A/N: I am so SORRY! I don't have twenty chapter I can upload to make up for it, but I swear I was busy! I've got family here, my dad's meds are behind so my house has been hell, and I reailzed I had no idea how I was going to fill the gap from where I am on this story to where I want the ending to be. I'm working it out and I'm very sorry! Please forgive me!
Gaara ran into Naruto halfway up the tedious sets of stairs to Sakura's apartment. The blonde's expression managed to turn even darker upon seeing the bloody and bruised Sakura. He rushed ahead back to the apartment and held the door open while Gaara carried her over to her bed, settling her on the covers. He nearly growled when the covers immediately were stained red by Sakura's still bleeding cuts, he thought they'd have stopped bleeding by the time they got back to her apartment.
When he turned to go the bathroom and get medical supplies he found Naruto standing in his way holding out a first aid kit. Gaara took it quickly and opened it, removing first the disinfectant and cotton balls. He soaked them in the disinfectant and then went around cleaning her wounds, guilt gripping his heart when she hissed in pain. After he'd cleaned all the cuts he could find, some of them deep enough to be called gashes which worried him, he began wrapping all of them in bandages.
Once that task was finished he leaned back, kneeling on the bed beside her. He then sucked in a long breath, gaining to the courage to look at the damage done to waist from being gripped so tightly by the Doctor's metal claw. He lifted her shirt up to just below her breasts and flinched at the sight of the already purpling bruising that was in the shape of the claw all the way around her waist save for a small section on her right side where the claw hadn't been able to wrap around because of its non-circular shape.
Sakura had groaned when he'd lifted her shirt and eased her eyes open to stare into Gaara's eyes as he watched over her. "Gaara, what the hell is going on? I was sleeping and then some guy with extra arms attacked me." Gaara ran his hands through his hair in frustration, unsure how to explain the situation to Sakura.
"My father knows I'm changed sides in this war, he knows my loyalties reside with you." Hearing him say that made a thrill of joy run through Sakura but the pain in her body prevented her from smiling. "He told me he was sending men to hurt you as a test and I failed it because he had his men watch and they saw me warn you, or at least warn Naruto to take care of you. The man with the extra arms would be Doctor Octopus, a man who works for my father because my father funded the creation of those arms."
Sakura nodded, trying to absorb all the information being given to her. For some reason, after understanding all the information, the first thing she blurted was, "You can stay with me." That surprised Gaara and he lifted an eyebrow at her as if asking her to explain. "I mean, you don't have anywhere to stay anymore, you can stay with me." Gaara nodded at that and suddenly Naruto spoke, both of them almost having forgotten he was there.
"Sakura, I know you told me about your new line of work, but I'm going to need a more detailed explanation now that I've seen that you're in some serious danger." Sakura sighed, blowing hair out of her face as she did so.
"Naruto, Gaara is the son of Sandman who is the number one most wanted criminal of the city. Sandman runs an underground fighting ring, is thought to run a prostitution ring, and is notorious for all kinds of scams that people can't report since the way he conducts his scandals are convincing, but illegal."
"Wait a minute, so you're telling me Gaara switched sides after knowing you for very little time?" Naruto's voice was more than suspicious but Sakura put her hands up in a calming position, warning him not to make a move.
"No Naruto, Gaara went to school with us. He's known me for a long time and has shadowed me on my missions to help people to make sure I was alright. He can be trusted." Gaara snorted when she said the last part like it was obvious and Naruto seemed to relax, his muscles no longer tense and taut. "So what are we doing now?" she asked, wincing as Gaara pulled a shard of glass from her arm and dropped it onto her nightstand where a pile of them was accumulating.
Gaara's eyes snapped up and he commanded, "You will stay in bed and rest. I'll stay with you and get you cleaned up while Naruto gets his ass on a plane and goes home. Obviously he doesn't need to be involved and you don't need and weaknesses like a hostage." Naruto was about to protest, reclaim his manliness since his pride had been damaged by the idea of being a weakness, but Gaara stopped him. "Blondie, do you really think my father won't hesitate to attack you or those you love to get to Sakura?"
Naruto bristled at the idea of Hinata being attacked and backed down, glaring at the floor with a strong hatred for the man Gaara called father. "Naruto, I really couldn't put Hinata at risk, not for my sake," Sakura told him, wincing as another piece of glass was pulled from her body. "Oh my..." In a rush she threw herself from her bed onto the floor, blood dripping from her open wounds. She struggled to her feet as Naruto and Gaara were stuck in place in shock at her sudden actions. As she limped across the room still dressed in only her underclothing and Gaara's jacket, reaching for the doorknob.
That was when Gaara was jolted back to reality and he chased after her, slamming his hand against the door to keep it closed. She looked up at him through pain fogged eyes that had traces of confusion. "Where the hell are you going?" he snarled, furious at her for trying to get around when injured.
"My patients, what if he knows how much I love my patients? He could easily kill them since they're all sick or injured!" she screamed, tears forming in her eyes at the thought of losing any of her patients.
Gaara's hands shot out to grasps her face in his large, rough hands. "Sakura, they'll be fine, it's you I'm worried about. You need to rest while I figure out what the hell to do about all of this. Okay?" She had already become less tense in his hands and she began to sway before him. He quickly pulled her into his arms bridal style since holding her waist was out of the question he walked over to her bed and deposited her on top of the sheets. He didn't like how cheap they looked and noted he would have to buy her warmer bed sheets with winter closing in.
He began bandaging her wounds, wrapping each one carefully and treating them all like life-threatening wounds. It tore him up inside to see her so beat up while he was only able to clean her up afterwards. When he finished he tucked her under her sheet and went to stand, but her hand shot out to grab the front of his shirt, pulling him down towards her on the bed. He leaned over and put his ear next to her mouth so she could tell him what she wanted, but she didn't say anything. "Sakura, what?" he asked, studying her face in his now close up position.
"Sleep with me." Gaara's mind quickly jumped to the mental image of her half dressed and he had to fight a tightening below his stomach. "Don't get any ideas, either of you idiot. I mean I want him beside me while I sleep. I don't want to wake up to being pulled out my window again." Gaara gave a soft chuckle at her logical and pulled back the covers on her bed to slide in beside her. He pulled her back against his chest gently, careful of her injuries. She snuggled against him and with a deep breath she faded into sleep while Gaara simply watched her.
Naruto stood off to the side, watching his long time friend with a sad expression. "I'm sad to see it, but I guess she finally doesn't need me anymore."