Disclaimer: I don't own anything….I swear. Would I lie to you?

A/N: Please read and review. I've never written Gaara before but this kinda just found its way out. This is kinda pulled apart...idk my mind works strange sometimes. There are basically 4 scenes...garaa having Shukaku extracted and being saved, Garaa finding temari, Garaa marking Temari, and Garaa speaking to Shikamaru.

Warnings: Some Shikamaru/Temari uhh Garaa/Shikamaru if you squint and magnify and pray...Oh and a death (sorry)

Summary: Shukaku was the pounding rhythm trying to lure him to sleep—she is the lullaby keeping him awake.

--There are some nights when,

Sleep plays coy,

Aloof and disdainful.

And all the wiles

That I employ to win

Its services to my side

Are useless as wounded pride,

And much more painful—Maya Angelou (Insomniac)

Her eyes are wide open as you pull downwards, a trail of thick red following soon after. Her skin splits open but her mouth stays locked shut. She is quiet.

You prefer her that way. One line firmly down, you stare at your handy work as the skin swells up and the blood pours out. You don't say anything. No compliment on her silence or beauty.

You just leave your hand on her arm, her dry and rough skin, like sand paper, and squeeze.

You always liked her best before.

- - -

Temari is dead. Well she's dying, closer to there than here. Though you suppose she was always dying, on her own way. In the way the women of the sand always do.

She is lying in mud and she's dirty. You want to make her clean. She deserves that much. You want to bring her close to you but your sand isn't strong enough for that. It makes you miss Shukaku but then—you never slept.

So you will walk to her.

- - -

It hurts like stinging pins of electric fire as you lay on a table and feel something deeper than your soul ripping. 'You will die' something says it and you feel your body slow, your eyes are weary.

'You will sleep now.' You panic—and then its over.

- - -

You wipe your hand against her face, smudging the mud. You look around…there is no water. She whimpers and you think of saying its ok to cry but you don't. Temari isn't some girl. She wouldn't appreciate that.

"Its ok. I'll rest now. Its ok." You're not sure whose she's comforting but you nod, hold her head in your hands, smile a little and feel your lips crack.

You want to tell her that she doesn't need to lie to you…your not some kid. But then, you'd be lying too.

- - -

She tries to move her hand but the mud is too thick. "Please?" she whimpers. "Please, please, please, please" over and over with blood trickling down the side of her mouth, down her chin to your fingertips.

"Please, please, please" she gurgles now, tongue heavy and kind of laying out of the side of her mouth. "Please, please, please Gaara." She stops.

You wrap sand around her neck and make it stop.

- - -

When its over you incase her neck down in sand and carry her home. She's heavier than you remember. A weight sags on your shoulders. Its nothing you're not used to.

- - -

You cut again and again, letting the blood mar her dirty face. Finally you are done, you dip your hands into the boiling hot water and wince then pour it over her face. Your hands blister and her face turns red with an almost healthy hue.

The blood and dirt wash off. You caress your fingertips against her forehead.

- - -

He finds you somewhere hiding from the funeral preparations. Kankuro can do that. You have already given laughter for the living and tears for the dead….or perhaps more appropriately the other way around. You owe Temari nothing more.

Still he finds you, silent and looming like a shadow. "Did she die peacefully?" You keep your back turned, not really surprised by his question. "Did she?" You say nothing and begin to walk away.

"Please."

- - -

You hear it every night. "Please, please, please." Like a melody to sing you to sleep. You hear it every night. "Please, please, please" like a hard thumping of a drum, keeping you awake. Temari's pale face is the demon now—keeping you always awake.



- - -

You keep walking, used to ignoring the pleas of people, people who think they know what they want and have no clue what they need. "Please. I can't…I can't sleep anymore."

Just like you used to be. It remains unsaid but lingers. You turn and look at him.

- - -

You press your hand over her eyes, shutting their piercing gaze. "Please, please, please" you murmur like a fervent prayer "rest now."

- - -

"Please" he sounds so desperate and you wish you could give it to him. Wish you could press your forehead against his and let him see. You wish Temari's ghost could go to him, cling to his shadows and leave you be.

But you aren't a selfish kid anymore. You shake your head and rub at your shoulders, feeling weight there. And then walk out.

- - -

You press your lips deep and hard against her forehead, kissing your handy work—Love. You whisper to her "Rest now please." Your throat locks up. You take a breath. "Please, please, please—I can't sleep."

Just like I used to be. Its unsaid but it lingers there. A secret engraved into her skin.

You pull away and with all your might cover her face with sand. You will bury her yourself.

- - -

When you awake you see Temari's face first and hear Naruto's voice. She smiles gentle and soft, her rough hands stroking your hair. "You're back. Its ok you are safe. You can sleep now."

You can barely keep your eyes open but you feel so light, so empty. Strange. She smiles. "I couldn't let you down." You try to nod but can't.

"Its ok. No more demons. I'll stay awake, I'll watch you." You don't doubt her, there was a time, the time when the only tie you both had was around her neck, that she would always stay awake…always watching carefully.

"I'll watch you." You close your eyes and sleep.

--Remember the words of Ram Dass

"Death is like taking off a tight shoe"—Bif Naked