Summary: What the heck made Gaara so freaking unnerving?
Publish Date: 06-01-12,
Disclaimer: Not my characters.
If there was one thing Sakura had hoped to figure out, it had to be one thing.
What the hell made Gaara so fucking unnerving?
Okay, sure the guy was a former jinchuurki, murderer, and psychopath, and sure he could use a bit of emotional training to learn to express himself, but that was beside the point!
Every time the Kazekage came to their village, Naruto would insist on the guy hanging out with them, and no one else seemed quite as uncomfortable with him as she did.
Okay, that was a lie.
Naruto ignored the guy's weirdness, Lee was oblivious because he was in a league of his own weirdness, Kiba got aggressive and stalked off half the time, Ino called him "intense" and everyone else didn't seem to care.
Gaara had this uncanny manner of staring that seemed like he was paying you the utmost attention and looking through you at the same time. Hinata had nearly had a heart attack when Gaara had blandly asked her if it was true that she had fought Pein for Naruto's sake with that fixed stare on her face. She had been near a dead faint when Neji had coughed and asked Gaara how his siblings were faring as a distraction for the poor girl.
And of course he just had to reply, "They're not dead yet."
And now he was staring at her. Fucking great.
Sakura felt sweat bead on her temple—from the heat dammit, the heat!—and forced a bright smile on her face. "Something wrong, Gaara-san?"
Stare. Stare. "No."
"O-oh, that's nice. I think I'll go get something to drink; would you like something?"
Why are all the hot ones creepy? Inner Sakura wailed mournfully as Sakura made her hasty escape.
Sakura twitched as she bent to open the water cooler, scolding her alter for being so shallow.
Oh you know you like how he looks.
But he's totally creepy and doesn't know the first thing about conversation!
Tch, he probably wouldn't know what to say since you're so nervous around him all the time.
"Oh shut up you," she grumbled aloud.
"I beg your pardon?"
Oh shit. Sakura focuses in and—yep, there's a somewhat bemused Kazekage standing in front of her looking at her with his eyes squinted in an odd manner. She's not quite sure what to make of his expression, but the frown is probably not an indicator of warm fuzzies and happiness.
"A-ah, not you, Gaara-san! I was talking to…my drink!"
Sakura, you idiot! Is that the best you could come up with? Her inner chortled.
Shut up you, this is your fault and you're not making this any better!
Gaara stared at her, his lips giving a brief upward twitch before both his eyes subtly widened. "Are you alright, Haruno-san?"
She waved a hand in front of her face. "Ahah, don't worry about me, I'm fine! Just the heat getting to me!"
The sand nin made a low sound in his throat that she couldn't quite identify. "I see…"
Then a thought occurred to Sakura. "Oh, I thought you weren't thirsty," she half questioned, half stated.
"I changed my mind."
An awkward silence settled over the two as they began walking back to the table, and Sakura found herself sneaking little half-glances at the quiet young man by her side. As he sipped at his cold water bottle, his eyes subtly roamed over the quiet picnic area the rookie nine had chosen to go to for that day.
He didn't really have a bad face, she had to admit. It was lean and angular, with unique red locks that looked just this side of bristly, but the length hinted that it may be softer than it looked. Her fingers were suddenly itching to touch his hair so she wiped one hand on her pants and greedily gulped at her soda with the other.
"So…" she began, sneaking a nervous glance his way. To her surprise, one pale teal eye was locked on her face from the corner of his eye and…fucking hell that was so creepy the way he did that.
Focus, inner Sakura demanded. Cute important guy here, no looking stupid please.
Right, how silly of me to forget I was entertaining the Kaze-freaking-kage.
She cleared her throat and tried again. "So Gaara-san, how are you liking your stay in Konoha so far?"
His eye rotated away from her as he seemed to think that over before it went right back to staring. "It's fine."
Fuck, at least try to work with me here.
Talkative fellow, isn't he?
Her smile was decidedly strained as she crunched her empty soda can in her hand. "That's nice…uh, anything fun you've done this time around?"
This time his entire head turned to face her and she got the full force of both his eyes. Did the guy ever freaking blink? Those damn eyes were so unwavering and the odd dark rings around his eyes—previously thought to be purely Shukaku's influence—only made them look that much more intense.
What was it that made them so…
"No pupils," she blurted, and immediately wanted to smack herself as he halted whatever he was going to say.
Gaara squinted at her and Sakura blinked back before coughing in embarrassment. "Uh, sorry, I just…"
"Haruno-san, am I making you…nervous?"
"What? No! Not at all! You're fine, it's just…uh…"
His head tilted the tiniest bit as he gave her a seemingly flat stare.
"Ok, maybe a little…but it's not because I'm afraid or anything!" she said defensively. Goddammit, why'd he have to be so cute with his head turned like that?
His brow furrowed and his eyes seemed to search her face for a moment before settling once more on her own eyes. "I don't bite," he stated firmly.
Damn, inner Sakura said in disappointment. And here I was hoping for a nice big hickey.
Argh! Nonono! Bad thoughts, stop that!
Psh, you're the one thinking them, I'm just voicing them, silly.
"That's nice to know," Sakura joked as they seated themselves once more.
Her reward was a faint smile and damn if her heart didn't skip a beat at that small upward curve on his lips. "But seriously, it's not a problem with you. You're just…"
Expressionless 99% of the time?
Hard as hell to read?
Damn near impossible to understand?
"…kind of hard to read," she finished lamely.
The muscles around his eyes relaxed a bit, and Sakura realized he'd actually been worried he was doing something wrong. "Ah. Temari often tells me that I should express myself more often because of that."
"I think most of it is your odd appearance," Sakura said, mind going into medic mode in an attempt to solve the puzzle that was Gaara.
"Yeah," she said absently, picking at a splinter in her thumb. "Facial expressions are based on the eyes, the brows, and muscle tension around the face. Most people have eyebrows that exaggerate how their brow muscles are tensed or relaxed, which is a good indicator of stress or calm. When someone is upset or confused, the brow wrinkles and the eyebrows on the brow muscles draw together, while the eyes squint or narrow and the jaw either clenches or their lips purse…and I'm sorry I didn't mean to go off like that Gaara-san," she apologized, glancing up at his quiet attentive look.
Nerd! Inner Sakura screamed.
"No it was an interesting explanation, Haruno-san. It's plain to see you know much about relating with others unlike myself," he said wryly.
Sakura snorted in laughter at the understatement before quickly covering it with a cough. "Well, I noticed earlier that your eyes have no pupils, Gaara-san. The pupils are part of reading people's expressions as well," she said seriously.
"What can you tell by them?" he asked, interrupting her.
"Uh, well. The way they contract and dilate during a conversation indicates emotions a person may be feeling. People can tell if they have your attention by following the direction of your gaze. Not to mention, if they contract, that can indicate dislike, shock, or some other strong emotion. Dilation indicates relaxation, comfort level, and…" she faltered and glanced at him before feeling her cheeks heat and began fiddling with the table. "…it can also be a sign of sexual attraction."
Silence reigned for a moment as he looked at her contemplatively, then Sakura cleared her throat. "It's not a big deal really, just an observation."
"I see," Gaara murmured, his eyes diverting themselves to the other side of the field where Naruto was busy trying to convince Hinata to sit on his shoulders to play chicken against Ino and Kiba.
Awkward silence, Inner Sakura hissed.
Pfft, who the hell are you telling? Sakura hissed back.
Well then say something stupid!
"I think you're ok anyway, Gaara-san."
When he looked at her then, her thoughts immediately derailed from well-meaning and she found herself saying, "And yeah you're totally doable even without needing to send out signals and fuck did I just say that," she wondered aloud. She peeked at Gaara and there was definitely a smirk on his face as his slightly widened eyes took in her embarrassed form.
"Are you saying….you think I'm attractive?"
"Ah, I didn't mean to be blunt or anything I was just…yeah," she finished weakly, hoping the guy was stable enough to not try to knock her block off for admitting to checking him out.
The Kazekage gazed at her contemplatively for a second, and the smirk on his face softened into a genuine if slightly smaller smile. "I find you attractive as well," he admitted.
Sakura nearly fainted.
Still think he's creepy?
We'll just call it sexy-creepy then.
Gaara blinked in alarm at the dazed yet hungry expression on Sakura's face.
Girls could be so creepy sometimes…