And The Nights Are Cold.

"If you're not busy this Friday, Sakura, I was thinking that I could take you out. There's this really good restaurant that I go to often, I think that you'll really like it," Hiro, an ashy blond chuchin asked her right after she clocked out of work. Sakura had just started packing her things and getting ready to head home.

"No, I'm sorry Hiro, but I'm already in a serious relationship." Sakura tried to let him down easy; she liked the guy and had to work with him every day. If she was too harsh, it might make their future working relationship a bit on the awkward and on the uncomfortable side.

"Oh, I hadn't known," Hiro said, sounding surprised and a little hurt, "you've never mentioned a significant other."

"I tend to be a little private about that sort of thing," Sakura said, looking a bit embarrassed.

"That's fine. I've just always thought that you were amazing, and I thought that I might as well tell you and take chance. Hey, if you two ever break up, give me a call, ok?"

"Ha ha, sure Hiro, I will," she said, although in her mind she was really thinking, 'Sure, like that will ever happen. It will be a cold day in hell before he ever allows a breakup, and if he did, he would kill any guy that had the guts to approach me afterwards. Of course, while he is overly protective of me and jealous of any male I talk to, I do love him and I don't think that I would be able to just randomly start dating afterwards. Especially someone from work. That's just begging for trouble.'

"I'll see you tomorrow Sakura."

"Bye." And with those parting words Sakura lifted her medical bag and speedily started for the exit. 'I can't wait to get home. I wonder if he's home yet? His mission was supposed to end yesterday, it's already gone over, I hope nothing's happened to him. I worry so much when he takes those A ranked missions. He just doesn't take proper care of himself, and there's so many things that can go wrong…'

Of course this line of thinking lead her nowhere but into frenzied frames of mind about the well being of her lover and the rest of the squad. And that lead to horrible visions of his dead body and other equally terrifying visions. This train of thought occupied her mind all the way home. She unlocked the door and walked into her apartment without sensing the other person in her domain.

"Hey," a voice suddenly cut through the silence

"OH! Gaara! You scared me; I didn't know you were home! Welcome back, I missed you so much. How was your mission? You're a day late Gaara, a WHOLE day! I was so worried about you! Something bad better have happened, otherwise I am not going to be very happy. Do you have any idea the torture you put me through when you accept A ranked missions without a second thought? I know you're strong and intelligent, but I worry about you. And then for you to be late! I was imagining all of the horrible things that could have happened to you!" Sakura was in full harpy mode. She was yelling shrilly, and the neighbors were going to call. Again. She had to sigh at that; the neighbors were always calling about one thing or another. 'We heard ANOTHER disturbance form your apartment last night, if we hear something breaking again, we're going to call the police.' and 'Are you sure you're ok over there? I don't think that you and that boy have a very healthy relationship.' And so on and so forth. It wasn't like she was some normal girl, she was a shinobi! Haruno Sakura could most definitely take care of herself.

So she could admit that Gaara was angry sometimes. Most of the time. And he was violent and cruel. But what do you expect? He's possessed by a demon. But it's not like you can tell that to the neighbors, as if they don't gossip and try to get her kicked out enough. Just think the ruckus THAT would have on them. It would be a 'Bash Sakura's Relationship with Gaara to Smithereens and Get Her Kicked Out of the Apartment Complex Too" day. It would be hell. Pure, unadulterated hell.

"Did you not think that I capable of taking care of the mission?" Gaara asked the question in barely concealed anger. "Do you doubt my skills as a shinobi and as a hunter?"

"No, I don't, but you were late and I miss you when you're gone. We never have time to spend with each other anymore. I'm always at work, and you're always training or accepting missions. I never see you anymore. I miss you. You're gone for days and I'm left all alone. The nights are cold without you Gaara."

"Well, you're not at work, and I'm here right now. Lets make the most of it." Gaara was giving her the 'I'm so sexy, how could you not want to spend a night full of passion with me' look. And of course, he was right, how could she not? But right now, Sakura was pissed. She wasn't even detailed on what the mission was, therefore it was obviously dangerous, and she wasn't given any sort of reason for his tardiness. No way was she just letting him walk all over her like that. He was sleeping on the couch. End of story.

"You don't understand, Gaara. You go out all of the time. You leave Kohana and travel and see things. I'm stuck here all day. And it's not like I have to. I could go on missions, but you ruin it for me by forcing yourself onto the mission also." Sakura could see that Gaara was getting angry. 'Well, let him' she thought to herself 'it's not like anything else penetrates that skull. Time to up the ante.' "Not just that Gaara, but, I don't have to spend the time alone. I choose to because I love you. I could go on dates with other guys and you wouldn't even know because you're on missions all the time."

"What? Have you been seeing other men?" Gaara's voice got louder the more words poured out of his mouth. "Slut. How could you? I've given you every thing." He said as he quickly tried closing the distance between them, only to have her back up until her back hit the wall and he pushed her right on to it, making it hard for her to breathe.

"No, I have not been seeing other people. But I could have. In fact, I was just offered a date to a nice restaurant today." Sakura was scared. Oh she was scared. But she couldn't allow Gaara to see it. So she masked the fear with another layer of insults. "He was cute too, pretty blond hair and a nice smile—"

"You are never to see this boy again. You are mine Sakura, and I will not share with some foolish boy who would dare try to move into my property." He was livid. He woman, the girl he came home to, the girl he loved, was out flirting with other men when he wasn't home. Getting them to ask her out. He would not stand for this. He would show her, her rightful place. He grinned evilly at her and said, "You will not soon forget this Sakura. You are mine. And you always will be." With that being said, he grabbed her by her hair and dragged her into the living room. He threw on the floor and growled down at her. She had scraped her elbow when he had pushed her down and he could smell the blood. He wanted more.

He kicked her and she cried out in pain. She looked up at him full of pain and fear. His Sakura. The woman he loved. The woman who meant everything to him, was scared of him. She was scared of him. It wasn't supposed to be this way. She was supposed to understand him. She was supposed to feel safe in his presence. He was supposed to make her feel safe. He had failed. No wonder she was looking at and flirting with other men. He was a bad boyfriend. He didn't deserve her.

"Sakura…" Her eyes got bigger and filled with tears. "I… I'm… I'm sorry. I didn't mean to…" The tears slipped out of her eyes when she blinked and left salty trails down her face in their wake. "I love you."

"I can't be here right now." She responded in a strangled tone. The tears kept coming.

"What do you mean you can't be here? Where can you be?" He was filling with fear. What if Sakura left him? She couldn't. He needed her.

"I'm… I'm going to Ino's. I'm going to stay there for awhile." She slowly got back up to her feet and started walking to the door. She stopped and without turning around to look at him, said, "Good-bye." She started walking away. His love, his heart. He felt like he was dying. He probably was dying. He ran out the door and leaned over the balcony ledge, "When will you come home?" He yelled down after her.

She looked back up at him and shrugged her shoulders and then started walking away again. Walking out of his life. She would come back though. She said she loved him. If she loved him, she would eventually forgive him and come back, right?

'Ooowww. My stomach hurts so much. I can barely believe he kicked me. And my scalp hurts too. I think my worst pain is my heart. It hurts so much. It hurts just to beat. It hurts to push my blood through. I just need to get to Ino's. She'll make me feel better. She'll open the door and greet me with a Forehead girl joke and I'll call her Ino pig. And everything will be fine. My life won't be so messed up anymore. Her house is just ahead, once we get inside we'll have a good cry together and she'll tell me how I can stay as long as I want.'

Sakura slowly dragged herself through the garden that surrounded Ino's house and up the porch steps. She lifted her arm and knocked on the door. She waited a few seconds, and when she didn't hear anything she knocked again, louder this time. A minute later she was banging on the door shouting "Ino pig! You better answer the door right now before I—"

Suddenly the door was wrenched open and in the open doorway stood a very livid and very naked Ino pig. "Sakura" she said, barely holding on to her rage "What do you want? I am very busy right now, and I don't feel like entertaining you right now."

"I um… I got in a fight with Gaara and I was wondering if I could stay here for a while… But if you're busy, I can come back later… or something." Sakura was blushing. It wasn't as if she hadn't seen Ino naked before, they used to bathe together when they were younger, and they changed in front of each other. But Sakura could see Shikamaru laying on the couch with his head propped on his hand looking at them. He wasn't wearing a shirt. It really was no wonder she was naked.

"Sakura… you get into fights with him all the time. This one probably isn't any different. I really don't know why you put up with his bullshit. He's no good for you. Why don't you just break it off with him? You can do so much better. Look, Naruto still likes you, I'm sure if you even looked at him in a flirting way we would be all over you. Not just him either, there's still Rock Lee, if you can handle his youthfulness, that is. And any number of other guys I don't even know. An old patient that you know, a colleague, or… someone else. You know a lot of nice boys that would love to go out with you. I don't understand why you hurt yourself by being with that sand freak. You haven't been happy in a long time. I seriously think it's time to move on."

"But I… I love…" Sakura started to say but some how couldn't finish.

"Do you? Do you really love him? Or do you just want to be needed by him? He can make it without you. He'll miss you; he'll probably never have another girlfriend. No one else would ever put up with his shit." Ino looked sadly at Sakura. "Everyone knows you're unhappy with him. Everyone knows he hurts you. In all ways a boy can hurt a girl."

"I... He…I am unhappy. I don't… love… him do I? Love isn't supposed to be… like that?" The saddened shinobi looked so depressed and pathetic, Ino took her into her arms.

"It's not so bad Sakura, you haven't made any commitments to him, you can see other people."

"I couldn't… I'm… Gaara… I'm scared."

"Never date a boy who scares you. Also, tell him that you're confused and you want some time alone, away from him, so that you can sort through your feelings. Dump him without him really knowing that you're dumping him."

"Are you allowed to do that?"

"Of course, you know. All's fair and all that jazz."

"I guess. But, um… Can I stay here, after Shikamaru leaves?"

"I love you Sakura, but no."

"No? But why?"

"Shikamaur isn't leaving tonight."


"Go stay at Naruto's."

"I can't. He's a boy."


"He wouldn't let me. Maybe I'll ask Hinata."

"The Hyuga's won't let you stay on their property."

"You're probably right."

"Just go ask Naruto, I guarantee he'll let you stay."

"What if he won't?"

"Go ask Rock Lee." And with that Ino closed the door.

Sakura looked at the door for another minute before lifting her head and finger combing her hair. When she asked Naruto to stay at his house, she wasn't going to look like a victim.

"Of course you can stay at my place Sakura chan!" Naruto all but screamed his pleasure at having her stay.

"Really? I don't want to impose…"

"Nonsense, you could never impose on me. Anything I have is yours too. How long do you think you will stay?" Naruto asked, the happiness impossible to hide, that is, if he was trying to hide it.

"Um. I'm not exactly sure. I got into a fight with Gaara," At this Naruto's mood darkened a bit, "So I really just need to think about our relationship. You see… I don't think I'm in love with him anymore." Sakura was blushing, she had never really talked to Naruto before. Especially about something so serious and personal.

"I see. My home is always open for you Sakura. You can live here with me forever. If you want." Naruto was looking at her hopefully.

"Oh thank you! I don't know if I'll stay here forever. I'll eventually buy my own apartment. But thank you." Sakura smiled graciously, she had no idea that Naruto was to free with his things. She would never just invite people over forever. It had been a huge thing for her to move in with Gaara.

"Should I sleep on the couch? Or?" She asked timidly, she didn't want to seem rude, but she didn't want to sleep on the couch either.

"You can take my bed."

"Oh no. I can't."

"Yes you can, I insist."

"Where will you sleep?"

"The couch."

"I can't allow it. This is your house. And your bed."

"I don't mind."

"I mind."


"Good. I'll take the couch." 'Crap, I didn't really want the couch. I wonder how big his bed is? We could share… No. That is way to forward.

"We could share."

"We could share."

They said in unison.

"Haha. Looks like we had the same idea, eh Sakura chan?

"Oh… yes. Haha."

"Ok. I'll show you my room. Sorry my house is so dirty. It's usually just me here, no one really to clean for, you know?

"Ah. You are a bachelor. It would be weird if your house was clean."

"Haha. True."

He said as he opened a door and ushered her into a dark room. Naruto flipped the light switch and the room was bathed in harsh yellow light. It was filthy.

"I'm going to have to clean this."

"I'm sorry."

"It's fine. I kind of like cleaning. Do you have a wash machine or do you go out for washing clothes?"

"I have a machine. It came with the apartment."

"Nice. I'm going to get started."

"Ok. Um… Do you want me to do something? I could go get groceries."

"Um sure, that would be good. I'll cook us dinner, ok?"

"Ok! That sounds great! What should I pick up?"

"Well, what do you already have?"

"That's still good?"


"I think all my food is expired."

"…That's disgusting."


"Clean out the fridge first. Throw everything out. Even if it still looks good. After that, take some spray and wash out the inside and keep it open when you're done to air it out. In fact, put it outside to air it. We'll go out to dinner tonight. My treat."

"Really? Ramen?"

"Whatever you want… Roomie."

"Haha! Ok Roomie!"

So I decided I was sick of reading fiction that didn't do what I wanted it to do. So I decided to write one. I'm not sure exactly what's going to happen yet. And I'm pretty busy, being in high school and all, so I'm not sure how soon I'll get updates out. But I'm really going to try hard on this. And have longer chapters.