Before you read on ask yourself, if Gaara had been raised differently, how do you think he would act? Shy? Loving? Attentive? Angry? Hateful? Cocky? I imagine he'd be very cocky. Almost annoyingly cocky. I imagine he'd have a little of that Sasuke attitude that many Naruto fans love oh so much. In this story, Gaara's kinda cocky, but at the core he's the same frightened, scarred individual we all love. Does anyone read these? L M N O Q

Love is a Bad Joke
Everyone Changes

"You're hiding something." Sakura practically snarled, light green eyes narrowed, stabbing me with a look that made me want to piss myself and cry like a baby. I glanced between Sakura and Hinata, who's eyes were also narrowed with suspicion. I gulped nervously and took a few steps back before being stopped by a wall while obscenities ran through my head in a voice that oddly sounded like Lee on crack. My laughter at that thought died when I remembered my current situation. "You always get super quiet when you're hiding something. And I've never heard you this quiet. Never."

I put my hands up in surrender, eyes darting around the elegant cafeteria to make sure no one was listening in. "You got me. You got me." Both girls backed off, eyes lighting up at my easy withdrawal. It seriously freaked me out how they both could look so innocent then instantly look as thought they would rip my dick off with out so much as blinking. "Just wait till we sit down before you try crucifying me. Yeah?" Sakura giggled happily and we grabbed breakfast before snagging a table near a window. I glanced around nervously again and pulled the letter from my back pocket, unfolding it with care before setting it on the table in front of me. My pink haired cousin pounced on it as soon as my hand let it go, light green eyes flying over the page, a smile lighting up her heart shaped face as she did so. She let out an excited squeal and passed it to the pale female at her side. Hinata's reaction was about the same, minus the squeal and adding a blush.

"Who?" My cousin could barely contain her excitement, bouncing in her seat, eggs benedict forgotten on the plate in front of her. Hinata leaned in as well, her smile making all the ones I'd seen in the past look like frowns. "Who is it?"

I flinched and looked around the room again before turning back to my friends. "Like I know. You know about as much as I do."

"This is possibly the most exciting thing that's ever happened to us." My cousin gushed, apparently forgetting that it was written for me and scanned the letter again. "A failed poet? Who could it be? When did you get it?"

"Last night after I got back from hanging out with you guys." I smiled broadly, her excitement infectious. A warm feeling unfurled in my heart, spreading down to my stomach and toes. I felt like I could dance. I felt like I could sing. After feeling like I didn't belong at this school, one note made it all okay. I deflated a bit. Okay. So maybe I am sorta stupid. "It was taped to the door."

(Such beautiful hand writing. I wonder if it's a girl?)

"Oh yeah… That's a good point." I frowned. Love letter? Most awesome thing to happen to me since Modern Warfare 2 had been released. Love letter from a girl? Not so much. I'd be flattered at getting it from a girl, but it'd suck to have to turn her down and watch her happiness die all because I didn't like the fact that she didn't have a dick. And I hated watching the happiness die in someone's eyes. Especially when it was my fault. "What if it is a girl?"

Sakura frowned and pushed a stand of pink hair off her forehead, her eyes lost in concentration. Hinata bit her lip and chewed on her fingernail, eyes on the letter, working through the problem in her head. The purple haired girl smiled after a few moments. (If it is a girl, just tell her you have a girl at home.) She signed.

"Yeah." I smiled again, feeling a little better about it.

Sakura smiled softly at her roommate, making the girl blush slightly. I raised a brow but let it slide on by. "You know, if this was an all boys school, I wouldn't have this problem." I stated blandly, propping an arm on the table and laying a face in my hand.

"You'd also only have Lee to hang out with." Sakura rolled her eyes.

"And die of loneliness." I grinned, taking the piece of paper back, refolding it and tucking it into my shirt pocket.

(There is the possibility it is a boy still.) Hinata offered, her face deep in concentration.

"How so?" I asked after swallowing a bite of the omelet in front of me.

(Well, the author would've had to go into the boys dorm, then wander around until they found your name plate and that would've been very risky. Especially since your dorm is on the fifth floor and the number of halls they would have to search just to find your room. I don't think someone shy enough to leave a letter would've risked expulsion just to tell you how they felt.)

Sakura nodded vigorously. "That's true. And the part about their feelings being a burden to you. How could they be a burden for any other reason than coming from a male? And the part about poetry not being something they're good at. Most girls wouldn't think about that."

(That and it seems so very off in its wording.)

"Agreed. Girls confess with their feeling just poured onto the page. This seems too… thought out. Like they didn't want you to be offended or hurt by the words written."

"You think?" I mumbled, fingers rubbing the paper in my pocket. I made a face. "Some girls are like that though. Not every female is a slave to her emotions like Sakura." I smiled and received a fist to the top of my head.

"Like you have any room to talk, little miss queen." She snapped with a smile. I grinned up sheepishly, still rubbing the sore spot. She stuck her tongue out and sat back down. "Though you are the least gay looking gay guy I've met."

(True. Maybe you should wear more pink.) Hinata beamed at me.

"Hey. How about you both just fuck off?"


I stepped into the auditorium with a smile. After a long and comical conversation about my inability to act like a flamer though I was gaga over a guy, Sakura and Hinata waved good bye and headed for physics leaving me with a cheery attitude and a look into what my life could be like if I was totally out and had an opposite personality. I laughed and made my way down the aisles of empty seats towards the slowly filling stage. The informality of the class made me love the art that I'd only taken an interest in because of a red haired theater god. Drama was well suited for me, as the teacher often said. If for no other reason than my energy.

Chouji and Kiba glanced at me as I passed them on the stairs at the side of the stage. I gave them a smile and appreciated it when they returned it. I pulled the black strap of my neon messenger bag over my head and took a seat by the thick curtain, not bothering with the group that was gathered in the center. They didn't like to be bothered. I'd learned this. They were all Gaara's followers, his fan club, his disciples I suppose. They took Drama very serious. Deadly serious. All had pale skin, dark hair with bright neon streaks and talked with a bored drawl in mostly rhyming lyrics. They were pretty freaky. Though I was always an appreciated partner when they didn't have one of their own kind because of how into it I got, I wasn't exactly hang out material to them and I knew it. I chuckled. Not that I would want to.

The teacher, Kurenai Yuhi, walked out of the left wing and called the class to order after the bell had rung, pulling all of the students in a circle around her. "Alright class." Her severe voice made all of us quiet down faster than yelling could've. "As you all know," She started after she knew she had our attention. "preparations for our autumn production will be starting today." A majority of the students nodded their heads. I just stared at the mole on her face, wondering if she ever drew a stick figure body beneath it and made weird voices for it to talk with. "Auditions were held last week, the play has been cast and now, aside from lines needing to be memorized, all that is really left is building the set and constructing the costumes."

I groaned internally and let my mind wander. My fun class to start the day was now turned into the free labor class. While we built the autumn productions set I fell asleep in biology more than once since Kiba and I were the ones hauling everything, being decidedly more muscular than most of the class. Kurenai was still speaking when I tuned back in so I tuned back out and wondered about the letter. Sakura and Hinata had me pretty convinced that the writer was male. Now the hard part was figuring out who that male was. No one had ever seemed to take any interest in me at all. Except Sasuke and him sending me 'feelings' was less than likely. It was downright absurd. I laughed. So that shortened the list to… no one. A detective, I am not. "Naruto!" I jumped at the sound of my name.

"Uh, yeah?" I shook myself awake and found myself lost in that blue green mist that almost pulled me under. My heart stopped. What was he doing here?

"Like I said, Gaara will be supervising the completion of the set. Since you are the most energetic and fit, you'll be working alongside him making sure the background meets his specifications." I gulped and pretty much drank in the tall lean figure with my eyes. He'd stripped his white button up and stood before me in a figure hugging, black UA undershirt, the fabric almost shining under the stage lights. My knees went weak and I felt like swooning into a faint at his feet. The red head stared at me with his unnerving eyes, his face a serene neutral before breaking into a smug smirk. That serene feeling was crushed by a sudden rise in annoyance. What the fuck was that smirk about? "I've assigned you all to groups. Each group will work on a different act, blah blah blah. I expect the best from you."

The students rushed forward and broke off into different groups with ease, noise level rising as they each decided on subgroups for each job that had to be done. I wandered forward and searched for my name. When I found it, my annoyance exploded. "Misc.? Are you serious?"

"Yes. Like I said, you're working with Gaara, but at this point, you'll be helping each group when they need you." I made a face.

"Problem, Uzumaki?" I whipped around, my heart fluttering at the sound of that deep masculine voice wrapped around my name. I shook my head dumbly and that arrogant smirk was back, making my knees weak while anger flooded my brain.


Who knew I'd developed a crush on the most arrogant son of a bitch in the entire world? Gaara Sabaku was gorgeous. He was talented. He was intelligent. He was able to make people fall at his feet with a look. He could turn just about anyone on with just a word. And you could tell he fucking knew it and that he fucking used it to his advantage.

Note to self: Get to know someone before developing a crippling crush on them.

Note back to self: You like how he uses that power, ha ha, too late, dumbass.

I groaned while the red head measured the cut piece of wood carefully over and over again. "Just get on with it!" I spat, my arms aching.

He shot me a look and turned back to his measuring tape before giving a nod to Karin and Kiba. Just as the two got to work nailing the board in place, I jumped back and let go as my arms gave out. The plywood fell to the floor with a loud bang making everyone around us jump and narrow eyes stabbing me with anger. I rubbed my sore arms and smiled sheepishly. The two with the hammers sighed and turned away. "Pick it up." Gaara growled at me. I fought the urge to flip him off though my heart fluttered in my chest and lifted the piece of wood once more. The red head measured again and again before giving the go ahead nod. The two worked quickly, putting the stands on the heavy piece of wood while the evil theater god watched with careful blue green eyes. I didn't let go until I saw the two step back.

"Aren't there supposed to be two people holding this thing up?" I complained loudly, rubbing my biceps as they screamed in agony. I hated being stage crew. Hated it. Hated it. Hated it. Hated it.

"No one can be spared. This piece has to be the most stable." He explained, measuring again.

"You know, being so anal retentive is bad for you."

"Hm." was all I got in reply, but I could tell it was almost a question.

"Oh yeah." I nodded, lifting another piece of plywood. "But you really only notice when you get older." I watched the red head fight to keep from rolling his eyes. It didn't really look like it was working. I chuckled internally. "It's the strangest thing. Your ass just gets sucked into you asshole. Most anal retentive's don't notice, but it happens. At this point some of them ease up and start letting things slide, but others, whew, a whole different story. Their ass just keeps on suckin' 'em in 'til one day SHLOOP! They're gone. Just sucked into their own anus. Like a black hole. It's the most bizarre thing you've ever seen. In extreme cases though it's even worse. I knew a guy who seen an anal retentive suck up an entire swimming pool and seven other people with him when his anus sucked him up."

I stopped abruptly, almost dropping the plywood in my hands as all the air seeming to leave my body in a rush. This whole brain before mouth thing… No wonder I was a social outcast. I didn't dare turn to look at Gaara, the object of my affections, the redheaded God I worshiped from afar, the teal eyed man I had just stupidly ran my mouth off to… The few people in my peripheral vision had also stopped moving as well, making me all the more nervous. What the fuck did I just say? I was having a hard time recalling my exact words.

Kiba Inuzuka broke the silence first, his loud booming laughter amplified by the auditorium. "Dude! What the fuck?" The shaggy brunet clutched his stomach as if he were in pain and he crumpled to the floor. It seemed as if most of the class decided to follow his example and laughter rose in the spacious room. Loud hee-hawing, badly stifled giggles and deep echoing chuckles rose from all around me. I grinned sheepishly and tried my hardest to not look at the pale man behind me. I lowered my head, blond bangs obstructing my view and turned, carrying the board to the table saw set up in the corner. A darkly clad Gaara worshiper huffed at me with a sneer before striding away quickly. I sighed and waited for the redhead to come up and measure the pencil lines before I got to work with the saw.

Long, slender, pale fingers didn't touch the board until the laughter had died completely, voices of the class rising in conversation again. He didn't speak to me as he worked, just adjusting the lines where he saw fit, measuring, erasing, letting the suffocating silence between us stretch on and on with no end in sight. He tapped on the board and stepped back, sliding goggles onto his head. I pulled the horrendous plastic contraption over my eyes as well and got to work. My full attention was on the board in front of me, my brain not allowing my concentration to waver. After the piece was cut, I straightened up. "You say the strangest things." That deep voice barely breathed out beside me. I jumped and spun around. Teal eyes were observing me with a look that unnerved me and sent my inner fan girl into a drooling idiot.

I opened my mouth to respond, even though my brain had yet to catch up, and was saved by the loud dull trill of the bell. I ran from his eyes and scooped up my book bag, out the door before anyone could blink. My heart was thudding by the time I made it to my desk in French III. I skidded to a stop and slammed myself down into the unforgiving wooden seat. 'Okay, heart, quit being such a lame ass organ and calm the fuck down!' The stupid little muscle had finally begun slowing its painfully rapid beating when a soft growl forced it to pound even faster.

"I fully expect you to join me for lunch today, Uzumaki."


The onyx eyed boy raised an eyebrow at me. "That was disgustingly girlish."

"That's weird. I was just thinking your face was disgustingly girlish." I snapped back at the Uchiha standing beside me. The air around him buzzed angrily and I got ready to take a punch to the face when something horrible happened. Horrible and insanely divine. A soft, pale blush dusted his cheeks lightly, a dumbfounded look creeping into his eyes. I watched the haughty Uchiha crumple into a slightly embarrassed mess for about thirty seconds before he seemed to regain his composure. I just stared at him as there seemed to be a war waging in his head, his face alternating between a creepy smile and a menacing grimace. "You… You're kinda freaking me out…" I made a face, very unsure of what I should do, but unwilling to sit there silently.

Sasuke snapped out of his stupor and flashed me his cocky 'I'm-an-Uchiha-love-me' grin. "So you're thinking of my face, huh?"

"Get bent."

Rage flashed in his eyes, but the grin stayed plastered to his face. "You're joining me for lunch." He said calmly before walking back to his seat across the room.

"What the fuck are the boys in this school drinking?" I mumbled, pulling my French reader out as Professor walked in. For an hour and a half I lost myself translating conversations and responding. Much to Tsunade's surprise I was very adapt at learning languages. It was a gift that she loved to push me into. German, Italian, Spanish, and now French. I'd flown through the language programs set before me. There was just one I couldn't get a grasp on that I'd been dying to learn. Gaelic. After flunking out of the first lesson several times, we gave up. Oh and Latin, but honestly I didn't care too much for it. It was currently my favorite class because it was the only one where I was giving Sasuke a run for his money.

Our class dismissed ten minutes before the bell was set to ring so I wandered about the empty halls, trying to remember which class the girls were in. My mind decided that subject was too boring and settled on the teal eyes that haunted me most of the day. I stopped myself from letting out a girlish sigh. To be perfectly honest, I don't know why I had such a crippling crush on the red head. Especially after what I'd learned today. How had I never noticed his arrogant attitude? It was kind of really in your face.

I turned down the hallway to head to the Classic Literature class I had next when two forms made me freeze and dash back the way I'd come. My heart pounded as I leaned against the wooden wall behind me as my brain scrambled to figure out what I'd just seen. Yeah… That had been Gaara. And the dark haired figure he had been pressing against the wall… I peeked around the corner. Yup. Fuck. What the fuck had I just walked in on?

"Take your hands off of me." Sasuke snapped, his voice echoing through the spacious hallway.

"Or what, Uchiha brat?" Gaara growled.

"Or I'll break that pretty boy face of yours."

The red head's cold laughter filled the air around me, making a shiver run down my spine. "Just try it. Remember I'm watching you, you fucking snake."

"You fu-"

The bell trilled loudly above me, drowning out the brunet's words and making me jump about ten feet in the air. All the air left my lungs and I turned to head to the classroom. The two boys were no longer pressed together, in fact, I couldn't see Sasuke at all. Only the lithe redhead remained, leaning against the wall nonchalantly. I swallowed nervously and walked down the hall as others began to spill from the classrooms around me. Teal eyes locked onto me when there was only two feet between us. "Uzumaki."

My heart skipped and a smirk spread out on his pale angelic face, as though he knew. "Yeah?" I asked informally, trying to give off the same uncaring air he was exuding.

He pushed off from the wall and stared down at me. "After classes end, I will need your assistance. Come to the stage room." He muttered then walked off, as if expecting that I would do as he said. My anger flared and I stomped to the classroom, slamming my book bag on the floor and taking a seat angrily. That smug fucker could wait for hours for all I cared. I'm not an obedient puppy.


"That bastard told me we were joining him for lunch." Sakura hissed, her hands gripping on to my shirt so tightly I feared she would smack me just for the hell of it. "He didn't ask, he told arrogant piece of shit. I'm going to beat the ever livin crap out of that snotty asshole. Just wait 'till Graduation!" I looked over at Hinata, begging for help. The lavender eyed girl seemed to be stuck between amusement and fear. "I'm gonna rip those balls right off his body and shove them down Ino's throat since she seems to love them so much."

"Sakura, don't you think you're taking this out on the wrong person?" I whispered.

The pink haired girl let out a sigh and released me. "Sorry, he just pisses me off so much."

(Tell me about it.) Hinata rolled her eyes.

"What's his deal?" I grumbled, pushing the door open and walking out into the warm sunlight in the courtyard. "The both of them."

"What was that?"

I rolled my eyes. "Gaara ordered me to come to the auditorium after classes ended today."

Sakura squeaked. "Hurray, cuzzy!" She jumped on my back. I yelped and fell to the ground. I tried in vain to pry myself from her death grip, the more I pulled, the tighter her deceptively skinny arms wound around my shoulders. "You must be pumped!" She squealed into my back. I squirmed under her light body, trying to regain the breath she was squeezing out of me.

"On the ground again, Uzumaki?"

Shit. Sakura let go instantly, helping me to my feet once again. "Uchiha." I mumbled, slightly angered that he'd even show his face. I knew the meeting in the hallway wasn't a pleasant one, and I was still kinda pissed at the smug red head, but seeing him pressed so close to Gaara still had my blood boiling. Hinata took her place beside me, a glare on her face. "What can I do for you today?"

"Lunch, idiot. I told you this morning you'd be joining us today." I met his glare with my own, though I'm sure that his was much more threatening.

"I don't know where you get off on-"

The brunet cut me off. "My car's waiting. Oh, Hinata, Neji is pleased that you will be there." I turned to see pale eyes roll and for a moment I forgot my argument. I just felt sorry for Hinata being dragged into whatever prank was being pulled on us. It wasn't a secret Neji hated his cousin. In fact I don't think I blind person could miss the looks of hate he shot at her. The purple haired girl never told us why the long haired boy seemed to harbor so much hate towards her, but I did know that, until recently, the feeling hadn't been returned.

Sakura opened her mouth, her shift in stance told me she was going to fight, but the mute Hyuuga surprised us both, heading silently for the gates. The pink haired started, her light green eyes growing wide with concern and some other emotion that I couldn't quite place, an emotion so warm… it made me concerned. "Sakura?" I questioned softly. Large green eyes snapped to me, widening slightly before drifting back to the back of the long hair girl almost to the front gates. The pink haired girl grabbed my hand and pulled me after our friend. I peeked to see a satisfied looking Sasuke on our heels, a serene smile on his face. I gulped loudly when my heart skipped a beat. What the fuck?

We passed the gate, the guard not even bothering to check our passes, just nodding respectfully at Sasuke. The power of money, I snorted, rolling my eyes. I followed my girls into the back seat of the large black car, a stoic driver standing beside the door, who closed it softly after Sasuke had climbed in after me. The onyx eyed boy smirked at me taking a seat beside me, studying me. I shivered and glanced at the two girls sitting across from us, frowning slightly. Green and purple were locked together in an intense stare that made me feel odd… Excluded…

I turned away from them quickly, staring out the window. The trees were beginning to lose their leaves, the colors starting to turn. The air would turn harsh soon, painful to breath in. The world would become a barren wasteland until the snow came to cover it. Snow. White skin. I bet Gaara would make a believable Snow White. No… He exuded too much masculinity. He'd be the perfect Prince Charming. Calm and confident. Oh god… I started drooling. Even in a poofy shirt and dorky hat I imagine he'd be sexy. "What are you thinking about?"

"Ga-" My jaw snapped shut as I turned to see Sasuke's eyes narrow suddenly. I panicked, my mouth moving before I could think. "Gallivanting elephants." Nice save, moron.


"Hinata." The long haired male stood as we entered the restaurant, bowing respectfully, though I had a feeling that he wasn't doing it willingly.

(Neji) The pale girl signed, nodding. I stood there awkwardly, not quite knowing what to do and super uncomfortable. The atmosphere was weird. I was out of my element. Everything around me looked super expensive and breakable. I was afraid to move. Sasuke took a seat and motioned for me to take the place next to him. I glanced around and stiffly took a seat. Sakura followed my example, looking as uncomfortable as I felt. I glanced at Hinata who began signing quickly to her cousin, who responded with hands just as quick.

"Uzumaki." I turned to see Sasuke watching me carefully. I fought the urge to squirm. "I think we got off on the wrong foot."

"Someone made sure we stayed there." I muttered lowly. His eyes narrowed but he said nothing.

"What made you decide to come to Bijuu?"

I raised an eyebrow. What the hell was he playing at? "Sakura."

His eyes flashed dangerously. "Really?"

"Yeah, her parents had to travel studying blah blah blah and it's effects on boring boring boring. They decided to send her here, I had to follow."

"I couldn't let him be alone." Sakura cut in, stirring her raspberry Italian soda. "My cousin's a little too dumb to know when someone's bullying him. And he can barely defend himself."

"Oi!" I shouted indignantly, elbowing her in the arm. She laughed and punched me in the side.

"Hm." That look was gone and his eyes bore into me. I didn't like it for the most part, but part of me… Part of me enjoyed it immensely. I shook the thought from my head. "Tell me about you." I raised an eyebrow, my dropping open.

"Seriously. Where the fuck is Sasuke the bastard Uchiha?"

"Can't we have a conversation?" He snarled at me.

I bristled. "Whose fault is that?"

"So I've made some mistakes." He muttered. "I'm trying to make up for it."

My anger cracked. Maybe this wasn't a trick… What if he really was sorry? I felt like an ass. Silence filled the table as we ordered, only the two at the end seemed interested in conversation, signing faster than I could keep up with. Karin and Suigetsu, both never known for keeping their traps shut, seemed oddly moody. Well, the moody part wasn't odd, but the silent part was kind of weirding me out. Shino and Shikamaru were silent as well, but that was normal, well for them anyway. "I like apple juice."

Sasuke coughed into his coffee. "What?"

"Juice. I prefer juice over every kind of drink. I don't read too much, but when I do, it's mostly sci-fi or classic fairy tales. My guardian, Tsunade, looks too young for her age. I have a dog, Kyuubi. Uh… I like orange." I rambled, fighting the awkward atmosphere. I hated feeling awkward. It was the worst feeling in the world.

Onyx eyes looked at me expectantly. The silence just stretched on as our food arrived. "That's all very nice, but I want to know about you." Sasuke cut into his ambiguous meat.

"But I just-"

"That wasn't enough."

My heart shuddered. "Wha…?" My face began to heat, my mind going blank, a faint crash making it's way to my ears. I had no idea how to respond to that.

"I'd like to spend more time with you, Naruto."

I just remember… well… nothing.


"Naruto, if you don't respond, I'm going to assume you're a zombie and will chop your head off." I shook myself out of my stupor. Sakura was watching me carefully, her green eyes concerned. I looked around, recognizing the library. Hinata was pretending to be buried in a textbook, glancing at me every few seconds. My head was still reeling from the weirdest thing I'd ever heard. The weirdest… I blushed. Sakura jumped back. "Your face is so red it's scary…"

"Did he really…?"


"So I wasn't…?"


"I thought he…?"

"So did we!"

"Oh god." I dropped my head into my hands. I couldn't piece anything together. Sasuke… Why the fuck was I freaking out so much over someone I hated. I mean, I never looked at Sasuke that way… Had I? No. Definitely not. I mean… Only Gaara had ever made me… "Shit!" I jumped to my feet, grabbing my bag and rushing out the door. I ran as fast as I could, slamming through the theater doors and jumping onto the stage. "Gaara?" I fell breathlessly to the hard stage, letting the cool seep into my skin.

"You're late." a soft growl had me on my feet in seconds.

"Yeah, well, it's been a weird day." Soft blue green eyes watched me carefully as I approached, setting my skin on fire. He had stripped down to his undershirt again, though he was wearing black jeans that seemed almost too tight, making me thankful for whatever god made him dress like that.


"Mmhm. Where's everybody else?"

He looked at me quizzically. "Do you know what time it is?"


"It's almost Eight o'clock."

My jaw dropped. "Seriously?" The red head nodded, leaning against the wall. "Have…" I blushed, looking away. "Have you been waiting all this time?"

He snorted. "Yes and no. I practiced with the others then worked on the set." He motioned to a painted piece of scenery. I looked at it for a moment before turning back to my crush. His beautiful eyes were locked onto the piece as well.

"Uh… So… You're not really a painter, are you?" I smacked myself internally.

"Yeah, I suck." I couldn't help but laugh, covering my gasp smoothly when he finally sent me a smile that didn't make me feel like he was playing with me. He walked forward and picked up a paintbrush. "Are you going to help or just stand there?"

"Hey. I'm not 'just' standing here. I'm laughing too."

Gaara was so unguarded as we painted, it was as if he were another person. Sure, he still didn't really talk, but he didn't seem so iced over. I stole glances at his serene face, my heart racing. After a while he dropped his paintbrush, watching me continue to apply layer upon layer of paint, adding shadows, highlights. "You aren't bad."

"Yeah? I'd like to think that I'm pretty amazing." I giggled.

"I wouldn't go that far."

We didn't leave until the janitor showed up and shooed us out. "Night, Gaara."

"Goodnight, Uzumaki." He almost whispered, stepping close enough to me that I could smell his deep rich scent beneath the smell of paint. I stared up into his peculiar, beautiful eyes, lost in their depths. I don't know how long we stood there, just like I don't know how long I stood there after he grinned then left. I was floating. I didn't act weird. I didn't act like a girl. I was just a normal boy… a normal, breathless every two seconds, guy. I wandered to the dorms slowly, taking in the frigid night air, only hurrying after I realized the door would be locked in minutes.



I can't explain to you how much I long for your smile when you're not around. I seek you out in every crowd, every room. I can't even put my feelings into words. I know that other would say that this is a crush, but it feel almost like love. That can't be possible because I don't know you. I don't and I can't. You would hate me. I am not like you. You are the bright, warm and loving sun, while I am the cold, heartless moon. No. Not even the moon. I am the stars. Stars are easily hidden… Stars barely exist. God. If I could just face you. See you. Talk to you… Be with you.

In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed-
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.

Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
Turned back upon the past?

That holy dream- that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding.

What though that light, thro' storm and night,
So trembled from afar-
What could there be more purely bright
In Truth's day-star?

~Edgar Allen Poe.

I folded the paper carefully and tucked it under my pillow. My heart couldn't take anymore today. To be honest, I'd forgotten all about my secret admirer. The day had been too jam packed with odd feelings. Feelings I wanted to ignore and embrace. What was with Sasuke? The Uchiha hated me for two years. What was with the sudden interest in me? And Gaara… My knees went week. Why was he an ass in front of others, but so unguarded when we were one on one tonight?

I glanced at my sleeping roommate, stripped quietly, climbed into bed and listened to the sounds around me, making my brain go blank.

To be perfectly honest, I don't know who's winning or who will win. I'm just going with the flow. Thanks for reading.