Forbidden Love: Neji, and Gaara

Forbidden Love: Neji, and Gaara

Authors: Alyska, and Kyo's neko girl

Warning: Lime, and angst.

Summery: As we all know, Tenten and Neji have both had crushes on each other for a long time, since childhood. Nearing the Chunin Exams, the two were near to asking each other out, but someone else caught Neji's eye when he came into town. This is that story ...

Disclaimer: We do NOT own the Naruto series. If we did, this, and the other upcoming one-shots would've actually happened.

AN: This story may be revisited by us, if we get to it. It is also part of our series of oneshots/twoshots, so keep an eye out for those. Right now, we're working on a SasuNaru fic.

"Neji, we need to go. The first exam is about to start" Tenten tugged at his shirt to get his attention.

"Oh" Neji turned back to her. He started walking towards the room they were supposed to be in. Tenten had started talking about what she thought the first exam would be, but Neji tuned her out. His mind was on the redhead ninja he just saw.

As the panda bun girl continued to ramble on about the first exam, the red haired ninja from the village of the sound walked by, with his two elder siblings following just a few steps behind. Gaara of the Sand.

Neji's white eyes followed the red hair, as he and his group made their way to the front of the room.

"Neji?"

Neji was brought back into reality by the sound of Tenten's voice.

"What cha looking at?" Tenten asked as she looked around. "Who's that?"

"Some sand ninja" Neji said, his eyes flickering to the band on the redhead's belt, then back to his face.


"So why are you looking at him?" Tenten asked.


Neji didn't answer, and walked into the exam room.

"Men," Tenten sighed.

"Lee, lets go!" She yelled at the green beast and walked in after Neji. He was always quite, so it really didn't bother her too much. Neji seemed to have found a seat near the three sand ninja. It was a little strange, but the seats seemed to be filling up fast, so there was no question posed by the other two members of the team.

"I wonder what this is going to be like." Tenten said, sitting in between the two males in her team.

When the exam finally began, Neji found it hard not to look at the sand ninja sitting so close to him.


What is this? he thought to himself. It just didn't make sense. Why should he care about some redhead he just saw?

The poor Neji almost failed his exam, just thinking about the red headed sand Ninja. Yes. The mighty Neji almost failed something.

Luckily he didn't fail, not many did. Oh well. That didn't bother him, but what was coming next would.

Neji fallowed Gaara to the second exam, barley listening to Tenten's ranting, not that she noticed. When the second exam started he tried to put as much distance between his team, and the sand team.

The whistle blew, and Neji bounded through the gate. He was hoping not to run into the strange ninja, but at the same time he wanted to run into him.


"Now where are we going to go first?" Tenten asked.


Neji snapped out of his thoughts, but Lee had answered her first. "We should find a stream so we know where to get supplies."


Neji lost track of the conversation again, and slipped into his mind.

Before he knew it, Neji was knee deep in water. The cold rush of water had woken him from his daydreaming. He looked behind him, where his two team mates were looking at him a little strange.

"I found the stream" he said matter-of-factly.


"We see that" Tenten said, her eyebrow raised. "But what we don't see is why you are in it"


Again Neji didn't answer, and climbed onto the riverbed.

"RIIIIGHT!" Lee said as he began to fill up the water sacks with, what else, but water. Tenten shrugged it off, and began to fill hers as well. Neji, while everyone was busy, could feel his clothing sticking to him, but really didn't care. The only thing on his mind was that red haired nin.

"We should get going now" Neji said, deciding that he wasn't going to figure out his mixed emotions if he hid from Gaara.


His train of thought got broken again as he heard a splash. He turned to see Lee spread eagle in the water.


"Nice" Tenten said as she helped Lee out.

Neji rolled his eyes as he jumped into the tree. "You two going to play all day, or can we go?"

Lee, and Tenten fallowed as Neji flew through the trees. Where could he be? he thought, then heard a scream. That's promising He changed direction, and sped up.


"Are you sure we should be going that way?" Tenten asked nervously.


"Hn..." was the only reply she got.

Neji was the unspoken leader of their group, so the other two just followed him obediently. The three stopped, peeking through a bush. On the other side, was the sand team, and another team.

All they caught of the battle was the shower of blood descending on the sand team, and the others running away.


"What just-" Tenten started, but Neji silenced her with a wave.


He activated his Byakugan, and saw that Hinata's team was on the other side of the clearing, but that wasn't important. He was here.

Neji found his eyes drifting back toward the red haired ninja. It seemed like he enjoyed the sight of the blood. The other team in the clearing was running the opposite direction, after the death of their team mate. Neji was resisting the urge to further his gaze with his Byakugan.

A blush spread onto his face, and he removed his Byakugan, and looked away, embarrassed. His had slide from Tenten's mouth, and Tenten went to comment again, but he quickly pushed his hand back over her mouth, as the blush faded.

Gaara looked over to where the three of them were crouching. Neji didn't know if Gaara had seen them, but it seemed that he was looking strait at the pale eyed ninja.


"Let's go" Gaara said to the other two people in the clearing.


Neji's hand fell from Tenten's mouth again, as he watched the red head bound away.
"What was that about?" Tenten asked.

Neji looked at Tenten. "He didn't look like the ninja you wanted to cross" he quickly made up. "His amount of chakra was amazing"

Tenten looked confused, as she looked at Neji.

"Whatever you say," Tenten said, watching the red head walk out of the clearing. He did have an amazing amount of power, but Neji seemed to have a different agenda on his mind.

"We should find a heaven scroll," Neji said, directing the conversation onto a different subject.

Tenten leaned over to whisper into Lee's ear, "He is in a very weird mood, and I would know."

"Even I could tell that" Lee replied to Tenten.

Neji ignored their whispered conversation. "Let's fan out. We'll meet back here in an hour." He threw a kunai into the ground at his feet.

Neji tossed the kunai into the ground, and the three went off into there own directions. While Lee, we all know, runs off to save the love of his life, Tenten and Neji had different agenda's.

--

Unlike the others, Neji was seeking out another person in particular, Gaara. The genius had an idea of where he would be, but couldn't be exactly certain. Jumping back the direction that his team had just come, he soon came back to the place where the dead body was located. There was already large animals feeding on the meat.

Neji ignored this, and began to move off in the direction that he had seen Gaara and his team head off in. Silently, he began to sneak up on the three. Stopping, he looked into the small clearing from a tree. Seating on a log, he saw the red-haired ninja, Gaara. Standing around him, where the other two of the team.

Neji activated his Byakugan to look for any traps they could've set up around what looked like their camp. Seeing none, he concentrated on what they were saying, keen to learn more about the mysterious red-head.

"I don't see why they're such a big deal to you" The blonde girl with the fan was saying. "If they're bothering you, kill them. They didn't look that strong."

"Come to think of it" A man with the purple makeup, and dressed all in black pointed out. "Gaara hasn't cared about anyone soo much."

"The man with the white eyes was different" Gaara said quietly. "I felt differently about him."

That's me! Neji thought shocked. He's talking about me!

The conversation stopped as Gaara looked up into the trees and for a moment, the two locked eyes. Then Gaara went back to his siblings, his usual blank face on.
Gaara looked at both of his siblings, and then momentarily back at the tree.

Neji's heart was racing, and he wasn't sure what was going to happen. He had just watched what had happened to the enemy's that this male had just defeated. He had won over the scroll with ease, and he was sure that it wouldn't be very difficult to defeat more. Neji swallowed hard as Gaara went on talking.

"Temari! Kankurou!" Gaara commanded in his normal cold manner. "Scout out the area around here. We need to set up camp before nightfall. Don't come back until you have done a good enough job at searching the area." The two siblings looked at each other, but knew better than to question Gaara. Without a second glance, they shot off in different directions, leaving Gaara and Neji alone.

"Boy, you can come out." Gaara said in a lower voice, and just for Neji's ears.

Neji stood there for a second, regained his composure, and jumped out of the tree that was his hiding place.

"What do you want" Gaara said coldly.

"I was looking for a place to camp, and ran across you guys" Neji said, his knees wanting to give out on him. What the hell?! he thought angrily. I'm never like this around anyone! What makes this shinobi so different?

"Liar" the red-head replied smoothly. "What do you want with me? What is your reasoning for making me feel this way?"

"What way?" Neji asked, confused.

Neji felt himself swallowing hard as he looked into the eyes of the other Ninja.

"This feeling right here." Gaara moved his had and placed it over his heart. At this point, a small amount of sand fell out of his gourd.

Neji followed Gaara's hand and stared at what would be in essence the male's heart. He didn't know what to think or do, but he knew that if he didn't do something, his legs would give out on him. There was nothing more he could do, not even Tenten made him feel this way.

"It's consuming my thoughts" Gaara continued, feeling as if Neji didn't understand.

Neji swallowed. What the sand ninja was describing was so similar to his own feelings...

"It's almost like I'd do anything just to be near you, to touch you" Gaara said, his sand falling more rapidly.

Neji paid the sand no mind. "That's what... Love is like..." he said more to himself than to the red-head.

Neji took another step forward. With each step that the boy could feel his heart beating against his chest. Once Neji was a breath away, Gaara's sand came up in defense. There was a hole where Gaara's face was.

"Every time someone gets near me," Gaara said, looking down at his hand, "This happens."

Neji saw, with a flash of recognition, the fight between the other squad, and Gaara. Still, he reached forward, trying to touch Gaara's face. It was almost as if he didn't believe it was real.

Almost instantly the sand encased Neji's hand as the hole closed. It traveled up the pale eyed ninja's arm to about the elbow.

Neji almost panicked. He was being confined. AGAIN! But before it could get out of hand, he calmed down, and tried to push his hand closer to Gaara.

The farther Neji pushed his hand toward Gaara, the tighter the sand enclosed his hand. It was almost unbelievable, but Neji needed to know. The tips of Neji's fingers touched skin, and Gaara gasped. Although his arm was being crushed, he had reached skin, Gaara's face to be exact.

Gaara couldn't believe what he was seeing. This boy was pushing through his sand. He gasped the second that the tips of his fingers touched his face. The feeling of warm and living flesh was one that Gaara had never felt. The warm pulsing and beating of the blood beneath the skin excited him, and he fell back, releasing Neji, and breaking the sand.

Gaara gulped down hard as he looked up at the boy, who was only a few feet from him. He wasn't sure even what was going on, or what the feeling was that was running wild throughout his entire body.

Neji stood there, his hand still outstretched, frozen. He felt his face starting to redden, and mentally shook his head.

I don't get this! Neji thought, frustrated, confused, and... worried? How can I feel this way towards another guy?! A killer to be exact?!

Similar things were going though Gaara's head.

What is this feeling? It's so strange... This man called it love, but... I don't understand it...

As Neji stood frozen, arm outstretched, his arm began to ach. It had taken a while for the pressure of the sand to really have taken an effect. Slowly, Neji let his arm fall, feeling a slight bit of blood raise to the surface. He felt the moist, red liquid stick to his shirt, but he could have cared less. The only thing on the Hyuuga's mind was the male laying on the ground in front of him.

Gaara lifted his upper body onto his arm as to have a better look at the pale eyed ninja. "You never answered me..." he said quietly.

Neji didn't hear him. He was too busy groping with the fact that his shorts were a tad tighter than normal. No one had EVER had this effect on the Hyuuga, and Neji didn't know what to do. All he felt was the need to attack the sand ninja in front of him.

I cannot believe that I'm thinking this! He thought angrily to himself, as he made sure his feet were planted firmly to the ground. I am NOT gay!

Neji felt himself take a step forward. His heart was beating against the cage like a bird ready to fly. His body was doing the thinking for him, and his thoughts about being gay were being pushed back with every step he took forward. All he knew was that his body needed the touch of another. The only other around was Gaara.

Gaara felt his body trying to speak to him. A feeling ran through him that he couldn't understand. His body wanted this males, and he wasn't sure what this exactly was. Neji had said love, but this sensation felt like something more. There were two parts of the red head. One told him to run away, and one told him to embrace the black haired Neji.

As he sat on the ground, he wasn't sure which one to follow, but he knew, he couldn't take his eyes off of Neji.

Some rational part of Neji would've warned him against this course of action, but all sense was banished from his head. He knelt down beside Gaara, and, taking a deep breath, leaned over the red head.

Instantly Gaara's shield was back up. Gaara took a shuddering breath, and didn't know what to do. What he would've done if his sand hadn't intercepted Neji's touch.

Neji was fighting off the sand yet again, but had to pull away this time. He might have pulled his hand back, but he was still kneeling just a foot or two from Gaara.

Feet apart at most, and they couldn't touch. It was like torture. Each of them wanted to be near the other, but Gaara's sand was in the way. The sand was playing the barrier, and neither side liked it. This sand had always protected him, up until now. Now the sand was keeping him from something that he wanted with all of his heart.

Inside the prison that was his own defense, Gaara was battling with the Shukaku in his head. You can control this sand. he said, trying not to sound desperate. Just let me out.
And why would I do that? the demon replied, clearly mocking Gaara. He might hurt you, or worse... You might hurt him.

Outside, Neji was trying to think of something, anything that might work to break the sand. He couldn't deny it anymore. He NEEDED the ninja that was lying there, so very close.

I am willing to risk that! Gaara pleaded with Shukaku. He might hurt us.

Gaara looked up at Neji, Just this once?

Neji moved closer to Gaara, gently placing his hand on the sand barrier. Nothing happened, and the sand stayed in place. Neji could feel the rhythm that the sand took on.

It wasn't necessarily movement, but he could tell that there was something alive about this sand. It was obvious that the sand wasn't at Gaara's control, or else the two would be much farther than they currently were.

Please ... Gaara pleaded looking into Neji's eyes, to his demon.

What would the benefit be for me? Shukaku said, laughing slightly. Because I don't see one...

I don't care! Gaara said, as the feeling inside grew. It was as if it had a life of it's own. Just name a price, and I'll do it!

Neji closed his eyes, and placed an ear to the barrier, trying to hear something, anything. As if he'd hit a secret trigger, the hand that was still resting on the sand sank a tiny bit.

Neji's eyes flew back open, and he lifted his head to take a look at it.

Is it weakening? Neji thought, and put pressure on the soft spot. Sure enough it gave a little.

Neji was slowly falling through the sand, which could mean one of two things; He was either being let into the sand, or the sand was going to slowly crush him as he fell through.

Blood, That was Shukaku's response to Gaara's pleads.

Not his. Gaara said, now worried for the pale eyed ninja's life.

You DID say anything the demon laughed evilly. Or are you going soft on your part of our deal?

Neji felt the sand harden again, but it wasn't filling in where it had fallen out. He was so close to Gaara, and he knew it. It was almost harder to deal with. Completely forgetting that he had such a thing as chakra, he tried to scratch though the inch or two that was left.

As hard as Neji tried, he couldn't get past that last inch or two of sand. Gaara must have been fighting with the something that was keeping him out.

The only thing in it for me would be blood or death, take your pick. Shukaku was having far too much fun with this than he should have been.

Frustrated, Neji banged his free hand against the sand. "Damn it!"

I'll go and kill someone else for you, anyone else! Gaara pleaded. Just not from him!
I don't know... Shukaku said, a smile hidden in his voice. It does seem like his blood would run a nice color... I don't know if I could settle for less...

The tension was killing Neji. He needed to brake through this sand, he needed to be on the other side. Neji continued to push his right hand through, as his left continued to pound on the outside. He was so close, but he couldn't reach.

Gaara could hear the frustration that was coming from outside, and he continued to plead with his demon. I will give you more, from someone else! Gaara was getting desperate, and his body was in need of some attention. Gaara longed for the touch of someone. This feeling inside, that Neji had called love, was eating away at him to the point that he needed to let it out.

Several people, I will let you kill to your hearts content, just not him!

Hmmm... Shukaku saw a brilliant plan form. Fine, I will let him though, but on one condition. After this day you will have to show him your true nature. We'll see if he can deal with the killer inside you.

Gaara bit his lip. Deal.

Neji hit the sand again, and this time his fist sank. The sand was sucking him in quickly now. It was as if it was eating him whole. He closed his eyes, and reached foreword, feeling for something beside this gritty cold. Something warm, and soft, and there it was. His fingers had just grazed the thing he was looking for.

Sitting in front of him was Gaara. Neji had broken through, and both were thoroughly surprised. Gaara felt the warmth and blood rushing through Neji's hand that was now lying in his lap. Neji was laying in front of Gaara, and the two meet the others eyes. Both could feel their hearts in the back of their throats, but neither cared. They were so close now, and neither new exactly what to do.

Neither of them had been in a situation like this, and for a few moments both just stared at each other.

After a bit, Neji noticed that Gaara's bottom lip was bleeding. Slowly, hoping that it was the right thing to do, he lifted his hand, and wiped it away.

Gaara involuntarily flinched, not used to such a soft touch. It was strange to him. This 'love' feeling had gotten him this far, but left him here with no clues as to what to do next.

When the pale eyed ninja felt Gaara's reaction, he set his hand to the side, afraid that Gaara was going to run.

Neji felt Gaara's blood on his hand drying, but he could careless. Neji moved himself a little closer to Gaara, noticing that he was still bleeding from the lip. When there faces were close to touching, Neji let his tongue clean the small wound on the red heads lower lip. Gaara gasped, not knowing what else to do from this sensation.

Neji pulled away, and licked his own lips.

For moments, the two were bound together through the soft touch of lips. It was Gaara who drew breath first. He was slightly panting, not knowing exactly what to do. The sensations that he had just experienced were double, if not more, those he had experienced in his normal life. His normal life consisted of being trapped within this bubble of sand. But now, he was trapped with another, and he was fine.

Gaara's face didn't show that he was enjoying the moment as much as he was. His face was creased with slight confusion, and that worried Neji.

The pale eyed ninja looked at him concerned that he was doing something wrong. "You okay?"

Gaara didn't know exactly what to do. He knew what he wanted to do, but he wasn't sure if that was what he should do. For once in his life, Gaara was going to go on an impulse.

He placed his hand on Neji's chest, and gently pushed him to the ground, so that he was on top, straddling the boy underneath him. He blinked, realizing what he was doing, but didn't care.

Both his hands were now on the boy's chest as he bent down to kiss the male once again. Before he went down in the passionate movement, he spoke.

"I am better than okay," he said smiling, and kissing the white eyed ninja underneath him.

Neji had never been the submissive in a relationship. In fact, he preferred it the other way, hating the feeling of being inferior because of his family. Now, the thought didn't even cross his mind. When Gaara kissed him, he pulled the sand ninja closer, knotting his right hand in Gaara's hair. His left arm was around the other ninja's waist, trying to close the gap between their two bodies even more.

Gaara's hands roamed around Neji's chest, tentatively at first, then more vigorously with his growing lust. The feeling of someone under him was like nothing he had ever felt before. It almost gave him the same feeling that killing someone did, only more extreme. It made him feel so... alive.

Neji felt his body reacting to someone being so close to him. Gaara's hands found the top of the zipper that held the clothing onto his prey. He found his hand pulling the zipper down, until he was met with a slight obstacle, the first square of cloth that assisted in keeping the clothing kept together. Not sure exactly what they were, he put his head on the warm smooth chest , his hands still laying underneath him.

Having hands next to the part of Neji that wanted to be touched more than anything, made him gasp. He didn't even notice what Gaara had started to do. Closing his eyes, the pale eyed ninja petted Gaara's head as his other hand traveled down to the edge of Gaara's pants, wanting but not knowing if he should go to the next step.

Gaara felt a hand moving down his back, avoiding the gourd, and down to the hem of his pants. Without thinking, Gaara had some of his sand begin to work at the gourd on his back. Slowly the gourd was removed, and the sand placed it allowing it to lean against the wall of the sand bubble.

Taking that as he tugged at the black pants.

Neji slowly pulled the sand ninja's pants down, kissing the top of Gaara's head. At this point Neji was getting slightly nervous. Sure, he wasn't a virgin. His popularity with the girls of the village had seen to that, but this was different. He had never done anything with the same sex, and he didn't know what to expect.

Gaara decided to leave Neji's pants alone for a bit. He instead started to undo Neji's shirt, moving his head slightly, as to get to the top of the jacket.

After some struggle, Neji's shirt finally came off. Pushing his upper body off, he slipped it off his back. Now, only thing on his upper body was the bandages that went from his fingers and wrapped all the way to his shoulder. As Neji looked at the still half clothed man above him, he smiled. He took the white drapery that was in between the two, and pulled it to the side.

Realizing that he was still wearing his headband, he untied it, as it was getting in the way. He gently placed it onto of his shirt/jacket/thing. On his forehead, plain as day was the curse mark of the clan. Looking up, he kissed the love kanji on Gaara's head. How ironic.

Gaara traced the stigma on Neji's forehead, and then buried his face in his lover's neck. Lover? Was that the right word? He had heard Kankurou use it to explain his multiple girlfriends, but was it the same? He decided it must be. His lips then shadowed the spot where the throat and the shoulder met, and then the sand ninja bit down, ever so slightly.

Neji gasped. As the shock and pleasure of this touch subsided, the pale eyed ninja moved his attention to freeing Gaara's chest from his shirt. His hands trailed up Gaara's well toned chest, and pulled the offending garment off.

Before long, the red headed ninja was wearing absolutely nothing. Neji's hands played over the back of the boy above him, while there lips were locked together. Gaara's hands had found their way into Neji's long black hair, tangling them in them.

They broke from there kiss, and Neji couldn't help but lick his lips. Not being able to wait any longer, Neji reached down, and pulled his own pants off. Finally, their naked bodies lay against each other.

Gaara didn't know how to react to every curve of his body being touched by this elder nin, but he knew that if he could, he would stay in this safe bubble forever.

Acting again on his impulses, Gaara kissed Neji once again, then started to trail them lightly down the other boy's neck to his chest.

Neji sighed, closing his eyes, his complete attention on Gaara, and his touches. That feeling was the best he ever felt, and he savored the moment, never wanting it to end.

As the two were in their own little word, a faint sound of sand running against the ground was heard. Neither of the two paid any attention to it, until the sand drew blood from Neji's arm. He winced in pain as Shukaku laughed in Gaara's head.

NO! Gaara shouted at him. I told you, not him!

It seems I've changed my mind... Shukaku said, laughing as the sand attacked Neji again.
Neji didn't know what was going on. Why was Gaara attacking him after this? Why didn't he just attack him in the first place? Not knowing the whole story, Neji started to panic.

He was trapped under a guy who wanted to kill him!

Neji wiggled out from under the boy, and Gaara pulled away, backing up. The sand was still trying to get at Neji, but the look in Gaara's face showed that he was as scared as Neji.

"Stop!" Gaara yelled at the sand.

Neji's back hit the side of the sand bubble. The sand behind him molded around his arms, making it impossible to move, while the attacking sand continued to lash at him.

Gaara watched horrified, feeling helpless. "Stop it!" he shouted, tears threatening to spill down his face. He had never once cared who the Shukaku attacked, and didn't have a clue as to how to make him stop.

Neji was struggling against the sand, but it had hardened, and he couldn't move. Gaara was screaming at something to stop. There was blood running down his chest, which currently looked like a cat had taken its claws to his chest.

Not knowing what else to do, Gaara ran toward Neji, placing himself in front of Shukaku's sand. One slash of sand hit his pale back, and the sand stopped. Tears were rolling down Gaara's face, and his arms were around Neji, his bleeding chest against the pale line of Gaara's.

Neji stared at the ninja that had saved him. He would've hugged Gaara back, but the sand was refusing to let go of him. Instead he took a deep shuddering gasp, and asked quietly "What was that?"

Gaara didn't answer, still crying silently. He heard as Shukaku tried to get him to move, but ignored the attempts.

The sand continued to pull at Gaara to get him off, but to no avail. The sand nin wasn't going to be moving any time soon.

"I'm sorry," Gaara cried into Neji's chest. Although Neji tried, he couldn't free himself from the sand, which left his naked body vulnerable to the younger male's body.

"It's okay..." Neji comforted the other nin, while still trying to get information on their current situation. "What's happening here? I thought you were in control of the sand..."

Gaara looked up at Neji, tears still streaming down his face. "Normally I am..." He said slowly.

Gaara whipped the tears from his face with his hands, and looked up at the white eyes of Neji. The slight confusion in them was apparent.

"It's Shukaku," Gaara said in a low voice. The only people who knew about his demon where Temari, Kankurou and a few people of the sand village. Those who didn't know, knew to stay away from him.

"Who?" Neji asked, still trying to free his arm from the sand.

"He's the one tailed demon" Gaara said, trying not to look away from the other boy. "He was sealed inside of me at birth. My power over the sand comes from him."

Neji's brow furrowed. "Why is he attacking me?"

"He's hungry for blood" the sand ninja couldn't keep eye contact with Neji, feeling slightly guilty for what happened to him.

As Neji was about to respond, there was a banging on the outside of the sand bubble. Neji could feel the banging through the sand, coming from directly behind him.

--

Tenten, being over suspicious, had followed Neji. Normally she would have been just fine with him going off on his own, but he was acting weird, and now she knew why. What was up with this? She slammed her fists against the sand, when a voice called to her.

"What are you doing?" It was a male's voice. It was the boy with the make-up on.

What are you two doing in there? You better not be hurting Neji!" Tenten yelled, pounding on the sand again.

Neji sighed. "I'm fine, Tenten" he said, not quite sure if the position he was in would be classified as 'fine'.

"Well then if you're so fine get your ass out here!"

Kankurou noticed that he was being ignored, and he didn't like that. He wasn't close enough to be able to hear through the sand, and he for sure, didn't like the fact that this girl was trying to attack his brother. If Temari was here, she would kick her ass on the spot.

"I will say this once," Kankurou said in a very stern voice. "Get away from my brother." If Kankurou needed to he was going to play puppet master, but he was so hoping that he wouldn't have to go to that extent, and she would take the hint. He didn't want to have to show his skill to this girl by chance she made it farther, but if she forced him, he would.

Tenten whirled around, not noticing that he was standing there before. "Oh, sorry" she said to him, scratching the back of her head with one hand. She may have looked aloof, but her other hand was slowly moving to one of her many weapons. She didn't trust this man standing in front of her, or the person that was with Neji for that matter.

"I was just trying to get my teammate." she explained, not wanting to start a fight. "He's in that thing, and I was just letting him know that we needed him."

Tenten took a step away as the look on Kankurou's face frowned.

"No one is in there but my little brother. No one can get in there." Kankurou said, forcing Tenten to step back.

Inside the sand dome, Gaara was talking to Shukaku again, begging for Neji to be let free.

Tenten was confused. "But I just heard him." she said, looking between the sand bubble, and Kankurou. "I was just talking to him."

"That's impossible..." the puppet master said, taking a step forward.

Tenten found herself being back into the forest. Kankurou had put himself between the bubble and Tenten. Tenten knew that the hour was pulling to an end, and Lee would soon come look for them if they didn't show up. Well, that was what she thought.

"Here," Tenten said, trying to think of a good argument. She remembered the brutality of this guys brother, and preferred to not find out if Kankurou had the same power. "Why don't you get your brother out of there, and see if my partner is in there too. Then I'll leave, and we can all be on our merry way."

Tenten was pushed into a tree, realizing that she was being backed up by this slightly larger man.

Tenten smiled up at the puppet master. "Okay, how about I leave, and if you see my teammate tell him that I'm looking for him." She would've walked away, but was too busy making sure Kankurou wasn't going to attack her.

--

Gaara's attempts were going to waste. Shukaku was bent on getting Neji's blood, and nothing Gaara offered wasn't worth the life of his prisoner.

Neji looked at the sand-nin, confused. Gaara was mumbling under his breath, apparently talking to thin air. He struggled again, but the sand still refused to budge.

The sand was attempting to get past Gaara again. 'You can't hurt him without hurting me.' Gaara was trying his hardest to get Shukaku to leave his lover alone. 'You promised me. I will give you an entire team. Two! We have days, just let him go!'

'As I said, I changed my mind.' Shukaku laughed at the poor fool that was his host, although it was tempting to have the permission to kill more.

Gaara's last resort would be to fight Shukaku. He wouldn't think of doing that, but he did have that kind of power. He wasn't completely useless.

Gaara felt like he was losing the battle with Shukaku and his face mimicked this emotion. Neji saw this, and felt that he should be helping, even if it was only a little. Noticing that the red haired ninja's hand was right next to his, he grabbed it adding his support to the fight between host, and demon.

Feeling Neji's hand wrapped in his, he felt more courageous than before. 'LET HIM GO!' Gaara yelled at Shukaku in his head. The power and force that Gaara was placing on Shukaku let out a slight wind/breeze from the surface of Gaara's skin. Neji felt this wind dance on his naked skin, and wasn't sure what to do.

Neji felt the sand loosen on his arms and pulled against the wall. It stretched just far enough for him to get his arms out. He slid the arm not holing Gaara's hand from the restraint, but didn't want to let go of the red head with the other one. He was torn between escaping and staying with the person he had suddenly gotten feelings for.

Neji realized that, if he pulled hard enough, the sand started to give, he looked Gaara in the face. The terror and fight was clear played on the young boys face. It was true that this was the first time that Gaara had disagreed on anything that Shukaku had wanted. It might not have been the wisest thing ever, but Gaara got what he want, and most of the time, those things were much more lax things. Now, he was going to let Neji go. His heart couldn't take his love's destruction.

Neji watched as the sand ninja's expression went from fear and worry to resigned and sad. "Are you okay?" he asked, not knowing if he wanted to hear what Gaara was thinking. He squeezed Gaara's hand, worried that this was going to end up with him leaving. It scared him. It was the only feeling the white eyed ninja could differentiate from the confusion that had taken over his head.

Gaara turned his head away, and sighed.

Neji didn't like this. "What's wrong?" he asked, tilting his head to try to look at the sand ninja's face.

Gaara didn't know what to say. He knew that Neji is always in danger near him and Shukaku would have more of a chance to kill him, but he didn't want to break his pale-eyed lover's heart.

"I-I" No matter how much Gaara tried, he couldn't get out his feelings. He couldn't tell Neji what needed to be said. He was even debating letting Shukaku take him over to tell him, but that would be too harsh.

Even as he was thinking it, Shukaku took the hint.

"You worthless little thing." The words flowed out of his mouth, as the tears mimicked. "We just used you!" This was followed by a laugh that wasn't Gaara's and was slightly unfamiliar to his throat.

"I'm sorry," Gaara said, moving backwards towards his cloths. As he slipped his pants back on, the sand bubble began to slowly drip away.

Neji sat there, shocked. He couldn't believe what Gaara had said. He had thought that he was safe with Garra, emotionally, just to find that the other ninja was using him. He sat there for a while, tears running silently down his face, before his cold shell came back again.

"So be it." he said, leaning over to grab his clothes as well. "I knew this feeling couldn't last. I was just fooling myself thinking that it could stay."

As soon as there was enough of an opening, Neji dashed for the woods, clutching the clothing to his bleeding body. When he was far enough away from the clearing, he stopped. He couldn't let himself go on like this. He had let down the barrier that he had between him and everyone, and now that he was away from him, he had re-built that wall.

However, as he stood there, leaning on a tree, composing himself, Tenten came upon him. She blushed, seeing his naked body hidden mostly under the clothes, but still, of course, embarrassed.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" She asked, then she noted the bleeding. "Your hurt,"

Neji couldn't meet her eyes. He felt embarrassed by what happened. I was a fool... he thought bitterly to himself, then said to his teammate. "I'm fine."

"Fine?!" Tenten replied exasperatedly. "You're anything but fine! You have cuts all over you! What did that guy do to you?!"

The pale eye ninja flinched, but muttered. "He didn't do anything. It was my fault" Neji didn't know why he was still defending the sand ninja, but he didn't want Gaara to take any of the blame.