Gaara- 20

Naruto- 18

Shizune and Tsunade stood over a medium sized dog bed, contain was a fox kit with golden fur. The poor thing was pratically covered in bandages and blood was slowly seeping through the white material.

"Tsunade, what are we going to do? I know fox demons heal on their own, but we do not know how long that will take in his condition. I mean we found him in pretty bad shape. Moving him around too much would be very dangerous in his condition. We can't take care of him, we must find a substitute." Shizune stood over the golden haired kit, barely the size of her arm, her eyes full of worry. Tsunade petted the golden head carefully.

"It hurts me to see him like this, Shizune. It took 8 long years to locate him and when we finally find him, he's in this condition. I am surprised the little one even recognized me. When Orochimaru is found, I want to personally be the one to kill him. He cursed him so no healing magic can help him. Even with human technology to help it could take days, even weeks for him to heal completely."

"Meanwhile, we are trying to track the bastard down, dodging our old debt collectors, and handling an animal shelter. Where the hell are we going to find someone to take care of a fox kit?" Tsunade and Shizune had sat in their chairs their chins on the palm of their hands, eyes trained on the injured creature laying a few feet in front of them.

Knock. Knock

Shizune quickly moved to take the kit to the back room.

"Come in." Tsunade called as Shizune disappeared from her line of vision. The door creaked open, to reveal a pale skinned, green eyed, red head with the character for 'love' on the corner of his forehead. With the hair and the dark rimmed eyes, anyone would think he was out to kill.

Truthfully, that blood red hair was the boy's natural hair color. As for the eyes, the boy just has some trouble sleeping, or a lot, who knows. But in the two years of her knowing him, she had never seen him lose his temper on a single animal, people, however, were a different story entirely.

He has been bitten and clawed at and the boy had never once retaliated. He just patiently dealt with it and eventually won the pet over. Gaara had a knack for it, she guessed.

But the boy had an angry side too. She had only seen it when owners who have abused their pets and did not want to release their pet to them. Owners thinking that their pet is fine and didn't need their help… blah…blah…blah. Tsunade has never seen someone throw a two-hundred pound man into a wall faster than you can say 'dodge ball'.

Usually, when this happened, Tsunade would have a serious face outside, but on the inside she was secretly cheering for Gaara all the way.

I wonder what he would do if I told him about Orochimaru? Ha! I can see I

now… calling 911... 18 …mmm, no…20 police officers to restrain him.

"What can I do for you, Gaara?" The red head placed a stack of papers on her desk.

"I have cleaned up the kennels, given the routine baths and reorganized your sloppy paperwork. Is there anything else you need me to do before I head off for the weekend?" The light bulb in the corner of her head lit up.

This may just work…

"Gaara, are you doing anything specific this weekend?"

"I refuse to be your chauffer around town in your drinking sprees." Tsunade sweat dropped.

"No! It's not that; please have a seat I have something to discuss with you." Gaara slowly and cautiously sat in the offered chair, he knew she was up to something and the smirk wasn't making him feel better.

"I want you to promise me whatever I am about to tell you will not leave this room." Gaara raised his right hand eager to hear more.

"I promise."

"Whatever information I give you I want you to promise you will not go on a rampage."

"I promise to stay calm and to not go on a rampage."

"Shizune and I have taken a secret mission to locate a … rare fox. You see it was stolen from his … habitat. Luckily we have finally located and recovered the kit yesterday. Not in the best of shape, I might add. But the bastard who took him disappeared. We can't search for the guy and take care of an injured kit at the same time."

"So let me guess, you want me to take care of it for you?" Gaara asked.

"Yes just for a few weeks until he completely recovers. We can provide you with all the supplies. You can even have those weeks off with pay." Gaara shifted in his seat. Tsunade's wide eyes looking at his every move, hoping the boy would accept. It didn't help him that she was imitating the puppy dog pout.

"I have a feeling you are still hiding something from me." Tsunade twitched.

Crap! How am I going to explain this?

"But, since you are entrusting me with something this important to you, I guess I can look it over. Besides, who can say no to someone in need of help? It's intriguing at how desperate you are." Tsunade shot up from her seat, running over, and gave Gaara a bear hug.

"Choking, not breathing." The arms immediately released allowing his face to turn from purple to its natural pale state.

"So, where is my ward?" Tsunade smiled.

"He is the back room." She stood and motioned for Gaara to follow her. She approached the room she had in the back area. Truthfully she was tired of always having to leave most days at three in the morning from work and come back three hours later, so she had the small room built. It contained a twin sized bed, a desk and a mini fridge.

Knock. Knock.

"Shizune, it's me. Unlock the door please." Shuffling was heard and the door slowly creaked open and Shizune's black eyes went immediately to Gaara.

"Tsunade are you sure? Is he-" Tsunade raised her hand to halt her friend, looking dead serious.

"Just trust me." Shizune sighed, saying no more, she stepped aside to let them in. Gaara walked to the creature on the bed while Tsunade stayed to stand beside Shizune.

The image presented to him had Gaara's blood boiling. Bandages covered the golden haired fox from head to tail. Or at least he thought it was golden. It was hard to tell because only a few patches of fur were visible. And what was visible was covered with dirt and blood stains. The thing was so skinny, he still wondered how it could have survived before Tsunade came to rescue him.

"His condition?" His hands hovered above the ears but didn't dare touch the ailing creature.

"The tail is bruised as if someone had stepped on it. The limbs are just as bruised and skin had been torn off. The back is in the same condition. In a few days the stitches can be removed. Even shows severe signs of malnourishment." By now Gaara's breathing was hitched and his fingernails were digging into his palm. However a promise was a promise, even if it was difficult to keep.

"Who the hell was this bag of shit that did this to him?" Tsunade averted his eyes.

"Unfortunately we can't disclose that information to you at the moment. The only thing we can tell you is that his name is Naruto." Gaara peered at the poor thing for what seemed like minutes before letting out a deep sigh.

"I'll bring the car out back. Have Naruto ready." Hearing the office door close Shizune turned fully to Tsunade.

"You believe this will work?"

"Gaara is more than capable to care for him. The boy may look scary, but he has compassion for this sort of thing. Best of all, he can keep a secret." Shizune eyes widened, her breathing already becoming erratic.

"Calm down I didn't tell Gaara what Naruto truly is. But, you know he will find out eventually." Tsunade stretched her aching muscles before moving to pack the bandages, ointments, and the nutritional formulas.

"So, you are saying if he ever finds what Naruto is that boy is trustworthy enough to keep that sort of a secret?" Tsunade placed her hand on her friends shoulder giving her a hundred watt smile.

"You got that right. Now come on, Gaara is probably waiting for us." Low and behold, the red head boy was pacing impatiently in the parking lot next to a red BMW.

"Stop, before you burn a hole in the concrete." Tsunade handed the duffel bag.

"Inside are enough bandages, formulas, ointments, etc. that should last for a few days. The pain killer medicine must be given orally three times a day preferably after every meal. Give him the formula for the first few days. Wednesday, I'm taking the day off and letting Shizune take over at the shelter. That way I can stop by to restock your supplies, check up on the poor fella, and give you some groceries so you can slowly accustom him with solid food.

"Anything else?" Gaara asked as watched Shizune place the precious cargo securely on the back seat.

"Remember that when the anesthesia wears off in an hour, he is going to be disoriented and scared. Oh, and Gaara?"

"What?" The older woman wrapped her arms around him and gave a peck on the cheek.

"Thank you."

"No prob. I'll call you if there are any problems. See you Wednesday. " With Naruto safely in the back seat, he turned on the ignition and pulled away, waving good bye to the two women.

-At Gaara's house-

Gaara had somehow balanced the duffel bag and the fox kit, though with great difficulty, while unlocking the front door. Even though Gaara house had two bedrooms and two bathrooms he decided it would be safer for the kit to stay in his room for the meantime.

I guess these bandages have to be changed now. They are already stained with dried blood. Perhaps, I can clean him up a bit.

After making sure the kit was comfortable on the bed he went to the bathroom, seconds later he appeared with a towel and a basin full of warm water.

After removing all of the stained bandages Gaara began to inspect the damage making sure none had reopened from the move. Everything seemed to be in order.

Wait… what's that?

At the stomach area Gaara noticed a strange line. His curiosity getting the better of him he gingerly removed what was left of the bandages and the line revealed itself to be a swirl shape birthmark. It was interesting to say the least. He had never seen animals with this type of birthmark before.

Come on, Gaara, it's probably a common thing for these types of foxes. Tsunade did say he was a rare breed. Whatever, right now, I have a job to do.

After having cleared away all the stuff stuck to the fur, the kits golden blonde coat shown. By the time he was done putting on the ointment and wrapping the bandages again, his watch read 7:03 pm.

I guess its microwave dinner for me. Maybe I should heat up some of the formula Tsunade gave me. It's about time the anesthesia begins wearing off. I bet Naruto will be hungry.

Gaara opened the duffel bag and found the large round canister full of Tsunade's special food formula. He went to the kitchen and followed the label instructions step by step. For some reason the end result looked like a soggy version of oatmeal, a real soggy almost water like version.

Is it… supposed to look like goop?

He reread the label, seeing if did something wrong, when noticed something, a sticky note attached to the bottom. Bringing it to eye level in tiny letters it read:

It's supposed to look like soggy oatmeal. It's easier to digest that way. Look in the bag, there should be a baby bottle; the tip has been cut and everything. Use that to feed Naruto with.

P.S. Don't forget to give him the antibiotics.

I wonder when she had time to write this? It's like she knows what I am thinking. Tsunade has always been creepy that way.

Gaara found the bottle and began to fill it up with the warm concoction. A distant sound made Gaara stop his movements. Straining his ears he heard it again, low whining that sounded almost human. Soon the whining became frantic yipping.


Capping the bottle in haste Gaara dashed to his room and just in time too. Somehow when Naruto woke up he had rolled himself to the edge of the bed. Half of Naruto's body was over the edge dangling while the other was desperately trying to hang on with the help of claws.

"Aww…crap! It ok, Naruto, I got you." Gaara lifted the terrified kit back on his original dog bed. He would have cradled him on his chest but for the kit's health and his own safety he decided not to. Besides, the way Naruto claws were digging in that cushion, he was glad about his choice.

Thank god none of the stitches were torn.

Gaara noticed the eyes were screwed shut and the whole body was shaking. The moment Gaara's hand began to scratch Naruto ears the furry body relaxed and began to purr. The eyes slowly opened, revealing the brightest color blue he had ever seen.

"Hello Naruto. I'm Gaara. For some strange reason Tsunade picked me to take care of you."

Sorry the ending sucked. I tried my best to write before Christmas came along.

I kept my promise to my fans! Whoo Hoo!

Now you know the drill peeps , I need five reviews to continue.

Give me your opinions, even ideas.

Now the next chapter will be up depending on the number of your reviews I get so here's the equation:

More reviews = faster update on chapter 2

HEHE (that should motivate all of you out there.)