24 year old Sakura Haruno swore as the heat made her sweat more than usual. Looking around at the crowded city streets of Suna she made a mental note to yell at Tsunade for sending her here. So what their medics needed training, they didn't have to send her. Sighing for the umpteenth time today she nearly screamed as someone tapped her shoulder.

"Ah! Who the- Temari!"

The young sand nin smirked,

"Hey Sakura, good to see you too!"

Sakura rolled her eyes and playfully pushed her friend.

"Damn it Temari! You scared me half to death!"

Temari giggled,

"Sorry about that. So you're the medic they sent? I figured. Have you met with Gaara yet?"

Sakura blinked,

"The Kazekage? No I haven't met with him yet. I didn't know where to go…"

Temari pointed to a rather large building.

"He's in his office. Make sure you don't keep him waiting."

Sakura nodded and waved goodbye to her friend as she made her way to the large building. Walking up to the reception desk Sakura eyed the woman filing her nails.

"Excuse me…"

The woman paid no attention. Sakura tried again,

"Excuse me."

Again she was ignored.

"Excuse me!"

Finally the woman looked up, almost as if it pained her to do so.

"Yes, may I help you?"

Sakura sighed and kept her head down, trying to reign in her temper. She spoke through gritted teeth.

"I need to see the Kazekage. Can you tell me which floor he's on?"

The womans high pitched voice bothered her to no end.

"Fourth floor, third door on the right. Your name?"

"Sakura Haruno."

Instantly the womans demeanor changed,

"Oh! Miss Haruno! He's been expecting you! May I say what a lovely blouse, I-"

"Miss! If I may say, quit sucking up. If you spent less time filing your nails and more time doing your job, you'd be able to afford a nice blouse too."

With a quirked brow and a smirk on her face, she left to find the Kazekage. When she reached her destination she knocked twice and heard a rather deep voice reply,

"Come in."

Just the voice made Sakura shiver, but not with fear. Shaking it off she opened the door, stepped inside and closed the door behind her. She kept her head down in a bow of respect until he spoke,

"You're the medic?"

Again shivers wracked her body and she had to ignore them as she looked up and withheld a gasp. He had obviously grown over the years. His red hair was longer and partially covered his left eye. His features had grown accustomed to his body and lost their boyish demeanor. Instead he looked like a rather attractive adult. Her voice was firm as she spoke,

"Yes, Kazekage-sama."

Gaara nodded, speaking once more.

"You have the first day off, request of the Hokage. You start immediately afterward."

Sakura blinked twice,

"Request of the Hokage, sir?"

Gaara nodded and rifled around his desk for a moment before handing her a scroll with the Konoha seal. She read,


Please allow Sakura a day of rest. I know your needs are immediate but she has been working way too hard lately and needs rest. Just one day.

-Tsunade, Fifth Hokage of Konoha, Hidden Leaf Village.

Sakura frowned and fought the need to demand work now. She hated resting, but she couldn't deny it was much needed. She handed the scroll back to the waiting Gaara and nodded,

"Hai, as you wish, Kazekage-sama."

He spoke again, sending shivers down Sakura's spine,

"You will be staying with Temari, Kankuro, and I. I'm done for the day, I'll take you there."

Sakura blinked for what felt like the thousandth time before she nodded and stepped aside, allowing him to lead the way. He stopped as he approached her side and gave her a quick once over.

"You've grown, Haruno."

Before she had a chance to reply, he was out the door and speaking once again.

"Come, we want to get there before Temari decides to cook."

Quirking a brow, Sakura decides not to comment on that. She ran a few steps to catch up to him. Since when is he such a fast walker? He must really hate his sisters cooking… Smirking at her inward thoughts she nearly jumped out of her skin when that deep voice spoke again,

"And yes, I really do hate my sisters cooking.."

Sakura's face fell,

"Are you a mind reader?"

For the first time ever, a grin came across his lips,



Since when do I know what people are thinking?

Since the person is a fine piece of-

Shukaku! …Damn perverted demon…

What? You know I'm right! Look at her!

So? She's not the first attractive woman I've met

No but she's the first one in your reach. She's not afraid of you, obviously.

Gaara frowned at his inner conversation, and Sakura seemed to see the difference as she spoke to him,

"Kazekage-sama, are you alright?"

Inwardly he winced, he hated being called that.


Sakura blinked,


"Gaara. Call me Gaara."

Nodding slowly, Sakura smiled,

"Alright, Gaara…"

Making their way down the floors, Sakura tried to stay calm, but every time she looked at him she felt this feeling in the pit of her stomach. It wasn't fear; she wasn't sure what it was. It was akin to the likes of what she felt with Sasuke, but… deeper. And it didn't help that every time he spoke it sent shivers down her spine. They were on the ground floor when they approached the receptions desk. Gaara spoke first,

"Cancel all appointments and meetings for today, and take messages for my calls. I'm taking the rest of the day off."

The receptionist had the nerve to speak up,

"But Kazekage-sama-"

A single glare from him shut the woman up, but then she saw Sakura.

"Miss Haruno, I wanted to-"

Gaara's cool voice interrupted,

"You will not speak to this woman unless spoken to. Treat her as you would me. If your rude to her, your fired."

Sakura raised an eyebrow at this and pondered telling him about earlier,

"Gaara, you know…"

The womans eyebrows shot up at her calling him Gaara, and not the formal Kazekage-sama. She seemed deathly afraid of Sakura at the moment. But Sakura continued on anyway.

"You know.. don't fire her yet. She was rude to me earlier, but I'll give her another chance, if that's alright with you. After all, she didn't know who I was. But you should lecture her on spending less time filing her nails…"

Grinning, Sakura waited for Gaara to answer, seeing the horrified yet thankful look on the womans face… it was quite a reaction, really. Gaara sent a glare to the woman,

"Is this true? Were you rude to this woman earlier?"

The woman stuttered,

"I-uh, that is, Kazekage-sama, I didn't know who she was and I, well-"

Gaara looked about ready to kill and Sakura felt the need to protect the woman. She placed a reassuring hand on Gaara's forearm and gently tugged,

"Gaara, don't fire her. Its alright, I gave her a little lecture myself."

Agonizing silence passed as the woman came near tears. Finally Gaara spoke,

"Fine. You will let me know if it happens again."

Sakura nodded and they turned and left, leaving the woman near tears and very thankful to have her job. Once they were out of the building, Sakura heaved a deep sigh of relief. She was actually sorry she had mentioned anything to Gaara, and she felt for that woman. But if she were rude to her again, she wouldn't hesitate to tell Gaara. Not paying attention, Sakura slammed into Gaara's rather hard back (he was not wearing his gourd) as he suddenly stopped. Shaking her head, she looked up,

"Gaara, wha-"

"We're here."