With a small hint of a reluctant thought in the back of her mind, she reached to touch his arm. Surprisingly, his skin wasn't as freezing as it looked.

"This is insane."

"I'm here to protect you." He says back.

"You say that about everyone. No one should care if you 're longing."

"I don't know the meaning of that."

"Yes, you do. Now you're lying to me Gaara." She sighs, some of her chakra slowly sifting from her body.

"Stop!" he hisses, breaking his arm away from her, "Azami, don't."

"You're afraid, aren't you?"

"I don't know the meaning of that."

"Why?"

He really wanted to know what she meant by that. "Why?" Why did she care anyway?

"You insist upon persuading me that I have any feeling, but you don't know me."

"You're secluding."

Just then, she feels it. She feels the rupture in the pit of her stomach. All of her senses, threatening to go weak. She has to get away from him…Can't be near him any longer. No one's seen her like this. It's because no one knows.

"Gaar, I…I have to go. I have to get out of here." She says with little control over her failing voice.

Glancing at her quickly, Gaara sees the scar on her face—it's flaring up and turning dark red, almost like blood.

"What's—"

Before she could hear what he was to ask, Azami let out a deafening moan, dashed for a tree branch and disappeared. He wanted to go after her, but he knew he couldn't. Not with so much doubt. All of the doubt in his mind weighed down everything he thought could be right.

And he longed for her, he did. But of course he knew it was never to be. He had no room to feel envy, intimacy. He couldn't suffocate his mind with thoughts of love, a family; just nothing, yet protection. That was his purpose.

"Protect the village, and then you die." He thought often to himself.

Even after his internal reform and change for the better, Gaara still felt dead inside. His mind was his own prison and he knew not to share that with anyone.

But what was he to do when that one person could actually pry their way inside?