The blaring of sirens could barely be heard through the fogginess of Naruto's mind

The blaring of sirens could barely be heard through the fogginess of Naruto's mind. Apparently someone had called the cops and paramedics when the first shot had rung out in the still air. Naruto was rooted to the spot as the police and paramedics quickly arrived and started to assess the situation. Gaara was being carefully picked up and put on a cart. The paramedics started to push him to the ambulance and began to put him in. The sudden movement of his husband snapped Naruto out of his funk. Running over to the ambulance and disregarding the policemen that were trying to talk to him, Naruto finally got to Gaara.

One of the paramedics put a hand to his chest. "Je suis désolé mais vous ne pouvez pas venir." (1)

"I'm his husband!" Naruto shouted, pointing to the ring on his finger. The paramedics looked at each other and just shrugged. They finished pushing Gaara into the vehicle and allowed Naruto to get in after them. The doors slammed shut and they were off.

Naruto looked at the paler than usual face of Gaara and desperately wanted to grab his hand, but the paramedics were frantically trying to keep the red head alive. There was blood everywhere and the paramedics had to keep switching cloths to soak up the blood. Naruto desperately wanted to know if his husband would live, but he didn't speak a word of French. So he had to wait and wring his hands as they sped towards the hospital. He already knew that Sasuke was dead; there was no way he could have survived. He couldn't help but wonder what had triggered Gaara to shoot the Uchiha, but as of now he wasn't sure he'd even be able to ask the red headed killer.

Naruto knew that shots to the heart were fatal. He also knew that there may be one spot around the heart that wasn't. He hoped that Gaara had missed, but he knew that at point blank range there was no way that he would. There was a chance that Gaara hadn't shot himself in the heart, Naruto hadn't been close enough to say for sure, and his eyes had been cloudy with tears, but Naruto was pretty sure that his husband had just committed suicide.

As they arrived at the hospital, Gaara was whisked away and Naruto was confronted by doctors, nurses and policemen, all asking him a million questions at the same time and in French. Naruto could only gape at them and try to say that he didn't speak French. After a while of fumbling with not understanding one another, one of the police officers seemed to radio for help. Leaving Naruto alone for a while to ponder the hospital forms before him, the staff went back to whatever they had been doing. The police officers hung around for a while until a man in a suit showed up. The police officer who had used his radio greeted the man and they seemed to exchange a few words before the man in the suit approached Naruto.

"Ah, hello monsieur, my name is Tichelli and I work with the police on matters with Englishmen," the man named Tichelli said. Naruto nodded his head in understanding. "Could you tell me your name monsieur?"

"My name is Naruto Sabakuno," Naruto replied. "I hate to sound impertinent, but could you help me fill out these papers before I answer the police's questions?"

"Let me ask the policeman in charge if that is alright," Tichelli replied. Naruto nodded once again. Tichelli turned to one of the policemen and after a brief exchange turned back to Naruto and nodded.

The Frenchman sat next to the blond and took the pile of papers. Pulling out an ornate pen he addressed Naruto again. "Why don't I read you the questions Monsieur Sabakuno. I'll write down the answers, sine they'll probably want them in French."

"Alright," Naruto replied. Half an hour later they were finally through the paperwork. Naruto was still none the wiser as to Gaara's condition and couldn't help but wonder if the red head was even among the living.

"Monsieur Sabakuno, the police would like to know if you know what happened," Tichelli asked Naruto, and the blond snapped out of his reverie and worry.

"All I saw was the two of them get shot," Naruto replied unthinkingly. "I'm not sure what happened before then, but that's what I saw."

Tichelli translated this to the police and the police replied with another question. Tichelli nodded and turned once more to Naruto.

"Do you know who shot them?" Tichelli asked. Naruto paused as if finally realizing that he had already bent the truth in regards as to what he had seen.

"I…" Naruto started to say but was interrupted by a doctor who had just rushed over to them. Jumping to his feet Naruto could only wait for Tichelli to translate what the doctor was saying to him.

"He says that your husband's wound is very dangerous. It's close to his heart, but seems to have not punctured it. The problem currently lies in the bones that have been shattered and the veins that have been ruptured," Tichelli cautiously translated. Naruto's heart thundered in his chest. "The doctors say that he's still in critical condition and they're still not sure if he will make it, but that things are looking better thanks to the bone fragments missing major arteries and the heart proper."

Naruto collapsed into his chair at hearing this and held his head in his hands, tears running freely down his face. As the police conversed and Tichelli thanked the doctor Naruto quietly passed out from exhaustion and worry.

When Naruto finally awoke he blinked groggily before snapping into a sitting position. He looked around the white room frantically trying to figure out where he was. He needed to find Gaara and see if he was alright. He needed to know if he was alive. He needed to get out of this bed and find the man that had turned his life upside down, who he was still hopelessly in love with. Scrambling out of the hospital bed, he raced to the white curtain blocking the other occupant in the room from his view and pulled it away. On the bed was a deathly pale Gaara. There were tubes hooked up to him and he was covered in bandages, but he was alive, for now at least. Naruto felt fresh tears run down his face and he ran to his husband's side. Taking that cold hand into his own hand, Naruto collapsed at the side of the red head's bed and cried.

After what seemed like forever, Naruto finally looked up at the man he loved more than life itself. Gaara's green eyes stared right back at him.

"Gaara!" Naruto shouted and jumped to his feet, kissing all over the red head's face, and trying greatly not to hug the injured man. Gaara just laid there, his eyes blank and his face unresponsive and let Naruto do as he pleased. Naruto backed away after finally getting a handle on his emotions.

"I can't believe you're alive," Naruto whispered, holding on to Gaara's hand as tight as he dared.

"You're not the only one who's surprised," Gaara mumbled, but Naruto heard him perfectly clear. The smile that had been on the blond's face disappeared and a frown replaced it.

"Did you really want to die?" Naruto asked hesitantly. A part of him really didn't want to know the answer, but a majority needed to know.

"I didn't want to live when you rejected me," Gaara said after a moment of silence. Naruto could only gape at his husband.

"Who's to say I would?" Naruto asked breathily. Gaara looked away from him and out the window.

"You did," Gaara said. Naruto's frown deepened. "A while ago I asked you what you would do if I were the Sandman and you said you would arrest me. No matter how much you loved me you would still turn me in."

Naruto could only stare at the red headed man, who was more a boy at this moment, lying on the bed. Naruto remembered saying that. It's true, at that time he would have turned Gaara in. But then Naruto had met Gai, and he had thought at that moment that maybe he could let Gaara go. Now… after such a near miss at losing the one person that completed him, Naruto wanted to say that he was definitely going to keep Gaara out of jail, but he couldn't. Gaara had killed Sasuke. He had coldly shot the Uchiha as if it were nothing. That was something Naruto wasn't sure he could just let go.

"I had hoped that my dying would lift some of that burden from you. With me out of the way you wouldn't have to pretend to contemplate what to choose. You would be able to live with your ideals and morals intact, even if it was with a broken heart. I know you would have eventually moved on if I were to die," Gaara said softly and it broke Naruto's heart. It made it that much worse to know that he still wasn't sure if he could choose this wonderful man over his job.

"I know it doesn't matter, but I realized something while hovering between life and death. I love you, and if you had chosen me there would have been a way out. Everyone knows Sasuke's been stalking me, and it is plausible that he would wear a red wig to cover up who he really was. There was a black hair at the Glease murder scene, and if you dig deep enough you could pull one from the scene in India. The thing that would truly convince them though would be the blankets in the hotel room. Under the man in the tub are some bloodstained sheets that are covered in Sasuke's blood. For all they know, the room could have been rented out to him which points the murders of those six people squarely at him. The last bit would be him trying to kill me. A case could be made that Sasuke wasn't happy that I had married you and thus had decided that if he couldn't have me than no one could," Gaara said. Naruto could only stare in amazement at the forethought that had gone into this.

The door opened and in walked a doctor, Tichelli and two policemen. Tichelli smiled at Naruto and the blond tried his hardest to smile back.

"C'est bon voir que vous êtes éveillé M Sabakuno," the doctor said to Gaara (2). The red head nodded.

"Merci," Gaara responded. Naruto blinked at the two of them before his attention was drawn to Tichelli.

"Are you ready to tell us what happened now, Monsieur Sabakuno?"

1: "I am sorry but you can not come."

2: "It is good to see that you have awakened Mr Sabakuno"

If: Well, that's it. I hope that you all have enjoyed Sandman, and I hope the epilogue isn't a total bust, but I wanted it to end this way, nice and open-ended. You, the readers, can decide if Naruto chooses Gaara or his job. Its been a long haul, and I'm extremely grateful to all the wonderful people who have read, and especially those who reviewed!