this man. Between kisses, she muttered, "Another….way to… deepen… a kiss… is to use… your tongue."

"Tongue?" Gaara growled.

Sakura gave some sort of muffled affirmative response and then widened her mouth. Gaara felt the tip of her warm tongue caress the inside of his lip, almost as though she were asking permission. Her hand slid up to cup his head, entwining her fingers with his thick, coarse hair. How many people had felt this hair before in the way that she was feeling it now? How many women? Few? None? Only her. This was to be her moment. Forever after this, she would have always been the first—as far as she knew, anyways. The first to kiss this man. The first to have him as hers. Her tongue dipped deeper.

A whole new shock wave jolted through Gaara. He gasped once, surprised by how such a little motion affected him, and then delved with his lips back down again. Sakura's mouth felt so small in comparison to his own. Careful not to hurt her, Gaara stretched his lips wider and pressed down. Mimicry was the method of teaching, after all, and so he swirled his tongue around the edge of her top lip. Sakura responded by lifting her other hand to curl into his hair. She let her back lie flat against the roof tiles, pulling Gaara's head with her so as to not break the kiss. Her breaths were becoming shallower by the second, and her hot little tongue continued to dart into Gaara's mouth. Her student followed by example, clutching to her hair as though his life depended on it. That taste of which he'd previously disregarded was inexplicably strong now, and it was mixing with the usual flavor of his own mouth. It was something he had never thought to consider before, but in this moment it took on a very strong meaning. He and Sakura were sharing something, something that only they two could understand or recreate. This was their taste, together.

And he loved it.

They continued together for several moments, neither able to get enough of the other. Sakura stretched her body out like a cat underneath Gaara's torso as he leaned further and further over her. Without warning, Gaara felt something sharp on his bottom lip. And then just as quickly, Sakura's tongue was licking the sting away. She…she bit me… he realized. A wave of heat flashed through him, pulsating in his head and groin. He felt the rumble of a growl threatening to escape, but it was not a growl of anger…No, he liked it. He wanted more of it. Yes, more, more!

Gaara feared biting Sakura back, so instead he rolled over her, still propped up by his left knee. These feelings were fascinating. He was now completely above her, carefully hovering with his legs straddling her lean body. If she disapproved of the position, she made no indication of it. Sakura was lost. The lesson was lost. She no longer cared about the consequences. She no longer worried about the implications. This man was strong. He was cunning. He was rough and wind-worn like the desert world he lived in. But he was also loyal. He was even kind. She wanted to explore that kindness hidden within, wanted to unravel the person that Gaara truly was. So what if he wore a white robe with a white hat? So what if he spoke in formalities and monosyllabic affirmations? Underneath it all was a man, a young man, a curious man. A lonely man. A man bursting with vitality and promise. All he needed was a woman: someone to share it with, someone to console him when his days got rough, and someone to laugh with and share a drink. Someone to kiss him like she was kissing him now.

Sakura would happily fill the role.

Thoroughly intoxicated with the heavy weight of her intimate thoughts, Sakura wrapped both of her arms securely around Gaara's neck, entangling her fingers through his thick red mop. Suddenly a bit unstable with this new adjustment, Gaara let his left arm slacken, so that it was not as far a stretch to lean down. His breaths were becoming more ragged as a low, carnal growl scratched at the back of his throat. Sakura's breathing, too, had begun to change. Her breaths were accompanied by a quiet sort of hum emanating from the depth of her chest. The sound of it made Gaara's heart thud heavily against his chest. Without prompting, he stretched his thick, warm tongue deep into Sakura's mouth. The hum grew louder, and her fingers twisted tighter in his hair. Her body stretched below him, slender but strong, extending her pale, lovely legs past where his knees were perched. His robe splayed out beneath her, cushioning the length of her back and rippling in the breeze. Gaara could no longer think. Shadowy words like 'caution' and 'lesson' whispered through his mind, but he could no longer obey them. His body was working on instinct now. This beautiful woman, this Sakura flower, was here with him. She hadn't stopped him so far, wasn't stopping him now, so what did it matter? She was his. She belonged to him. He was sharing this with her. He would share anything with her. He wanted the feel of her lips on his skin. Wanted the touch of her hand on his shoulder. Wanted her friendship. Wanted her approval. He wanted to share with her the beauty and comfort he found in the moon. And he wanted her there to hold him on the cold moonless nights when he felt most alone.

But for now, it was this kiss he wanted most. Or, rather, he never wanted it to end. The feelings, the taste—he was in a state of stupor that no brand of alcohol or drug could ever accomplish. What his skin itched so badly for was the warmth of her body, the warmth of her touch. She was so, so close. The small window of air between their torsos already felt electrified with heat, and his upper legs were already tensed from holding up the weight of his body. Body and mind agreed—he needed to feel her skin against his own, needed it to stay sane. In one, fell swoop, Gaara lowered his body downward.

All at once, the growl he'd been suppressing finally burst forth, tearing at his throat and rattling behind his teeth. The exposed flesh above her flimsy little shirt felt as hot as fire against his own. He could even feel her perk nipples prodding against his chest. A lance of quivers raked through his body, stemming straight from his groin and through each and every limb. He'd not realized the state of his own arousal, had forgotten the natural physical response that was a direct result of his current actions. His manhood was swollen with a need he'd forgotten he even possessed. He'd never felt this way before, and yet it still felt natural. Even the slightest twinge of pressure sent waves of pleasure racing through him, making his mouth sour and his head dizzy. How amazing it felt! But he was not the only one affected.

Sakura, too, felt the hard bulge at the junction of her thighs. She gasped and arched upward, rolling her hips in a delicious way that coaxed quivers to cascade through her stomach. Her fingers twisted tighter, threatening to tear hair from scalp, as a raw moan tore through her throat. Gaara gasped, overcome by the wonderful feeling her motion had sent through him and captivated by the sound he'd just heard.

But suddenly it was all too real.

Gaara rolled his hips experimentally, delighting in the sensations it produced, but quickly stopped. Sakura's body was stiff and chilled. Something was wrong. When he pulled back, her eyes were already open, the wide orbs frightened and glossy. Immediately all the warmth in Gaara was gone. He'd hurt her. The sound she made wasn't good…It was pain, it must have been. Why else would she suddenly look so terrified? His possessive grip on the back of her neck loosened and changed into a gentle, supportive gesture. Worriedly, he shifted upward, letting her tangled arms dangle limply around his neck. She looked stunned, petrified, as if some unseen jutsu had dissolved her into a rigid, porcelain doll. Fear rolled and tumbled in Gaara's stomach. He cupped her cheek.

"Sakura?" he asked, "Did I do something wrong?"

Sakura broke. Her big, green eyes clouded with tears. "No."

"Did I hurt you?"

"No," she said again, this time the word breaking in her throat. Weakly her slender little arms pushed against him, hitting at his chest and shoulders lightly as if she wanted to touch his bare skin as little as possible. Her eyes no longer met his, no matter how intently he stared at her and willed her to stare back. He leaned back slowly, carefully, while Sakura tried ineffectively to wriggle herself free from him. Her hands drifted everywhere: her forehead, her mouth, her chest, as if she couldn't decide what to do with them. Her mouth worked mechanically, but nothing more than whimpers escaped. She finally looked over to Gaara, who had warily moved to her side. She watched his beautiful chest rise and fall with deep, measured breaths. She watched the breeze pick up and whistle through his tousled hair. She glanced to his face, saw how his lips still glistened with moistness from their kiss, saw the way his non-existent brows furrowed with something resembling concern.

"I'm sorry," she finally said.

Gaara tilted his head as though confused. He leaned towards her, one long, strong arm attempting to reach out, but Sakura couldn't take it anymore. She scrambled, body shaking, to her feet. "I'm so, so sorry, Gaara." Tears slid down her beautiful, ivory cheeks. He wanted to wipe them away. What on earth was she so sorry for? She had done nothing wrong. It was his fault, if anyone's.

But Sakura was moving away from him now, stumbling on the slant, tripping over the edge of his robe. "Wait," he tried to say, but somehow her movements tipped over her glass, sending it rolling and tinkling towards the edge of the roof. She apologized again, but did not stop. Gaara reached for the glass, hopelessly trying to catch it, watching it helplessly even as it bumped over the edge and disappeared. Gaara turned, eyes wide, heart drumming. Sakura was gone.

Somewhere, down below in the darkness, the glass shattered.


Squee!

Well, I'm sorry for the brevity of the chapter. Lemme tell you, it had ME blushing while I wrote it, so at the very least I hope it doesn't disappoint.

And now, since there's no evil cliffhanger, I'm going to take a small break. I'm going away on a brief trip, and I might even write while I'm away, but I hope to see a tidal wave of critiques exploding my inbox when I return.

I beg to hear your invaluable input, cause this chapter was new territory for me and I need to know (honestly!) if I should or should not attempt such a scene again. If I could get down on my knees and beg through your computer screen, I would.

Until next time-

Olly