I know, I know! I'm SUPPOSE to be updating other fics, but I had an idea of making this into a small fic like 'Requiem' is about to be.

BlackBelt ( BB-chan ): OH. MY. GEE. I'm sorry for making you wait so long, sweetness. I'll have it done before school lets out, that's for sure! Internet problems and college is getting hectic. Love ya lots!

R&R!!
"Sayonara, Sakura-san!"

"Sayonara!" The medic Nin replied softly as she waved with her free arm; the other was a bit occupied by stacks of documents, files, and scrolls that were covered in protective plastic. Breathing out, Sakura pushed open the entrance reluctantly and was greeted with the rear-end of a horrible storm. She pursed her pouty lips and began her trail back home, sandals trudging through slush and mud; creating footprints on her way. Shishou hasn't returned to her office since last night. She's probably hung-over and moneyless. At the way things are going, I'll be working over-time, once again. Sakura thought with a deep frown and shifted the papers into her other arm, the previous one had become sleepy.

A casual red and white hooded-dress adorned Sakura's slim figure as her feet were cladded in her usual battle sandals; just in case an ambush found its way into Konoha boundaries. You have to be alert, now-a-days. Her Konoha headband hung around her neck leisurely while her pink locks were free to flow and stray away into her view. It seemed like Sakura didn't care too much about her appearance; a definite change from the past when she use to spend hours in front of the mirror, flaunting and preening like no tomorrow. Where had her childish ways gone? Oh yeah, when being a female shinobi became more than just a label to carry around with her and display with uncertain pride. The uncertain part was her second-guessing her capabilities, even knowing herself that she wasn't much to go against in the past.

"Oh! The Chunnin Exam files!" Sakura cried out in realization and couldn't help the thought of strangling herself for forgetting what nearly consumed most of her week's plans, as well as her train of thoughts. Lately, she hasn't been thinking too clearly and easily blamed it on the subject of her attention. Those damn files. It was apparent and evident that she wasn't of the Jounin stage as of yet, but things have been more than chaos with Akatsuki's sudden forceful mannerisms and it caused an uproar of possibilities. Civilians and shinobi, alike, are wondering if the S-criminals had the balls to make their entrance within Konoha boundaries. All in all, Jounin and members of a higher rank needed the most help they could get for these future and upcoming exams while maintaining a cooling attitude whenever they hear news about Akatsuki's next whereabouts.

Naturally, being the kind-hearted person she is capable of being at times, Sakura volunteered in helping sort out and arrange teams. It was harder than she had first thought it to be and while assigning each ninja into a qualified cell, the medic nin couldn't resist the nostalgic feeling relishing her mind when reading the data on every shinobi. She wondered what these people were thinking when they arranged Team Seven years ago. Did they have a thought in their mind? Were they just rushing and put any name together? That couldn't have been if the great troublemaker and prankster nine-tailed holder Naruto had been put on her team. Sasuke the last surviving Uchiha of the massacre, too. What really made her stop and think was wondering just what was in their mind when they placed her on the team. She wasn't special at all, other than the excellent chakra control, which isn't very common but easy to accomplish to her point of view.

When she couldn't find an answer to her thoughts, the medic let it go for now. No use getting distracted by pointless guessing. Yet, it managed to do just that and she allowed herself not to even think about the files of each team she had left on her desk after her shift. What a drag. She thought dreadfully, a moment of Shikamaru's bad traits of laziness surfacing and it only made her entire mood worse. Dragging her restless legs toward the Clinic, once again, Sakura could've swore she saw a glimpse of maroon somewhere to her right, but a quick look behind her clarified that there was nothing there. Only the eye of a very bad storm. Sighing, Sakura started forward, yet soon found her face smacking straight into something bright and plastic, as well as damp. It took all that Sakura could to keep herself from slamming backward into the mush of wet mud and make the footprints of many vanish with her back, but even her all wasn't enough at times.

Then, everything was gray and fading into black.


"Sakura-san?"

What the hell just happen? Oh and why does it feel like I've been doing back-strokes in a large river?

My head hurts…

"Sakura-san."

W-What? Who's that? My eyes fluttered open and it took everything to not scream in surprise or out-right morbid at Naruto's sick attempt of what I'd look like if I tried the Sexy no Jutsu. Really! My eyes aren't that pale of a green and my obnoxiously pink hair isn't that dark to be burgundy. Naruto must be on something recently. This male version of me isn't even suppose to have dark…rims…around his…eyes.

Tattoo, either.

"Sakura, you should know that I'm not rather patient. Get. Up."

Holy hell. That's not me! That's-

"Gaara-san!" As soon as the name blurted out of my mouth, I instantly felt the flow and rush of heat rising to my cheeks and I was evidently blushing from the embarrassment surfacing. Smiling apologetically when he winced from my ear-piercing shriek, I sat up slowly. "Gomenasai." I utterly more softly, even though I already did the damage to his eardrums. I really need to learn some self-control. Yet, he remained emotionless and did nothing to show me that I was forgiven. I was fine with that, having grown use to the treatment for so long. But, the bad habits seemed to be dying by the passing days as a hand was stretched into my view, blocking me from seeing any type of expression on his features and he attempted to be kind for the sake of my apology.

"Oh, thank you." I murmured in surprise and I clasped his hand in my own, not minding the shivers coursing through my arm and the way my own heart rate pulsated into my ears, drowning out the storm's wrath.

"How is your nose?" My…nose? What's wrong with my nose? Come to think of it, it did just started throbbing a few moments ago. "You turned too quickly and ran into what you had forgotten earlier. These are the Chunnin exam files, I assume?" Gaara continued little by little, apparently forcing himself to say more than a mere one-worded sentence to me. It was obviously difficult, yet he sure knew how to talk when he use to be so blood-driven. I nodded politely as he explained to me what had happened after my departure from the Clinic and we were soon walking through the storm, not paying much attention to the crackling of thunder and clashing of lightning. To us, it seemed like it was a bright and sunny day. Does that make us emo? Of course not! I don't think Gaara could be titled as anything alike to emo, seeing as he barely showed any emotions at all. Where was I going with this? Oh, I don't know! However, the fact that my entire form was soaked from head to toe made me realize that I wasn't much to look at from his view, right now. Oh gee.

"Are you here to help with the exams, too?" I questioned when the previous conversation managed to fade into silence, which was a bit unnerving to me, at this moment. Somehow, his voice allowed a piece of security to comfort me and not hearing it's soothing effects on my ears makes me nervous.

"Iie."

I had to blink to keep myself from rudely and bluntly asking him what was his business here. After all, it isn't my business. Naruto had came back some time ago to check up on his 'beloved Sakura-chan' and nag poor old Shishou, then plead for Kakashi and/or Iruka to pay him a fair share of Ichiraku's famous ramen and he would be soon off to train, again. As much as I'd like to think that Naruto's short appearances is enough of him I want to see, I inwardly deny that thought. I cherish every waking moment he comes to visit, even when he awakens me at the crack of freaking dawn in my bedroom just to see my face and say hello before running off to train.

He's really was something I can't seem to let go of within my childhood memories. That kid…correction, man, means the world to me. As he did to Gaara in their own little 'connective' ways. Yet, back to my former thoughts and questions, I wondered 'Why was Gaara here, then?'. Sure, Shishou had asked of him to deliver important documents to her number one apprentice, but he could've left in search of Naruto by now.

Yet, here he was. Walking with me in abnormal silence, something we shared weeks before when he came to me for unexpected company. We talked about the rain's and my own importance, then. It was of personal and hidden meanings in the form of mere weather talk. Kind of weird, right?

"Is it okay for me to come to you?" The way Gaara hesitated during his askance made me slightly soften into goo around him even more. He could be so uncertain and small sometimes behind that façade of certain death and power. He was asking me, was it okay to hang around and come to me in his time of need? Me? Did he want to be my friend? I mean, it might've seemed like we were friends before during the 'Unexpected Company Ordeal', but we were truly only acquaintances linked to one person that led one of us to the other. Me being the other. Him being the one that was led. This was severely new to me. What the hell is happening during these past three years? I'm not complaining, though. I needed his company ever since he left for home after the last ordeal. There was no one that understood me like he did.

Sure, I have friends, but they'd think it silly of me to compare myself to the rain and converse about it in a serious manner. Ino, especially. Naruto would just be confused and try to crack a joke to cheer me up. But, sometimes, I don't want to be cheered up. I want to be down until I allow myself to crawl up into the warmth and security of childish happiness when I feel it's safe to come out. Gaara made feel that it was safe and look at me, now, bright and not a letdown in sight. Woot!

"I don't get it, Gaara," I began slowly, trying to place my thoughts into the form of positive words, yet I find it difficult with him staring at me as if he was prepping himself up for rejection. Shielding up his walls, like his reliable sand, before he thought I could break them. No, I wouldn't dare do that. I am broken myself, at times, and doing it to others only makes me feel worse about myself. Who would want to break the already broken, anyway? Akatsuki, maybe. But, we're off that subject for the rest of the day. "I'm not like you and Naruto. I don't have a bit of understanding of what you're going through like he does with livid detail. I won't be able to give you the right answers if you happen to bring up the devil and-"

"Pain is pain."

Wait, what? Hey, I was giving a speech here! But, what did he mean by that?

"What are you-"

"Pain. Is. Pain." Okay, I'm not stupid. I know what you said! Jeez. I awaited for any continuation or explanation, but I only was given a passive expression. Jerk. Crossing my arms, I sulk as a perfectly good speech was ruined by a cryptic wording by Royal Interrupter Of the Sand over there. However, his lips began to move and I did a victory dance when I was at least given an explanation of his wording. "Pain is pain. It doesn't matter what form or size it takes; how badly it hurts or if it is greater than the other's, I just want to be able to share it with you. Is that okay?"

I was in shock. Not a shell-shocked kind of shock, but a loss-for-words kind of shock. When had he changed so much? And why the hell couldn't Sasuke be this sensitive about his pain and others as well? The man was so driven to believe that no pain was greater than his, mainly because of the massacre and because it was his older brother that caused the mess. But, if you think about it, Gaara's and Naruto's pain is greatest. They were shunned and weren't praised like Sasuke was in the beginning and they didn't have no one to love or be loved by, times have changed and now they are the ones being praised and loved, not him. Sasuke's the one being shunned, now.

"Yes, of course, Gaara-kun." I blurted out after I realized I had left him in suspense while trailing away into my thoughts. I allowed myself to do that a lot, lately. The sternness in his expression had suddenly uplifted and I grinned to lighten up the mood as Naruto would do in times like these.

This…is new.

This…is nice.

…"Hey, Gaara?"

"Aa?"

"The rain has just let up."

…"So soon?" The faintest of smiles appeared on his face.

I'll remember this storm forever...