Love (n): giving someone the ability to break your heart, but trusting them not to.

~Anonymous

"They call her love, love, love, love, love... they call her love, love, love, love, love... she is love, and she is all I need..."

Why was this song playing in my room? Why, I haven't the faintest... okay, it was on my playlist. I was MizT_Precious on playlist dot com, and I had several playlists. The one currently playing was my "Songs to Play Specifically for Gaara" playlist, in which all the songs involved love in one form or another. Right now, "She is Love" by Parachute was blaring through my computer speakers. I was happily belting out to it, as loudly as I could, not even attempting to make my voice sound halfway decent. My mother was out of the house today; in town, probably at places that had pretty packages all tied up with colored bows-- the shops that carried "the finer things", as my mother put it. I was very joyful about this. It meant I could play my music and sing as loud as I wanted to, and nobody would get on my case about it.

"Hey, Akashi."

I yelped and fell out of my spinning-desk-chair-thing. I looked up, eyes wide. There, on my window ledge, was Sabaku no Gaara. He was crouching, looking at me with a blank, listless expression. I had to hold myself back from blushing; here he was, looking glorified and handsome, as usual, and here I was, in only my pink tank top (with spaghetti straps, darn it) and black shorts-- what I'd worn to bed last night. "G-Gaara-sama! I-If you don't mind my asking, what are you doing in-- or, or outside-- my house?"

"Well, obviously, I'm watching you make a fool of yourself, Akashi." He shifted slightly, scaring the dickens out of me. It really was frightening; if he moved the wrong way, he would fall off. The sand would protect him, of course, but it was still making me tense. "I was bored. Why else would I come to see you?"

"... Okay, good reason." I slowly stood up.

He glared at me slightly. "What on Earth is that music?"

"Oh, my playlist?" I sat down in my chair again. "It's called 'She is Love'. It's by Parachute." I looked over at him again. "Would you prefer I change it, Gaara-sama?"

"To say the least," he answered, crossing his arms. I almost yelled and hit him over the head for being so careless. "But, after all, it's your house. If I told you what to do, that would be terribly rude, wouldn't it? I wouldn't like it if you came into my house and all of a sudden told me to shut off my Dethklok CDs."

I rolled my eyes. That was his subtle way of saying, "Well, duh". "Here, let me switch it to the next song, then. And, please-- you're making me really nervous, Gaara-sama. Just come in."

Now, any normal, sane person would have simply stepped or jumped inside off the windowsill. But, as you may very well know, however, Gaara is not normal or sane. (Yes, I realize I have just put myself in the running for the Understatement of the Century Award. Thank you, it's an honor just to be nominated.) He used the Teleportation Jutsu, appearing in a cloud of sand, sitting cross-legged on my bed. "Thank you for the invitation, Akashi." He glanced around. "Nice place you got here."

"Yeah, whatever. Let me change the song for you." I clicked the icon, and the song changed to "One Time" by Justin Bieber.

"Next song."

"Okay." Click. "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga.

"Next."

"Sure." Click. "Can't Help Falling in Love" by A*Teens.

"Next."

Click. "Battlefield" by Jordin Sparks.

"NEXT."

Click. "He Could Be the One" by Hannah Montana.

"NEXT."

Sigh. Click. "All You Need is Love" from the Across the Universe soundtrack.

"Is every stupid song on your stupid playlist about LOVE?!"

"Sorry, Gaara-sama." I clicked to the next song, "Cry" by Mandy Moore, and turned it down. "But, you know, I designed this playlist strictly for you."

"Oh? Then, why didn't you put some songs that reflect me on this playlist? Like, oh, say, I don't know... perhaps 'Let the Bodies Hit the Floor' by Drowning Pool, or 'Monster' by Skillet?"

"Because that is music created for emos to slit their wrists to."

"I tried that once. Didn't work out too well, what with the sand and all."

"Yeah. That's because you're supposed to work on not marking your body with self-inflicted scars. They don't just hurt your body, you know. When you cause pain to yourself, that damages your mind, too. I wish you would just listen to one of these songs."

For roughly the next three minutes, he was quiet. For all intents and purposes, he was listening to "Cry". After the song ended, and "Two is Better Than One" by Boys Like Girls featuring Taylor Swift began to play, he blinked at me. "And? Why did you want me to listen to that?"

"Well, it's about love. I find that it fits you quite well, and..." I mumbled, turning away, so he didn't hear.

"What was that?"

"I said..." I muttered again, a little louder this time.

"You will say it, or you will find yourself on the business end of my Sand Coffin for the-- the-- er, umpteenth time since we've met."

I sighed. "I said… it kind of fits my feelings for you."

For the first time in my life, I had actually done something I'd failed to do before: I managed to shut somebody the hell up.

After a few minutes, and three more songs ("Gotta Be Somebody" by Nickelback, "Smile" by Uncle Kracker, and "I Love You" by Martina McBride, for anyone who cares), he finally moved. He lie down, placing his hands behind his head. "So, Akashi... have you ever been in love?"

I sighed in relief; he'd decided the drop the subject on that song. "Well... only once."

"Did it end well? I mean, did you keep non-violent ties with the boy or girl?"

I sighed. "Okay, let's first get something on the right road, okay? I am straight."

"Well, fine. Did you stay on good terms with the boy?"

"It's... complicated, Gaara-sama."

"Explain it to me."

"I don't even really understand it, either. I'm still learning, myself."

"The best you can. Which I know isn't much, but it's better than nothing."

"Well... he didn't really know I liked him. I don't think it's ever going to work out between us."

"So, you are still in love with him?"

"Yeah. It's... weird, you know. Even though I'm sure I'll never have a chance with him... I can't help loving him."

"How does it... feel?"

"Feel? What do you mean?"

"Physical symptoms, Akashi. Does it affect you physically?"

"Oh, of course! Let's see... whenever I see him, it's like I lose sight of everyone else, and I can't hear anything but him. Whenever I come around him, it feels like there are butterflies flitting around in my stomach. Whenever he's talking to me, I have trouble breathing. And... whenever our hands touch... even by accident..." I sighed, sitting down on the bed and lying next to him, looking up dreamily at the ceiling. "It's like we're the only two people in the room. Like we're in our own world, where... where nothing can hurt us."

"Nothing?"

"Nope. Nothing at all. Not even other people's words."

He got up, and walked over to the window. "Is it... wonderful, Akashi? Is it the most... amazing thing you have ever experienced?"

"Yes. Most definitely. When I'm with him, or looking at him... it's like nothing else matters. Like it's just us, the only two people on the entire planet. It's... breathtaking." I breathed in, sitting up. "The most amazing thing I've ever experienced."

"When you say that, Akashi..." He glanced back at me. "It makes me feel... bad. Like... I don't want you to like this boy."

I let myself smile a little. "You're jealous."

He hopped up on the windowsill. "I have to go." And he vanished in a whirlwind of golden sand.

I went over to the window and brushed the grains that had been left behind with the very tip of my finger. I giggled. "Oh, don't be jealous, Gaara-sama."

Pretending he was still here, I imagined that he'd just asked why he shouldn't be jealous. I smiled at my imaginary sandman. "Because I wasn't talking about just any boy. I was talking about you. I only love you."

The opposite of love isn't hate; it's indifference. And if you hate me, that means you still care.

~Desperate Housewives