While reading this, it may be a good idea to listen to Room of Angel by Silent Hill was it...--;; I forgot their name. But, it's a song that fits the...'mood'...Enjoy.



He had never protected anyone other than himself, and just barely a year ago, had taken a dying soul under his wing and shielded her from hurt. He didn't think why he'd done it, but he suspected a reason why he had. Memories of the past resurfaced as he stared down at a soft, naked pale shoulder, his mouth against a slim neck decorated with dark blue colored hair.

She'd pleaded with him.

A small band of assassins, four of them, had cornered her and she was bleeding from her shoulder, blood dribbling out of her mouth and she was panting out of over exertion and fear. He could smell the terror and sweat and blood on her. He'd crossed their path merely because he'd heard sounds of fighting going on and was curious. He remembered her from the Chuunin exams when her family member had seemed bent on killing her; it had been the same opalescent eyes with the same bloodline glare that made the veins in her temples pulse almost terrifyingly.

The assassins, he duly noted had many sore spots, some shifting due to aches and one looked like his left arm was completely useless, hanging lifeless.

Her eyes, full of fear had turned to him and widened a little more, terror reaching to her eyes' depths at the mere sight of him. He knew what she was thinking, could smell it on her, see it on her face, I'm surrounded by devils and demons…

Which was the lesser of two evils?

Sabaku no Gaara, terror of the sands, nightmare of all dreams and dream of all nightmares, or a bunch of nameless clingy death imps? Her eyes turned back to the men and he could've smirked, but his eyes only widened a fraction when her hands clenched and she coughed out blood between her lips.

Tch. He should've known; she knew what exactly he was capable of from the exams, his constant need for blood and thrill of tore flesh and pained screams.

She whimpered and he heard it. He bet she had a pleasant and quiet voice, unlike his own rough and commanding one.

Opal eyes that had angry red bloodshot eyes turned to him again, "P-please, h-h-help…"

Gaara's eyes flew wide open, grey green irises shrinking. She was asking for his help? His help? When had he been considered the lesser of two evils? Ever? When…had anyone ever turned to him with a pleading eye other than those he killed, begging for mercy of a different kind than the weakling before him was asking for?

Since when was he ever considered something other than a killer?

"Please!" it was a soft and dying cry; blood dripped from her lips and flowed from her shoulder. He studied her slight form and the assassins, knowing full well that this was Gaara made no sudden moves, until he was gone at least stayed still for the time being. She was small, her body tiny and frail looking, yet took a brutal beating, bruises, cuts and several burns covered her. Her eyes were opal and almost warm looking; soft and slowly dying, like her body and yet contradicting, to the harsh glare that gave an air of never ending persistence against the odds like her soul.

He stopped analyzing her and his eyes stayed on her own eyes, Byakugan having faded due to exhaustion. He liked opal.

Sand seeped out of the gourd and in a matter of moments, covered the screams of the horrified assassins, muffling the sounds of bones breaking and being crushed. Shukaku laughed harshly and drank their blood greedily as it seeped into the sand. He was strangely silent when Gaara threw the unconscious girl over his shoulder and walked to the nearest hospital.



Her wounds had been treated to and he towered over her petite frame, now looking frailer in a hospital bed. Her breathing was calm as she slept; she saw him enter the room earlier and gave him a weak and awkward smile while he only slouched against the wall opposite of her, staring at the opal eyes. She poked her finger together and struggled to strike a conversation and only came up with, "I…erg...um…uh…I…arg…uh…"

"I make you nervous." It wasn't a question or a command, merely a blank statement of the obvious, hoping to make her shut up or more at ease; whichever. Her head bobbed hesitantly and the opal dodged away. "Look at the person you're talking to, it's a sign of disrespect when you do that. Respect the person who saved your life, Hyuuga." He forgot her name and wanted her opal eyes exposed to him.

She made a small gasp and looked at him in the eye, gulping and instead her gaze when to his shoulder. "T-th-thank y-you, f-f-f-for saving my life, Gaara-san."

"Don't call me that, call me Gaara, I hate additions to my name when one is not familiar with me."

"Ah! So so-sorry!"

He stared and they lapsed into silence, Hinata's eyelids would twitch as she was tired due to heavy painkillers till she finally slumped to one side, neck in an awkward angle that would hurt when she'd awaken. The sand poured out slowly and swamped over the length of her body, sand pulling at her legs till she was lying down once more, sand covering her neck and Shukaku chuckled as he gave a small squeeze, the girl gave a short gasp, before the raccoon demon relinquished his grip a little from a lash from Gaara. The sand rotated her neck into a more comfortable position.

Sand creeped back into the gourd and stirred once in a while.

Gaara hadn't realized how many steps he'd taken towards her till he'd been standing over her ominously, the place where he now stood.

A calloused finger that had been painted with blood so many times before trailed down so softly it wasn't noticeable the side of her face, over the smooth plane of her cheek, across her jaw, down her neck and stopped at her collarbone. He brushed a thumb over the juts of bone. She was soft.

He leaned down at little, her mouth was parted slightly and breath escaped through pale pink. He leaned till his nose was nearly touching her mouth and sniffed. Strawberries and honey, her breath smelled of sweet earthy things with tinges of rain laced within. He sniffed again, inhaling deeply this time. His ear twitched and he looked up, not moving from his place over Hinata when a nurse clad in white opened the door but hadn't entered the room.

"Oh-I-I…erm…I'll come back later-" the sand shut the door silently.

He could still smell strawberries and honey, when he'd been a child, out of hospitality, Temari had given him a tart strawberry covered in honey. His eyes had widened and she'd giggled when he devoured the entire thing quickly, asking for more. "Gaara, strawberries need to be eaten slowly, like this," she took a small bite, allowing the honey to dribble the entire strawberry, turning it. "It tastes better."

He sniffed again and his nose moved, his lips opened and his tongue slithered out, past her own lips and tasted her quickly and withdrew before she could notice. His tongue moved against his teeth. She tasted like sour strawberries balanced out with sweetened honey. Her eyes moved beneath her eyelids rapidly in a nameless dream. He watched her a little longer, till the sun was rising again, barely a hint of grey sunshine. He turned away from her.

He disappeared in grains of sand out her open window. A sand hand reached behind and shut the window.



It had been two weeks since the incident at the hospital and she now stood in front of him all healed and better with a basket that smelled strongly of good cooking. "I-I can't r-r-really pay you back, s-so I m-made you a meal," she finished with a red flush over her cheeks. She held the basket out to him, head ducked down and he stared at the cloth covered basket.

He took it from her fingers and peeked in; the raccoon in him making natural curiosity resurface. Rice balls with pickled plum, sweet rice cakes, shut container of sake, raw salmon wrapped in seaweed with fermented lima beans and fried sweet potatoes. His nose was absently twitching and he glowered at Hinata briefly when she giggled.

"Eat with me." It wasn't a request, and not really a demand, had he demanded it from her she would've been scared a fluttered off like a frightened doe, and requesting was just ridiculous, it more of an offer; yes or no.


He walked away and she followed his sure steps, eyes staring at his broad back and cracked sand gourd.

The next day, it was rumored, whisper, whisper, gossip, having heard it from Ino who'd seen Gaara walking next to the girl and had heard from a nurse she knew he had watched over her, that Gaara had something for the Hyuuga girl and no one but Naruto believed her, though he was happy, big smile and all.



Three months after they had become something of friends, Gaara had gotten a headache.

He winced away from the light and clutched his head desperately, Shukaku howling at the blood spilled on the floor of the house that contained the corpses of the rogue Konoha nin he had assassinated. Gaara's eyes rolled up and he trembled as things began to blur and he couldn't see properly.

Everything pitched into a swirl of dark and cold and numb things.



When Gaara finally did come to, it was because there was a gentle hand pressed to his forehead, warmth coming from it, and fingers through his hair soothingly he noticed he was lying on something soft. His eyes opened to glare at who he knew was the Hyuuga girl. She gasped and stuttered in embarrassment. He was eye level with her stomach-she had lied him on her lap.

She smelled like lavender and lilac. He'd blacked out and he didn't remember what happened and just came out of the Forced Sleep jutsu. He noticed where he was, a hospital and decided not to ask if the reason why they were like this was because they had told her to stay with him to calm and pacify him.

They stayed like that and neither moved and after a while her fingers went through his tangled and messy hair, nails scraping gently at his scalp.

From across the room, his sand stirred and chuckled.

'Look who I brought you to, Gaara? She's even holding you…Like her don't you…Too bad…she has feelings for another, ne…?'

Gaara's eyes narrowed and slid up to meet her own warm, opal ones and she managed a gentle smile for him. For him. She was smiling for him.



When Konoha had officially taken him in from Suna, he had nowhere to stay, and no money. Hinata offered though, through blushes that made her look like a tomato and stutters that rendered her incapable of a real sentence, that he could stay with her, and so he did.

He found that she got up early and made breakfast for two. He never ate his half though and she said nothing, but always set a plate for him for two weeks till he finally sat across her and ate.

Five weeks with living with her, she was quiet and things were unusual between them and he glowered at anyone near her, in what, some of her friends whispered amongst themselves that that would be seen as possessiveness. Naruto waved it off and said Gaara glared at everyone breathing-and some not breathing. Sakura and Ino called him a dumbass.

Gaara stood over her sleeping form, bent to the point his nose was over her lips and he inhaled deeply and exhaled against her face.

Strawberries and honey and sweet earthy things sprinkled with rain. He wondered if anyone had ever tasted that from her, and wondered if she would name them so he could be sure that they, along with that memory would cease to exist.

He inhaled again.



It had been an accident on his part, truly. Walking through the forest to hunt down a 'runaway' Hinata, he came to a small lake with a waterfall and he saw her.

She'd been naked and moved over the water like a dancer, sprinkles of water clung to her hair and skin and the moon shined down on her. She was doing her training on water for flexibilty and speed improving.

Gaara never moved nor made a sound and only stared, eyes wide with Shukaku laughing hoarsely and his fingers occasionally twitching and he heard a muffled gasp of a male. Behind bushes not far from his position in the trees. Hinata flinched and covered herself, running behind the waterfall not far from her clothes.

Sand crept to the two adolescent men, who were gawking stupidly and had begun to taunt her. It covered their mouths first and Gaara picked up her clothing and walked near the waterfall, and dropped the clothes there before turning to walk away.

The sand was sure to muffle any sounds made from the men to near silence as it killed them slowly.



She never mentioned what happened at the waterfall and he didn't care to mention it, but she was grateful for she bought him a large jug of sake, specifically for him.

He stood over her that night, nose nearly against his lips again and he inhaled deeply.

His tongue went past his lips and then her own just to sneak a taste. Tart and sweet. He liked that. He moved away quickly and sniffed her breath again. The sand went around her waist and brushed beneath her breasts almost tenderly before it squeezed harshly for a moment, making the young woman gasp in pain and surprise, and arch up to Gaara, who moved away a little just enough to prevent contact.

His eyes were wide and Shukaku gentled his grip on her, making her go back down quietly, only with a small frown on her eyebrows. He wanted to see her do that again. It wasn't her pain, but merely that it sounded and looked like something else, more carnal.

Shukaku tightened his grip once more and she rose up, lips parted in a pained gasp.

Gaara was grinning and he bent to sniff her breath again all while Shukaku laughed and he leaked back to gourd.



Her grip on his arm didn't loosen and only constricted tighter when they moved through the crowd. Gaara didn't move for anyone and they gave him a reasonable berth, Hinata on the other hand was used to being pushed and shoved in crowds and so clung to Gaara like some sort of parasite so as to not get pushed and shoved.

He didn't put an arm around her shoulder, but pulled her closer with an hand on her hip and kept her close as they made their way to the market.

People of the market stared and Sakura and Ino, who were checking for vegetables and looking at fanciful dresses, saw them, Hinata clinging to Gaara, and Gaara with an arm on her hip, almost shielding her protectively with his tall and broad form.

They, like many other people gaped openly.



They traveled like that comfortably now, Gaara noticed as he trailed fingers over Hinata naked spine. It was only natural he supposed that in a relationship they were to act like this.

Perhaps though, she shouldn't fear him coming home covered in blood not his own when she faces difficulty from people; sexual harassment being one of them. Perhaps though, her friends shouldn't eye him warily and fear to hug her out of his possessive and protective wrath. And perhaps he shouldn't absolutely fear her running from him, though he didn't stalk her every movement and didn't limit her to just spending time with him. Perhaps he should be able to trust other people to care for her a little more though.

His nose went over her mouth and sniffed her breath.

Tart strawberries and sweetened honey and sweet earthy things with freshly fallen rain.

His hand covered a cold breast and from the warmth of his hand, goose skin rose.

He sighed against her back and tucked her to him.

From across the room, sand from his gourd laughed hoarsely.



Fin. Review, leave meh lurve! X)