A/N: Hey guys! It's me again and oh what's this? A new chapter already? That's right kiddies, I haz a brand new chapter ready and waiting for you guys. I don't know what it is about updating last week but I'm suddenly back in the game with my muse. Like I'm on such a roll right now it's crazy! But anyway, I'm going to make this quick so you guys can go ahead and enjoy this chapter :)

Disclaimer: I do NOT own Naruto

Chapter Fourteen

Conversations with a Fanged Beast

I did nothing but watch him silently as he observed the chaos that began to unfold all around him. Naruto had arrived almost less then 10 minutes after I hung up the phone with him. Ever since his arrival at the scene, he's had the same expression painted on his face like designs on a porcelain mask. His blue eyes widened, pupils doubling in size while his jaw seemed to unhinge and hang open like a steel bear trap. I'd told him that I had done something bad, destructive even, but I never expected him to behave like this. He looked like he didn't believe what he was seeing, like the destruction was created by some beast he had no knowledge of. I folded my arms across my chest and sighed as I continued to stand there while my friend progressed to openly gawk at my massacre.

"Well," I asked after a long second, my patience in his lack of input driving me to the point of insanity. "Do you have anything to say about this?"

Still no response. The only thing that he managed to do was close his mouth to swallow before opening it again. With a shake of my head, I scoffed as I felt the muscles in my fingers tighten around my biceps.

"Anything at all?" I insisted, turning to look at him with irritation. "I mean, you seriously have nothing at all to say to me?"

"How could you?!" Naruto turned to look at me, his eyes shining with something that looked like disappoint, hurt…and possibly longing? The blond crossed his arms to match mine, shaking his head as he glared at me. "I mean, you got yourself involved in a fight that caused pain and bloodshed…and didn't even think about inviting me?"

"What?" I said in confusion. He was pissed at the fact he wasn't included in the murder of these men? Suddenly I was recounting the thought that told me Naruto would understand and realized it was probably a bad idea. "You're seriously pissed about that?"

"Well yeah!" he exclaimed, gazing back at the scene with the look of admiration. Sometimes it was stuff that he did like this that made me wonder why the hell we were friends in the first place. "I mean, my day just sucked completely! Woke up this evening starving, only to remember that we promised Sai we wouldn't feed on humans for a while. Do you know how much this blows? I had to take my ass all the way to the butcher shop, the butcher shop Gaara. I've been ingesting pig's blood all day! And let me tell you, that shit's gross when it's not fre-"

"I don't care about your petty Vampire drama!" I yelled back at him, watching him recoil from me with a look as if I'd damaged him. Sighing, I unfolded my arms to place one on his shoulder. "Look man, I'm sorry. It's just I was expecting you to be angry with me or something."

"Oh I'm not mad at you," he assured me with a grin, completely ignoring the severity of the situation. I groaned and dropped my hand, turning to look at the disaster that I made. Naruto scoffed as he laughed a little. "Though, Sai is going to kill you when he finds out."

"We can't tell him."

"W-What?" he said, snapping his eyes up to mine. "Are you serious?"

"Dead serious," I rasped with a slight edge in my voice. He continued to look at me, his gaze questioning mine and I had to look away. "He can't find out about this."

"Can I ask why?"

"Because you know how he is Naruto, this reaches him and he'll be here, possibly with a few guards and they'll start cleaning things up." 'And I'm not going to risk them finding something that will trace them back to her…' The thought had crossed my mind before I could stop it. There was no way I was going to have them find her and question me on her whereabouts. Sakura had already been through enough, the last thing I wanted was for her to be questioned by the Guard of the Council. "I just wanna get things cleaned up without them being around."

"What are you afraid of? You think they'll find something here?" Naruto teased but as soon as the words left his lips, it was like he realized what he'd spoken. Then he was looking at me with questionable a expression. "Is there something to be found here?"

"You know what, just forget I mentioned anything," I said with a tight smile as I walked around and began picking things up. "Let's just get this done alright?"

But as I moved, picking up one of the men's dead corpses off the ground by the ankle and throwing it over my shoulder, there was a feeling I couldn't shake off. Naruto walked over to me with the same look in his cerulean orbs, the look one gave to someone they didn't trust. He stood in front of me, arms crossed with an expression on his face that almost sent a shiver down my spine.

"Are you okay?" he asked, concern marking his sharp features.

"Yeah, I'm fine," I answered back.

"Bullshit."

"Look Naruto, there is nothing wrong okay?" I insisted, giving him my own look of trepidation. Truth be told, he was really starting to piss me off. "Why are you asking so many questions?"

"Geez, I don't know Gaara. It has something to do with this murder that's displayed so out in the open around us!" he exclaimed, fanning his arms out to include the entire scene. I sighed, dropping the body back to the floor before I turned back at him with a calmed expression. He scoffed, before shaking his head. "What the hell happened tonight?"

"Nothing," I said, the word sounding clipped. Oh, now he was going to take this seriously? This was not going to happen tonight. Not when there were bodies littered on the streets like forgotten trash and Sakura was still in the hospital. "Besides, I thought you were pissed at me for not even being here?"

"That was before you started acting all skittish when I brought up the thought of telling Sai about this. And anyway, you'd call your friend out of bed to help you clean up your massacre for nothing?" He shrugged as he looked at me, his brows pinching in a pained look. "Somehow, I'm not buying it."

"Well I don't know what to tell you, alright? I woke up at seven, feeling hungry. Like you, I got up to go to the butcher's to get some blood. These guys were fucking around, making noise and I guess I got irritated. A little too irritated." I glared at my friend for a fraction of a moment before I turned my gaze away from him. "Look, I just had a bad night, and I made some really shitty decisions that are gonna be a bitch to cover up, but I'll manage."

"You've never found a reason to ever lie to me before..." he spoke in a small voice that made him sound so much younger than what he really was. His shoulders slumped as he groaned in defeat. "It's really going to hurt me if I find out that you did."

His words stung me deep down to my core. I hadn't lied to him, but I withheld some truth in the words that I had spoken and it killed me. I had never found a reason to lie about anything in my life, because that was just how my father had raised me. Always tell the truth, even when it served you better to lie. People respected you better that way because they could never doubt your word. It's what made people really see who was being honest and who would uphold all our laws above anything else to keep our people safe. I laughed out loud in my head, almost feeling relief in my insane inner hysteria. Yeah, I pretty much broke all the rules in one shot the night that I met Sakura.

We stood there at an awkward crossroads, neither making a move to talk to rebuke anything that had been said. Finally, Naruto sighed and walked over to the car where a corpse was embedded in its hood. Grabbing the arm of the body, he yanked it to the ground with a quick flick of his wrist. He examined the car, his shoulders hunched like a thousand pounds were bearing down on his shoulders. The thought of Naruto struggling with that kind of weight almost made me smile, given the fact that we had the strength to lift about ten times as much.

"This car is totaled," he determined after a long moment, examining the crunch crater of the hood, the spider web like cracks of glass, and the blood pooled around the vehicle. "You're gonna have to get your hands on the registration of the car, owner information, license plates, tags, expiration dates, VIN and a whole bunch of other shit."

"Not to mention IDs on all these bodies, families and other relations, maybe even compel the owner of the car in order to make it look like a failed carjacking. Hell, we could even pass this for a corrupted drug deal," I said as I crouched down at the man I dropped, looking at him with slight curiosity.

"S-Stay back," the man pleaded, holding his hands up in defense but also in mercy. "P-Please…I swear I'll leave and I'll never bother you again…please."

I didn't seem to be paying attention as I ripped the knife out of my chest effortlessly, examining the blade, which was coated thick with my own blood, with the expression of a curious child. I blinked before looking at the man with a bored gaze. "I'm sorry, what was that?"

"Please," he started again, his voice cracking with anxiety. If I squinted my eyes to really look, he was about ready to cry. "Just let me go."

I closed my eyes at the memory, my head pulsating as I reminisced all that transpired a few hours passed. To think that I had lost control so violently and slaughtered these men was something that strangely still felt new to me. Ordinarily I wouldn't have acted on this without purpose. If these men were to have come at me with the intent to hurt me or simply if they had provoked me, I would have acted accordingly. It would have given me a reason to attack them, but I did more than just simple assault; it was a straight up, bloody homicide. All for a nosy little pink haired girl that didn't know the difference between good and evil. I'm going to hell for this, there's no doubt in my mind about that now.

"Fuck!"

My head snapped up at the sound, my eyes finding Naruto looking away sharply with his fangs bared. When he finally reopened them, they were glowing crimson.

"What happened?" I yelled, making my way towards the blond. I placed my hand on his shoulder and looked in the direction of whatever it was that caused him grief. "What did you see-"

Just then, there was a sudden sharp burning in my corneas.

I hissed as I looked away, fangs erupting from their sheaths so fast, they cut through my bottom lip. What the hell was that and why did it hurt so much? As if he read my mind, which he probably did, Naruto had turned with a scowl.

"That's weird," he frowned picking up a piece of fabric and slowly starting to inch towards the thing that caused us both pain. He threw the garment at the object, shielding it away from both our eyes before he turned to look back at me with a concerned look. "Someone left a crucifix out here."

Crucifix?

The gears in my brain began to turn before the realization crashed into me like an upcoming tidal wave. I knew who the cross belonged to, and I found myself silently wanting to strangle her for leaving it here. It was the necklace that I had given Sakura to protect herself. The necklace that I told her to wear at all times, even when she was around me. Anxiety seeped into my pores like a virus, taking over my senses as I realized the danger in this. Not only was Sakura left unprotected by our finding it here, but depending on how much Naruto actually saw of the cross, he'd recognize it anywhere he saw it.

"N-Naruto?" I stammered, composing myself so I didn't look as if I was going to lose control.

"What?" he said, loading up the last of the corpses into the vehicle. He looked up at me with a tilt of his head, noticing my distress. "You okay?"

"Yeah, it's just that…wow, I really need to get to ground soon." I masked my urge to get the jewelry back to Sakura by bringing to attention the fact that it was almost two in the morning and the aroma of the sunrise was becoming more potent than I thought possible. I actually started to rub at my skin as the scent of light wafted through the air like an toxic airborne occurrence. "I smell the sun coming up and fast."

Naruto stopped what he was doing and smelled the air with disdain. "Yeah I know, and I'm starting to get really tired."

"Then why don't you just take the car and dead bodies. I'll worry about the blood, DNA, and anything else that I can find."

"You sure?" he said as he opened the car door and slid into the driver's seat. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring full of silver keys and slanted, slivers of metal. It only it took a few moments before he found the one that fit, grinning out the car at me as the engine roared to life. "I mean, you know me and my driving. You sure you wanna leave me with this task?"

"I trust you," I said with a smile. I looked up at the sky for a moment, my eyes starting to feel like they were made from stones of substantial weight. The sound of the car revving was what brought me back from my reverie. He waved out at me before taking off down the street, turning a corner until the sound of the car dulled down to a screaming whisper.

I sighed as I looked around once more, cracking my knuckles in an attempt to relieve the ache of exhaustion that was coming at me in waves. There was work that needed to be done and then when I finished I'd be able to go home and sleep. Though, after everything that had happened tonight, sleep seemed like the furthest thing from my mind.

~O~

"Really guys, I'm okay."

Ino and Hinata looked at each other before turning their concerned glares in my direction. Looking back at them from my hospital bed, I smiled at the two girls. It had been three days since the night Gaara brought me here and all I wanted to do was go home. I hated being stuck in a hospital when I felt fine.

"Yeah, tell that to your ribs, your stomach, oh and let's not forget your poor lungs," Ino said dryly, placing her manicured hands on her hips. "Because according to your charts, they're not doing so well."

"But I feel fine," I urged, attempting to sit up despite the pain that seemed to shoot through my body. Gasping at the pain flowing through me, the girls admittedly jumped to my sides and helped me find a comfortable position. "Thanks."

"M-Maybe you should stay here for at least one more day," Hinata stuttered softly, rubbing my arm soothingly. "Just until you feel 100%"

"I feel 100% Hinata, I don't see what the big deal is." I crossed my arms as I glared at them. I hated being treated like a child, it made me feel like I couldn't take care of myself. "Seriously, I just wanna get the hell out of here. I hate hospitals."

"Says the girl that's going to college for Medical practice," Ino murmured under her breath. I snapped my head up at her and gave her a glare.

"Being a patient and being a doctor are two totally separate things," I spat harshly. She looked back at me with a disgusted expression, before rolling her eyes and turning away. I scoffed at her, focusing my gaze on a spot on my bed. "But I'm not going to sit here and explain that to you."

"What's wrong with you two?" Hinata said suddenly, sharing glances between the two of us. "Why are you acting like this?"

"I don't understand why she is so hell bent on keeping me in here!" I insisted with a shrug. "I want to go home!"

"Sakura, you were assaulted! By men that wanted to rape and kill you!" Ino yelled, slapping her palms against the wooden footboard on my bed. Hinata and I jumped slightly at the sound, looking up at Ino's face, her eyes glazed with unfallen tears. "By men that attacked us when we went to the bar."

Swallowing thickly at her words, I shifted my eyes down to my lap. Hinata said nothing as she looked at me, stroking my hair back softly. Ino scoffed and walked over to the window, leaning against the frame with the appearance of a woman weighed down by remorse. I sighed as I remembered Ino and Hinata running into the hospital the following morning that they found out that I was there. Their faces had been etched with fear and concern, streaked with tears, makeup and snot by the time they made it to my room. I remember all the questions they asked and the despair that marred Ino's features when I told her I was attack by the same three men that assaulted us at the bar. Her body had gone still before she ran out of my room bawling. Since then, she's been doing everything in her power to make up for it, suffocating me with her visits and gifts and crowding me with just her presence in general.

I looked at Hinata who nodded back at me. She stood up, moving one of the rails out of the way as she silently helped me out of bed. It still hurt to move around, the pain felt like needles piercing through my stomach and ribcage. I fought through the haze of agony racing through me, as I walked cautiously over to Ino. She tensed as I threw my arms around her, but relaxed when I rested my head against her shoulder, looking out the window with her.

"This…was not your fault," I whispered softly, giving her a firm squeeze. She shook in my arms, the small sounds of her sobbing crowding my ear so I could hear nothing else but her pain. "Ino please, don't do this to yourself."

"What else am I supposed to do? I-I have to make sure you'll be o-okay" she stammered, turning to look at me. Her eyes were red and puffy, her soft cheeks flustered. She was trembling so hard I thought she might pass out. I sighed rubbing my hands down her arms soothingly. "Sakura, you're my best friend! I don't wanna be the reason that you get hurt or maybe even killed. It would destroy me if I lost you!"

I pulled her into a tight embrace, resting my chin in the space between her neck and shoulders. She gasped at my sudden motion before wrapping her own arms around me. Smiling softly, I closed my eyes to keep the tears from fully forming as I leaned in closer to her ear. "And you won't, okay? I love you, like a sister and I can't have you falling apart like this on me."

We felt another circle of arms around us as Hinata wedged herself in between. Ino and I looked at each other for a moment before including her in our embrace.

"From now on," Hinata said as she looked out the window, tears glistening as she smiled and looked at the both of us. "We'll protect each other."

"Agreed," Ino and I spoke in unison before the three of us burst into soft laughter. The pain had erupted with the action, causing me to cease the action immediately. The girls turned to me with worried expressions, but I smiled at them gently. After a while, we fell quiet, watching the city out the window in silence, not breaking the tight circle with which we held each other.

XXX

The wind seem to twist through my hair as I closed my eyes to inhale it. It felt so good to finally be out of that hospital. It had taken a lot of convincing, but I was sure after the moment that we shared in my room about an hour ago, they were going to finally let me leave. And not to my surprise, they did. So I was a free woman, well, almost free. The doctor had given me two prescribed medications that I needed to take in order for the pain to feel better and I was to go back in about two weeks so they could examine the process of my broken ribs. Besides that, I was also told that I needed to come to the hospital immediately if I was having trouble breathing to reduce my risks of contracting Pneumonia.

All and all I was okay, give or take the fact that Ino and Hinata were now hovering over me like I was a small fish in an oversized tank. What was the big deal anyway? I got into a little tangle…maybe a big tangle, but I had gotten out of it okay…barely.

'Stop it, it's not good for you to be thinking about stuff like that.' The thought had sprang into my mind before I could stop it, a sad smile appearing on my lips as I recalled everything that happened three nights ago. I had been on my way back home from the store when I was attacked by three men, the same men that I had met at a bar. One of those men had a personal problem with me, given the fact that I smashed a bottle into his face when he tried to get a little too friendly with me and Ino. There was no doubt that I would have been killed that night.

That is until Gaara had shown up.

A shiver had involuntarily washed down my spine at the thought of him, my hands crushing the piece of paper that my medications were scribbled on. My breath started to quicken as I pictured his face, etched with black eyes and fangs with a sadistic smile painted across his lips. He had appeared out of the blue, and singlehandedly obliterated the lives of my assailants without a second thought in the world. He killed them without batting one of those black rimmed eyes of his. He simply just didn't care. He behaved just like a…

"Monster," I said in a soft voice not meant for anyone else to hear. I clutched the crumpled piece of parchment to my chest as I looked up at the sky with sadness. "He acted just like a monster."

"Depends on how you look at it…"

My eyes widened at the voice, my heartbeat accelerating as my breathing grew shallower. My head snapped in every direction as I looked around frantically, trying to see where his voice was coming from before my eyes finally adjusted to his form, hiding in the shadows of an alley wedged between the next two buildings. He wore a dark gray, short sleeved shirt with dark jeans, his crimson hair being the only source of color in his otherwise dark appearance. He look incredibly tired, his green eyes unusually soft as he watched me from afar and I couldn't help the anger that started to boil from deep within me. How dare he show his face around here now? Especially in broad daylight like this…I mean, was he trying to upset me, or was seeing my fear stricken face in a bruised and broken state just not enough for him? Before I gave my mind any time to decide against my actions, I began to move towards him. I walked briskly until I was near him, mindful of how rushed and hurried my breathing was and of the strain it was causing my lungs. Biting my lip and fighting through the pain, I continued to walk over to him, thoughts of murder swirling around in my own head. When I got to the mouth of the alley, he opened his own mouth to speak but I didn't let him. Pulling all my strength into my palms, I shoved him as hard as I could before I just stood there gasping for air. He stumbled back clumsily but remained silent, my ribs screamed in pain but I ignored them as my hands curled into shaking fists. He looked at me through half lidded eyes and it only made me angrier.

"Do you have…any idea…what would happen if…anybody saw you here?" I gasped between wheezes, my heart beating a mile a minute. Clutching my chest, I doubled over, placing my hands on my knees as I tried to catch my breath.

"Are you okay?" he asked, the question sounding comical coming from a guy that almost killed me a few nights back.

"I'm fine," I said in a rushed tone as I got my breathing under control and found the strength to stand up straight again. "Just my injuries…"

"Oh…" Gaara's eyes fell to the floor as he found nothing else really to say. I cleared my throat as I looked at him, not really knowing what to do myself.

"What the hell are you doing here?" The question left my lips before I could stop it. "How did you even get here?"

"I...woke myself...up..." The words sounded slurred, his eyes fluttering as if he was fighting the urge to collapse. "I...need to speak to you."

I scoffed at his request, crossing my arms over my chest as I openly glared at him. "Well, in case you didn't know Gaara, it's 4:30 in the afternoon. The sun doesn't set for at least for another two and a half hours so you shouldn't be here."

"I'm aware of that," he slurred with a light humor almost as if he couldn't care less. He rested a hand on the side of the building to steady himself. "I forced myself awake in order to come out here and look for you."

"But how?" I asked with a look of confusion. "How did you even know I was here?"

"Your blood signature," he murmured as he leaned his head against the brick wall, closing his eyes for a moment to regain his strength. "I memorized the scent of your blood so I'd be able to find you anywhere."

"Well, that's...really unsettling," I mumbled softly, the thought of being stalk not sitting too well in my stomach.

Gaara laughed tiredly before he took in a deep breath. "I apologize but this really couldn't wait..."

He took a step towards me and I immediately took a giant step back, keeping as much distance between us as possible. His eyes widened before a breathy laugh escaped his lips at my reaction. Sighing, he took one of his hands from a pocket to run through his unruly hair. "I should have as expected much…"

"Well what the hell did you want me to do? Cry and run into your arms? Nice try." Now it was my turn to laugh as I glared at him with disbelief. I stood up straighter, looking him square in the face unafraid. "I'm not that weak anymore."

"Since when?"

"Since I saw the man that used to be my friend murder people in front of me," I spat, ignoring the way my lower lip started to quivered. "Or did you already forget about that?"

"Sakura, those men were going to rape you and then kill you," he ground out with another humorless laugh as he shook his head to keep himself awake. "What would have had me do?"

"I don't know," I shrugged, my eyes once again retreating to the ground. "All I know is…you killed them Gaara, slaughtered them like they were animals…and you did it with a song in your heart."

He said nothing to that statement, only turned his face away from mine ashamed.

Shaking my head, I took another step back. "And you would've killed me too…"

"But you brought me back," he blurted out suddenly causing me to gasp. I turned away from him, making my way towards the outside before I heard his footsteps echo mine as he walked behind me. "Look I know I lost control, total control. I was out of my mind but if it wasn't for you…"

"Don't," I said, holding a hand up to stop him from talking. "Don't pin this all on me please."

"I'm not…all I'm saying is that I wouldn't have hurt you then. I will never hurt you."

"Yeah? Because if you remember anything that happened that night, you'd remember that it didn't really matter. You were out for blood and once you got a taste of it, you wanted to have more." I swallowed thickly at the memory of his blood-filled fangs and the evil light that clouded his eyes. "You wanted to have mine too…"

"Sakura-"

"You told me to stay away from you and I didn't because I thought that you were better than that. I was hoping that I could find my friend in you, but I was wrong. He died a long time ago and now?" I inhaled a breath through my nose, closing my eyes as the tears welled up in my ducts. I opened them just to have them fall down my face freely like river trails. "All I see is a monster."

Gaara stared blankly at me, his mouth opening wordlessly as he digested everything that I had said. Wiping my eyes on the sleeve of my jacket, I looked at him with disappointment. He had changed for the worst and there was nothing I could do to change that. The Gaara I knew was gone, and there was nothing in this world that would ever bring him back. It was a truth that I didn't want to believe in, something I told myself just couldn't be possible. Unfortunately, it was possible and if I wanted to keep myself safe, I needed to do the right thing.

"I won't make that mistake again. I'll promise you that." My voice held firm with no wavering emotions as I turned once more and continued to walk away, each step feeling like a sharp stab into my heart. I had almost made it completely out of the darkened backstreet before I heard footsteps behind me again.

"Wait," Gaara said as he walked after me. "Don't go."

"Just leave me alone," I said as I made my way out into the street once more.

"I said wait!" he exclaimed and as I turned the corner, his hand whipped out and snatched my arm, spinning me around to face him as my back hit the wall. I yelped, both out of pain and surprise, my eyes glued to his hand that held me in place. The lower part of his arm was charred, skin crinkled with scorch marks as I watched the smoke lift from the flesh. His hand was trembling, his breathing accelerating as it washed over me like tainted air. Turning my head back to look at him, I was met with crimson eyes and bared fangs as he looked at me in torture. My eyes closed tightly as I held my hands up between our bodies, my mind going into hyper drive, spitting thoughts left and right as my heart seemed to run marathons in my chest.

'Don't hurt me, please don't hurt me. Please Gaara, don't do anything! I'm sorry okay? Just don't hurt me!'

"I'm not going to hurt you," he forced out through gritted teeth. Though his voice sounded rough, it was laced with confusion and hurt. "I'm not going to do anything to you, I promise. You just need to calm down."

My eyes snapped up at him then, glaring at him with such shock as if I had just been violated. "Did you…read my mind?"

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to, but your thoughts were so loud I couldn't help it." His grip on my arms had softened and I became all too aware of how our bodies almost molded into each other. He was so close to me that our chest almost touched…almost. "You need to listen to what I have to say."

"Fine," I breathed shakily, my mind going empty as I stared at him only for it to go completely dead when he started to lean closer. My eyes widened and my cheeks flushed a deep color as he cupped my face in his hands. My eyes shifted back to his arm, gasping as I watched the burn began to recede, the dead skin slowly smoothing itself out as if it was never burned. A small noise of astonishment passed through my lips as this impossible phenomenon unfolded around me. My gaze slowly returned to him, my emerald eyes jumping wildly over his crimson orbs as they reverted back to jade, my heart and lungs working to provide me the oxygen I suddenly felt I wasn't receiving. His fingers tensed slightly, his instincts picking up on how hard my heart was pounding and the scent of my blood threatening to send him over the edge. But he relaxed after a while, reigning in his hunger enough to look at me. He looked exhausted, like he had just won a battle he had been fighting for too long, and I wanted nothing more than to wrap my arms around him, shielding from a world that didn't understand him so he could finally get some rest.

"I don't have…the strength to stay away from you anymore…" He stroked his thumbs over my cheekbones as he shook his head, his eyes almost glowing in the darkened shadows of the alley. "You are too important now for me to keep playing these silly little games with you."

"But…" I couldn't process a single thought as my eyes stayed glued on him like nothing else mattered in the world. "I thought you wanted me to stay away."

"I wanted to believe that I was doing the right thing by keeping you away. I guess I perceived my actions as being self-sacrificing, but the only thing I was doing was putting you in more peril than you deserve…"

My eyes creased in confusion at that, my head shaking in my distress. "I-I don't understand…"

"I know the vampires in this city, and you don't. You could think the wrong thought or say the wrong thing and if a nearby vampire happens to hear you, both of our lives would be endanger." His head declined to the ground for a moment before he looked at me. "I can't let that happen. I refuse to let anything like that happen to you again."

"So you wanna be around me just so you can protect me?"

"Yes and no," he said as he let go of my face and leaned away from me. I took in a deep breath, fearful that I would turn purple if he continued to be too close. He inhaled a breath before he continued to speak. "I want to be around because you were also my friend once. You trusted me with your secrets, and it's not fair that I keep mine from you anymore."

My hopeful ear picked up on that and I looked at him with a look of such anticipation that it almost killed me. "So what are you saying?"

"I want to tell you…everything. Everything you wanted to know about me and everything you want to know about vampires."

"Why?"

Gaara smiled then, a smile that shook me deep in my core as it reminded me of the way he used to smile at me when we were children. "Because I trust you."

I had no time to think as my body lunged forward, my arms circling around his neck as I buried my face into his chest. My injuries reacted violently at my motion, waves of pain shooting through my body so intense it almost knocked the breath right out of me, but I didn't care. I couldn't find myself to care about anything else but the redhead I was currently hugging. He stumbled back at my sudden action, unresponsive before he finally realized what was going on and wrapped his arms around me, returning the embrace. Smiling against the fabric of his shirt, I breathed in the scent of his skin as the familiarity crowed my senses. He had come back into my life like a raging storm and I just couldn't be happier. My heart beat erratically against my ribs to the point that I thought it would probably break another bone if I wasn't careful. My injuries seemed to be the furthest things from my mind, the only thing that mattered was I had one of my best friends back.

"Sorry I've been such a dick lately," he mumbled against my hair as he held me. I was so wrapped up in the initial happiness I felt that I almost didn't realize he had started talking. "Like, I've just been a straight up asshole."

"I know," I said as we pulled up and looked up at him with a cheesy smile on my face. "Believe me you don't have to tell me twice."

"How long am I looking at before you really forgive me," he asked, chewing on his lower lip.

"Umm…I haven't gone that far into thinking on your sentence yet," I deducted with a light tap of my chin. "But I can tell you it's lengthy. Oh! And let's not forget about the bruise that was on my neck. That one's definitely gonna cost ya."

"Right," he said with a nod. He shifted his eyes to the side as he placed his hands back in his pockets. "I was sure you would have forgotten about that."

"Nope!" I chirped as I placed my hands behind my back. "Trust me Gaara, you have no idea what you've gotten yourself into."

"Hey, whatever you want I'll do it," he said, holding his hands up in defense. "As long as I don't wake up with you hovering over me with a pointy wooden object, we're golden."

I giggled at him before I stepped back close to his body, wrapping my arms around his waist. "I'm just so happy I got you back."

"That makes the two of us," he whispered as he returned my hug again, mindful not to squeeze me too hard because of my injuries.

"Sakura?"

Both our eyes snapped open at the sound of another person joining our small reunion. His voice sounded terribly familiar, deepened with age but it still held that childlike tingle to it that I remembered hearing though I couldn't picture his face at that particular moment in time. Gaara's hands tighten protectively around my body that it started to hurt, and I had to rub his arm to remind him to be careful for my ribs. He grip loosened, an apology forming in his eyes as we turned towards the voice, my eyes widening as I finally saw who the voice belonged to.

In the mouth of the alley, standing with a large box underneath his arm and a shocked expression on his face, was Rock Lee.

Okay guys, now please don't kill me for that! I simply just couldn't resist *evil laughter* besides, I love Lee and anytime the opportunity to just plug him into my story makes itself known, I'm going to take it! I wonder what's going to happen next, oh wait, I already know what's going to happen you all don't but you can guess. Oh, I just can't wait for the next chapter, can you? I'll take that as a no and a cue that I need to leave and start the next chapter before I'm hunted and killed.

Don't forget to leave me reviews, the more positive feedback I hear, the faster you'll get your chapter. Remember that ^^

I love you guys so so much and I'll see you next time!

~CV