A small scenelet. This isn't in the graveyard yet, but heck if I know where it's going. At least they're talking? Maybe next time they talk they'll be a little more cordial to one another? (Ha.)

Disclaimer: See part 1.


"So?" Sakura watched as Gaara bit into an apple, his jaw working to chew it slowly, a dribble of juice running down his hand seemingly unnoticed.

"So what?" He said it with a full mouth, masticating lazily.

"So now that I'm here what do you want to talk about?"

Her hands were crossed in front of her chest in the age old symbol of someone who wasn't very happy with what they were doing and thought she was pretty sure her mood was not lost on him, Gaara didn't seem to care. Or, if he cared, he was doing a fabulous job of looking like he didn't.

When she had gotten up the nerve to finally come and visit, as she had promised, everything about the day had seemed wrong. The weather was too nice and sunny, clement and with fabulously puffy clouds that dared her to find something wrong with them. Finals week was wrapped up and so the stress of studying had given way to the euphoria of her short break before summer term. It was just some basic math course she had to get out of the way and she didn't think it would prove to be much of a challenge.

Everything about her mood was relaxed, so it was all the more aggravating when she felt that knot in her back acting up as she made the drive out to the institution. She never felt this on edge when she came to see Sasuke.

"You're the one who came to see me." Gaara said. He was impassive, but she felt like she could see a twinkle in his eyes.

"Well," she thought about TV, the weather, books she had read in high school for classes, and half of a joke Naruto had told her a couple days ago and none of them seemed right. Eyes rolling about in her head, she landed on the thing about Gaara that never seemed to leave her mind. "Tell me how you got your tattoo then."

If nothing else, it certainly changed the mood between them. Gaara swallowed his bite of apple and placed the rest of the fruit down. He wouldn't meet her eyes at first and then he did so in such a deliberate manner that Sakura wasn't sure of herself suddenly. He looked confused, pained, angry, suspicious, and then blank again as an entire dialogue played itself out in his head.

"Not today." Was all he ended up saying.

"Then, I don't know, tell me about your family?" Sakura didn't feel as superior having seen something in his face that made her nervous just then. Her words were a little shaky, and she had to find some steel to put behind them again.

"I have a brother and a sister. Tell me about yours."

"That wasn't very descriptive…" Gaara stared at her in that way she was coming to recognize as expectant even if it was just on this side of blank. "Fine fine, I guess I have a weirdly normal family. No brothers and sisters, just me and my mom and my dad. Mom did part time jobs writing for newspapers until the internet took over everything. Dad's an architect."

Gaara was staring at the wall, his half eaten apple, sliding over to the window, and then back at Sakura as if what she was saying was supremely uninteresting.

"Are you going to listen to me or what? I don't have to be here if you're just going to be rude."

"If you're going to talk about stupid things that don't matter then I don't have to listen." His voice was sharp, choking out her scolding words.

She uncrossed her arms and put her palms on the table. "What do you mean stupid things that don't matter? I love my family very much."

"Tell me something real." His eyes were so green, she thought, and she shuddered a bit as he didn't stop looking at her while he brought his tongue across the trail of liquid the apple had left on his wrist.

"I don't know what you mean." She almost growled it back at him in a surly manner.

Gaara slid his hand over his forehead, pushing back his hair and exposing his tattoo for a moment. "This place is all delusions and conjectures. Tell me something real."

There was a long pause while she felt his words sink into her. They invaded, they challenged, and she found herself resenting him for being so damn interesting.

"I hate you." It slipped out in a rare moment when her inner voice became her outer voice. As soon as she said it she knew she didn't really mean it. She didn't even have time to take it back or apologize when Gaara latched onto her words hungrily.

"Shallow. Imprecise. I inconvenience you." He sneered. "You don't know what real hate is."

"And you do?"

Gaara smiled at her, almost lovingly. It gave her a sick feeling in her stomach that made her throat feel constricted as well. "Yes. Oh yes." He caught her eyes now, burned her down with the intensity of his stare. This time when he swept back his hair his hand lingered on the symbol etched on his forehead. She could see it so clearly now. That was no tattoo; it was a carving. "Let me tell you about how I got this…"