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My 'Dad'


Sasuke had to pay for what he did to Gaara, and I had the perfect idea. We weren't going to hurt him; not physically, anyway.

When I finished explaining my plan to Gaara, all he did was look up at me from his spot on the floor. He was already feeling better from what happened last night, so now I was sitting on the bed. It was Friday morning, barely ten, but the sun was already shining brightly. Strange sun.

Anyway, after thinking it over, for a while, Gaara finally speaks, "So basically you're going to try and seduce him?"

"I guess you can call it that. When he least expects it, I'll make him completely humiliate himself in front of everyone. That's the worst for the great Uchiha Sasuke." You'll find out what I'm planning soon, but for now, I'm going to talk it over with Gaara.

Gaara smirks. ""I don't think I've ever seen this side of you, Sakura. Where did innocent little Sakura-chan go?"

"Gaara! When are you gonna stop treating me like a little girl? I'm sixteen! I'm not a child anymore."

He gets up slowly, careful not to hurt himself and sits down next to me. "I know you're sixteen, but you act like a twelve-year-old (no offence to those of you who are twelve). Besides, I'm always going to be older than you by almost a year. I'm already seventeen." He pats my head. "And you'll always be a shorty."

Gaara laughs at the look on my face and falls back on the bed.

"It's not my fault I'm short!" I stick my tongue out at him. "At least I don't have stalkers following me around, like someone I know."

"I can't do anything about that. They're girls, so I can't hurt them, Sakura."

"Yeah, I know. Hey, are you hungry?" I stand up and stretch, heading for the door. "I don't think Mom came home last night, so you can come down too." I stop at the door and look back at him. "Do you think you can walk down the stairs though?"

Gaara nods. Standing up, he walks out of my room and down the stairs, almost running. I've always wondered how Gaara does it; he always heals quickly, not like most people. I asked him about it once, and all he said was, "I was born this way." Like that helped. It only made me even more confused. But oh well, at least he looked better, so maybe we could even go to the mall. I've been meaning to go buy myself some new clothes for a while. Everything I own is way too small; Gaara told me so the other day.

He was looking through the refrigerator, his head partially hidden by the door. "You don't have anything edible in here." He holds up a jar with something in it, I can't see what it is. "Look at this! What the hell do you think it is?"

"I don't know what it-- Gaara! Don't eat that!"

"I wasn't going to; I was just smelling it." He sniffs it again. "I think it's peanut butter."

"That is so gross, Gaara! Throw it away!" I snatch it away from him and throw it in the trash. "I really need to clean up the whole house."

Gaara sighs. "That's not supposed to be your job. I'll help you then." He retreats to the living room, where he says, "Maybe I should start with all these bottles?" I can hear clanking noises as he picks up the empty beer bottles my mother always leaves on the floor.

I start to wash the dishes, the few that needed washing, anyway. I rarely ever ate here, because we never had food to eat. It wasn't that I didn't have money to buy food, I just decided not to buy stuff anymore.

When my grandmother died, she left all of her money in my name; she knew my mother never bought any of the things that I needed. But my mom's name was put as one of the guardians of the money; I couldn't use any because I wasn't of legal age. But my grandfather soon found out that my mom was taking out large amounts of money and spending it on herself, so he took her name off the list. I was only ten at the time, and my grandpa would send me money every two weeks, enough to buy everything that I needed. Whenever I grew out of my clothes, I'd call him and he'd send more. It was all taken out of my account, of coarse. And now that I'm sixteen, I can take out money by myself. My grandma made sure I would have enough money, and I do; I can even use some for college, if I decide to go.

I really love my grandparents; they were the only ones who didn't turn their back on me when my father left, the only ones who actually cared. My father's side of the family completely despise me, and my mother's family look down on me; they think I'm going to follow in my mother's footsteps, drop out of school, become an alcoholic, and, I guess also the slut part. I couldn't really do anything about what they say, except ignore them, which is what I do.

I was almost done putting away the dishes when Gaara says from the living room, "Should I pick up the glass too?"

"You found more glass? I thought I got it all," I say as I walk to where Gaara was standing. "That wasn't there yesterday. You think my mom was pissed off last night?"

"You said she never came home."

He was right. My mom didn't come home. So why was there glass on the floor? "What if someone broke in?" I check the door. The lock had been picked at. "Someone was in here. But I didn't hear anything last night. Did you?"

Gaara shakes his head. "Must have happened when you went out looking for me." He sits down, thinking. His brow furrowed, and I asked him to tell me what he was thinking. "You left your house in a hurry, right? So you didn't lock the door. doesn't it seem weird that, exactly at the time I was busy fighting off those guys, someone broke into your house?"

"I guess so. But why would they break in? There's nothing valuable in this house, my mom sold it all."

"What if it was Sasuke? Or that guy that 'tried' to rape you? You know, I'm beginning to think Uchiha planned all of this."

I sit down next to him, wondering about all this. It could be true; now that I think about it, when that guy tried to rape me, he wasn't violent. The only thing he did was rip my shirt halfway, and pin me against the wall. If I had stopped to think, I would've noticed that he didn't even touch me anywhere. "Maybe he is behind all this. When he supposedly saved me, I was grateful, and I thought he wasn't just some cold stupid jerk. That's what he wanted."

"Rich bastard," was all Gaara says.

"He thinks he can get anything he wants, just because he has the money to get it. Whatever, we're getting back at him anyway. So don't get so mad, okay Gaara?"

"Right, I'll try to remember that when I smash his face in on Monday."

"Gaara, you are not going to do that. Or I promise I'll…" I try to think of something that I could use against him. And I came up with one. "I'll never speak to you again. You'll have to find your own friends to hang out with." I know I'm being mean, but it's for his own good. He can't keep getting in trouble, especially not at this school. He'll get expelled. And beating up a rich guy isn't such a smart idea; he could sew Gaara, or worse, he could send those guys after him again. What if the next time this happens, Gaara dies? I would never let that happen.

Gaara frowns, and I know he doesn't want what I just said. I wouldn't either. I know it sounds stupid to say this, but I really believe that Gaara is my other half. We do everything together, and he understands me. What would I ever do without him?

"Alright, I won't. But that's a cruel way to stop me. I can't live without you, Sakura, and you know that."

"I know. But the way you say it, you make it sound like you're in love with me, Gaara."

Gaara shrugs, but doesn't say anything. Wasn't he going to say no, that that would only happen in my dreams? That's what Gaara would do; he'd make fun of me for saying that. But he isn't. "Is something wrong, Gaara?"

"No. Why?"

I sigh. "Never mind." Standing up, I lean down to look at Gaara. "You wanna go out to eat? I'll finish cleaning up later."



Downtown was where all the good food could be found. We rarely came down here though; guys always wanted to mess with Gaara.

After lunch, we went to my favorite store; I did say I wanted to go shopping, didn't I?

"I'm going to try these on. Tell me what you think, kay?"

When I come out of the dressing room, I pose for Gaara. "What do you think? It's cute, isn't it?" I was wearing my own gray-and-white stripped shirt over a black skirt that had two belts running across one side down, a small chain hanging from one of the pockets.

"Is that really a skirt?"

"Yes, Gaara, it's a skirt. What, you think it's ugly?"

"No, it just looks too short."

I sigh. "Gaara, you're like an old lady; this isn't short. Look," I put my hands down. "See? My hands barely even pass it. The middle school uniforms are even shorter."

"Alright, if you like it, get it."

"You know what you remind me of? A father; a normal, overprotective father. You're always watching out for what I wear."

"There's no one else that'll do it."

"True. Hey, 'dad'? Can I try on something else now?"

"Go ahead." I was still changing into something else when he says, "You're going to keep calling me 'dad', aren't you."


Gaara sighs. "I knew it…"

I just laugh. "'Coarse you do. There's nothing I can hide from you, Gaara. Even if I didn't tell you something, you'd still find out sooner or later. Maybe even more than I do."


Finally, it came to be Sunday night. Gaara was spending another night at my house. "Gaara, get over here! You don't have to clean that." I was standing by the stairs, waiting for Gaara. When he finally shows up, I start walking up the stairs. "Sheesh, Gaara. I told you not to clean up."

He shrugs. "Nothing you can do now; I already did it."

Inside my room, I throw myself on my bed, scooting over a little so Gaara could sit down.

"School tomorrow…"

He sits down. He starts rolling a piece of my hair around his finger, thinking. "So you're really going through with it?"

I nod. My eyes were closed, and I was already falling asleep. "Gaara, it's the only thing I can do."

Gaara lies down next to me, holding me close like he always did. "Alright. Just be careful," he whispers into my hair.

"I will, dad."


My First


Gaara didn't have to work this morning, so we got to school early today. Thankfully the bruises and cuts on his face aren't as noticeable as before.

Sure, it won't be the first time they see him like this at school , but still; we'd have fan girls swarming around us, crying and asking him if he was okay, sending death glares in my direction.

I hear Gaara sigh. "If they bother us again, I swear I'm going to lose it."

"Should I get ready to run away from you?"

"Very funny, Sakura."

"I w--"


I turn around to see who'd called my name. A smile spreads across my face when I realize who it was. Ino and Hinata rush over and hug me, while the others hang back, nodding at Gaara. After pulling away from them, I say, "But I thought you guys wouldn't be back for a few more weeks. The trip was supposed to be longer, wasn't it?"

Hinata nods. "It was, but Father grew bored, and we all came back sooner."

Ino frowns. "And we were having so much fun too…although it would've been better if you guys had gone with us!"

"We wouldn't be able to go, even if we wanted to, Ino." Hinata and Neji had gone on vacation somewhere far away, I forgot where, it had a funny name. But anyway, they'd invited Naruto, Ino, Shikamaru, Gaara and me, but only Naruto and Ino actually went. Shika didn't want to go, 'too troublesome'. Gaara and I couldn't, for obvious reasons.

Ino, Neji, Hinata and Naruto leave, after saying they had to go check in with the principal.

We hadn't seen Shika for weeks now; he had classes in the more remote school buildings, and he'd changed his lunch hour to fit his schedule. But now that he was here, I feel a long-lost feeling wash over me, and I hug him. Shika's my second closest friend; we sort-of grew up together. Meaning he'd get me out of trouble when we were younger. I was always doing something stupid, maybe because my brain didn't want to think about anything at all, and Shika always showed up to help me.

It was strange at first though; he'd always show up whenever I was in trouble, then leave as soon as he was sure I was okay. Slowly we started hanging out together, playing like little kids should, although he slept most of the time. But when his parents found out, they disapproved of our friendship, and I didn't see him after that. They were 'too high-class' to be hanging out with someone like me.

That's when Gaara showed up, and filled in for Shikamaru. I got to see Shika after a few years; we went to the same middle school. I think he felt bad for leaving me alone for so long, because he started hanging out with us more often, rarely ever leaving my side. It went on for a while, but when we started high school, his parents enrolled him in completely different classes, so we started seeing less and less of each other.

I guess it's like I've been taken care of all my life by Gaara and Shika. So I really love them both; if it wasn't for them, I'm sure I wouldn't even be here right now. Although sometimes they get a little over-protective.

"Hey, Shikamaru, you think I can stay at your place for a while? I'll help pay the rent."

Shika turns to look at Gaara. "Sure. You have your stuff with you?"

He shakes his head. "It's at Sakura's house. I'll bring it over today after school."

Shika nods and turns back to look me up and down. "You're skinnier than the last time I saw you."

I roll my eyes at him. "You two are exactly the same. I haven't lost a single ounce. I think

I even gained a little since we last saw you!"

It was their turn to look at me funny. "You need to eat more."

"I'm eating perfectly fine. Thank you for your concern, Nara Shikamaru." I turn to Gaara. "And I am not dying of hunger." He closes his mouth, the words he'd been about to say explained by me. It sometimes seemed unfair, how they both joined together in the same idea, while I was left defenseless. I mean, I know they really care, but still…

"You're going to eat more."

I sigh. "So not fair…"


Same Day

The weather was getting hotter every day, and today it seemed to reach the highest we've ever felt it. Most of the guys took off the school uniform shirt, leaving their undershirt on. The girls unbuttoned theirs, or rolled it up until it looked like they were wearing bathing suits; the guys didn't seem to mind.

I rolled up mine a little and tied it, but it didn't seem to help. It was just too hot; the air conditioner had broken down a few days ago, and they were trying to fix it, so the classrooms were like being in an oven. Nobody felt like learning, and the teachers didn't even bother teaching us anything. Everyone was just sitting around, talking and laughing.

The perfect opportunity to start with Sasuke.

A bunch of girls crowded around him, squealing and asking him questions, while he only stared out the window. The girls would lift their shirts up higher, trying to get his attention, but Sasuke didn't even so much as glance in their direction. Sometimes it makes me wonder if Sasuke isn't into girls, rather liking…guys.

I tie my shirt up higher, put my hair down, and smile. God, I hated doing this. Unbuttoning another button on my shirt won't hurt anyone. "Sasuke-kun?"

"What--?" he stops suddenly, just staring at me. Ew, if he was going to look me up and down, he could at least try to hide it. Such an obvious idiot. After what feels like forever, he finally looks at me again and says, "Haruno?"

I giggle. Really hated doing this. "Ne, Sasuke-kun, call me Sakura." I sit down on his desk, crossing one leg over the other. Sasuke's eyes drift down, staring at them. Stupid short skirt, at least it's doing it's job. "I wanted to talk to you, Sasuke-kun." I glance up at him, then look down again. "Alone."

He stands up quickly, grabbing my hand and leading me out the door before his fan girls knew what was going on. This was going to be too easy.


When the bell rang to signal lunch time, everyone rushed outside. Sitting under the trees wasn't that much help, but it was less hot under them. I wasn't even halfway to the door before I saw Gaara walk in.

"Gaara, how do you always get here so quickly?" He had first and second period in another building, on the other side of the school. Yet he always got here in time to pick me up.

He shrugs, looking out the window. Something's wrong. "Gaara?"

Still not looking at me, he only says, "Hm?"

"Is something bothering you?"

He shrugs again.



"Stop being such a jerk and tell me what's wrong." Honestly, my patience was running low.

Again, Gaara doesn't say anything, still looking out the window.

"Fine…" I whisper, turning to walk out the door. If he doesn't want to tell me what's bothering him, then how am I supposed to help him? Maybe he'll tell Shika; I should go find him. Before I can take another step, he grabs my arm and turns me around to look at him.

"Don't go after Uchiha anymore." He was looking at the floor, his hair falling over his eyes.

"What? But I thought you wanted to get back at him."

"I do. But not like this."

"It's the only thing I can do, Gaara."

He shakes his head, not saying anything. He was still not looking at me. "There has to be another way."

"Unless you can think of one, I'm not going to stop."

Gaara's hold on my arm tightens. "I don't want you doing this."

"I'm not doing anything wrong. Besides, you can't tell me what to do, Gaara. You're my friend, not my father."

"I'm your boyfriend."

"That's only to make people think I'm going out with you. Gaara, you said so yourself. And anyway, even if they believe that I am your girlfriend, you're still like an older brother."

Gaara looks up at me quickly. His face looked hurt, but it disappeared and was replaced by an angry frown. "I don't want that."

Something is really wrong here. Gaara's not acting like himself, but what can it be? I mean, maybe it's because of what I'm doing, but there's something else. Something he's not telling me. "Then what do you want?"

He doesn't say anything, only staring at me. He takes a step toward me, and before I can say anything, he pulls me close and I feel something warm crash down on my lips.


My Worst


"See you later, Sakura-chan!"

I smile and watch as Naruto and Hinata make their way towards fifth period, before I lose sight of them in the crowd of students. Lunch had been weird. It was the first time I hadn't spent it with Gaara.

Sighing, I turn around. After…kissing me, Gaara stepped back, mumbled a quick 'sorry', and he was out the door before I could even ask why he'd done that. When I went to catch up with everyone else, he wasn't there. Shikamaru noticed that something was on my mind, and asked me about it, but it's not like I can tell him. I'm sure Gaara wouldn't have wanted that.

"Oi, Haruno."

I turn around and come face to face with a bunch of girls from my second period class, all looking at me with a pissed off expression. What did I do now? Jeez… "What?"

"Come with us for a sec. We'd like to have a talk with you."


"What the hell do you think you're doing with Gaara-kun?!"

"Excuse me?" My back to the wall, I stare at her incredulously. Why were they all acting so…weird? It's not like I'd done anything to make them mad…had I? Well, it has been a while since I last had to deal with a bunch of crazy fan girls. I was wondering why they hadn't done anything about Gaara and I becoming a 'couple'.

"Don't act innocent, you bitch, we saw when you kissed him!" Another girl I have never even seen before steps forward, yelling so loud it actually made me wince.

Did they see what happened back in the classroom with Gaara? Damn, this doesn't look good; there were at the least five girls standing around me, and if I try to move, they'll get in the way. Why did I always end up in these situations? I know for sure that they want to beat the crap out of me…

"We've already warned you before, so we'll say it again: Leave Gaara-kun alone or else!"

"Hey, we already warned her before, why not just beat her up? It's her own fault, anyway, and I doubt anyone's going to come looking for her behind the gym! Come on, Akari, let's do it!"

Akari, the girl standing in front of me, smirks.

Well, this didn't look good.


I'd lost track of how many slaps and punches I'd received already, or whom each hand belonged to. All I knew at the moment, was that if I didn't get away soon, things would get way out of hand.

I couldn't even defend myself; both my arms were being held behind me by two girls. My head was pounding; all I could hear was bambambam, my heart in my ears, beating wildly because I couldn't do anything to defend myself. But seriously, did they really have to hold me like this and hit me like they did in manga? I mean, next thing you know, they'll take out scissors and--

"…should cut her hair, don't you think so, girls?" Akari (or I thought it was her, I couldn't really see anyone, my eyes seemed to make everything fuzzy) was holding a pair of scissors in one hand, the other holding my face up. Why did they have to copy the bad girls in manga? And why the hell did I even think about it? I just jinxed myself even worse…

Akari giggled like crazy before grabbing at my hair roughly, and (my eyes slowly focusing on the dirty ground below me) I could see strands of my own hair falling into my line of vision.


Everything seemed to stop at that moment, and I wondered why they'd stopped hurting me, or why I suddenly felt my body fall uselessly to the ground, where I lay for a few seconds before I felt myself being lifted up again.

I open my mouth to speak, but feel myself coughing instead, and I could vaguely hear someone curse out loud, and as my mind processed the fact that my head was being supported by someone's hand, and that my body was in a sitting position, I try to speak again, "Sh-Shika?" although it sounded more like I'd just eaten a bunch of rocks and tried to speak while chewing.

I hear him curse again, and this time I could make out his face, and the sun right beside his head, the stupid blinding sun. "Shit, Sakura, what did they do to you--how--" he sighs. "Come on, I'm taking you home. I'll call Gaara."

"No! Shika, you can't tell him. He'll be so pissed; I don't want him to find out, okay?"

His forehead creased, and I could tell he was going to say no, so I say, "Shika, please. If you say anything to him, he'll most likely hurt them; he won't care that they're girls. So, promise."

He still looks doubtful, but nods anyway. "Alright, let's go home."


By the time I woke up, the sun had fallen low enough to filter through the window. Actually, the sun was the one that had woken me up, landing directly in my face. The first thing I saw was a light-blue ceiling, which was strange. My room was completely white; why had it changed all of a sudden? And why did my whole body hurt so bad?

"You're awake."


Now I remember. "You aren't called a genius for nothing, are you, Einstein?" I try to laugh, at least to lighten up the mood, but it comes out choked. Even my throat hurt. Shika tries to smirk, but it doesn't come out fully, instead turning into a frown.

I sigh. Oh well, at least I tried. "Gaara doesn't know, does he?"

He only shakes his head.

"Good. Ow…Lend me a hand, will you, Shika? My whole body hurts like hell."

After helping me into a sitting position, he goes into the living room and comes back with a pair of scissors. "To even out your hair."

My hand moves automatically over my hair, and I sigh inwardly. They'd cut my hair so short…now it barely even grazed my shoulders.

It didn't take him long to even out my hair. He was almost done when I realized that I wasn't wearing my school uniform; I had on an over-sized t-shirt that could only belong to Shika. "You bandaged me up, Shika?"

"Who else?"

"…sarcastic, aren't we." I smile. "You didn't take advantage of me while I was unconscious, did you, Shika?"

His hands drop to his sides, and I turn around slightly to see him frown, an un-Shikamaru blush starting to form on his face. I couldn't help but laugh (it still hurt my throat though). "I'm just kidding Shika. I know you're not that desperate." I laugh again.

Shika was almost at the door when I say, "Arigatou, Shika. You're the best."

He sighs. "Troublesome…" But instead of going outside like I thought he would, he turns around and stands in front of where I was sitting on the bed, leaning down to look me in the eye. "You're really bad at hiding your emotions, Sakura."

I didn't really understand what he meant, until I felt something wet on my face, and realized (much to my horror) that I was crying. I try wiping them away, which turned out to only make it worse. Now my eyes were on full-power mode, and all I could do was hug Shika, because Gaara wasn't here, so Shika was the one that cared about me the most at the moment (and I hate it when people see me cry). He hugs me back, holding me while I ruined his shirt, and even as I thought this, I knew he didn't care about his shirt. And even if he'd deny it once I was back to normal, I knew he cared about me. Because that's what friends are for.

"Sorry, Shika. I…I just can't stop c-crying. Ungh, it's just…sorry…"

"Oi, what kind of friend would I be if I pretended not to notice that you wanted to cry? Everyone needs comfort sometimes, Sakura. We can't live without having someone there to tell our problems to. Imagine what would happen if you kept every bad thing to yourself? You'd only be making both me and Gaara worried, and then we'd both be pissed off at ourselves for not doing anything. We're nakama, aren't we, Sakura?"

I smile, finally able to wipe away the tears from my eyes without having fresh ones replace them. "Yeah…"


The next time I woke up, it was because of loud banging noise. I was still lying on Shika's bed, the room completely dark.

When my eyes got used to the darkness, I strained my ears to hear what that noise was. This time, I was able to recognize the noise: someone was knocking on the door. Next thing I know, Shika is yelling something and loud footsteps lead to the door, where I barely had enough time to hide under the covers before the door was literally thrown open, banging against the wall.

"Jeez, Gaara, calm down. Do you want her to wake up?"

Gaara. I'd almost forgotten about him…did Shika tell him what happened to me? By the sound of his breathing, I could tell he'd run all the way over here, so something must have gotten him pissed off.

"What happened to her?"

One of them moves, and I could feel someone staring down at where I was ducking under the covers. That must be Gaara.

My guess is confirmed because I hear Shika speak from the doorway. "What're you talking about? She just got tired at school. You should've seen her; she couldn't even keep her eyes open, so I told her she could just come over and sleep."

"Why didn't she go back to her house?"

"My place was closer than hers."

Good, so Shika hadn't told Gaara anything. It kinda made me feel guilty though, hiding something like this from Gaara. He must have been worried when he went to pick me up after sixth period, to realize that I hadn't even gone to class…

It was quiet for a while, and I was hoping that they'd leave the room, when Gaara speaks up, "If she was just tired, then why the hell are her clothes on the floor?"

Oh crap.

"That…she wanted to change out of her clothes; don't ask me why, I'm not a girl. I don't know what she's thinking."

Hopefully, he'll believe it. Before I know what's going on, I feel the blanket being pulled down, my face exposed to Gaara. It was a good thing I'd kept my eyes closed. But wait, he'll notice my--

"And what the hell happened to her hair?"

"She wanted a new haircut."

"Nara, stop fucking around and tell me what happened."

Gaara was really mad now. He never called Shika by his first name, unless he was really pissed off. Today was turning out to be the worst day in my life so far. What else could go wrong?

"And I still wonder why I have such violent friends…" Shika sighs.

"Nara, I know she would never cut her hair just because she 'wanted a new haircut'. She loves her hair when it's long, and what? Do you think I'm fuckin' blind? Her face has cuts and bruises all over it! I want to know what's going on, so cut the crap and tell me what the fuck happened!"

No…please don't tell him, please--

"She got beat up by a bunch of your fan girls."

Yup, today was the worst day of my life.


Shika made Gaara stay here to sleep, and they left the room to talk in the kitchen. Now that I was alone again, staring at the ceiling, I could feel fresh tears threatening to fall, and I quickly throw my arm over my face to try and muffle out my sobs. I didn't want either of them to hear. I mean, just imagining the hurt look Gaara would have because I didn't tell him what happened, and the sorry I was sure to receive from Shika for telling Gaara, it just made me feel so sad

…because I'm always doing something to make them worry. When am I going to do something for them?


"Mm…wha--Gaara? Is that you?"


After crying myself to sleep, I wake up again, the room still dark. Except, now Gaara was sitting on a chair next to the bed, just looking at me. How long had he been here? Probably since I fell asleep… "What are you--" He doesn't let me finish. Taking me by surprise, he wraps his arms around my waist and pulls me towards his chest, burying his face in my neck.

"…sorry." This is why I also didn't want to see them again tonight. Because I knew it'd be like this. It seemed like he was saying sorry a lot more than usual. "I'm sorry, for not--"

"Gaara, it's fine. I knew this would happen. I expected it to happen, so…don't apologize anymore. It makes me feel sad."

"Okay, sorr--I mean…I'm glad you're alright."

Pulling away from him so I could look at his face, I frown. Even in the dark, I could still see that look that Gaara always had when he was inwardly hating himself. I put my hand on his cheek, wondering when he'd grown so big that my hand didn't even cover all of it.

"Gaara…you really are a dummy."

Something between a cough and a laugh escaped his throat, and I couldn't help but laugh.

"Thanks, Sakura, I love you too."


And, no matter what, we'd get through this…together. Because I would do anything for Gaara; and I know he'd do the same for me.