Summary: Staying in the brand new Suna hospital under the care of the Hokage's prized apprentice was an experience that the Godaime Kazekage would always say he never wanted to repeat. Well, he always was a good liar. Sakura had no idea what she was getting herself into. GaaSaku. Set after Gaara was rescued from the Akatsuki.
Sakura was in a predicament.
One of the biggest, most horrific predicaments she had ever been in her entire medical career. Problem patients were always dealt with quickly and efficiently with minimum fuss but of course he just had to be different. He just had to growl at every poor chuunin that tried to administer the medicine that he so badly needed after his encounter with the Akatsuki and of course she had been sent to deal with him.
She was almost as revered as her mentor and with her notorious chakra control and mountain crushing fists she was the obvious choice for a difficult, dangerous and violent patient. While wading through a massive pile of paper work Yumi - a young sand ninja medic in training - had burst into the room and managed to upturn Sakura's entire desk and the paperwork on it in the hurry to get to her.
To say that the cherry haired medic was displeased would probably be the understatement of the century. Only after Yumi had promptly burst into tears and started wailing about someone "refusing to take an injection" and "threatening to kill her" did Sakura finally stop demolishing her desk in anger. Problem patients were not a problem for long when she dealt with them.
This one would be put through hell for disrupting her already stressed and work over loaded afternoon. She really was not in the mood. A few chuunins were running away from one of the examination rooms at the far end of Suna hospital with overly distressed and terrified looks on their faces. Sakura put it down to her mystery patient who was now absolutely sure to get an ear full of her displeasure when she happened to find him.
Weaving through Suna hospital's extremely large, overcrowded corridors, which were also devoid of air conditioning, only shortened the fuse of her already dangerous temper. How did she end up here? The heat just made her irate and frustrated. Tsunade-sama had sent her here on a peace mission; a sort of shinobi trade.
A few others from Kohona were hear too but she was not even on first names with any of them. The only thing that happened when they met by chance was a respectful greeting - if she was lucky - or an overly enthusiastic conversation where all they did was gaze at her with starry eyes, practically screech questions at her and spray saliva everywhere in their excitement.
Temari had gone to Kohona with some other sand nins as part of the trade. Sakura suspected that she had volunteered for the mission because of a certain lazy ass Kohona shinobi. Shikamaru would be very pleased to see her but probably would only greet her with a standard; 'how troublesome' or something similar. God, she missed Naruto, Sai and Kakashi.
She missed them so much that it was almost a physical ache. She missed the rest of the Rookie Nine and she missed her training sessions with her mentor. All there was here was sand and heat. Sakura had lost count of the amount of times she had gotten sun-burn here despite slathering herself in sun cream and preforming the anti-sunburn jutsu. It seems her skin just wasn't meant to take this much exposure to the sun.
Yet, she refused to give up her usual attire. It would feel like giving up one of her last pieces of Kohona if she did. Room 172c came into view and she was forced to stop and take a deep breath to calm herself before pushing in. The cool blast of the air conditioning was welcome indeed. She allowed herself to savour the breeze for a fraction of a second before fixing her steely, emerald gaze of her latest problem patient.
Imagine her surprise when she found a fuming, red headed male seated on the metal examination table, jade eyes boring into hers with an intensity that always made her catch her breath. Today they had an opposite effect, the look of haughty contempt he gave her only increased her anger. She noted cooly that his normally pale skin was deathly white.
'And he's shirtless.' Squealed Inner Sakura.
A layer of sweat shone on his skin; probably indicating fever. The black lines the ringed his eyes seemed thicker than usual but perhaps they were only more pronounced because his skin was so chalky white. She knew from the papers on him that he had not slept since returning from the Akatsuki and without Shukaku to support his body the lack of sleep would be having a serious effect on his already precarious health.
Dying and coming back to life simply wasn't good for any part of a person's body. Sakura had actually thought that she would be assigned to care for him but, the Sand were adamant that he was their Kazekage and it was their responsiblity to ensure his well-being. That obviously went down the drain the moment they realised their leader would be anything but co-operative. No matter what they said: they were still afraid of him.
"Kazekage-sama, I will be taking over your care until you return to full health. Now, please, lie down on the examination table and I will take a look at you." His glare increased ten fold but she wasn't a woman to be intimidated by that.
"The situation isn't up for discussion, Kazekage-sama." She hissed.
He, albeit reluctantly, lay down without ceasing the deathly glare he had fixed on her. It would have been far more intimidating if he did not look so pale, gaunt and all together ill. He was a patient and she would be professional about this. She picked up and shook a thermometer before carefully slipping it past his lips and into his mouth until her fingers brushed the silky, smoothness of his skin.
Although it was just a mere brush Sakura felt as though she had been burned, branded. It didn't help that he was looking at her that way. Sakura had always loved his eyes... The clear, cold jade was a colour that was simply unique to him in every way and when she was standing as close to him as this she could see the darker flecks of teal near the pupil and the palest, almost light blue, shades at the very edge iris.
She felt herself begin to crack under that cold, emotionless gaze and forced herself to look back down at the white thermometer protruding from his lips. Tried to take a look at the reading but failed miserably as her gaze was drawn, almost irresistibly, to the pink flesh that surrounded the instrument.
'Mmm... Doesn't he just look so kissable. Come on, girl. We haven't gotten any action since Kohona. Now's our chance."
She shook her head at that statement and pulled the meter from his mouth with more force than was strictly necessary. Although it was completely true; she had broken up with her first and only lover when leaving the Village. It was a pleasant relationship and she didn't regret the time that she spent with him. Ichiro was a fellow jounin medic who was just a year older than her. They had started seeing each other casually, as friends, after a long, difficult mission together and had started to develop feelings that lead to a full blown relationship.
He treated her well, didn't even glance at other women and fully understood the pressures and work load of her career and yet, something never seemed quite right with their relationship. For her anyway. He was distraught when she told him that she could no longer see him because of this mission. It was almost like she couldn't give her all to him. He was lovely, kind, mild mannered and down right ordinary.
He couldn't hold his own on the battlefield with her and in a battle of wits or dominance she always came out on top. Perhaps that was why... Sakura knew now that she could never be happy with a man who wasn't her equal or her superior. She wanted a fight and a thrill every now and again and Ichiro, great as he was, couldn't give that to her.
She knew that he would find himself the perfect girl soon. He was a great man and he deserved someone who would love him unconditionally. It was best in the long term. Somehow she thought he would end up with a civilian.
"A few degrees above normal. You have a fever and along with that you are shuddering..." Her eyes drifted down to his exposed chest which was indeed quivering slightly.
Sakura had to force herself to look up at his now hooded eyes. The muscles on his chest seemed to ripple slightly at her touch when she carefully pressed her stethoscope down to disconcert his heart rate. Close to normal but slightly elevated. She had to force her hands not to wander. This was quickly getting ridiculous.
"Most likely an infection. Which is probably due to your lack of sleep. I'll give you some antibiotics to help clear that up. You really need to sleep, Kazekage-sama." His look turned sour and he closed his eyes.
Sakura sighed deeply and walked over to the steel cabinets that lined the sand coloured walls. She picked out a few bottles of liquid and set about mixing them together carefully before writing instructions on the label of the new bottle.
"Take this three times a day for a week. Tell me... Are you having trouble sleeping?" So much for being a problem patient. He was utterly silent and apparently docile now that she was in the room.
"Yes." She had forgotten how attractive the husky baritone of his voice was and almost caught her breath at the sound of it.
"I cannot give you any sedatives until you have finished the antibiotics but I will try to help you in any way I can." His eyes snapped open and in an instant she was pinned to the spot.
"Sedatives make it worse." He hissed, anger now showing on his features.
" 'It'? What is 'it' exactly?" She really shouldn't pry but this could be crucial to helping him.
"Nightmares." He studied her face carefully and decided to omit the other details.
How he had woken clawing and screaming every time he tried and had almost strangled the medic nins who had been trying to help him sleep. How he had been forced to watch the worst details of his childhood being dredged up and forced in his face. How he had been bombarded with such caustic emotions and visions that he thought he had finally lost his grip on his hard held sanity and tumbled straight into the darkness.
She just looked to pure and untainted to be able to take the things he had seen and done in his life. Sakura, that was her name. One of Naruto's precious people. That was the first reason he had not unleashed a verbal assault the moment she had trounced into the room with her pink hair and prim medic uniform. The second reason was the fact that she did not regard him with fear or contempt as all the others had. On her face was a look of stubborn irritation and well masked worry.
He was no different from any other patient to her.
The third reason only became apparent when she leaned over him and exposed the smooth, creamy skin of her neck, when her fingers brushed his lips in a single fleeting touch and when she had to stand up on her tip-toes to reach the medicine in the cupboard the dress she was wearing lifted a fraction and exposed a little more leg than she would have intended.
She did not notice the intense roving looks he gave her as his eyes flickered up and down her body. Her uniform suited her - he noted - and she walked with an air of confidence and grace. She was attractive to him. Gaara wasn't one to deny himself what he wanted and he wanted her. What he wanted, he got. Although something told him that this determined little scrap of femininity would put up a fight with every ounce of strength she possessed. He loved a fight.
The fact that she did not make her attraction noticeable also increased his interest in her. Most women fawned over him and flirted outrageously to show that they were clearly interested in him. He was repulsed by their fickle nature - those same women had ran, screaming, from him only a few years ago. Sakura did not show her attraction boldly but he could still read her emotions no matter how hard she tried to hide them from him.
The faint blush that dusted her pale cheeks when she glanced at his exposed skin said more than words ever could and although the Sand Demon was removed from his body he still had more heightened senses than most people did. Her elevated heartbeat was all too obvious to him. He grinned inwardly as he considered her carefully.
She leaned over him again to press her fingers to his temple and send a tendril of chakra into his system to check him for any other abnormalities. He watched as her blush increased at their proximity. He deliberately allowed his fingers to brush across the exposed skin of her arm. Sakura began to chew her lower lip in an attempt to restrain herself.
That was probably one of the worst things she could have done. It made his attention focus solely on her plush lips. He would not do this with just any woman but, although he hated to admit it, he trusted her. She was one of the few people that he would trust fully. Naruto trusted her and the fox boy was filled with utter faith and care for the pink haired kunoichi in front of him. That inspired him to give her a chance.
They had known each other casually for more than a few years now and she had never ran from him in terror although there were plenty of times when she should have, she never looked at him in fear or hatred and she treated him just like everyone else: with respect and care. Then something struck him...
He didn't want to be treated like everyone else.
He wanted to be something more to her... He wanted to be special to her because he was not a stubborn enough fool to realise the jewel that was within his grasp. The Uchiha traitor had given her up and he was not like him at all. He went after what he wanted and would not have picked anyone who was less than perfect. That was it, he had decided, she was to be his.
Then a cynical little voice in the back of his head whispered that... Maybe she already had someone special. Maybe she would reject him and scream at him like all the others did because he was a monster. Shukaku may have been removed from him and he may have become the Kazekage but that didn't change the fact that he was and would always be a monster. He had bathed his hands in the blood of thousands and enjoyed it.
Yet something still drove him to pursue her.
"I'm glad you made it through Gaara. I was worried about you." She spoke softly as her hands withdrew from his temples.
Her kindness and caring attitude; that was what drove him to pursue her.
Before she could completely withdraw he moved forward with the speed gifted only to the most skilled shinobi and pressed her lips against hers. Arms slipping out he half dragged her onto the metal table. Her crisp uniform rubbed against his bare skin as she slipped her arms around her neck and responded.
Inner Sakura had just spontaneously combusted.
Outer Sakura was in complete and utter shock and for a moment she failed to register the heated lips pressed up against hers and the gentle brush of something slipping against the seam of her lips. She couldn't believe that the cold, stoic Gaara that she had known for so long had kissed her without warning or reason and... And she was enjoying it!
They had just been staring at each other while she probed him for injuries and he had taken it upon himself to dart towards her. Maybe it was because she was biting her lip or maybe it was after she uttered those words to him. They just slipped out! She didn't mean it.
'But you wanted it.' Her alter ego seemed to have recovered enough to slip in a comment but then suffered a major nose bleed when Gaara crushed his chest to hers.
Sakura could feel his taunt muscles beneath her starchy uniform and immediately snaked her arms around his neck. She realised that she had wanted this for a very, very long time and now that he was giving it to her she felt like she was about to melt into him. Not one to give up without a fight she kissed back with all her might and rubbed her fingers into his rust coloured hair.
They were just as soft as she had thought they would be.
Gaara wondered where his long hidden attraction with her had really began. Then he remembered waking up just after being rescued from the Akatsuki; the first thing he saw was her. Or in fact her eyes. Those large, glittering, emerald eyes had stared down at him with such worry and compassion that for the first time in his life Gaara felt like someone genuinely cared about him.
The hand fisted in her cherry locks pulled back and they both gulped greedily for air as she stared intently at her with a blush almost as bright as his hair across her features. It was definitely her eyes. They were shining with a different, far less innocent emotion now and he felt his own eyes growing darker by the second. Just looking into those emerald orbs was getting him worked up.
He dived back down for another kiss before pulling her fully onto the metal table. Sakura made a noise of protest at the touch of the cold metal against her skin but did nothing to pull away from him. Naruto had told her about Gaara's past and she knew that the advance he had just made upon her had probably taken a lot of courage and a good deal of faith. She didn't want to ruin this trust he had given her but she knew the direction this was headed in and quickly placed her hands over his when he reached for the buttons at the front of her uniform.
As she expected a look of hurt and anger flashed across his eyes before she could no longer read him. He was withdrawing from her both physically and emotionally and she had to do something quickly or she would lose him. Her hand brushed very gently across the sharp curve of his jaw as she placed a very chaste kiss on his cheek.
"Not now. Not here." She whispered.
Before she could even blink her back was slammed down against the hard metal and he was firmly on top of her.
"You are attracted to me and I am attracted to you. Why not now? Why not here? All the other medics have gone... Is it because I disgust you, repell you... Are you afraid?" He was fierce now as he whispered those words harshly into her ear.
"It is my duty to heal you, Gaara, before all else and I will do that. If I was disgust, repelled and frightened I would not have ever come near you. I would not have come to find you when you were taken and I would have ran all those times you threatened me." The grip on her hair loosened but he still looked like he expected her to make a dash for freedom at any moment.
Knowing his past experiences it wasn't difficult to realise why. Sakura knew that she would never get rid of him if they entered a relationship; this would be for life. That thought excited her more than anything else and she realised that she really, genuinely was attracted to him. She had just been ignoring that fact and hiding it because she thought it would end up like Sasuke. She didn't want her barely mended heart broken again by some other heartlesss bastard and she had always been careful to protect her feelings around Gaara.
He was kissing her neck with more care than she would have expected from him and she was forced to pull away again.
"I will wait... But not for long, medic." He removed himself from her and after throwing her a feral grin he lay back on the table with his face set in a bored expression.
Sakura was furious.
She poured out a spoonfull of medicine and shoved it into his mouth with as much force as she could muster without breaking his jaw.
"That's Haruno-san to you Kazekage-sama." He swallowed with a bitter look on his face. That medicine tasted awful and she smiled to herself knowing just how bad it was to swallow it.
"Remember you still have to help me with my sleeping problem, Haruno-san." The silky purr his voice had dropped to did funny things to her insides, the blush bloomed across her face again.
"I have a very hands-on approach."She said in answer. The way he was looking at her should be illegal and as he reached out for her Sakura wondered... Where the hell did that come from!
Inner Sakura giggled gleefully.
Thanks for reading.