Chapter dedicated to J-boy! Happy birthday! :*

When Sakura showed up that day with a frown on her usually smiling face, Gaara got immediately worried. He had never seen his pink-haired friend with such a sad expression.

When she laid her eyes on the red-head, Sakura began to tear up and ran into his arms.
Gaara immediately panicked. He had never held a crying person in his arms-let's not talk about a crying girl.
He could feel the way her sobs shook her body, and how his shirt slowly started to get wet- it was all new to him. He tried to recall all the times Yashamaru had calmed him down whenever he scared someone in the playground.

In the end, he led her to the swings and made her sit down on one of them while he sat on the sand directly in front of her. He waited until her sobs were reduced to quiet sniffles.

"Sakura-chan?" His voice came out quiet, and he could've sworn he had spoken in his mind if she hadn't answered him.
"We're leaving Suna tomorrow." She said. It came out quietly, with the voice someone uses when they're too ashamed of their words. Her eyes looked at the sand, carefully avoiding eye-contact with Gaara.
Sakura heard a little gasp leave his mouth, and felt the way the air around them immediately turned tense the way it always does whenever you have an unwanted conversation with someone.

Slowly, her vision began to blur as salty tears made their way into her eyes. Sakura closed them, hoping that it would hide her sadness from her friend, but all that her actions accomplished were little salty drops of water hitting the sand.
She didn't want to cry again, knowing that it would make Gaara sad too. She didn't want to make him sad.

Gaara slowly sat down in front of her, and she felt some sand gathering below her chin, pushing up so that she would look into his eyes.


He sounded so disappointed. So sad. So heartbroken.
And she hated it. Hated that it was her causing so much pain to one of the most important people in her life.

So she slowly opened her eyes to look at him.

"My cousins said…that their work here in Suna was finished…" she paused to take a shaky breath, and got off the swing to seat beside him. "..but I don't want to leave you Gaara! You're too important to me!" she began to sob and took one of his hands in hers "You're my first friend Gaara-kun. I'm too afraid of loosing you…"

His eyes widened. All that time, he had thought that she didn't want to leave Suna, but in reality, she hadn't wanted to leave him. He felt something funny in his stomach, and his previously frowning mouth slowly morphed into a small smile. He almost didn't notice the tears running down his cheeks until he felt one of her cold fingers touch it.

Her fingers always felt so cold.

"Don't cry Gaara-kun. I don't want to see you cry…"

Her eyes were so full of love, shining not just with her tears, but with the love she had for her best friend. Gaara never thought he would see such eyes directed at him. It was a feeling he didn't want to forget.

His smile grew wider, surprising Sakura.

"I don't want you to leave either Sakura-chan, but…" his eyes closed, as if they, too, were smiling. "…but I'm really happy that you love me so much that you don't want me to go."

The pinkette had no words. All night, she had been thinking of ways to comfort Gaara, to make him not hate her.
But in the end, it was him that was trying to comfort her.

She launched herself into his arms, and felt warm sand envelop her where his arms couldn't reach.

Gaara loved it when she hugged him.

When they separated, her eyes took on a more determined look.

"Let's promise something Gaara-kun. We'll keep in contact, no matter what."

He nodded. And they hugged again.

The afternoon was spent playing with Gaara's sand, making it take all kinds of weird shapes, molding castles with their hands, and at one point, burying Sakura until all that was left to be seen of her was her head and part of her neck.
They certainly had fun that time, and when Deidara and Sasori picked Sakura up, they said goodbye with a smile plastered on their faces.

It was dark, probably midnight, and Sakura didn't know why she was awake. She just had a terrible feeling in the pit of her stomach, and a little voice on the back of her mind was telling her to get out of there and find Gaara, dammit.

So she did.

And the scene that welcomed her was less than pleasant.

"Truth is…I've always hated you."

Her eyes widened.

"You killed my sister."

Tears ran through Gaara's face.

"And now…I'll kill you."

Her body moved on its own.

"Please Gaara…"

She came face to face with the man.


An explosion.


Gaara-kun screaming.

And then…