I've probably taken the 'mythology' prompt too far, but I've been thinking on this since I first saw it so, take it as it is. I just found some folklore I like and went crazy with it (fiddled is more like). Enjoy. ^_^
Yōsei (bewitching spirit): a Japanese word that is commonly synonymous with the English word fairy, and other well-known folklore.
The fey (regardless of nationality) had a rich culture, in both mythology and verity, but one fairy-tale stood out above all others. The legend: at the beginning of time, the Earth was home only to demons and the animals they preyed upon, but when the fey and humans came along, this caused jealousy among the demons (they were losing control of the world they'd occupied for eons). A baku demon that hated love (and anything to do with it), was said to have ripped apart the souls of the living, tearing each one in two. The curse was a spiteful assault against all those capable of loving another.
The baku was a demon that devoured nightmares, and was long believed to be the source of both human and faery nightmares. His name was Shukaku. And it had been clear from then on, that the separate human and fey worlds were immediately and inexplicably dependant on each other. So the fey would search out their soul mate (whether they were fey or human didn't matter), and passed on the belief like a tradition. They would never be satiated, and never happy (in love), without the other half of their soul. Never complete.
The human world had a similar story and for as long as he could remember, it annoyed him. Gaara didn't need anyone, he didn't care, and no myth from eons before he was even born was going to control his life. He was an yōsei, not a child, intelligent, not stupid, and most definitely not naïve. This belief made him an outcast, and he would never go running back to them. He had his pride.
But, eight years ago, all that had changed – he just didn't realise it then.
Her name reflected her hair, her melodic voice, her unique scent, and the way the surrounding flora had seemed to sway in response to her presence, as though in tune to some unheard of melody. She was the light to his dark, the strawberry to his vanilla, and the sweet to his sour. She was Sakura, a tiny human, but monstrous in her ability to confound him.
And without thinking about it, he returned to their meeting place – a small clearing once alight with a fairy ring mushroom, and now decrepit. He liked places that other fey avoided, and she had walked into it years ago, led astray, but clearly having wandered from her own home anyway.
Gaara stepped once more into the now dead fairy ring, the soft light of the rising sun accenting his semi-lucent body, providing warmth he had only ever craved in solitude. She was already here. Somehow, he knew she would be here. She'd promised, he'd promised, but he'd doubted. And now the human child was a child no longer. She stood tall, her long pink tresses pulled back, out of her face this time, and she wore a dress more fitting to be his mate.
No longer a child…
He hadn't forgotten her, the one that annoyed him and didn't run away when he growled like the beast he was – the beast he pretended to be, at least, to keep others at bay. The last thing he wanted was to be surrounded in frivolity like the rest of his kind and bend to the will of his father, who would have him smile all the time and feast, dance, and make love to random yōsei. Fairy, faery, fey… it didn't matter how their name was spelt or pronounced. He didn't have the same cares as the others.
She'd haunted his dreams, like the baku had intended, teasing him with his own inability to love. It didn't matter that she was human, only that he blamed her for his restless nights. He'd watched her grow up in his mind's eye, like he had been there with her, observing and waiting for her to reach a respectable age before he claimed her. Sakura Haruno was his.
So yes, he remembered her; how could he possibly forget the day that had started his dreams?
The sun was burning crimson, fanning out over the horizon; ribbons of light cut swaths over the evening sky, and as the last ray of light started to fade, Sakura let out a contented sigh. He watched the curious girl as she ambled through his forest, keeping his distance and restraining from becoming invisible, despite the law of their kind – rigid short of the extraordinary. Her thoughts were on something… a missing favourite necklace perhaps.
The musings of a single human child grew tiresome, but at the appearance of a Will O' The Wisp, he grew curious. What was so special about her that this ignus fatuus saw fit to appear so recklessly? They were curious yōsei, leading lost travellers out of the wilds, to their destiny, or sometimes just aimlessly. The flame spirit caught the girl's attention, as was expected, and she stumbled, attempting to follow the light it gave off.
It wasn't far away now… the wisp was leading her somewhere, and Gaara felt a deep foreboding, realising what was nearby. His concerns were proven correct as the wisp stopped moving, now illuminating a ring of fairy mushrooms, long since dead. These places could survive for centuries, but this one had died – he'd heard some dark spirit had "ransacked" it, but his father wouldn't elaborate. He felt at home here, making it his own.
And he felt violated.
What the hell was the ignus fatuus doing? This was his place! It had no right! Away from prying eyes, he'd wanted to build his own hovel for a long time, and even though his family (weren't all fey?) sometimes succeeded in luring him away from it, this place was still the best source of peace he had found to date. This place was perfect.
The wisp flickered, gave a final, low toned hum, its etheric body pulsating vibrantly before disappearing into the dark once more. The momentary flash of light it left behind illuminated the entre hovel and he was caught.
The human child gasped, peering at him, and he felt a surge of panic. He could appear as a troll, or at least something scary enough to make her flee, but her gaze held him. No, he still looked as he always did without the intervention of human perception – like a human teenager, and slightly ethereal. He saw her thoughts now. She thought him an angel.
Gaara scoffed, the illusion broken as he scowled at her. "Go away."
She couldn't have been more than nine human years old, but she just returned the frustrated glare and crossed her arms over her chest. "Make me, mister."
Sakura was not intimidated. He looked like a teenager, as tall as a burnt tree, but not as big as her Otō-san. His clothes were like the ones she saw in her father's story books ‒ the tailor made coat, and tunic, just missing the top hat. Now that she looked closer, he was no angel – he was a fey. This made her smile and he frowned even deeper (if possible) in response.
"How come I can see you?" She'd read that fairies were invisible.
"I wasn't hiding."
Gaara growled. "You're worse than a dakini."
The strange boy hesitated, giving her a weird look. "Never mind." That was the wrong analogy.
Sakura looked around, taking in the sight of the dark mushrooms, twisted trees that lined the area, and several places she thought the light of the wisp had remained (perhaps as another way out, should she wish to flee).
"Why are you here?"
She turned back to the strange yōsei, thinking about the light that had led her here. "What is your name?" She asked.
He grunted childishly. "Gaara."
Sakura grinned. "I'm Sakura, pleased to meet you." She stuck out her hand and he stared at it, confused. "You take my hand in yours," she said, still smiling, "and shake it."
Gingerly, Gaara shifted closer, his eyes trained on the petite hand of the human. She looked like her skin would be soft, so she couldn't hurt him, right? Besides, it wasn't like she was asking him to kiss her. Not that he would. He had no idea why he was humouring her, just that he had lost the desire to scare her away, and was now curious to see if she was part fey – it would explain a lot, though he doubted this was the case.
She was just a strange human who'd wandered into his hovel.
Gaara pursed his lips, reached out toward the offered hand, and poked it sceptically. She giggled and he drew back, snapping his head up to see her beaming at him.
"I won't hurt you silly," she insisted, wiggling her fingers. "Come on, it'll be fine."
When his hand clasped hers, it was cold; she'd heard the fey were warm, even the evil ones.
"You're not a Kitsúne, are you?" She asked, thinking he was more dangerous than he looked.
The boy shook his head, pulling his hand back.
Sakura sighed, relieved. "Good." She bobbed slightly, suddenly excited. "Can I be your girlfriend?"
Gaara stumbled in the middle of moving away; he sat down heavily, but lightly compared to a human at least, the tree he leant against catching his weight. "Huh?"
"Can I be your girlfriend?" She repeated, her green eyes wide with hope. He was so beautiful… her thoughts were clear as day to him on this. This was starting to grate on his nerves again.
"You can't be my girlfriend," he said a moment later.
"Aah! Why not?" She asked, in a whiny voice.
Gaara smirked. "You're too small."
"You're too small," he repeated. "Yōsei can't be boyfriend or girlfriend with small people."
Sakura frowned, her eyes darting to the ground in embarrassment. So, if she were taller, he'd be her boyfriend then? But that meant she had to wait years! He was so much taller than her! She wanted to be his girlfriend now! She groaned, so wrapped up in this conundrum that she didn't see the arrogant smirk of triumph plastered momentarily over his face before her eyes drifted back to him.
"I will be back," she announced. "And when I'm tall like you, I will be your girlfriend."
He shrugged. "Sure."
"So you agree?"
Gaara honestly didn't think they'd meet again. It was impossible for a fey to meet a human again after the first time. "I promise."
Sakura squealed. "Okay!" And then she did something that took him by surprise – she kissed his cheek. If he'd been standing up, she couldn't have, of course, so he mentally slapped himself for letting his guard down around this… child. "Goodbye Gaara; I'll be back!"
The place where her little lips had touched his cheek was now warm, but he ignored it. Gaara snickered once she had left, whispering, "yeah, good luck finding me again."
A human could only find a Yōsei more than once in the mortal's lifetime if they were soul mates, and there was no way that little pipsqueak was the missing half of his very being. Still, she was entertaining, and sweet, and… he shook himself. No, he would not be seeing her again, and that was final. Gaara stared after the human girl as the darkness of the night began to fade away. No… there was nothing special about her, right?
He shook his head slowly and stood up, intent on putting this weird occurrence behind him and forgetting he'd ever met the spirited, fascinating… tiny little human.
"I'm taller now."
"I can see that."
She didn't scowl or frown, as he'd expected, since other than staring at her, he ignored her comment.
"You made a promise," she said instead, walking over to him.
Usually, in this kind of situation, he was the one brimming with confidence… but now that he thought about it, he'd never actually been in this situation before. He'd been propositioned and stalked, but never by someone he was remotely interested in. Almost mechanically, Gaara met her half way. She was still shorter than him, but only by about four centimetres, or two inches – whatever.
"I remember," he whispered.
She smiled; it lit up her face and he continued to stare at her, as though transfixed. "I can be your girlfriend now."
He nodded in response, his fingers now ghosting the outline of her face, his eyes never leaving hers. She was beautiful, a dangerous combination with his sudden desire to feel what she was now politely demanding. She hummed softly, her eyes fluttering closed as his fingers made contact with her cheek. The strange sensation, as Gaara finally touched her, was one of pure bliss. He couldn't describe it with words, but the closest analogy would be like being on fire without burning… or falling without ever crashing to the ground.
"You're beautiful," he said softly, and her eyes flickered open, the happiness on her face reflected on his. "Sakura."
She shivered in anticipation. "And you haven't changed at all, Gaara."
He scoffed lightly, but didn't feel annoyed. "I'm an Yōsei, what did you expect?"
"I thought you were a teenager," she said, her hands now lacing around his torso. "How old are you?"
Gaara pulled her flush against him, revelling in the feel of her. "No more talking."
In a desperate bid to taste her, he lowered his lips to hers without hesitation. It was as if he'd been waiting for this moment his entire life; he'd been making fun of the soul mate principle for as long as he could remember. She moaned against him as he continued to ravish her mouth, and he pulled her out of the dead fairy ring, and into the light.
And if there was one thing Gaara was sure about, it was that he would never doubt the supposed mythology or legends of his people again.