Hey guys! ~ Just another GaaFemNaru story from me. What can I say, gotta spread the love. Hope you enjoy and let me know if I should continue this.

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

Beta'ed by The Dark Crimson Blood, xoxoxoooxoxoxox...

Cool Down My Heat

Chapter 1

The Man in the Mirror

The water was cold. It was ice-cold, but it evaporated when it hit his burning skin. His breathing was heavy, he was short on breath. He was suffocating in this tremendous hotness that made the blood boil inside his veins, and made his heart thump as if it was kept there by force, threating to break through his ribcage. The freezing water showered over him and yet he could feel himself sweating.

Gaara turned off the water and stepped out of the shower, the contact of his bare feet with the cold surface of the bathroom tiles made a short-lived relief shoot through his entire body and it all lasted less than a second before the familiar and oh-so-torturing heat took prevail once again.

A mess of damp red locks reflected in the mirror as Gaara sought out both support and relief by holding onto the sink – short-lived relief, once again, but relief, nonetheless. It would soon go away, he knew, this feeling that made him look back to any fight wounds, even the most severe, with nostalgia. He had been having these "heat attacks" for a few days now, with no warning whatsoever, and it was always the same – heart thumping, head feeling as if it was about to blow, heavy sweating, dizziness… But at the same time he was more aware of his surroundings – he could hear better, see clearer, smell stronger…And that smell among many…That one particular scent

It made him go crazy.

Thump, thump, thump. His heart continued thumping wildly and as if on command, which was most definitely not Gaara's, because he had already deemed that he had completely no control over the reaction.

It started slowing down, and for the first time in a few long, long minutes, Gaara was able to take in a deep, calming breath, and then exhale.

At last.

There was a tentative knock on the door and it opened with a creak. In the reflection of the mirror, a man with purple war paint on his face appeared.

"Konoha is waiting. We gotta get going, Gaara," Kankuro said, meeting his gaze in the reflection. Maybe Gaara had let some kind of desperateness and curiosity shine or reflect in his eyes as if wondering to tell the other or not. Maybe he'd let fatigue show it's unwelcome head, because Kankuro suddenly asked, "Are you all right, Gaara?"

Concern sounded in his voice, but it was successfully outshined by surprise – surprise that Gaara could actually not be all right. Up until now, Gaara had always ignored physical pain and aches, or at least he hadn't shown any visible signs of suffering. That's why the young man didn't go see the medic nins when these sudden heat attacks started in the first place, but the impact of the last one which still had his breath hitching and hands shaking, made him reconsider this. Next time, he promised himself, next time this happens, I'll look for help.

"I'm fine," Gaara told his older brother. His voice sounded chocked. He cleared his throat, "give me a minute," he said and reached to his right to take the towel that was hanging on the ledge to dry himself off, as well as assure the still observing him Kankuro that he was indeed all right. Gaara buried his face in the soft towel and sure enough, after a moment or so, the door clicked shut and he was left with himself once again.

Once his brother had left, Gaara suddenly felt the fatigue that made his muscles go numb. For a moment he wondered how he was going to make it all the way to Konoha in this state. It was always like that, after those attacks. This one had been the worst until now though. And at registering how his skin still radiated heat, he considered the towel unneeded and let it pool onto the floor.

Gaara looked closely at his reflection. He was seventeen years old. He was the Kazekage. Since the invasion from five years ago, he was rather close with his siblings. He had the respect and trust of the villagers and he could have the love of… well, pretty much each and every girl and the occasional boy in the village, should he only accept it. He leaned closer and narrowed his eyes. Stupid girls. What did they like so much about him? What made them squeal and faint at him simply handing them a scroll containing the details of their mission? What? His position? Most probably. His mansion? That could be one of the things. His looks…? He hated his looks, because once they were the looks of a monster. Gaara despised the man in the mirror, he wanted to break it, wanted to hear the sound of it cracking, wanted to punch the mirror and watch the glass shatter to pieces…

And then the face started changing and it took the image of a blonde girl with sun-kissed skin and big blue eyes that could make the oceans jealous…and as Gaara froze with his fist mid-way, he stared wide-eyed, his sudden anger vanished just as suddenly. In his head echoed a scream that would haunt him the rare times he managed to fall asleep.

It was the scream of a beauty being tortured by a beast.

Eating guilt hit him, self-loathing hit him, regret hit him, and along with it all, came heat.