Disclaimer: Still don't.

Chapter 4: Personal.

Sakura and her driver were taking their time. She knew by then Sasuke would've figured out she didn't go to work. He had a knack for keeping an eye on her like an expensive asset that begged to be stolen. Well, she'd made a choice today, more human than he thought she was. She looked at the pacing back of the man in front of her. He reminded her so much of what Sasuke was.

Her gaze fell lower.

/Well, he could be better than Sasuke… / She wickedly thought. Her Inner self was agreeing, wanting to touch the mesh on his almost exposed midriff.

"Where's your house?" he asked turning around. Sakura let off a blush from her thoughts, fiddling with her purse.

"I'll give you directions." She insisted, giving him a trivial smile. Those onyx orbs stayed on her for one more minute before he walked around to the driver's side. She let out a sigh and got in. It was a huge empty van built for work purposes. It made her wonder what kind of 'work' this guy did.

-…later that evening…-

The drive had been a silent one. She'd given him simple directions and just waited out the forty minutes it took to get there. Only some strange music had been played to take their minds off the road noise. Sai was bored and Sakura had watched the scenery until she fell asleep against the upholstery. Her purse was between the seats, scooting back and forth when he braked and pressed the gas down.

"Wake up. We're here." His hand shook her awake gently. "I'll find a guard for you later."

"I don't want to be baby-sitted." She argued, moving so he pulled back his hand. Those melancholy eyes stared at her from the driver's seat with a condescending look.

"I've heard that before. But that person can't explain it to you." Those eyes grew a firm harshness. "I'll be back soon, be careful."

"I'll try." She answered weakly, unnerved by everything about him. He turned on the lights and gave her a honk while backing out. She waved and couple of times and went into her own particular vacant dwelling.


She turned on the light, the click echoing through the place. Sakura was truly alone, her folks having died in an accident when she was no more than six. It was rough, practically growing up with no one but visiting family here and there. Letting out a grumpy sound, she started to work on dinner, humming lightly to herself. She was blissfully unaware of the figure watching her from upstairs.

Sakura was spun around, a hand grabbing her chin and jerking her head to the side. "So you did go to that monster…" The deep voice was all too recognizable. He pushed the heating pan off the stove and shoved her hand onto it until she would forever have a spiral scar embedded in her right hand.

Sakura was stifling a scream, knowing it would only push him further. Blood ran down her chin as she bit her lip, tears running profusely from her eyes. But she refused to give him what he wanted. He grabbed her other hand, about to ruin that palm too.

"Sasuke, he just marked me, we didn't do anything!" She cried out, hysterics trying to break up her speaking. He could be an appalling threat when he wanted to, but this was a new level of rage. Pure unadulterated rage, it was making his closed fist and tensed arm shake furiously. Those two granite pupils focused all on her. Joy, she was the main attraction.

"You sick little hussy, how could you go to him when you have me?" It wasn't a good question to answer. He was too self-centered to hear or care for anything she ever said or felt. It was like living with a moving talking wall. One big joyous hateful wall. At the moment, this wall was using his brick like fist to plow in her face, making a bloody mess out of it.

She was trying to guard from those fists, but he pulled down her defense with ease, holding her wrists at her sides. He stared at her, bloody and close to broken. No, Sasuke would break her in a bed, and they both knew it. She wasn't going to get out this easy.

Sai came in through the front door, but Sasuke had backup. He fought off one, but the other had a knife and a really huge snarling canine. It was certainly a bad day for them both indeed. Sai wasn't going to get out easy either.

-…the next day…-

Sakura and Sasuke weren't in school that day. Rumors were that they had skipped to go on a long date together, but Gaara's brain wouldn't buy that lame excuse. He went through the whole day worrying and fretting what Sasuke had done to her. Naruto had sat with him at lunch, watching the redhead's closed fists. His knuckles were pure white through the whole thirty-minute time.

Before school ended, Gaara confronted her friends for her address. Boy was that a mistake. He accused him of corrupting her, or at least trying. He ambled out of the school, wondering what in the world he could do to get to her home. Someone tapped on his shoulder, making him turn.

"Here, make sure Sakura-chan is alright." Naruto grunted, not liking the idea of his crush with this guy, but he was better than that nefarious Sasuke. Gaara watched him walk away to his home. He had a feeling that this kid lived alone from just the hunched posture.

Shaking his head, he hurried to his car and asked around. The house was small, white, and looked like a one-person prison. Knocking, he could hear the sounds echoing back to him. He tried the knob; it opened without effort making his brow furrow. "Sakura…?"

He walked in, shutting the door behind him softly. Maybe someone had come in the night and hurt her? But Sasuke was gone that same day. It would only make sense if a rich man could get the key to your house, or an ideal lock picking set. He didn't see anyone in the living room. Gaara pulled out his own version of a switchblade, an illegal one, but it helped him incase the enemy had a weapon.

Then he heard the music. It was one of his favorite songs too. Now it was getting strange in her house. No girl who had pink in her kitchen would normally listen to that kind of thing. At least not any girls he knew, which was… none. Well, Temari, a new addition to his gang, wasn't girly at all. She was more of a dominant female, and she loved to wrap guys around her finger. No, she was too tough to be girly.

Gaara was at the top of the stairs now, holding his knife in a defensive stance. He found the room with the music and counted to three before he used his foot to bust it open. His brain was so shocked; it was slow to register what was in front of him.

Sakura was tied to the headboard, her head hung. Her face was well swollen and it didn't look like she could open her right eye if she'd wanted to. The pretty face was almost disfigured, but with good attention, she'd only have a few scars. Naked from head to toe, it could've been beautiful to see her like this, except that she had numerous cuts, bruises, and well… She wouldn't be in the mood for quite some time.

He shut and locked the door, since it had opened the first time without it. Wedging the blade into her wooden desk that was in shambles from the struggle, he walked over. His heart let off a pang that made him shudder in pure displeasure. Looking up, he saw the message someone had left.

She's Mine

Well, he was going to have to give this guy a nice beating before putting him out of his misery. He looked back down at his new… girlfriend? Mate? Significant other? Gaara wanted her to be a big part of his life but had no clue where these ideas were coming from. But first thing was first. Trying to untie those knots was difficult. He ended up ripping them apart without hurt her wrists more. It had to be Sasuke, because it was cheap black clothing torn in half and used.

Sakura stirred awake, Gaara was undoing her left hand. The smell of something unreadable was comforting to her. He smelled of something musky, like snakes… "Gaara?"

Her voice was tiny, broken, and strained to his ears. She was trying to smile at him, but only half of her face worked, the rest too swollen. That sweet emerald eye was watching him, trying to show him what little trust she had left was geared toward him. It made him give off an honest smile, which he normally reserved for innocent kids.

"So, should I ask what hurts more?" He smiled, shifting her into a more comfortable position, and covered her up with her sheets, that had been thrown carelessly to the floor during the… 'fight'.

"Everything, inside and out, hurts." Sakura muttered, touching his hand with her own. Their fingers entwined and he noticed that one of her fingers was misshapen, not broken, but popped out of joint. He leaned down and gave her a gentle kiss while he made it right again. Sakura's eyes watered but her sounds were muffled.

"What happened to Sai? I thought he was going to watch you last night…" Gaara watched her brow furrow in confusion. She sat up trembling, her hand gripping the sheet for some modesty.

"He was running to do something, and did come back right when… well, before this happened." She gripped his hand harder. A groan came from her closet. Gaara jumped up and slowly moved over, jerking open the door.

Sai smiled up at him, he wasn't much more beat than Sakura. Gaara helped him up and escorted the limping guy over to the bed. The redhead sighed, running a hand through his loose crimson hair. "What am I going to do with you two?"

"First, get the shower going, or baths. Second, we need food. I feel like I'm going to implode from hunger." Sai laughed, turning onto his side so he could see both of them. Sakura saw something in those two onyx orbs. Painful excitement, he missed it.

"Fine, but no more risks alone. She's coming home with me, and you too. Some bodyguard you are…" Gaara growled. He picked Sai up and took him to a different room so Sakura could collect herself and thoughts.

-…later that night…-

They were cleaned up, fixed up thanks to some medical know-how, and well fed from a quick fast food run. The three of them were on their way to Gaara's place, much to Sakura's… Well, distaste wasn't the word she would use. He had a great home, but it wasn't her home.

They took a sharp right and he had to find a good parking spot. Sai didn't have any clothes with him, and Sakura's car had been taken by one of the other gang members for safety (bombs and such). So he was stuck wearing what Gaara had. Sakura on the other hand, had three bags with her and a pillow. Two bags were for clothes, one for items, and an extra one for personal belongings.

Gaara was rubbing his temples, relaxing back in his immense comfortable chair (which he referred to as the 'Throne'). Sakura was sitting on the couch, wondering what was going to happen next, and trying not to remember Sasuke's cold hands. Sai was sitting next to her, bored as ever and watching tv. He was in some of Gaara's old clothes, which fit him for the time being.

Finally, Gaara looked over at the two. Sakura was uncomfortable; it didn't take rocket science to figure that out. Sai was… well, himself. He sighed and got up, shooing the raven-haired guy off and out of the building, knowing he'd be fine on his own. He then turned back to Sakura, who was sitting rigid in her seat. /Poor girl… time to take her mind off that Uchiha./

She could here him walking back over, and it scared her to death. Her nerves were on the frits from her encounter with her old 'lover'. She had been switching channels when the two men had gone off and it settled on one of the many music video stations. AFI was blaring when he came in and it was almost fitting to hear his footsteps go to the beginning of Miss Murder.

Gaara stopped behind the couch, his hands sliding down to her shoulders. Her adrenaline picked up and she wanted so much to run, scream, hide, anything in this moment to get away from him. She felt his chin come to rest on her shoulder and his hands went down lower to intertwine their fingers. His hair tickled her ear and she bit her lip to keep from giggling or even showing that she was desperate in any way. His breath was scorching hot as his deep voice growled the words.

"Where were we?"

A/N: (Hope you all liked it! I've been slow due to school and my senior year, so forgive me if it takes a week or two. More coming soon.)