"Sasori..."

He could hear her soft, sleepy voice bang into his ear like clanging metal, rattling around and smacking his brain, as he slipped his arms into the sleeves of his black cloak. Normally, the gentle sound wouldn't bother him. Not much really did, but at this particular instance, her soft sigh of a voice triggered a harsh headache.

She had been doing that all throughout her most recent of slumbers, this one included, cooing and practically screaming the twenty-six-year-old man's name in a myriad of tones and emotions. The most common of each were high-pitched yet soft, carrying an underlying fear. Her voice was heavy and full of fright, raspy and sad, lonely and rejected.

One thing is for sure, the redhead man noted, Rukia was having a nightmare about him.

For a short moment, Sasori paused in his preparations and sighed inaudibly, taking a small amount of time to flush the thin girl's voice out of his system. He quickly buttoned up his cloak from the bottom up, amber eyes staring down at the sleek wooden floor, viewing the uneven and dark lines marbled into the sand colored wood. He didn't usually take this much time to get ready, but considering his pulsing headache, one would think not to care.

As he finished with buttoning up his cloak, he removed his eyes from the floor, his gaze drifting over and momentarily analyzing each tool, weapon, empty glass vial, and undercover clothing items necessary for his next assignment. Reaching out for one of the weapons - a thin and incredibly sharp blade of a custom blend of steel and silver -, Sasori ran a finger down its edge, checking its assumed sharpness. When a clean and fairly deep, reddening slice grew upon his finger tip, he gave an invisible smirk, blood beginning to seep from the tiny wound.

Setting the small blade down next to the other perfectly laid out sets of weaponry, he searched for and quickly found a napkin hiding underneath a pack of his glass vials, quickly picking it up and cleaning his bloody finger. Not long after that did he find a Band-aid designed for cuts on fingers.

He paused again, hearing his bed sheets and blankets crinkle and twist in a quick movement, hearing knuckles crack softly as small fists clenched and scratched at the fabric. Tearing his eyes from the fresh Band-aid wrapped around his cut, he directed his line of sight at the contorted face of the red-haired girl he allowed to sleep in his bed.

His ears twitched, catching the faint sound of her quiet hitched breathing and creaking floorboards down the hall, slowly getting closer and closer to his doorway. Judging by the sluggish steps and light thumps of the cause of the screaming floorboards, it was most likely Reno. A very stable and sober Reno.

Ignoring the light but shrill intrusive disturbance his visitor was creating, he kept his attention fixed on the girl that tossed and turned uncomfortably in the messy red blankets she clutched in her hands. He watched as her chest rose and fell quickly, her breathing ragged and harsh. Her back arched and she fell onto her side, gasping for air, letting out raspy calls for Sasori.

He blinked, stepping silently and cautiously around the bed to the side the girl was sleeping in, his pace slow and smooth, placing a cold, long-fingered hand on her forehead. Almost immediately, as if on cue, the soft-skinned girl began to breathe normally, relaxing all the muscles throughout her body, fists unfurling.

He gave the tiniest of comprehensible smirks.

"Rukia's been having increased difficulty sleeping, Sasori. You wouldn't leave her alone, would you? You know how bad her nightmares get... Oh, and you never know what dangers lurk around in dark shadows- especially the dangers for pretty girls, yo. You might want to leave her with someone that can keep her safe..." a cocky, familiar voice chuckled from the doorway, worsening the headache Sasori had forgotten.

He looked away from Rukia's sleeping form and straight into the grey eyes of one of Shinra's Turks - Reno - with an intensity only he was capable of. He wasn't too fond of the younger man, what with him being an annoying idiot, a manwhore, and let's not forget that he's a sarcastic prick. He was even worse than Deidara and Tobi (Madara, Tobi, whatever the fuck that idiot's name was) combined. Well, to Sasori.

"She's perfectly capable of defending herself-"

"She sure put up a fantastic fucking fight in that alleyway a year ago, yo," Reno countered, the muscles in his mouth area contorting into a crooked smirk, thinking for some bold reason he had the older man beat.

"I don't want you in my house with a minor." Sasori looked down at Rukia as he pulled his hand off of her forehead, reaching over her to pull the blanket up to her chest. "I know you want to stay here, so you'll give every possible excuse to do so."

The younger male gulped, paling just slightly. "You're turning this into-"

"But Rukia," Sasori continued, brushing a lock of hair out of said girl's closed eyes, "can take care of herself just as well as I can. After all, she grew up learning from many. Me, Vincent, Tseng, Itachi, Deidara, and Pein, just to name a few. Undoubtedly, she could beat you to a bloody pulp if the situation called for it."

Reno gave a frustrated huff, glaring maliciously and callously at Sasori. He opened his mouth to speak again, only to be interrupted by a soft but high-pitched squeak from Rukia. He sighed.

"Sasori, as hot as Rukia is, I don't do kids, yo. Besides, Boss-man heard about her upcoming concert and I got guard duty. Orders from Rufus. So, uh, chill," Reno chirped slyly.

The older man gave no sign of acknowledging or even hearing what Reno had said. Sasori was only slightly amazed by the fact Reno could switch his moods from cocky to serious, angry to happy. And the kid did it horribly fast. It was a little aggravating.

"Your expression earlier said otherwise. Whatever the case, you are not permitted inside my house. Is that clear?" Sasori spat flatly, his gaze veering from Rukia's sleeping face and back onto Reno's simple, cocky one.

"Ugh, whatever, yo. It's not like I even wanna be here," the younger redhead muttered, turning around and taking a slow step out into the hall.

"Why are you really on guard duty, Reno?" Sasori mused, pulling away from the now peacefully sleeping girl in his bed, working his way over to the table cluttered in an organized fashion with all of his equipment.

The younger redhead paused in the hallway, letting out a slow breath. He turned around, once again facing the puppet-like older man, the question mulling over in his brain. "Shinra said he sensed some form of danger was going to befall her and she'd possible get killed and blah blah blah, yo. I dunno. To be honest, I think he has a crush on Lady Roo."

He scoffed. "Lady Roo?" ••••"That's what he said, yo. He might also just want her to enlist in the Turks. We've all seen her skills. Better than Cloud himself, yo."

Sasori gave a slight frown, slowly packing up all the vials and weapons and various other articles of cleaning supplies, the incessant overuse of the word 'yo' and pretty much everything else Reno said grated on his nerves.

He wasn't surprised though. Who wouldn't have a crush on her? Rukia was a beautiful girl, even he couldn't deny it. Not only that, but she was famous and pretty much good at everything. Her one problem: she had slightly below-average intelligence in most subjects. But if it was something like assassination, materia, or, say, singing and cooking, well, let's just say you're fucked.