Will you Let me Love You?

AU NaruGaa and high school fic. Naruto loves to draw Gaara, but what happens when he gets to know his secret crush? And how does Sasuke take his best friend hanging with the dangerous red head?

Words in Japanese:

Tadaimasu – I'm home

Gomen / gomen nasai – sorry / very sorry

Nani? / Eh? or What?

Itadakimasu! – Thanks for the food!

Hai – yes

Ohayou / ohayou gozaimasu – morning / good morning

Naruto Uzumaki sat studying the teen like every Tuesday afternoon. The red head was leaning against the brick wall of the school, arms folded over his chest.

His sea-foam eyes were as piercing as ever as he scowled at the ground, like it had offended him. The blonde watching him sighed dreamily.

Naruto sat in a fork of a tree nearby, sketchpad resting comfortably on his leg, indulging in his favourite hobby, sketching the brooding red head.

The blonde artist took great care and patience getting the flick of each spike of red hair perfect; to capture the scowl on his face and the way his nose was crinkled.

Said brooding teen was sporting a black T-shirt with a red spiral design on it, black jeans, which were a little tight – (a fact that did not go unnoticed by the blonde) and sneakers.

He had his red satchel slung across his body, resting on his right thigh, his left leg curled up under him, foot resting on the wall like was going to kick off it.

His name was Sabaku no Gaara – more commonly known as Gaara of the Desert.

He and his family moved from Suna almost five months ago, and he had still made no attempt to befriend anyone.

Temari and Kankuro, his older siblings, had become quite popular, but it was rumoured that the siblings hated each other, and Gaara never sat with them.

Right now Gaara was waiting for his brother so they could go home; Temari had already left for work with her boyfriend Shikamaru Nara.

Kankuro was busy shagging his girlfriend Sakura Haruno in a broom closet near the gymnasium, so Naruto knew Gaara would be waiting for a while.

He took advantage of this opportunity to draw him, like every Tuesday afternoon.

His collection of drawings of the teen was steadily growing, and though many would have found it creepy, Naruto just loved to draw Gaara.

Gaara had an aura surrounding him. It was a deadly aura, which promised death to those around him, and screamed hatred, and most of all, danger.

Gaara was known to send many people screaming with just a glare. He never spoke, the most Naruto had ever heard him utter were simple one-word sentences.

Even the teachers were deathly afraid of him. One look from Gaara made everyone in the vicinity fall silent, and terrified. They were many rumours about him.

Some said he killed his mother and uncle when he was a child, others said he kept the bodies of people he murdered in the basement.

And while it was true that Gaara came to school covered in blood most days, and he glared at everyone and everything, Naruto had never seen him harm someone.

While others were repelled by Gaara's cloud of death, Naruto was drawn in by it. Call him masochistic, but he had loved the red head since he'd first seen him.

Now, Naruto didn't call what he felt 'love at first sight' or 'a love destined to happen' or anything cheesy like that. He simply, and utterly, loved Sabaku no Gaara.

Gaara's eyes shifted just as Naruto was adding colour to his drawing, momentarily distracted Naruto looked up to see what had caused this sudden movement.

Kankuro came into view, clothes out of place and hair a mess, grinning sheepishly.

Gaara said nothing as he straightened up and walked straight past his brother, not even acknowledging the other was there, Kankuro followed him to their car.

As Naruto heard the car drive off, he felt his inspiration disappear and suddenly didn't feel like drawing anymore.

He decided to finish the drawing when he was in the mood, otherwise it wouldn't turn out as good. He packed up his coloured pencils, pastels, brushes and sketchpad.

He slung his bag over his shoulder, jumped out from the tree and walked home to his apartment.

Living nearly half way across town, it wasn't surprising he got home as the sun was setting.

"Tadaimasu," he called to the empty apartment. He didn't know why he did that every afternoon, it was just a habit he had.

Once he had owned a cat called Misty, but she died of old age so there was never anyone waiting at home for him, but he still announced his presence to the building.

He put his school bag on his bed and sank into the chair by his desk.

He looked out at the setting sun; even the red in the sky couldn't match Gaara's fiery spikes.

In the mood to draw once again, he pulled out his unfinished sketch and his pastels, and started to gently add colour, starting with Gaara's hair.

Naruto had a sketch for every one of Gaara's moods. Yes, Gaara had moods, just like everyone else.

No one cared to look though; all they saw was hatred and blankness.

But Naruto – who had been eye stalking Gaara for months – had seen a (very small) palette of moods on the stoic teenager's face.

Naruto had a sketch when Gaara was upset; he did the background in blue to emphasize the emotion.

It was hard to tell when the red head was upset, but whenever his eyes travelled to the ground and he had no scowl on his face, he was either upset or lonely, Naruto couldn't figure out which.

Naruto had a sketch when Gaara was angry – this time the background was in oranges and yellows – Gaara's eyes would narrow to slits and his mouth contorted into an animalistic snarl.

His hands would clench and unclench uncontrollably, and it was rumoured he sent Neji Hyuuga to the emergency room while he was in this mood.

Fortunately this 'super anger' as Naruto called it, only happened once and a while, but you'd be wise to stay out of his way when it did happen.

When Gaara was annoyed, his mouth mashed into a tight line and he gave a glare through semi-narrowed eyes, and of course Naruto had many sketches of that.

He had a sketch of when Gaara was bored, his eyes glazed over and his hands began to fidget with whatever they could find, even his spiky hair seemed flatter.

When Gaara was distracted or in deep thought, his arms were loosely folded over his chest, and his eyes stared out into space, out a window usually.

His face held no scowl, no malice, no blankness; it was just – in Naruto's opinion – soft. His hair would flutter in the breeze lazily and he wouldn't raise a hand to stop it.

His mouth didn't hang open like Naruto's, it remained closed, but it no longer looked forced to stay that way.

Naruto had done the background in purples or sometimes pinks in these sketches.

But for the life of him, Naruto had never seen Gaara smile, not once, not even anything that resembled happiness, and Naruto wondered why.

It disturbed him.

Once had finished he shaded the background in grey and put his sketchpad down. He looked out the window, the sun had gone down.

Naruto went into the kitchen and made himself some instant ramen; he waited the painful three minutes then got out some chopsticks to eat.

"Itadakimasu!" he smiled as he dug in to his ramen. When he was finished he threw out the container and washed the chopsticks.

Feeling warm inside from the food, he took a shower and went to bed.

If he had stayed up a little longer, he would have seen a certain red head on the roof of a house down the street, staring up at the stars.

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"Outta my way idiot!" Kiba Inuzuka shouted pushing Naruto into the lockers as he barged past him in the hallway.

"Oi watch it bastard!" Naruto shouted back angrily. It was then he realised he'd been pushed in front of someone.

"You're in my way." Said a dark monotone voice. "Gaara!" Naruto spun around to come face to face with the annoyed looking red head.

"Gomen nasai! I'll move," Naruto scurried out of Gaara's way and watched as he walked past, not sparing a glance at him. I love you. Naruto sighed. So close!

If only Gaara didn't make him so nervous, he might be able to talk like a normal person then! When he got nervous he tended to babble.

He wasn't aware that he'd stayed where Gaara had left him until Sasuke hit him on the back of the head.

"Owwwww! What was that for Sasuke-teme!" he complained rubbing his head.

"We're going to be late, and it looked like you weren't moving anytime soon." Sasuke said. "Come on dobe, let's go."

Naruto followed his best friend, grumbling under his breath, and they took their seats at the back in their first class – art. Naruto's favourite subject.

Today they were given an assignment. The assignment was to draw – or represent in some way – something that inspired you.

Well, that's easy. Thought Naruto, eyeing Gaara, who sat with his head turned to the window, not caring what the teacher said.

Immediately Naruto began to sketch his profile, Gaara had a new mood on his face today: confusion. Naruto wondered why he was confused as he drew.

When he had finished the rough outline he pulled out his eraser to fix it up, but the bell rang and signalled the next class – creative writing.

Naruto groaned, he hated creative writing, he sucked at putting his feelings into words, he preferred to do it through a paintbrush.

"Naruto, I heard there's a fight in the corridor, let's go see!" Sasuke said urgently.

"Okay wait up!" Naruto got up so quickly instead of dropping his sketchpad in his bag, it fell on the ground.

He didn't notice as he hurried after Sasuke to watch the fight. It was between Kiba and Shikamaru.

"What are they fighting over?" Naruto asked Ino Yamanaka. "Kiba reckons Shikamaru was hitting on Hinata." Ino replied.

Hinata Hyuuga was Kiba's girlfriend, though how he managed to get her to go out with him Naruto would never know.

Hinata was a very timid and sweet girl, so maybe she was too scared to say no, because they had nothing in common.

Kiba was mean and a jerk to everyone, and Hinata was nice to everyone, even Gaara. But of course Gaara glared at her and sent her running.

"K-Kiba-kun, l-let's just g-go, ok-kay?" Hinata stuttered trying to pull Kiba away from Shikamaru, where Temari was standing.

"C'mon Shika-kun, let's leave the puppy to his business." Temari said stalking off, Shikamaru in tow.

The crowd soon departed and Sasuke and Naruto went to their second class.

This was the only class in which Gaara paid attention.

Of course Gaara's grades were always perfect and his homework done on time, he never showed any interest in any subject save one. Creative writing.

Today they were continuing on with their short stories. Gaara was sitting at the front, scribbling feverishly over the page.

Naruto abandoned his story – which was about a fox that loved ramen but no one would give him any – to watch him write.

Since he and Sasuke were sitting at the back of the room, Sasuke listening to his ipod, Naruto wasn't able to see very much of Gaara other than his hair, bent over his work as he was.

Naruto reached for his sketchpad, only to realise he didn't have it. In a sudden panic, he looked down at his bag, the sketchpad was gone.

Must've left it in the classroom, I'll go get it at lunch. Damn, that means I can't draw Gaara. Naruto thought.

So instead Naruto settled for watching him silently, seeing the ideas flow from his head to the paper, a new expression he only had in creative writing.

Enthusiasm.

And also one Naruto didn't have very many sketches of. Damn it all.

All too soon the bell rang, and Gaara took his time in packing up, unusual since he was usually the first one out.

Naruto sighed and packed up his forgotten workbook. He was surprised therefore when he looked up to see Gaara standing over him.

"You left this in art," he said emotionlessly holding out Naruto's sketchbook.

"Oh! Um, thanks Gaara, thanks." Naruto bowed once and walked off with Sasuke, looking back once at the red head before going to lunch.

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"Don't look now but the freak is staring at you," Sasuke said lowly, looking in the direction Naruto knew Gaara sat.

"He is?" Naruto whispered. Sasuke misinterpreted Naruto's excitement for fear and said, "Just don't look at him, don't make eye contact, don't talk to him."

"Right." Naruto mumbled looking down at his uneaten food. "Aren't you hungry?" Sasuke asked. Naruto shook his head numbly.

Had Gaara looked through his sketchpad? If he had, did he think Naruto some kind of stalker?

"…Are you okay Naruto? You're always hungry, you're look kind of pale too are you coming down with something?" Sasuke asked peering intently at his face.

"Huh? Oh no, I'm fine Sasuke don't worry about me!" Naruto said grinning from ear to ear like always.

He started to go on about how cold it was last night, Sasuke nodding and 'hn'ing every once and a while.

Naruto went on to talk about whatever he could think of (being so nervous as he was with Gaara's eyes burning into the back of his head) as they walked to third class.

Suddenly someone pushed past him with their shoulder, Naruto looked and saw Gaara glaring at him. "You talk too much. It's annoying." He said in a deadly tone.

You talk too much, it's annoying. Naruto felt like crying. Was he really that annoying? Somehow, coming from Gaara, those words were too much to handle.

Naruto was rendered speechless as Gaara stalked off to gym, but he recovered in time to rush after him before he disappeared.

"Hey um, Gaara?" he called, the teen looked back at him without breaking his stride. "What?" he snapped.

"You know how you found my sketchpad, well you didn't, um, look through it, did you?" Naruto stammered, palms sweating.

"Why would I want to? If you draw the way you talk there'd be nothing but scribble on the pages." Gaara said harshly before turning once again and picking up the pace.

Naruto stopped dumbfounded. That had been the most Gaara had ever spoken before, and it had all been to insult him about the one thing he was proud of.

His drawings. Naruto quickly rubbed his eyes free of the moisture that had gathered there; crying would only give him a headache.

"Naruto hurry up, hey are you okay?" Sasuke said concernedly coming up to him. "Was it the red head freak? Did he say something?"

"No, I'm fine, just had something in my eye. Come on we'll be late!" Naruto said grinning. They went to gym in silence.

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Naruto had to pick something up from the art store that afternoon, so he took the shortcut through the Konoha cemetery.

Naruto didn't go by the cemetery much, it reminded him too much of his dead parents, though their bodies had never been found he still didn't like the cemetery.

As Naruto was walking, he heard crying. Someone's got a dead relative, that sucks. Naruto thought dismally.

Even thought it wasn't really any of his business, he followed the sounds to see who it was. He was shocked to see it was Gaara.

He stayed silent and unmoving, not sure what to do. If Gaara found out he was there, he'd kill him for sure, but he couldn't just do nothing, he had to comfort Gaara.

His mind made up, he walked forward. The sound made Gaara get up and turn, his eyes red and face streaked with tears.

He scowled as soon as he recognised who it was. "What are doing here Uzumaki?" he snapped wiping his face with the back of his hand.

"I was just walking, until I heard something and wondered what it was, and then I found you." Naruto was surprised he could keep his voice steady.

"Are you okay Gaara?" Naruto asked stepping forward again. "Get away from me!" Gaara shouted, his eyes suddenly wide in fear.

He flinched at his own voice, and looked down at the gravestone, keeling down beside it he trailed a hand over the marble.

"I'm sorry mother, I didn't mean to raise my voice." He mumbled. Naruto's own eyes widened. Gaara's mother was dead? Were the rumours true then?

But if they were, why would Gaara go to his mother's gave? That didn't make any sense.

"Your mother? I'm so sorry." Naruto said numbly. "What…what happened to her?" Naruto asked hesitantly, fearing to be snapped at again.

"My mother died giving birth to me, if you must know. I don't like talking about it." Gaara half-snapped, half-sobbed.

"Oh, that's terrible. If it's any help, it happened to my mother too," Naruto said softly kneeling beside Gaara.

Gaara looked up at him, "And does your father blame you for that? Does he see you as a monster who took his wife's life?" he asked.

"I wouldn't know. I've never known my father. And if your father thinks that, than he's an idiot." Naruto responded.

Gaara finished rubbing his eyes and looked back at the gravestone. "So…you're like me…alone." He said lowly.

Naruto had the feeling he was talking more to himself than to him, so he didn't answer.

"Well I gotta go. Bye Gaara," Naruto remembered the package he had to pick up, and got up to leave.

He looked back at Gaara's huddled figure, then, sighing, he turned and continued on his way.

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When he got home, Naruto took out his sketchpad and searched his memory of Gaara's faces.

Thanks to his artists' photographic memory, he was able to sketch Gaara crying, and Gaara fearful. Two new emotions he could add to his list.

Naruto sketched those two new faces from different angles, and then continued with the one he started in class.

The art assignment was due in a week, and what Naruto wanted, was to be able to paint Gaara – he ordered professional paint for this exact reason – smiling.

But how he could do that, was completely beyond him. Sighing, Naruto put down his finished works and got some dinner – miso ramen of course.

Before he went to bed the phone rang, it was Sasuke.

"Hello?" Naruto said into the receiver.

"Hey, it's me." Sasuke's voice filled his ear and Naruto felt a grin work its way up his face.

"Hey Sasuke, what's up?" Naruto said cheerfully.

"Can you come over? M'bored." Sasuke said.

"Uh…I dunno," Naruto said.

"Oh come on please? I've got marshmallows," Sasuke pleaded. Naruto's eyes shone.

"You had me at marshmallows, I'll be right down!" he cried. Sasuke laughed and hung up.

It took Naruto five minutes to run to Sasuke's house.

"Well look who it is, it's the Marshmallow Prince." Sasuke grinned when he opened the door.

"Give me the marshmallows you have imprisoned fiend, or suffer my gooey wrath!" Naruto said boldly, puffing out his chest. Sasuke let him in.

"If you can find your way through my traps Marshmallow Prince, you can have your citizens back, if not, feel my own wrath fall down upon you!" Sasuke cackled.

"I accept this challenge Prince of Darkness, for I shall find my citizens quickly, and come back for revenge for my first love that you have killed!" Naruto cried.

"The Ramen Princess got what she deserved, and so shall you my good Marshmallow Prince, for you shall never find the marshmallows!" Sasuke laughed.

"We shall see Prince of Darkness! We shall see!" and Naruto scurried into the kitchen, and found the marshmallows thanks to his stomach.

"Aha! Foiled once again Prince of Darkness, and now for my revenge on my beloved Ramen Princess!" Naruto said tackling Sasuke.

"Oh no, damn you Marshmallow Prince, you have not heard the last of me!" Sasuke made a very good death scene and lay on the floor as if dead.

Naruto chuckled and threw a marshmallow in his open mouth, causing Sasuke to choke and sit bolt upright.

When he could breath again he started laughing, and soon they were laughing so hard they forgot to eat the marshmallows, which lay abandoned in their packet.

"Thanks for this Sasuke, I needed a good laugh." Naruto smiled once he could breath.

"Yeah I figured you did, you were acting so strange at school."

Grabbing two marshmallows, Sasuke planted himself on Naruto's back so his face was on Naruto's shoulder.

He ate one marshmallow and fed the other to Naruto, patting his blonde hair soothingly.

He'd known Naruto since they were little kids, when his family were killed by his brother, Sasuke lived with Naruto for a while until he adjusted to an empty house.

When Naruto was upset he used to crawl into bed with him to calm him down, now he did this and it was enough to calm the blonde down.

They were like brothers.

"You wanna talk about it?" he asked.

Naruto thought about it. He did want to talk about it, but what would Sasuke think if he did? Sasuke saw his hesitation and tried again.

"We tell each other everything, come on you can trust me, you know that." He said winding his arms under Naruto and resting his head against his blonde hair.

"I know that but…" Naruto sighed.

"C'mon, whose your bestest friend in the whole wide world? And who loves you no matter what?" Sasuke cooed.

Naruto sighed through his nose. "You are." He answered.

"Exactly. And whose my bestest friend in the whole wide world? And who loves me no matter what?" Sasuke continued.

Naruto started to grin. "I am." He answered.

"Exactly. So tell your bestest buddy what's wrong," Sasuke said. Naruto could just hear the smug smirk in his voice without even looking.

"It's…about…Gaara." Naruto said finally.

Sasuke gasped dramatically and rolled off Naruto, giving him a fake hurt look.

"Oh Naru how could you? You told me I was the only one!" he sobbed like a girl.

Naruto rolled his eyes and played along. "I know my darling but I had to tell you, there's someone else."

"Oh I feel so used, so cheap! I can't believe you'd run off with some other woman!" Sasuke wailed.

"You do know I'm gay right?" Naruto grinned. Sasuke screamed, very authentically.

"You're gay! Oh my goodness, my world has ended! I must now throw myself off the balcony, rather than live in the shame that is humiliation!"

"No my darling do not kill yourself, you can move on and start again!"

"No I must, goodbye my one true love, I shall see you in another life!" Sasuke ended with the back of his hand on his forehead, like he'd fainted. Naruto laughed.

"Seriously though, you do know that I'm gay?" Naruto said getting serious again. Sasuke smiled.

"Well duh. I've known you my whole life Naru; of course I knew you were gay! You know I'm gay too, I swear I got it from Itachi but there it is. Now what were you saying?" Sasuke said playing with a lock of Naruto's hair.

"Ack, get off me perv, this can be classed as molesting!" Naruto cried flicking off Sasuke's hand. Sasuke chuckled.

"You love it. So what about Gaara? You into him or somethin?" Sasuke said getting serious.

"Well…hai. I have been ever since he came to school." Naruto admitted. Sasuke nodded like this was old news.

"I thought so. I mean, you draw everyone you meet at least once, but I thought something was going on when all your art projects were him." Sasuke said.

"And you too," Naruto protested. "Yeah but not as often as Gaara. Tell the truth though, you still love me yeah?" Sasuke asked giving him puppy dog eyes.

Naruto laughed. "'Course I do, can you still love someone whose heart belongs to another?" he joked.

"Of course my little Naru-chan. Besides, I'll always have a place in your heart, just for me…right?" for once Sasuke looked uncertain.

"Duh, you're my best friend! Just as long as you save a piece of your heart for me too." Naruto grinned.

"Well that's a promise I can keep. So, about Gaara…you sure about him? He's seems kinda…" he searched for the right word, "standoffish."

Naruto laughed with grim humour, "That's putting it mildly." He muttered. "But he's just…I dunno…different, ya know? There's something about him…I don't even know." Naruto blushed.

"Hey, if you fell in love with him he's gotta be something special but, I swear, if he ever hurts my little brother, and I don't care how much the guy terrifies the shit outta me, I will murder him in his sleep." Sasuke said.

Naruto hugged Sasuke. "Thanks Sasuke. And I'm only younger than you by four months," He said into his hair.

"I'm still older. Now get down on your knees and worship your older brother," Sasuke smirked.

"Egotistical much?" Naruto grinned.

"It's late, you should get home. I'll see you at school tomorrow." Sasuke hugged him once more before Naruto waved goodbye and went home.

"If that guy has any brains, he will worship Naruto. And if he tries to hurt my little brother I will kill him," Sasuke murmured to himself.

Naruto and him were like family, and no one hurt his family, especially after what had happen to their own familles.

And if they did, they would pay.

That was a promise.

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Naruto couldn't sleep from thinking of Gaara that night, and so when he woke up and saw he was ten minutes late for school, he panicked.

Throwing on a blue T-shirt and his sleeveless orange jacket, he put on jeans and sneakers, adjusted the quartz crystal on his necklace, and ran to school.

He took his skateboard to be faster, with his bag slung over one arm and his sketchpad under his other he skated through the back alleys to school.

He threw the doors open to find he was thirty minutes late.

"Mr. Uzumaki, will you kindly get to school on time for once? One would think you enjoy detention." Kakashi-sensei said lazily.

Several students giggled. "He only does it to make an entrance, stupid git!" Kiba shouted, making his friends laugh.

Naruto blushed beet red when he saw Gaara looking at him intently.

"Oi! Insult him once more and I'll make sure you never use that smartass mouth of yours again asshole!" Sasuke growled angrily. That shut Kiba up.

No one in their right mind would pick a fight with Sasuke Uchiha. Especially if it was over Naruto. He'd always been protective with Naruto, everyone knew that.

Naruto sat down sheepishly and was granted an encouraging smile from Sasuke.

"They're jealous." He said lowly. "Of what?" Naruto asked sceptically.

"Of the fact that you're my number one. You know Kiba's been trying to get cool by befriending me. He can't stand the fact that you're cooler than him."

It was meant to be encouraging, but to Naruto it sounded like he was only something because he knew Sasuke.

Sasuke must've realised this for he clamped a hand over his mouth. "Oh. I'm sorry." He said looking down, looking apologetic.

"S'okay, I know what you were trying to say. S'not like I care what he thinks anyways," Naruto said waving his hand dismissively.

After that the lesson went by uneventfully. When the lunch bell rang (Naruto was so late he missed first class) Naruto took his time packing up.

When he stood, a voice behind him nearly made him faint. "You're bleeding." Naruto turned to see Gaara staring down at his leg.

(Not in a perverted way people! Sheesh. To those who thought of that in a wrong way, get your minds out of the gutter!)

Naruto followed his gaze and found that he was indeed bleeding. "Must've hit something when I came to school." He muttered.

"I'll take you to the nurse," Gaara said. Naruto looked back up, had he heard that right? "You'll uh…what?" he stuttered.

"Do you wish to keep bleeding everywhere?" Gaara asked raising an invisible eyebrow.

Naruto shook his head, and unable to argue with the red head, he followed him, throwing Sasuke a slightly panicked look as he did so.

They walked in silence, Naruto limping slightly. He hadn't noticed the pain until Gaara pointed out the fact that he was bleeding. Damn Gaara.

Suddenly Gaara's eyes shifted to him and his head moved an inch to face him. "I make you uncomfortable." He stated.

"Huh? Oh, no Gaara you just, kinda…uh…" Naruto trailed off blushing.

"Freak you out?" Gaara supplied.

"Uh, no, not that. More like…nervous." Naruto said.

"Nervous." The question sounded more like a statement, and Naruto didn't know whether to answer or not. He decided not to.

Gaara turned back to the front and Naruto felt a little less uneasy. They got to the nurse's office after what seemed like years.

"Hey baa-chan!" Naruto grinned as they entered.

"Brat! Don't call me old!" Nurse Tsunade glared, Naruto paled slightly.

"Naruto has injured himself miss, he's bleeding." Gaara said out of the blue.

Two things stunned Naruto – one: Gaara had called him by his first name. Two: he was really polite to other people.

And did he already mention that Gaara never spoke?

"Ah yes, let's see here, you've done quite a bit of damage to that leg Naruto, what did you do?" Tsunade asked.

"I have no idea baa-chan. I think I hit it on the way to school or something, I was in a hurry." Naruto muttered.

"Well, roll up your jeans and I'll put a bandage on it after I've cleaned it up." Tsunade said.

Naruto obeyed and sat down while Tsunade cleaned his wound. He winced every time it stung.

He was surprised that Gaara waited for him, like they'd been friends for years or something.

Surprised yes, but not bothered by it. Quite pleased actually. Though confused. Very confused. Forgetting his random inner conflict of feelings, he sighed.

He had already resigned himself for always looking like an idiot around Gaara, so being injured without even knowing wasn't really that bad.

At least it got Gaara's attention. That was worth a wound. And yes, you're right, Naruto quite possibly is insane.

When he was done he rolled his jeans back down, and walked out with Gaara. "Thanks baa-chan!" Naruto called.

"Shut up brat!" Tsunade screamed. Naruto laughed.

After a long pause Gaara said. "Should you really call her old like that?"

Naruto grinned. "I don't really mean it, it's a joke with us, like when she calls me brat. That's my godmother anyways, my godfather's an author who travels a lot."

He mentally hit himself for saying that. Gaara doesn't care about your personal life you idiot! Why don't you shut up!

"Do you see him very often?" Gaara asked. Naruto's eyes widened in shock, it was a few seconds before he could answer.

"Uh, no not really. He comes by to celebrate a new book being finished but other than that I don't see him. And of course baa-chan lives all the way across town so I only see her when I'm injured, which is like, a lot of the time." He finished lamely.

Gaara tilted his head to one side, "Yes I did notice that. You have a knack for getting hurt," he said.

His voice held a smile, unfortunately his face didn't. Damn it!

"Hehehe! Yeah I'm pretty clumsy." Naruto said scratching the back of his neck nervously.

He saw Sasuke looking at them weirdly and was torn between sitting with him and continuing his conversation with Gaara.

"Um, d'you wanna sit with us? I noticed you sit by yourself all the time," Naruto asked.

"Oh, no. I'm fine, I don't mind sitting by myself." Gaara said emotionlessly, looking out the doors.

"Oh okay. Well, if you ever want to sit with us, don't hesitate kay? Bye Gaara." Naruto went off to sit with Sasuke.

What was I saying? As if Gaara would ever want to sit with a douche like me!

"Hey, you okay Naruto? Your face is red." Sasuke said as he sat down.

"Huh? Oh, yeah I'm fine." Naruto said. Sasuke sighed.

"You so distracted lately Naru, is it that Gaara kid again?" he said.

Naruto nodded solemnly, realising he hadn't packed any lunch in his rush to get to school. His stomach rumbled in response to that realisation.

"Shut up stomach who asked ya?" Naruto said angrily. Sasuke laughed.

"Here, I packed two lunches coz I figured you'd forget yours." Sasuke grinned giving Naruto his food.

"Sasuke I love you! What would I do without you?" Naruto exclaimed.

"Crash and burn," Sasuke grinned.

He sighed when he saw Naruto's eyes travel back to the red head, who was siting under a tree, not eating, just glaring at the ground with his arms folded.

He wondered why Naruto liked him so much. He seemed perfectly dangerous to Sasuke.

"Hmm…I'm gonna go sketch, wanna come?" Naruto asked.

Sasuke nodded and they got up, they went outside and sat on a sunny patch of grass a little ways down from the red head, Naruto pulled out his sketchpad, Sasuke his ipod.

"Lie back, I wanna sketch you." Naruto said. Sasuke raised an eyebrow but did as he was told, closing his eyes and folded his arms behind his head as he did so.

"Why do you wanna draw me when you've got that red head?" Sasuke mumbled, a little hurtfully.

"Ssh! He could hear you! And anyways, I always sketch you." Naruto said.

"Not lately, not like when you first got into sketching, you were always asking me to pose for you. I miss that," Sasuke muttered opening his eyes to stare at the sky.

Naruto ducked his head guiltily. "Yeah, that's sorta why I'm doing this. Besides, I've got a little too much red in my book; I'd like a little blue."

Sasuke grinned at this.

"And also, you have a great face. You could be a model, you have the potential, take it from an artist." Naruto added.

He didn't notice the embarrassed blush the came and went on Sasuke's face. "Shut up," he said.

"No seriously you have beautiful features, trust me it's a honour to sketch you dear sir. I like your eyes best myself, but Ino insists your hair is best."

Sasuke grinned. "Yeah she would, she's so obsessed with her own hair. And anyway my eyes don't even have colour, they're retarded." He said.

"No they're not, they're gorgeous, believe me they're beautiful. Hey remember when we were little and we used to have staring contests?" Naruto said changing subject.

Sasuke, fighting down a bark of laughter, nodded slightly. "I kept winning coz you kept cracking up." He said.

"Hehe, yeah they were good times. I wish I had your ability to look cool in whatever you do. Like, even when you threaten people you look cool, I just look pathetic." Naruto said sketching rapidly.

Both were unaware of two sea-foam eyes trained on them, every word they uttered being overheard.

"No you don't, you just lack the Uchiha grace. Uchiha's do everything right it's a fact." Sasuke said.

"Yeah, yeah I know I know, dead annoying really, now stop talking you're making it impossible for me to draw your face." Naruto said.

Sasuke stayed quiet until Naruto finished, plopping down next to him to stare at the sky. "Whadda think?" he asked holding up his work.

Of course it was perfect, Naruto's sketches always were. Every detail was captured, even the light freckles on Sasuke's nose that no one else would ever see.

"Perfect, as usual." Sasuke answered. Naruto blushed, "You always say that," he said.

"That's coz it's true. Come on Naruto your sketches are brilliant and you know it. You know Deidara-sensei talks about your talent all the time in class." Sasuke said.

"Only coz he knows me through you." Naruto insisted. Sasuke rolled his eyes. "Whatever." He muttered.

The bell rang and the pair reluctantly dragged themselves to history. At least the one good thing about being late is the day goes quickly.

The bad thing is you get after school detention.

"I'd wait for you but…Sasori is gonna be in town tonight and I haven't seen him in weeks so…" Sasuke started.

"S'okay, your guardian's more important, I'll call you when I get home." Naruto said going off to detention.

"Okay." Sasuke said and headed home.

)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Naruto groaned loudly once he was allowed to go home, an hour and a half of detention with Ino was enough to ruin anyone's day, their whole year even.

After going to his locker and grabbing his stuff, he wandered down the hall towards the exit. All of a sudden he heard sweet music coming from the drama room.

Who would still be here this late after school? Naruto wondered. The sound was coming from a violin, and it had to be the single most beautiful sound he'd ever heard.

Well, apart from Gaara's voice, that voice sent shivers up his spine. He poked his head through the door to the classroom and had to contain a gasp.

There Gaara stood in front of a music stand, flipping the page, creating a pause in the beautiful music.

He began to play again, closing his eyes and losing himself in the melody. Naruto could have sworn he saw a ghost of a smile on Gaara's face while he played.

Or at least a look of contentment

Gaara looked peaceful, more so than Naruto had ever seen him. He realised he was staring but couldn't tear his eyes from the red haired angel in front of him.

Naruto fumbled for his sketchpad, but before he could get it out, Gaara's eyes snapped open and he turned to look at him.

Crouched by the door as he was, Naruto wondered fearfully what conclusions Gaara would come up with.

"Were you spying on me Uzumaki?" he demanded coldly. Naruto flinched at the tone. He shook his head.

"No I was… I kinda, well now that you mention it…yeah I probably was spying…but would that be what I was doing? What was I doing? Uh…"

He trailed off as he realised how ridiculous he must've sounded. He looked up at Gaara, who sighed as if exhausted. "You talk too much." He said quietly.

He hooked the violin under his chin once again and raised to bow to play. "If you're going to watch me you might as well get off the ground and come in," he said.

Naruto gulped and hurried to do what Gaara said. He took a seat by the piano, which was close enough to Gaara for him to be able to draw him, and waited.

Gaara took a deep breath, as if reluctant to continue knowing someone was watching him. "Stage fright?" Naruto asked softly with a smile.

The red head looked at him, and nodded. "It's not everyday someone takes an interest in my music. I've never preformed in front of anyone before." He admitted.

"You're really good, you shouldn't be worried about that. Um, Gaara, do you mind if I uh…draw you while you do that?" Naruto asked blushing furiously.

"What?" Gaara's eyes widened to the size of quarters at Naruto's request. "Why would you want to draw someone like me?" he mumbled look away.

"Well, the thing is, now don't freak out or anything, and you can hate me for this I know I wouldn't blame you it is pretty creepy I suppose considering we don't really know each other but –"

"Naruto."

He broke off his babbling at Gaara's voice, he looked up and gasped at how close Gaara's face was.

His own face grew hot as those piercing green eyes stared down into his own blue ones. "You talk too much." Gaara whispered.

Gaara's breath whisked over Naruto's skin and he shivered, fighting the urge to lean in and kiss the red head he stared into Gaara's eyes like they were his lifelines.

"Sorry. I do that when I'm nervous." Naruto said quietly.

"So I do make you nervous," Gaara leaned back, allowing Naruto to start breathing again (even though he couldn't even remember when he stopped breathing)

"A little." Naruto admitted, face still as hot as an oven.

"Is it because you are afraid of me?" Gaara asked casually, beginning to play quietly as he waited for Naruto's answer.

"No. Why would I be?" Naruto answered as he got out his sketchbook. Gaara didn't protest so Naruto took that as a sign he was allowed to draw him.

As he began the rough sketch Gaara switched tunes. This new one was unfamiliar and soft, reminding Naruto of angels for some reason.

"You must have heard the rumours, kind of hard not to in this school I've noticed." Gaara murmured as his eyes remained fixed on the music sheets in front of him.

Naruto noticed his eyes weren't moving. So he wasn't playing the music from the sheets, but he must've known the song off by heart to do that without music.

Perhaps it was an original?

"Well yeah but like I've always said, never judge someone before you get to know them. The rumours could have been true for all I knew, but it didn't really matter to me." Naruto replied.

"Would it matter if they were?" Gaara asked.

Naruto's blood froze. What was Gaara saying? He looked up to see Gaara's eyes boring into his own, never breaking the tune he was playing.

"No. It wouldn't matter to me," he said after a while. Gaara seemed taken aback, this was obviously not the answer he was expecting.

"I see." Was all he said before returning his eyes back to the music sheets.

Soon, Naruto was finished adding colour to his drawing and Gaara's sweet music stopped when he put his book down.

"May I see that?" he asked packing away his violin.

"Uhm…sure, no problem." Naruto said flicking to the page he was drawing on, hoping Gaara wouldn't notice all the other drawings of him.

He did.

"Are they…they're all of me…?" Gaara murmured as he pried the book from Naruto's grip, flipping through the pages slowly, analysing every drawing.

"Uh, yeah, that book is. I've got a lot more at home, some of them are full of Sasuke, others are of nature and stuff like that, but…"

He trailed off, turning instantly shy.

"But…?" Gaara encouraged. Naruto ducked his head. "But I have more of you. I think about three books worth now," he admitted.

His voice was muffled because he had his face buried into his hands but Gaara still heard it nonetheless.

"…" Gaara flipped another page, the drawing of him crying, and then the picture of him scared.

"You have good memory." He muttered. "…That's a nice one. I think I've found my favourite."

Naruto looked up to see Gaara looking at the picture of him playing the violin.

Naruto smiled, "Yeah I like that one too." He said. Gaara handed him back his sketchpad.

"Why do you draw me so much?" he asked. He sounded nothing but curious. Innocently curious, a tone that made Naruto want to smile.

"Well, I've kinda…mphghugh…ever since you came," he mumbled.

"I didn't hear that." Gaara said.

"I said I've kinda…mphghugh…since you came," Naruto repeated closing his eyes.

"Still didn't hear you," Gaara said impatiently.

"Argh, damn it all! Alright, alright, I love you!" Naruto said loudly opening his eyes to look at Gaara's shocked expression.

"Ever since you came here I've loved you, I've wanted to approach you for the longest time but I didn't know how and I was scared you'd push me away,"

"You…no…" Gaara looked away, "You wouldn't think that if you knew me. If you really knew me."

"What do you mean? Of course I would, it doesn't matter to me whatever you may have done before or who you really are, I'd always love you no matter what!"

"You won't say that when you find out. Don't make promises before you hear the truth that's all I ask." Gaara said.

He sounded so terrible, Naruto shut up and listened.

"I killed my mother at birth, I took her life to secure mine, I was a murderer before I even entered this world. When I was seven, I killed my uncle, and three other nameless people when I was thirteen. I'm a killer, unworthy of love or respect, and it should stay that way. I'm a cold-hearted monster, I do not know how to love, and someone like me could never love you back, so you shouldn't waste your time on me…" Gaara came to a shuddering stop before he realised he was crying.

So he was surprised therefore, when he felt Naruto pull his body into his arms. Gaara stiffened, unaccustomed to human contact, then slowly relaxed.

"How can you stay there, knowing what I've done?" Gaara asked desperately.

He was afraid. Afraid he would hurt Naruto, afraid of why he even cared, afraid that Naruto could hurt him should he choose, afraid of what he was feeling.

Was this love?

"I told you. It doesn't matter to me, I still love you, and I promise you I won't ever hurt you, or leave you, I'll stay by your side all the time, no matter what. I will protect you Gaara, I will never stop loving you." Naruto said into Gaara's neck.

Gaara shuddered as Naruto's breath ran across his exposed skin.

"I don't believe you would kill those people for no reason, you're just trying to make it sound like you would, you must have had a reason." Naruto said letting go of Gaara.

"…You're right about that. My uncle had tried to kill me, and being seven I didn't really understand what was going on, before I knew it he was dead on the ground and I was holding the very gun he'd tried to kill me with. And the three other men were trying to rape my sister, by then I knew how to use a knife with gruesome accuracy, I killed them in their sleep." Gaara said looking at his shaky hands.

"I knew you were a good person. You were just protecting yourself, and your sister. See? You're not as bas as you think," Naruto said smiling.

Gaara looked up, "You think so?" He asked, not believing what he was hearing. "I know so. Now we'd better get going, I'll walk you home." Naruto said.

They got up and walked home together, Naruto talking about his life since Gaara had already talked about his.

Gaara told Naruto that his father didn't like him and how Kankuro and Temari hated and feared him for killing their uncle.

Naruto told Gaara how everyone in Konoha hated him for no apparent reason, and how he was beaten a lot before Sasuke had befriended him.

"This is my house," Gaara said stopping at a small white house on the corner, it was very near Naruto's, in fact his apartment could be seen from the street.

"Hey this is near my place! See that apartment block over there? I live on the second floor. No one lives on the third floor and the people who live downstairs are always away so I have the place to myself. Come and see me sometime yeah? You're welcome anytime of day or night, if you need me just come knocking." Naruto said cheerfully.

Gaara nodded. "I will." He promised.

"I'll see you at school tomorrow. Oh, and Gaara?" Naruto asked.

"Yes?" Gaara said looking back.

"Can we go somewhere tomorrow afternoon? I'd like to sketch you for that art project and I have just the place to do it," Naruto said.

"…Of course. I'll meet you at the gates." Gaara said, his lip twitched upwards slightly as he walked into his house, watching Naruto walk to his home.

Why not give this love a chance? He might even like it, he certainly liked Naruto.

'Do I…love him? Is that what this feeling is? I…. like it,' Gaara thought to himself going into his home.

The lights were suddenly flicked on, and Gaara turned in horror to see his father standing behind him.

"And who…was that Gaara?" he asked menacingly.

"Uh…no one sir, just a kid from school," Gaara replied.

"Just a kid? Looked like you pretty chummy to me, you haven't been telling him tales about me have you?"

"N-no sir, I swear, he doesn't even know my name he just ran into me and followed me, I tried to ward him off but he kept following me." Gaara stuttered.

"I see. Do I need to deal with him then?"

"No sir I can handle him,"

"Hmm. We'll see, and I don't want you telling anyone about our little, misunderstandings you hear me? And don't make any friends,"

Gaara's gaze hardened, then he quickly corrected his mistake, but it was too late.

"Are you sassing me boy?" his father demanded.

"No father I swear –"

But he was cut off with a backhand. "Do not call me that!"

"I'm sorry sir, I didn't mean to!"

But his pleas fell on deaf ears, and two hours later, Gaara was battered, bruised, and bloody.

It was well into the night when Gaara packed a bag and jumped onto the roof. He thought about going to Naruto for help, he said he was welcome anytime.

Should he get Naruto involved in this? He really didn't want to see the blonde hurt, but surely if no one knew about it then…

Without thinking about it further Gaara rushed to Naruto's apartment. He knocked on the door and prayed the blonde would be awake.

The door opened and a fuzzy-eyed Naruto appeared.

"Can I please stay here tonight?" Gaara asked.

"Gaara? Of course you can, come in, what happened to you?" Naruto said taking in Gaara's appearance.

He took Gaara into the kitchen and made him some coffee to calm him down.

"You okay?" he asked. Gaara sipped at his caffeine and nodded, he actually felt a lot better now that Naruto was with him.

"What happened?" he asked.

"My…father saw you walking with me and…he didn't like it," Gaara admitted.

Naruto's gaze hardened. "So this guy does to you often? Is that why you come to school with blood on you all the time?" he asked.

Gaara sighed and put down his coffee, he nodded.

Naruto's anger flashed through his eyes and for a moment even Gaara was scared, then told himself not to be ridiculous and calmed down.

"Why don't you go to the police about that?"

"I've tried. No one will believe me, my father has told the local authorities that I have mental problems, so they think it's all in my head. I tried showing them the bruises but they believed I'd just fallen down. Besides, even if someone did believe and put him away, he'd be after as soon as he got out, maybe even mu siblings too." Gaara said.

"…Do you have mental problems? I wouldn't think they'd believe that without checking," Naruto asked.

Gaara looked down. "I take anti-depressants and tablets for stress. It leaves me with no appetite and insomnia but it works fairly well."

"And this of course was caused by your father?"

Gaara sighed. That was a yes to Naruto.

Naruto got up and placed his hands on Gaara's shoulders, forcing him to look into his blue eyes directly.

"Gaara, I'm gonna get you away from that, but you gotta trust me." Naruto said seriously.

Gaara swallowed. He didn't like the look in Naruto's eyes.

To be continued…