This is set during the 4th war. In case anyone didn't recognise the circumstances. Inspired jacksgreys0n's ficlet - Dreaming of Serenity. It's found on their Tumblr; search 'jacksgreysays' 'tumblr' and 'dreaming-of-serenity-a-dos-remix-drabble' via your preferred search engine.

-/-/-

Shikako can't breathe. There is so much chakra in the air. Not just the calm gentle chakra of living green that she has oh so slowly adapted to, or the thrumming frantic (still sometimes painful but getting so much better) chakra of her fellow shinobi, but other chakra - chakra cold and dead, boiling and regretful, fiery and angry, happy and flighty, prickly and wise, fizzy and sparkly like champagne bubbles and under and over it all glowing sunlight that shines bright and burns. This... This is not a fight she is suited for and she wouldn't be here but she can't abandon her team either. So she goes and she tries but... It's too much.

She is distantly aware of her knees going as her legs just seem to fold. It's distantly because she is far more concerned with getting air into her lungs. Not since that single day so many years ago had she struggled so much. The air might as well be solid chakra and she can't... She can't.. Then there is warmth and safety and a familiar presence wrapping around and engulfing her and she lets herself slump and relax.

It's alright. Gaara's here.

-/-/-

They are barely even anywhere near the fight when it all goes wrong. One minute everything is going fine and he and Gai are responding to the call for backup, Shikako trailing behind in case they need a medic or a sealer... The next Shikako collapses gasping on the ground, lungs working but no air getting in, her wide eyes darkening with panic as she curls up and tries to fight off something that he can't find, can't sense.

Gai is posturing to his left, assuring Kakashi that he has things under control, that Kakashi should stay. A tiny part of him is grateful for the reassurance but Gai can't handle the fight alone and he can't bring himself to leave his only female student. Catch 22. Which teammate does he abandon? Who does he prioritise? Then Sand sweeps forward and instinct has him sweeping his helpless not-so-little chunnin up as he tries to dodge. He doesn't quite manage it and feels white hot anger as Shikako is engulfed in sand. He is going to be forced to watch another team-

It's Gaara?! Wasn't he a country away? What is he doing here?! Why is he looking like he is going to crush Shikako?

"Go. I will protect her."

Kakashi feels vaguely like his world has turned inside out. No matter how much Gaara has changed a large part of him will never trust the young Kazekage fully. To be in his sand, to be completely engulfed... Kakashi is certain he'd be freaking out. Except Shikako is not. The panicked fluttering of her chakra has calmed a little. It's settling down, dampening in preparation for sleep. Kakashi can't understand it but Shikako trusts Gaara enough to feel comforted by his sand. She's calming down, protected and safe and his other precious student needs him. He gives a glare and a nod and leaves at a dead run. As he does, he can't quite ignore a niggling tiny thought at the back of his mind.

What exactly had Shikako been up to with Gaara in Suna?