A/N: Hiya!

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. You know it, I know it, let's move on.


Gaara winced at Takira's reaction. Temari and Kankuro had been gentle in their revelation. They had been called back to Suna and refused to take either him or Takira with them.

He could see the clever deviousness in their decision. Takira would be unable to find her way back to the village; the shifting sands of the desert confusing to even the most experienced of ninjas. Gaara would likewise not be incapable of leading them, for they had oh-so-cleverly knocked him out. They could have five miles away from the Leaf Village (though he sincerely doubted that they were), and he would not have known any better. They were stuck there for however long his siblings chose to be gone.

Takira was still cursing at Temari and Kankuro long after they had run away; taking with them half of the items that had been packed. When she finally seemed to be satisfied that her cursing had somehow made an effect, she calmed and took a deep breath.

"Want to try to track them?" she asked Gaara.

Gaara shook his head. "Watch the dunes," he said simply.

As they looked on, the sea of sand moved. The warm summer breeze picked up slightly, and entire dunes were rolled over as the soft sand shifted and settled.

"Oh," Takira said lamely. She sat down heavily, sighing exaggeratedly. "Now what?"

Gaara shrugged. He did not really want to figure anything out at the moment. "I'm on vacation, aren't I?" he asked.

Takira immediately brightened, reminded of her original objective. "That's right, and this is still going to be a great vacation!" She walked to the picnic blanket. "I'll cook; you go and swim."


Soon enough, the smell of cooking food wafted over the oasis. When Gaara looked up from where he was lazily floating in the water, something he had not done in years, Takira smiled and waved at him from the blanket, where she was keeping a vigil over the cooking food. Gaara inhaled and had to admit, at least to himself, that he was happy that he had been 'kidnapped' by his siblings and possibly insane housekeeper for a day of rest and relaxation.

"Gaara!" Takira stood up and waved to him, her hair blowing into her face suddenly, causing her to make a sound rather like a startled duck.

'She really is beautiful.'

Tell heeerrr that. Shukkaku called in a sing-song voice from the recesses of Gaara's mind.


I too think that you should tell her that, young Gaara.

Myobi, stay in your own mind. Shukkaku, stop talking to me. Gaara mentally ordered, scowling as he did so.

He stepped out of the water and walked to the spread-out blankets. Before he could sit down, Takira stopped him.

"Nu-uh, mister. I changed before sitting down, you will too." She tossed him his clothes and pointed bossily towards the outcropping. Gaara growled warningly at her, but she just glared back defiantly. There was a fiery, amused spark just visible in her eye and the corner of her lips was trembling in a suppressed smile.

Gaara smirked, knowing it would annoy her, and left to the cave. 'She really is stubborn.' He thought to himself as he pulled the new shirt over his head. As he finished up in the cave, he smiled to himself. (of course it would not be visible to the naked eye)

You have no room to talk. Shukkaku exclaimed.

'I suppose I might be, too.' Gaara conceded, in no mood to debate. Shukkaku growled an affirmative.

Then he heard Takira's scream.


Takira frowned as Gaara ran to her, his eyes widened and looking angry. This was a complete change from the calm, relaxed man she had seen just a few minutes ago. He skidded to a stop next to her. His head swiveled as he looked about wildly. She stood, a wary feeling welling in her stomach.

"Gaara, what's wrong?"

He stilled instantly, his eyes narrowing. "You screamed."

Takira tensed, stretching her senses to their limits. That could not be good. "No I didn't," she said darkly, her eyes sweeping their surroundings.

Gaara turned about as well, looking for some sign of movement or danger. "If not you, then…"

Takira saw the kunai moving through the air. Instinctively, she looked about for some type of shadow. There was none. Cursing, she pulled Gaara to the ground, muffling his startled growl by pressing herself on top of him. She looked up. It was noon, and her powers were diminished nearly entirely.

"Damn it." She cursed.

She looked at the kunai that had imbedded itself in the ground next to them, millimeters away from her unprotected back. With sinking certainty, she knew it was a dangerous enemy.

She felt herself moving and her face hardened as it was pressed into the bottom of the kunai, driving the knife deeper into the sand. Another kunai went whizzing past Gaara's ear.

Not stopping to strategize, they sprung into defending positions, Takira taking out a kunai and squatting close to the ground, while Gaara called his sand to him, keeping himself in a half-standing position. Instantly, assorted kunai and other weapons began flying at them.

As she fended off various sharp objects, Takira called out to Gaara, "Can you see anyone?"

"No," he replied after a moment.

Takira barely dodged a group of throwing stars, one of them slicing through her skirt, grazing her leg. She peered through the hail of weapons, using her bare hands to defend herself as she attempted to find the source. No such luck, however, as she was forced to duck or block every few seconds. After a minute of deliberation, she called out to Gaara again.

"Can you get your sand to lift us above this desert, so we can see the attackers?"

"Yes but," Gaara paused as another sand wall lifted above him, "you would be even more easily targeted there than ever."

"Don't worry about it, I can take care of my self," Takira responded, emotionlessly. She had never fought with anyone else before, but she knew that she could at least protect herself long enough to find the ninja attacking them.

She felt the sand beneath her feet loosen. She lost her balance and felt Gaara's arm slip around her waist, steadying her. She ignored the fluttering in her stomach as the weapons began coming at them more rapidly. As they lifted into the air, her eyes scanned the ground for the sign of their attackers.

"There," she heard Gaara say stonily.

Takira turned about to see two lumps of oddly-colored sand to the left and right of them. From each mound came an assortment of weapons. The attackers did not seem to have noticed yet that their prey was in the air. Before she knew it, Gaara was moving them towards one.

When they hit the ground, Takira fell to her knees with a hard thud. Gaara was already taking care one of the attacker. His sand was flying everywhere, getting into her eyes and nose. She coughed and blinked to clear her senses. Gaara should have no problem dispatching the assailant, but he was fast and had many weapons.

Suddenly, Takira fell forward into the sand. She did not make a sound as a kunai was placed at her throat, calmly lifting her nose from the sand just enough to allow her to breathe. She neither looked at her captor nor flinched away as the blade cut shallowly into her skin.

"We've been searching for you for years, little one," the man above her said.

The voice was deep and rough and completely recognizable. She nearly laughed with relief when she heard it. A quick movement of one of her legs sent the man off balance, allowing her neck to move a few inches away from the kunai. She flipped herself over and pinned the man to the ground, using the same kunai he had tried to use on her to keep him there. She found herself staring into bright, teal eyes.

"Why hello there, Aoi. How's life treating you?" she asked rhetorically.

"Damn you, demon child," the man under her spat angrily.

Takira frowned, "I'm hurt, Aoi. Truly, deeply hurt." She waited for a few seconds. "And now I'm over it." She inched the blade closer to his throat. "So what are you doing here, in the desert of all places? I don't dare think it's just for little old me."

"You will die. You and everyone close to you." The man chuckled despite his position. "Starting with the man that you seem so close to."

Takira felt as if she was turning in slow-motion. Gaara was close to catching the other man with his sand; in a few more seconds he would be ensnared by the sand and that would be the end of him. However, he was so concentrated on his target that if a disguised someone was silent enough, that someone could easily sneak up on him. Which was exactly what they did.


A/N: Yes, I know that by now you all hate me and have probably stopped reading the story… which means you wouldn't be reading this, either. (Sweatdrops) Okay, for my readers that haven't totally abandoned the story, there is no way I can express how sorry I am!!... Except to give out all my cookies… but then how would I be able to keep the Naruto characters here?


You know, I didn't actually want Lee here. And he is surprisingly demanding.

Okay… yeah… I feel really bad about this but…

I decided to do a story on deviantart. Anyone who likes my stories probably would like that, but I promise that this story is probably a lot better than the stories on fanfiction. My penname on there is 'elpmip' and keywords for it are 'fallon', 'love', 'insanity', 'warrior', 'moon', 'sun', and 'fortress'. You'll probably have to enter a bunch of them in. After that, you will probably have to go into my gallery to find the prologue and read it in order. So, here's a summary:

Men have attacked the Fortress of Stars. After a night of terror and confusion, only a woman, Fallon, and her daughter escape the massacre. Alone and afraid, they flee to the Fortress of Stone.
Now, Fallon must try to become a part of the Fortress' daily life, but the residents are scornful of both her and her daughter, who is more than meets the eye. At the same time, Fallon must wrestle with her depression from her husband's and her family's death. With no respite from either, Fallon slowly begins to question her faith and her sanity.