Ah! What's this? Another chapter? In less than a week? Haha! I have no sleeps, so this is a bad idea, but I want to make up for being such a bad updater and I just whizzed through this chapter. Like, it flew from my fingers. I think I lost a lot of readers with my last chapter... Since it was garbage. Damn. I can't write lemons to save my life. Anyway. Enjoy this chapter. No lemons, but crap... it was kind of hard to write -even though it took me no time at all to write it- Since y'all are writers yourselves, I'm sure you know what I mean.

Chapter Thirteen


My fingers danced across his milky skin, his breathing hitching slightly, and I allowed myself to think it was my touch that had caused it. He hummed in his sleep, pouty pink lips pressing together, awakening my groin. How could a person be so seductive even in sleep? I was so happy, even though my body was stiff with the sleep I wouldn't allow to take me from the sight before me. "Oh, Gaara." I whispered, nuzzling his beautiful crimson hair lovingly and pressed my lips to his forehead before easing myself out of the tiny bed. The beautiful red head rolled over in his sleep, burying his face into the pillow.

I smiled and pulled the comforter over his shoulders, pulling on just my jeans, planning to be back in moments. I couldn't keep myself from humming as I walked into the kitchen, hands stuffed into my pockets, giddier than a child with too much candy. That happiness died a bit when I pulled my hands out and a little ball of paper dropped to my feet. I knew exactly what it was. "Temari's number…" I mumbled, bending down to retrieve it. I opened it carefully, the numbers already memorized but still wanting the paper on me at all times, worried that Gaara would find it and flip.

I glanced at the glowing green numbers on the base of the coffee pot. 3 am. And before I would talk myself out of it, I picked up the phone and punched in the numbers. After the third ring I realized what I was doing and tried to hang up, but couldn't move realizing I hadn't blocked my number. The fifth ring and it rolled over to voice mail. "Hi. You've reached Temari Sabaku. I can't come to the phone right now, but leave your name and number and I'll get back to you as soon as I'm able." There was a pause and I let out a breath, relieved the pleading for her brother or information Sasuke had told me about was no longer there. I moved the phone from my ear and my finger hovered over the end button when her voice had me pressing the phone back to my ear in panic. "If this is Gaara, please come home." Her voice was filled with terror and unshed tears. "We love you. If you have any information on my brother, Gaara Sabaku, please, please leave a number where I can reach you."

My body went numb from the emotion in her voice, the knowledge that if Konohamaru ever went missing my world would cease to exist until he was found again. The pain I would go through. The anger and hurt. I snapped my phone shut just before the beep sounded. I had to tell him. He needed the option. But how? How? Would he accuse me of hiding the number? Would he throw insults my way for digging into a past I knew he wanted no part of? My body ached with the fear what could happen when I told him. Hearing her voice had cemented my decision. No longer if, but when. "Naruto?"

I jammed the phone and slip of paper into my pocket, whipping around and coming face to face with a sleepy, delicious looking eighteen year old wrapped in a comforter standing behind me. "Hey, babe."

"What's wrong?" he asked, his head tilting slightly.

I swallowed hard and tried to hide my fear at what he might've seen or heard. "Just thirsty. I was about to come back and join you after I checked on Konohamaru." I smiled, no lie slipping past my lips but a truth left out. He smiled and slipped past me, pulling two glasses from the cupboard and filling them with water and I felt guilt wash over me at his acceptance of my words without question. I walked to the bedroom and looked in on my little one, sleeping soundly. I kissed his nose then walked back out to join my red head in the kitchen. I wrapped my arms around his thin frame and tried to think of what to say.

He pressed a kiss to my chest and I hummed happily, my groin twitching to life. "Naruto." He mumbled into my chest, before turning around, grabbing my hand and leading me back to his room. As the door clicked shut and his arms wrapped around my neck, I decided it could wait until tomorrow.

Bright, warm sunlight woke me gently. I lay naked in the small bed, the comforter pushed down and just barely covered my lower half, golden curls glistening in the light. I reached down and yanked it up, hand brushing over the tattoo on my abdomen that Gaara had lavished so much affection on just hours before. His lithe body flitted through my mind, glowing in the moonlight, arching as I filled him, perfect pink mouth parted to let those glorious sounds escape. I hopped up before that could settle and pulled on my boxers and pants, thinking about watermelons and dandelions dancing across the surface of the sun and burning up while still dancing and laughing.

Oh god. I cringed and walked into the kitchen, trying to shake a new image from my head. "Papa!" Konohamaru lunged at my legs, nearly sending me over.

"Easy there, baby boy." I laughed, looking around for my red head.

"I is no baby." He huffed and held up four pudgy little fingers. "I dis many now! Dis MANY!"

I laughed. "I get it. I get it. Where's Gaara?"

"Gaawa in bafroom." He replied, clinging to my leg. I smiled and started walking, exaggerating the steps. My phone vibrated in my pocket, making me jump.

I pulled it out, flipping it open and pressing it to my ear, ignoring the tiny brunets loud laughter. "Naruto speaking."

"Oh…" A terrifyingly familiar voice answered. "Sorry. I missed a call from this number last night." Gaara's sisters voice was filled was disappointment. "I thought… well, I'm sorry I missed your call." Her voice then turned hopeful. "May I ask why you called?"

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I was torn between lying and confessing. Yes, I was calling to tell you your brother has been living with me since early September. He's my son's nanny and he absolutely adores the teenager you've been searching for for years. We've been dating for less than a month and I had my mind blown by him last night. Oh, and I'm pretty much in love with him. Yeah. Right. "Yes, I'm sorry about that. I was… trying to reach a friend. I realized my mistake when your voice mail kicked on."

"Oh." Her voice grew small and seemed to break slightly. "Sorry for bugging you then. Um… I'm sorry, but I left quite a few messages. Your voice mail didn't have a greeting so I… I thought you were someone else. Have a good day."

"You do the same." My voice was flat. What had I just done? The dial tone sounded in my ear and I knew she had hung up, but I couldn't close the phone.

"Hey." Gaara beamed at me, appearing suddenly. "Are you alright?" he asked, rushing to me, hands reaching up to my face. Tears had fallen from my eyes and had been sliding down my face.

I turned my head away. "Yeah. I'm good." I dragged my hand down my face and sighed. Even though I'm keeping this huge thing from you and just crushed your sister. Two pairs of eyes stared up at me with a concern I didn't deserve. I slid my phone into my pocket, snatched up Konohamaru and pulled Gaara to me in an embrace. "I'm just so happy is all!" I spun them around, Konohamaru squealing with joy and the red head laughing lightly. I set them back down and the little started spinning in place laughing loudly.

The teenager gave me a look, telling me I didn't fool him but didn't press. "Oh. You're phone has been buzzing for hours. You might want to call them back. From the number of times your voice mail chime went off it must have been important." He pecked me on the cheek, gave me a smile of concern then took off after the toddler. I watched him go and pulled the phone back out, staggering at the sight of twenty missed calls and 19 voice mails. I dialed in my code then pressed the phone to my ear, walking to the coffee pot.

The first, surprisingly, was from Kiba. "Bah chicka wah waaaah!" He practically screamed then cackled like a nut before disconnecting. I laughed in spite of myself then prepared myself for what I knew was coming.

"Hi. This is Temari Sabaku. Um… you called last night but didn't leave a message. I got your number from my caller ID… Call me back at your convenience."

"Um… Temari again… Gaara?"

"Temari here. I'm not trying to be pushy, but if this is Gaara, please come home."

"If this isn't Gaara, I must sound like a nut, but no one has called this number and hung up until recently… So, Gaara, if this is you, please call me."

"I know you may not want to come home, but please just call me and let me know you're okay."

The messages continued, pleading for the red head running around in the living room with my brother, begging and near tears. I listened to them all, pain and hurt washing over me. I couldn't do this. Her pain became mine and I nearly fell to the floor under the weight of it. What had I done? I hung up and dialed a familiar number, praying he would answer. "Sasuke Uchiha." The deep voice rumbled obviously woken from the ringing of his phone.

"Sasuke." My voice broke. I cleared my throat and started over. "I need everything."

He snorted. "You need a properly functioning brain. What are you calling about?"

"I need everything you found on him." I forced my mouth to say the words.

There was a rustling and I knew he was sitting up. "What?"

"I can't hold this back. I need to tell him everything. She left eighteen messages on my phone because I didn't block the number last night when I called. He has to know everything. I need to tell them both the truth." My heart was being squeezed inside my chest and I felt dizzy. What I was so afraid of I couldn't put into words but just feeling it made me want to vomit. Where was the happiness I was feeling hours ago? That bliss… I wanted it back desperately, but I knew I would never have it completely until he knew what I had known for weeks.

"Alright. I've got to run to the office and pick up the paperwork. Give me forty minutes." I snapped the phone shut and laid it on the counter, staring at it, wishing I could go back and never hear Temari's voice, never dialed her number, because it was so much easier when she was nothing but an idea with no emotions.

"Naruto?" I whipped around to see Gaara standing too close for all the emotions rolling through me. His eyes were guarded. A wall set up between us. Had he heard me? Did I say something to reveal what I knew before I was prepared? I pulled him to me and crushed my mouth against his, begging his forgiveness with my lips. My arms locked around him, pleading for him to understand what I was going to tell him in an hours time. I pulled back, gasping for breath. His eyes searched my face, concern and something else swimming in his beautiful eyes. "What's wrong?"

I released a long breath. "Stress."

He bit his bottom lip. "Anything I can help with?"

I laughed sadly. "No. This is all my own fault."

"Okay. But remember I'm here for you." He whispered, then cleared his throat. "Konohamaru wants to go to the park and I want to pick up some things from the store. Want to join us?" He asked with a small smile.

I groaned playfully, praying he would buy my acting. "I actually just asked Sasuke for help with something and I've got to wait for him."

"Oh." He looked crestfallen. "We could wait…?"

"Nah. That's alright. You two go ahead." I needed a pep talk from someone who would kick me while I was down but pick me back up again. "I'll be here when you get back." I kissed him again. He smiled up at me and turned to prepare to take the little one out.

I chased the little one around, trying not to think about what would be happening here in this living room later, helping him with his shoes, surprised when he tied them himself. I looked up at Gaara in amazement. "Yeah. We've been working on that." My heart swelled with pride and I ruffled the four year olds hair, praising him. "Alright. We're all set. Ready?" He asked my baby.

"Yay!" He jumped up and let me peck him on the cheek.

I gave Gaara another pleading kiss, praying he would forgive me and understand. He gave me another look of concern and… fear, I realized. I smiled and watched him take the little brunets hand and slip out the door.


My heart pounded as the conversation I'd overheard in the kitchen replayed in my head.

"Last night when I called. He has to know everything. I need to tell them both the truth."

The looks he was giving me, the way he was acting. Something was so very deeply wrong. I could feel it and it scared me so much it was painful. Was he talking about me and another person? Did I have to know something that was causing him so much pain? If so, what could it be? My body was shaking and I felt sick. I thought… I thought he felt the way I did. Did I imagine the connection we made last night? He looked at me so lovingly. I thought maybe might be starting to love me… Because I was so in love with him. If he told me now that we were getting in too deep and he didn't want me anymore I would be lost. I wouldn't know what to do.

No. He cared for me. He didn't care who I had been in the past. He cared for who I was in the moment. I knew that. I just had to believe in him. And Sasuke, the bastard, was coming over to help him with something. It couldn't have anything to do with me. Because I knew in my heart he cared for me. Not love, but he cared. And I had faith in him. Complete faith. I let out a deep breath and lifted the little one. "An I fink I need a puppy." He exclaimed as I tuned back in.

I laughed. "Why?"

"I nono. But they chute."

"That they are." I agreed with a smile, pushing the blonds behavior to the back of my mind.

The four year old was silent for a moment and I set him back down as we reached the other side of the street. His pudgy little hand grasped my fingers and he stared at the sidewalk as we continued towards the park. "Gaawa?" His tentative voice reached me.

"Yes?" I asked, concerned now for the littlest Uzumaki.

"Does you love papa?"

I started, stopping dead in my tracks. "Why do you ask?"

"I nono. You smile more now dat you tiss." A woman walking by raised her eyebrows and smiled, giving me a wink. "An' Moegi say when you is in love, when you tiss them you smile lots."

I laughed softly and blushed slightly. "Moegi sounds like a smart girl."

"She say girls is smarters than boys." He said a bit sadly.

I smiled, face still warm. "Girls are smarter at some things, but boys can be just as smart."

He lifted his face to mine. "Weally?"

"Yes really."

We walked for some time, nearly to the park when he spoke up again. "Well, does you love papa?"

I sighed and leaned down to look him in the eye, ignoring the people passing by. "Konohamaru. I'm not going to lie to you. I do. I love your papa, very very much."

He beamed up at me. "Den I can call you mama?"

"Konohamaru, why do you want to call me your mama?" I asked him seriously, curious about his obsession with calling me mama.

He bit his lip and stared me in the eyes. "Cus I love you. You is just like the mama's I see wif other kids. An' you love me too. You is my mama. I wants to call you it cus you is!" He shouted, tears welling his eyes. My vision blurred slightly. My opinion had never changed. I wouldn't care if he called me mama. I wanted to be his mama. But my relationship with his papa was still too new, to unstable. And though I loved Naruto to my core, I still did not know how he felt completely. I pulled the little boy into my arms and nuzzled him affectionately. He knew exactly what he wanted, he was just waiting for the grown ups in his life to get their shit together.

"Oh, Konohamaru. You can't call me mama." His tears slid down his face and sobs started building in volume. "Maybe someday. Far from now. But you never know, there may be other mama's for you." My heart squeezed painfully as the words left my mouth, but I knew them to be true. If we didn't work out, I was sure the tall blond man would find someone else to love, though it felt as if I never would if it happened. "For now, you need to call me Gaara. Alright?" He hiccupped pitifully and I felt like a horrible being.

I knelt there beside him, trying my best to comfort him, for quite sometime, ignoring the mumbled complaints of those having to walk around us. He finally calmed down and I picked him up. "I sorry." He whispered into my ear.

"For what?" My hand rubbed his back gently, trying to undo the sadness that I had created.

"Crying like a baby."

I smiled. "Crying is good sometimes. Don't you feel better?"

"No." My smile fell a bit.

"Do you want to skip the park and go home?"

"No!" He sounded alarmed and I laughed.

We crunched through the remaining bit of snow on the ground and his sadness seemed to disappear, running around trees, startling birds with his happy laughter. Even my mood lifted, following him about, heading to the playground that was full despite the cold. Many of the women on the benches smiled our way, nodding their heads in greeting, recognizing me from countless times we'd been here before. Konohamaru ran to me and grabbed him and spun him around and around, feeling like a child. He kissed my cheek as we wound to a stop and I nuzzled his nose, loving the child that was in no way mine as if he were my own. His long brown lashes brushed against my cheek with the butterfly kisses Ino had shown the kids the other day. I laughed and returned them, though it was harder because of my shorter lashes. He laughed like it was the best thing in the world, wiggling in my arms as if he were trying to escape.

"What's new, Kitty Cat?"

My back went ramrod straight and my heart fell to the floor at the sound of an old nickname in a familiar voice that shot to my core. I spun around slowly, praying with all my soul it wasn't him. Anyone but him. Black eyes stared at me, a fake smile parting his lips, exposing his teeth. His black jacket was the same, open in defiance to the weather with his shirt still too small to cover his midsection. Black hair dirtied and hanging limply around his face. "Sai…" My breath fogged in the air and I felt myself deflating.

"Thought you were a goner, Cat." His head tilted. "Where, oh where have you been?" His voice felt like syrup on my skin, bad memories flooding me. I felt nothing but scared of him, scared of what he could do to my happiness. Fear clutched me and my arms tightened. "Hello there, little one. What's your name?" He purred, reminding me of a predator watching it's next meal.

I put the four year old down. "Go play." I instructed in a shaky voice.

"Gaawa?" Big brown eyes questioned me, sensing my fear.

I tried my hardest to smile, but knew I was failing by the increasingly alarmed look on his face. "I'll be okay. Just go play, alright?" I finally got my face to work up a smile and he nodded, turning to the playground and running to it, looking over his shoulder at us once. I turned back to Sai, trying to think of something to say to get him to leave me be in my new life.

"Cute kid." He hummed, stretching the 'u' a bit. "Yours, Kitty?"

"No." I looked him in the eyes, trying to keep from shaking and failing. "I just get to watch him."

"Hm? Well, you were the safest of us all. It wouldn't make sense, but he looks just the age he might've been your first time. You must admit that hair has that red tint that makes him seem as if he is yours." I warmed under the compliment despite the lips it had passed through. "Everyone's been saying you died or got picked up by a creep. You had me worried there, Cat."

"I'm fine." I nearly growled.

"I can see that." He chuckled. "You look the best I've ever seen you." He took a step towards me and I immediately backed away, making him laugh again. "I ain't gonna bite. You couldn't afford it." He laughed, loudly, tossing his head back, taking his time to quiet down. His eyes traveled up and down me so slowly I felt self-conscious. "But from the look of you, you might be able to. So where have you been?"

"What do you want, Sai?" I asked, noticing we were gathering a lot of stares and most of them were not happy.

He threw his hands up. "Whoa. Hostile much?" He purred again, eyes narrowing slightly. "I'm just curious about the happenings of an old friend." I felt bad at his words. I did owe Sai for saving me and being a genuine friend during a dark time in my past. "Come and sit. I'm sure you have a story to tell."

I sat beside him, putting a good distance between us, when he sat. His body hung loose on the bench, legs splayed and arms across the back of the seat. Open. An invitation. A display. How I myself had once sat. I let myself fully look at him. His skin was sickly, almost grey, clinging to his bones and his eyes seemed sunken. He looked sick. He looked like he should be in a bed recovering, not exposing himself to the cold air. But he looked exactly the same. Had I looked this way before? I couldn't recall. "How have you been?" I asked, my voice flat, just as it had been when I'd last seen him.

He chuckled again and I remembered he always laughed at everything, as though nothing mattered. I knew it as a defense in other people, but I was never sure if that was true for Sai. "Same old same old. Not enough demand, not enough money, not enough anything." He smiled his creepy smile at me. "But I don't want to talk about me, Kitty Cat, I want to hear about you."

"There isn't much to tell." My head turned towards the park, unnerved by him, my eyes catching Konohamaru immediately.

"I think a reappearance of over five months has a story. Especially since you pop back to life with a child in your company."

"I was saved." I uttered, trying to keep it as vague as possible.

He laughed. "Saved? Do tell."

"That's it." I shrugged.

He made a sound that made me turn back to him. "No one saves prostitutes, Gaara. No one." A chill ran down my spine as he spoke my name, fear rising in me again. "Does his mother know of your past?" He gestured towards the jungle gym the little brunet was climbing with another child.

"He doesn't have a mother." I blurted, regretting it instantly when his eyebrows popped up.

"Just a father then." It wasn't a question and he laughed so hard he forced himself into a coughing fit that shook his thin frame violently.

"Yes. Just a father."

He didn't laugh as hard this time. "Does he make you call him 'Daddy'?" He asked, so amused with himself.

Anger spiked within me. "No. It isn't like that."

"Oh. So you haven't slept with him?" My mouth opened but the words slipped away from my mind. I had slept with Naruto. Just last night he had given me what I had craved for for so long. Sai chuckled again at my face. "Then you have. Oh, Gaara, when you learn, prostitutes are good for one thing. And only one."

"I-it's not like that." I stammered, angry once more. "Naruto's a good man. He wouldn't even sleep with me until-"

"You turned eighteen?" He finished for me. "You poor boy. Can't you see? You still look so young, but suddenly legal. I bet he could hardly contain himself!"

There was a cracking sound as my fist connected with the side of his face. His body bent with the force of it and he sat like that for a moment, stunned. My hand throbbed but I couldn't even look at it, standing up. "It isn't like that." I practically snarled. He turned towards me, a curious look in his eyes. "It isn't like that at all. I lo-"

"Love him?" He spat back at me, nearly hopping to his feet. "You fool. You're suffering from Hero Worship! You love him? Don't make me laugh. People like us don't love. Especially with people who aren't us! They are above us. They don't have to do the things that we do to get by. They are nothing like us and could never love any one of us!" He was almost screaming at this point and I was sure mothers and nanny's were staring at us with horrified expressions. "You fool!" He snarled. His features terrified me and I was shaking uncontrollable.

"But he-"

He cut me off. "There's only one reason they want us around. We give our bodies for money. We are nothing to them. Just a detour on the way home from work. You can bet this 'Naruto' of yours has someone respectable out there for whom he would drop you back on the streets he found you from in an instant. Never forget this-" He yanked off his jacket and exposed his thin and nearly naked body, spreading his arms wide. "is who you really are. You are one of us. And someday you will have to come back to us."

"He wouldn't-"

"Oh get real, you child." He took a step towards me and I forced myself not to cower. "Your birthday was… oh, yesterday? I'm sure his just cooking up a way to kick you to the curb as soon as he can now that he has gotten what he wants."

The conversation I'd heard pulled back to me, washing over me in waves, trying to drown me. "Last night when I called. He has to know everything. I need to tell them both the truth." The moment he'd slipped his phone into his pocket last night when I'd caught him in the kitchen. I pushed against it, trying to force it away from me, trying with all my heart to deny the words he was speaking. "No… no… He…" my lips trembled and he smiled, knowing he had won.

"We all want that fantasy. All of us. But our only family is the one we have is in our comrades on the street." I hated that he kept grouping me in with them. Us. Our. And I hated that I was believing him so completely. My head kept shaking no but he continued. "You know. You can tell. He's already started pushing you away. Making you feel like you don't belong in their world."

"No." I pleaded. "No."

"You should leave now. Now while some of your pride is still intact." He smiled, but it was sad, as if he regretted having to be the one to wake me up to what was happening. "You should leave before he makes you leave."

"NO! YOU LEAVE MY MAMA ALONE!" Konohamaru screamed, hurtling himself at Sai, pounding on him with his little fists. "NO NO NO! MAMA NO LEAVE ME AND PAPA! NO NO!" I picked the four year old up and pulled him to my chest, trying to calm his sobbing.

Sai frowned and looked apologetic. "I'm sorry there was a child involved in this. But Gaara, you've got to know I'm speaking the truth. I can see it in your face."

"YOU LEAVE US ALONE! BAD MAN! BAD!" The little brunet screamed and tears formed in my eyes.

Sai shrugged his shoulders and turned to leave. "See you around, Kitty Cat. And soon from the look on your face."

I stood there, watching him as he left the park, trying my hardest to console the child in my arms. I glanced around as he disappeared around a corner, met by looks of horror and disgust. "We don't belong in their world." I whispered, tears chilling my face more than the coldest winter.


"But what if he doesn't understand?" I asked my friend miserably, voicing my worst fear. "What if he leaves because of this?" I trembled.

Sasuke let out a deep breathe and closed his eyes. My hands reached up and slid down my face, anxious and frightened. "I'm not going to lie. I don't think he will understand, Naruto. I think, just from the time I've been around him, he's so guarded that this will shake him. I think he'll be angry." He picked up a sheaf of paper and examined it. "He was abused so much for so little, I think his trust is not easily earned and he will feel betrayed." I moaned, regretting this decision for the hundredth time since my oldest friend had walked through the door with a folder that, despite its plain appearance, could be my greatest mistake. "But you need to reassure him that I did this. I did this without your knowledge and that I thought he should know his family is searching for him. This is all my doing."

"Sasuke. He's not going to believe me. I know it. I just know it. What am I going to do if he leaves?"

"You aren't going to let him. If he runs, I know you'll follow. If he hits you and screams at you, I know you'll take it all and comfort him when the anger leaves and fear replaces it. I know you will, because that's how you are when you love someone." I looked up at him and he smirked. "You can't hid it from me. Out of everyone, I will always be able to tell."

"I'm pretty scared." I mumbled, blushing a bit.

"Really? Couldn't tell." He snorted.

I flipped him off. "Shove it up your ass, prick."



"Twat." He smiled and I trembled slightly. "It'll be fine. You will handle this and you will come through on top. You're too persistent to lose. I know it."

"I just wish I knew it."

He gave me a genuine smile and put the papers back in the folder, rising to his feet. "Do you need me to stay with you?" He asked. "I can help you explain."

I was tempted to take him up on the offer, wanting support in what I was about to do. "No. I need to do this alone. After Konohamaru goes down for his nap. I need to do this on my own." He patted me on the shoulder, wished me luck and left quietly.

My heart seemed to be doing double time waiting for my two to get home, praying they would hurry and wishing they would be delayed. I stared at the wall in agony. The pain was almost physical. What I would confess to my red head once he walked through the door and laid Konohamaru down for his nap could ruin the relationship we had. I could destroy my own world. I could still go back on it. Destroy the papers and go on pretending nothing had happened, but I knew I wouldn't. Not only could I not keep up pretending, staying on my toes every second of the day. But I also couldn't lie to him that long. It would just be harder the longer I waited for the 'right' time. Harder and harder until he refused to ever look at me again. Until he refused to ever try to love me. And I wanted him to love me. I wanted him to love me so much it hurt.

I didn't want to ever give him doubt of my love and though I knew it was too soon, I would tell him those three words after I delivered the news of his family. And I hoped to god that it would be enough to convince him I needed him to believe me. That I needed him.

I jumped at a knock on the door, nearly falling out of my seat. I stood up and calmed my heart. Gaara would've just walked in with Konohamaru. It didn't make sense for him to knock. Unless his hands were full… He did say he needed some things from the store. I shook my head. No. It was probably Sasuke. He must have forgotten something. Ah! I spotted the black leather gloves and lifted them from the counter, thinking how unlike him it was to forget anything, let alone something to help him brave the cold that he hated with a passion. Probably because it reminded him so much of himself. I smiled at my little joke and headed towards the door where the knocking sounded out again. "Hey, for-" My voice died in my throat as I pulled the door open and stared at the person standing on the other side of it.

"Naruto." Sakura sobbed, tears streaming down her face. I was frozen in place. She was the last person I would've expected to be standing at my door. She pressed herself against me. "Naruto. I'm so sorry." Her hands clutched my shirt as her shoulders shook.

"Sakura?" I asked dumbly, my mind trying to keep up. "What are you doing here?"

Her arms wrapped around my waist and she tilted her head back, turquoise eyes nearly drowning in the tears streaming down her face. "Please forgive me!"

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I didn't mean to say all those awful things. These past few months have been hell for me." She sobbed. "I love you Naruto. I really love you, so much that I can't sleep or eat. I don't know what to do. Please."

My heart gave a painful squeeze for the pink haired girl I used to love. "I forgive you. For all of it. I promise. Just please calm down."

"You do?" Her eyes lit up and a smile tilted up the corners of her lips. "You forgive me?"

I looked down the hallway nervously. "Come inside."

She refused to let go of me completely as I ushered her in. "Thank you, Naruto. Thank you."

"You're welcome?"

"So you do?"

My brow crumpled in confusion. "Do what?"

She laughed and shoved me playfully. "Love me too." Her eyelashes fluttered and a blush stained her cheeks.

My mouth dropped open. "No!" Her bottom lip trembled and the tears built up in her eyes. And I felt bad about my quick denial and volume. "I forgive you but, I'm sorry. I don't love you like that."

"But Naruto, I've changed. I can be whatever you want me to be." I turned away and walked towards the living room, the woman following on my heels. "You used to love me!" She wailed. "You used to want to be with me all the time! Love doesn't just go away!" She caught me by the arm and spun me around. "I don't understand. It doesn't just go away!"

I sighed and my heart gave a squeeze. "But it does fade."

Her eyes dimmed, as if I'd flipped a switch behind them. "No. No it doesn't. Not the love you had for me. It didn't fade through high school or college. You loved me for so long, you wouldn't let our love fade. You couldn't!"

"Sakura. Calm down. Please." I placed my hands on her shoulders, trying to reach this person I had never seen in her before. It scared me. "Sakura. I don't love you like that. You are my friend." Her head shook back and forth. She wasn't going to believe me, I realized. No matter what I said, she would keep on believing that I loved her. I took a deep breath and said the words I'd yet to say aloud. "I'm in love with Gaara." She froze, her face filled with shock, though I filled with happiness. "I love him. So much. I love him so much I'm ready to ruin our relationship to tell him something that could take him away from me. Konohamaru loves him and that just makes me love him more."

"Naruto…" She gasped. "Do you know what your saying? He's a prostitute. A whore. He has sex with strangers for money!"

"Not any more. That is in his past and it will stay there forever. Because I am going to love him forever. I will love him even after he has had enough of me and leaves me. That's the kind of love I have for him." As these words sunk in, she began to shake with rage, her breathing increasing and rising in volume. Then flung herself at me, lips crushing against mine, arms wrapped around my neck. My hands clawed at her arms, trying to pull her from me, startled at her strength.

Something thudded to the floor and she pulled back, turning towards the door. Fear clawed through me in seconds, my mouth drying and my tongue shriveled in my mouth, and I turned to see the beautiful red head standing in the door, clutching my sons hand, hurt distorting his face.



The sight ripped my heart to shreds. The pink haired woman had her arms around Naruto, her mouth tilted up in triumph. The blond man wore a look of horror, frozen in her arms. Sai's words came back to me in a flood. "There's only one reason they want us around. We give our bodies for money. We are nothing to them. Just a detour on the way home from work. You can bet this 'Naruto' of yours has someone respectable out there for whom he would drop you back on the streets he found you from in an instant. Never forget this is who you really are. You are one of us. And someday you will have to come back to us." I was a fucking moron. So fucking stupid to believe in a fairytale.

I released Konohamaru's hand, turned and ran.

"They are nothing like us and could never love any one of us."

My feet slapped against the stairs loudly as they passed in a blur, my heart obliterated, the shards twisting into me with a pain I hadn't felt in a long time. I flew through the door and on to the street in so much pain I was surprised I wasn't on the ground. I dodged the startled people walking down the sidewalk, all of them hastily stepping to the side to let me pass. And I was struck by my wanting of someone to step in, hold me and ask me what was wrong. How cold the city made people.

A hand shot out and jerked me to a stop, nearly knocking me off my feet. I whirled around to come face to face with Sasuke Uchiha. I knew I was sobbing. I knew I was hideous. I didn't care. "What?" I screamed at him. "Did Naruto invite you over to see this!?" I jerked my hand from his grasp.

"No. He didn't want me to be there when he told you." He muttered, his face frozen in shock.

"So everyone knew?!"

He shook his head, regret filling his face. "No one knew but Kiba and myself."

"So the three of you had a good laugh behind my back." I threw my hands wide and spun around once. "Come on! Lets all laugh at the whore!" People gasped and tried to look anywhere but at me.

The raven haired mans coffee fell to the ground, splashing on his feet, soaking his pants. "I'm sorry… I didn't think you would take it this way."

I laughed bitterly. "You thought wrong." I spat.

"I shouldn't have told him to tell you. This is all my fault."

"No. Thank you." I lowered my arms and backed away from him, not caring or thinking of the people behind me. "Thank you for not letting me waste my time, my heart is fucking gone, but at least I have my time!" I laughed again, turned and ran, praying the streets would end me as quickly as they could.

Ouch. This is the chapter I was fearing. The return of Sai and Sakura and the destruction of a relationship. I actually hadn't planned on writing this one so soon, but I couldn't make Naruto suffer with knowledge for two more chapters, so I'm disregarding the outline. That doesn't bode well. Sorry to those of you who wanted Naruto to tell him and it work out. It was never in the plan to actually let Naruto tell him, this was always how it was going to be. And poor Sai. He honestly believes he's helping Gaara out and saving him. Sorry... Anyway, I hope you... enjoyed(?) this chapter. See you next time. -hopefully someones sticks around for next time. Haha. Too bad I'm serious...-