I don't own Naruto.

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"Why aren't you afraid of me?" Gaara's voice was flat and emotionless. He pointed a knife at Naruka.

She was trapped, her arms and legs pinned to a tree by Gaara's sand. Her hazel eyes were calm and clear. They showed no trace of fear.

"What is there to be afraid of?" she asked softly, staring at the ground.

Gaara slipped his knife under her chin, forcing her head up, so she would look at him.

"What is there to be afraid of?" There was a hint of disbelief in his voice. "You can't escape, and I could kill you this very second if I wanted to."

A smile tugged at the corners of Naruka's mouth.

"What are you smiling about?" Gaara ordered the sand to bind her tighter, throwing her head back onto the tree. His knife drew a line across her neck, drinking up the blood.

"That's it," Naruka panted. The sand was making every breath an effort. "You don't want to kill me, or you would've done it earlier, instead of asking me questions." She grinned at him. "Not that I dislike talking to you, but this place wouldn't be my first choice for starting a conversation."

"Joker to the end, aren't you?" He slammed Naruka's head onto the tree again. "Well, you're not getting the last laugh."

A trickle of blood worked its way down the side of her face, reaching out to touch the "No" symbol on her cheekbone. She had lost too much blood during the battle. Even now, she was feeling faint. The fact that sand was squeezing her to death didn't help. Naruka drew in another breath. The world swam in front of her, and she saw darkness smiling, coming up to greet her.

Suddenly, she was free. The sand around her disappeared. Naruka collapsed to the ground, sucking in breath after breath.

"Here," Gaara threw a bottle of water in her direction.

Naruka drank half of it greedily, and then offered it back to him.

"Keep it." His voice was as emotionless as ever.

She nodded, grabbing a branch above to get up. Her knees buckled, and collapsed under her. Naruka tried again, but her legs just didn't seem to want to support her weight.

Gaara smirked at her attempts to get up.

Naruka glared at him, pulling herself up. She got her legs under her, finally standing upright. Slowly, she let go of the branch. Naruka turned to look at Gaara, meaning to smirk at him like he just did. The darkness that had threatened to consume her earlier saw its chance. It rushed up, swallowing her.

Gaara saw her knees buckle, and her eyes close.She started to fall. He stepped forward, catching her.

"So even jokers can faint from blood loss." he murmured in Naruka's ear. He slipped one arm under her knees. He used his other arm to support her back from behind. Carrying her into the forest, he walked away from the bloodstained clearing.

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This is my first fic. I'd like it if you actually reviewed it. glares So review, or else.