Summary: Gaara is a quiet teen, burdened with a sickness that is his deepest secret. He was supposed to die a year ago but has somehow managed to hold on. Fate guides his way but for better or for worse? Will he get a chance at life? SasuGaa fic. YAOI.

Author's Note: Another chapter up for you guys! Yay! I'm really getting into this. I'm enjoying writing this SasuGaa fic. I'm sorry it's taken forever to get this out. I've been very busy with schoolwork and such. Well, thanks to ednama, DemonicKitsune-chan, FullMetal Muffins, dragonlilly1993 and Naachan'sredhead for reviewing on the last chapter! Happy reading!

Disclaimer: Of course I own Naruto. May a piano fall on me if I lie. – gets hit by a piano –

Chapter 3: Sickness and Discovery

Now what have we here? A sad little pawn with nobody to guide him in life? That does make me teary eyed. No. It doesn't. I could care less. But how rude to abandon my pawn on the game of life. Well, as long as he's there, why not make him suffer a little? It builds character. That sounds good to me. Come, Gaara, let me guide you. You make the choices and I'll lead you down the paths. But be aware, I may lead you astray.

"Are you feeling any better, Gaara?" Temari's voice came from overhead. The redhead looked up at her with pain filled eyes, biting his lip in an attempt to stop screaming. Temari sighed. There was nothing to be done but wait for the pain to subside. That or watch her little brother die here and now. Temari was certain that Gaara still had the strength to fight off the bacteria that was currently attacking his body.

"He's not looking good," Kankuro murmured. Naruto glared at Gaara's brother.

"He'll be fine. He's gotten through worse attacks than these."

"He's fighting the bacteria now. All we have to do is wait."

"So optimistic," Temari muttered. Kankuro wrapped an arm around his sister's shoulders. The three of them had basically been living on their own since their father came home after they were all asleep (except Gaara who woke up often during the nights) and left before they all rose. They had had to deal with the attacks of their sickness for as long and as terrible as they lasted. It was something that Temari was sick of, Kankuro hated and Gaara accepted.

Neither of the three cared much for their own attacks but hated it whenever a sibling succumbed to the dreadful infestation that invaded their bodies. It was much more painful to see a sibling in pain than to be in pain. The looks of agony and distress that appeared on the face of the attacked made it all the worse for those watching. In fact, Hinata was covering her eyes and Naruto had turned to regard a painting just over Temari's head.

"It's…stop-stopping," Gaara trembled as the pain began to leave his head and travel away, down his neck and into his chest. Temari breathed a sigh of relief and placed a damp cloth on Gaara's forehead. Kankuro looked a mite happier and let out a breath he hadn't known he was holding.

"Just relax for a moment. The cloth should cool you down a bit," Temari said, thankful that she still had two brothers. Naruto as well was looking better. Haku, who had been silent throughout the whole ordeal found the ability to speak once more.

"Thank god you're okay! I thought we were going to lose you this time!" Haku, with no regard for Gaara's condition, flung himself on top of the redhead, hugging him tightly. Gaara allowed a small smile to cross his face.

"You won't lose me. I still have to beat you in backgammon first," Gaara managed a cheery tone of voice.

"You've lived two years past the time you were supposed to die. It's harder and harder to believe that you'll come back from each attack. I keep expecting your time to come," Naruto gazed at his redhaired friend.

"You've got the same illness. Why the hell are you so worried about me?" Gaara asked, sending a look at the other male.

"Because I'm not supposed to die for another three years; four if I'm lucky. Tsunade still hasn't given me a straight answer. I think she's afraid that I'll get my hopes up," Naruto explained. Gaara made a face. Hinata pressed against Naruto lightly.

"N-n-naruto-kun…please don't say things like th-th-that," Hinata stuttered. The blonde looked contrite and wrapped an arm around his girlfriend reassuringly. Haku lowered his head slightly.

He and Hinata were the only ones here without this disease. And yet, they too were adversely affected. He blamed Gaara's father for this. If it wasn't for him then Gaara would still be clean. In fact, Gaara's whole family would have been fine if it hadn't been for Gaara's father. So Haku found it perfectly reasonable to blame him. Especially because he wasn't around to help his three children cope with the disease.

"That won't happen for a long time," Temari reassured. She was dead set on seeing her brother defeating the bacteria and living on without worry of disease. Gaara breathed out loudly and then sat up slowly, taking his time to adjust.

"What are you doing?" Kankuro demanded.

"I have to go. I have to work," Gaara answered. The Sabaku siblings as well as his three friends gaped at him.

"After you just had an attack and one of your worse ones, you decide to go work," Naruto summarized, looking at his friend as though he had just grown a pair of ears and a tail.

"Orochimaru doesn't know about this. He doesn't need to know and what he doesn't know won't hurt him or be repeated for him. Am I clear?" Gaara got a deadly look in his eye.

"Gaara, despite the duties you have to the gang, please think of your health too," Kankuro said quietly. Gaara whirled to face him and then steadied himself as the world spun.

"Might I remind you that most of your objects, paraphernalia and the clothes on your back come from what I do?" Gaara's voice softened dangerously. Naruto shivered. Only Gaara could be weak one moment and then terrifying the next. Neither Temari nor Kankuro seemed to be fazed by it, however. Haku was watching the entire exchange with wide eyes and Hinata was looking carefully from the elder Kazes to the younger one.

"We know that, Gaara. But think of your health for once! It's going to do you no good if you run yourself ragged. Orochimaru will just find someone else to take out his enemies and you won't be making the money you do," Temari replied. Gaara's gaze softened slightly.

"I'll be fine. I promise. At the first sign of pain, I'll come home. But with our father acting nothing like one, we need money. We're so close to losing the house and everything that we've worked for. Once I get paid for this, we won't be stretching our budget so much," Gaara replied.

"Can't Kankuro or Temari go in for you?" Haku asked.

"No. Temari is the strategist and Kankuro is a distraction. Neither of them are assassins," Gaara answered. Naruto frowned.

"I still don't see why you do this. You already know that you're loved," Naruto said. Gaara remained silent.

When he was young, his father had been devastated by the loss of Gaara's mother during his birth. He had handed Gaara over to his brother and left him there. Yashamaru, his uncle, cared for him and taught him much of what he knew. One day, while he was visiting his family (Yashamaru had come to talk to Gaara's father) he has knocked over a picture standing on a table. His father had rushed into the room and upon seeing the picture, lying broken on the floor, charged at Gaara, screaming and yelling.

Yashamaru had brought him down before he could seriously do any damage but Gaara had felt a sharp pain in his neck and had blacked out later. He never knew it until he got back to his original family but he had been carrying the disease inside of him and both of his siblings had it too. Their father had passed it to the two of them and then onto Gaara. Yashamaru had met his end with the disease too but Gaara never wanted to dwell on the reason why.

Because Yashamaru was the only one who had shown Gaara any sort of affection (and died taking every word back) Gaara felt utterly lonely when he realized that nobody loved him. He had become part of a gang and now worked as one of the top assassins, taking down those who were marked specially as traitors, enemies or valuable. But three years after he had joined the gang, his siblings had told him that they cared deeply for him. Yet Gaara kept working for them, needing the money for his family.

"It's the money we need, not the… feigned affection," Gaara responded. Temari bit her lip.

"Just promise to be careful. No unnecessary risks," Temari glared at her brother.

"None. I promise. If I do this right, I'll be back before eleven."

"Okay. Be careful."

Gaara, Gaara, Gaara. Whatever am I going to do with you? As soon as I make your life miserable, you stand up and move on. Have I thrown too much in your way to make you feel anymore? Have you become a cold and unfeeling monster? I give you pain and you give me entertainment. It sounds like a fair trade right? Of course not. But you can't bargain with me. You can't even see me, even though I am all around you.

How about we make this interesting? I will bring you the best thing you could possibly have in your life. And in return, you give me anything that I ask for. Or rather…what one of my friends asks for. Deal? Deal. Good. We have a bargain. One sided but you'll know what I mean in time. You can't hear this. So don't worry. Let Fate guide your path. Because Fate has a great plan in life for you.

Gaara walked through the dark streets of town, towards gang territory. Here, gangs collected to settle debts, battle and create alliances. Most of the time, battle was waged here, gun fights and everything. Deals were struck, enemies made and gangs divided or conjoined. It was a world of strategy and coldness. To be strong, you had to be hard. To be hard you had to be cold. To be cold, you had to be heartless. That was the nature of the gang world.

The redhead came to an abandoned building and broke a shard of glass off an already broken window and threw it into a hole in the ground and then waited. An underground door opened up and two men stepped out of the doorway.

"Give me your medallion," the first man with dark sunglasses and a tough look about him said. Gaara held out the necklace with a pendant of three commas creating a circle hanging from it. The man pressed the pendant into a fitted hole. There was a flash of light and the man handed the medallion back to Gaara who remained expressionless.

"You're clear. Go in," the man with bright red hair said, gesturing towards the run down door. Gaara nodded and walked into the abandoned building. A long hallway led to an elevator and he pressed the fourth floor. The elevator went down and Gaara wondered who he'd have to kill tonight. He sighed in resignation and prayed that tonight would be someone easy. He got out of the lift and was immediately greeted by a utterly bitchy but tough girl named Tayuya.

"He's expecting you," Tayuya said, her eyes narrowing. Gaara nodded, almost imperceptibly. He walked through the large double doors and into the office of one of the most prominent underground bosses to date.

"You summoned me?" Gaara asked, not bothering to keep the indifference out of his voice. Orochimaru nodded and gazed at the redhead coldly.

"Yes. We need to take out Sai. He's been much too nosey lately and it's time he leaves. Luckily, he has no prominence in society so the job should be quick and easy. All you need to do is take him out. Others will take care of the body. Are we clear on this?" Orochimaru's voice was icy. Gaara nodded.

"Second cousin to the last of the Uchihas?" Gaara asked. Orochimaru nodded.

"Yes. He has…debts…to pay and he lacks the sufficient funds to do so."

"Won't…Itachi be displeased? He has importance in the Akatsuki gang and in the very core of society," Gaara stated carefully. It took very little to set Orochimaru off these days. The gang leader laughed; a cold, sharp sound.

"Itachi has no notion of it. You need not worry."

"Very well. It shall be as you command," Gaara nodded in submission.

"Very good. You serve me well."

"Is my weaponry ready for me?"

"You will not use weapons this time. I want you to use the dogs for this," Orochimaru grinned, his eyes lighting up with a spark of delight.

"As you wish," Gaara sighed. Orochimaru nodded and Gaara bowed his way out of the office. He glared at the door as soon as it closed.

"How did it go? Who are we taking out tonight?" Tayuya asked. Gaara looked at her, his seafoam green eyes cold.

"No worse than usual. Tonight, Sai's the unlucky one," Gaara answered. He walked away from the office and towards the elevator. Tayuya followed him and the two stepped into the elevator. He pressed the fifth floor button and the lift went down. The two of them waited in silence. Then the elevator doors opened and the two of them got off and went into a long hallway. They walked into a room three doors down and were met with another gang member.

"Hey, Gaara. What is it for tonight? I thought you weren't coming because Orochimaru gave us no instruction to prepare your weapons," the man with shocking red hair said, spinning his own weapon, an electric knife, lazily.

"I only need twin sabres for persuasion. For the kill…we're using the dogs," Gaara answered, taking down two large swords from the wall. The other redhead stared in shock.

"It's been forever since Orochimaru used the dogs!"

"Which is why they'll be twice as vicious."

"And that's a terrifying thought," Tayuya added. Gaara nodded in silent concurrence.

Gaara strapped the two sabres to his back and then made his way out of the gang hideout into the cool night air. He looked at the dark streets, knowing that a gang battle could commence at any moment. He was right. Before he had stepped fully out onto the road, a battle started. Gunfire erupted in full force on Konoha's streets. Gaara rolled his eyes. What an inconvenience.

Running away from the two battling gangs, Gaara reminded himself that he was lucky to be part of Orochimaru's gang. He was powerful as well as intimidating. Nobody but the Akatsuki, their main rivals, could do much damage to them. Still, Gaara wished that there was some way to get out of this lifestyle. If he could, he would give up his gang duties and live like a normal teen. Well, not exactly normal but as normal as he could manage.

Gaara slipped through the gates of the three Uchiha mansions. He looked up to see the dark windows of the mansion. There was without a doubt an alarm protecting the large mansion. No matter, he was an experienced at breaking and entering. Gaara ran to the side of the house where a large fuse box was planted. He smirked. Obviously Itachi and Sasuke Uchiha didn't care much about their second cousin to give him the worst protected house on the planet. Gaara quickly switched all of the fuses to 'off' before he went to a window and carefully ran a nail around one of the large panes of glass.

He removed the glass and stepped through the hole. He looked around the house and he nodded, impressed. Despite the lack of security, Sai obviously lived in complete luxury. So why wasn't he paying Orochimaru back? Either way, it didn't matter now. He was fucked and there was nothing he could do about it now. Gaara made his way silently up the stairs, taking out both sabres. The soft snores of his prey guided him to the room in question.

He made his way into darkness and stood over the bed of the unsuspecting victim. For a moment, Gaara wanted to warn Sai to get out of the place, to run away and not come back to Konoha. But he needed money. Fate was one cruel bastard. Gaara placed the point of one blade at the small of Sai's back while placing the flat of his other blade against his neck. The victim slowly woke up.

"Don't scream, don't say anything and don't even think of running away. Follow me and make no noise or you will pay dearly," Gaara snarled.

Ten minutes later, they were at the location. The redhead felt a pang of sorrow for what was going to happen. Sai had been pleading for the last ten minutes for another chance. But it was too late. Gaara wished that Orochimaru was a little more forgiving but this was a dog-eat-dog world. Anyone and everyone could be a friend or an enemy and it all depended upon the circumstances.

"Just one more chance!" Sai pleaded.

"You've had your chances! Now you pay with more than money!" Tayuya snarled. Gaara wondered where the girl learned how to be so bloodthirsty.

"Shut up, Tayuya," Gaara growled, ignoring her glare. It had no effect. He could pulverize her and not receive a scratch. "Kidomaru, release the dogs," Gaara ordered. The other male nodded and opened the cage that allowed dogs with the ferocity of hellhounds to run straight into Sai's cage. The man screamed as the dogs clawed and bit him. Tayuya smirked and Kidomaru remained expressionless.

"Congratulations, Gaara. I trust you had no trouble," Orochimaru said, appearing on the scene. The redhead shook his head.

"None. He came willingly. The house is free for raid," Gaara reported. He wished desperately he was doing something else. If only he hadn't been so desperate to find a family. It was his fault and his alone that he was roped into this lifestyle. But as long as his siblings were being cared for and had the money to live comfortably, he would continue to do this.

Kid…hey! Kid!

"What do you want, Shukaku?" Gaara asked silently. His other half, his split personality laughed darkly.

It's not every day you can see dogs tear a man to shreds.

"If you don't have a legitimate reason for bothering me right now then would you please-?" Gaara was cut off in mid thought.

Aww, the kid is cranky. Not used to setting dogs on people?"

"It's part of my job. I have no choice."

Yes you do. You could get out of gang life. You could get an actual job.

"Where have you been? Half the people in this town are afraid of me for reasons I have never known. I have been shunned my whole life. Who would hire me? And gang life is the only life I've known. It's the only place where people accept me as who I am. A killer, a freak or whatever else their little minds have come up with."

And you actually care about what people think, kid?

"To some extent. I just wish I was accepted. But I'm the freak. I don't know why I still bother to go to school."

I know why.

"I don't want to hear about it, Shukaku."

Why so touchy?

"Because it's not true."

I think it is. Remember, I have a path into your mind. I can see your thoughts, wishes and desires.


As you wish, kid.

Gaara gritted his teeth. Since the death of his uncle, Gaara had had to deal with an abomination named Shukaku, the split personality. He took over on occasion and caused Gaara no amount of grief. The redhead hated it when Shukaku took it upon himself to be known and heard. He looked up as the sun broke over the horizon, faint colours of pink and gold dancing in the sky. School would be starting in four hours. He had enough time to make himself look relatively normal and forget about the screams of the person he had just brought to his death.

Well, it seems that the curse I gave you might turn into a blessing, Gaara. Shukaku is very good for you. He makes you realize things. I prefer it if you remain oblivious but this is a game! And that makes it very interesting. Just think. I could kill you in a car crash, I could make you die from your illness and I can make you blind, deaf, completely helpless. Fate does things like that. And nobody can stop it. And you, Gaara, have the privilege of playing a game with me…which makes your hardships even worse. Because you should know by now that I love entertainment.

Oh gosh! I can't believe it took me this long to get this chapter out! I hope you enjoyed it and are not inclined to kill me. Something happened in this chapter and I feel like it sucks. Perhaps it does, I can't be the judge. I leave that up to you! o(^^)o So I hope you enjoyed it. I promise the next chapter won't take me this long. Thanks for reading!