Okay, so I managed to dodge pitchforks and glass and really heavy textbooks.

This chapter is half betaed, which means it only got half way done by Azhwi until life got in the way and now she is unable to continue. I did my best so... enjoy!

-00-


Naruto screamed as another blade tore through his thigh. Hot tears poured from his eyes, burning and sliding as they traced over carefully precise cuts, mixing with the blood that seeped from the wounds. The agony blinded his thoughts to a blank frenzy and so he pleaded and struggled mindlessly against the straps holding him down. He only wished to escape the man who was enjoying carving into Naruto's flesh.

"You shouldn't have left Naruto." Orochimaru's putrid yellow eyes looked down at his victim. He twisted the knife in the thigh. "You made me upset."

Naruto was lost in his pain, when the sound of breaking wood wrenched him back to reality. Instinctively, the blonde swiveled wide eyes towards the disturbance, desperate for a moment of reprieve. Standing right in the middle of the open doorway stood Gaara.

Fresh tears came to him and a half sob wrenched its way out of his throat. He never thought he'd see the man again. The red head was covered with bite marks, blood and other things Naruto didn't care to name, but it was still Gaara, whole and furious. It was obvious the hellhounds had done a number on his lover, but Gaara didn't even seem to acknowledge his injuries. Naruto's lips twitched into a weak smile. Here was his hero, bloody and ragged, but unbroken.

He saw how Gaara paused at the doorway. How his eyes flared wide in rage before narrowing on Orochimaru who even now had paused, the knife poised. Naruto heard the pale man's dry voice and as panic began to sharpen his senses, his blurry vision noticed the movement behind Gaara. Kabuto was moving.

"Watch out!" But his warning was too late. Kabuto stabbed a syringe into the red-head's chest. Naruto cried out helplessly and threw himself against his bindings. A keening sound echoed through the room as blue eyes watched the scene before him.

Gaara had wrenched the syringe from his chest and in return had buried it into Kabuto's forehead. Naruto's throat constricted and his lungs burned for air as he screamed out as the Gaara's knees met the stone floor.

He sobbed in air as black spots danced in his vision, but Naruto refused to blink. Every detail he fought for, eyes straining to keep his lover in sight. And Naruto saw everything. From the way Gaara's fingers twitched to the way his adam's apple shuddered.

Gaara's eyes lost their fury and dulled, and Naruto's world shuddered. No! His thoughts rebelled as his hero swayed. No!His eyes burned and tears threatened to wash his sight away. He dared to blink, and then Gaara was gone. Eyes gone flat and fury blunted, his love swayed a final time before collapsing to the floor.

"Gaara!"

This couldn't be happening!

"Gaara get up!" Tears ran fresh down his cheeks. Naruto fought the restraints in a desperate attempt to get to Gaara.

He can't be dead!

"No! No! NO!" Naruto screamed out in denial. He pushed one last time with all his strength against his restraints before collapsing on the table. Naruto stared mindlessly at the ceiling as the full realization of Gaara's death sunk in.

"You have escaped my care for far too long, Naruto. You seem more emotional than usual." Orochimaru brought his finger down Naruto's cheek. Naruto growled weakly and turned his head to the side.

"Be that way. I finally have you in my grasp and this time you aren't going anywhere." Orochimaru brought out a round metal object with complex looking runes and dials. Orochimaru placed the cold metal on Naruto's tattooed stomach.

"After so long I can finally have what I want." Orochimaru grinned creepily as he turned the dials on the objects. Orochimaru turned spun a dial one last time and then next thing Naruto knew was pure agony.

Gaara!

Naruto screamed and struggled to get away from the agonizing pain. Whatever was happening, it felt like he was being ripped by jagged blades from the inside, out. Naruto pleaded and begged for the pain to stop.

Gaara! Help me! Please!

- 000-

It was cold and empty.

No sound, no light, no warmth. Just plaindarkness. Cold never-ending darkness.

"Where am I?" His voice echoed through the dark space.

"Your dead, idiot." Above him, his 'other' self was staring down at him.

"I can't be dead! What about Naruto!"

The Other Gaara shrugged. "You're dead, what more can you do?"

Gaara!

Gaara looked around the darkness. That was Naruto!

"Naruto needs me! I can't leave him." He turned back to Other Gaara.

"I can't help you unless you want to help yourself." Other Gaara rested his chin in hand, looking unimpressed and bored.

"Didn't you say, I'm a half demon?" Gaara asked desperately.

Again, Other Gaara shrugged. "I did. But you didn't finish your 'transformation.' The poison killed you."

The shifting sounds of a desert echoed in the vast darkness that surrounded them.

"Shut up!" Gaara yelled. The dry whisper rose around the edges of his awareness in a swirling storm.

Gaara! Help me! Please!

Orochimaru was killing his mate and Gaara was stuck here.

"No." Gaara whispered out. Other Gaara put a hand to his ear.

"I didn't catch that, what did you say?"

"No!" He swept an arm out between them, particles of sand flowing out with his movements. "Naruto is dying out there! I need to protect my mate - our mate - and kill Orochimaru!" Gaara reached out to his double. "Please, I need you."

Other Gaara closed his eyes in thought. When they opened, they no longer looked green. In fact, they no longer looked human;black now covered the white of the eyes and the iris was gold. A sinister smile spread across Other Gaara's lips.

"Who am I to refuse?" Other Gaara reached out to grab the extended hand just as the sand engulfed them.

-000-

Just as the horrible pain came, it left. Naruto gaped at the ceiling, gasping in great lungfuls of precious air. Confused, he looked for Orochimaru. The man never believed in pacing his torture methods.

Before his eyes, the snake man was pinned up against the wall by what appeared to be… sand. It slowly travelled up the man's body, encasing it like a cocoon.

Naruto's wide eyes looked at who else was standing in the room.

Gaara stood there.

Alive.

Gaara was alive!

The red head was indeed alive, in fact the sand that surrounded Orochimaru was swirling quietly around the red head in a dangerous tornado. Naruto's breath caught as a glint of gold shone through crimson eyelashes. Gaara's eyes had also changed.

Those demon eyes gazed upon Orochimaru with hatred. The pale man's usual impassive face was twisted in terror as the sand spread upwards to his arms.

"This is for trying to kill me." Gaara voice sounded deeper, rougher. The granules tightened around Orochimaru's right arm. In an instant, it was crushed and a dark red stain streaked down through the sand.

"Can't you show some mercy?" Orochimaru was pleading.

"Did you show mercy when Naruto asked for yours?" Gaara spoke in deathly tones as the sand moved to crush Orochimaru's other arm. The gold-slitted eyes glowed. Obediently, the living sand rose from the floor in an exotic dance, molding into the form of a dagger.

The sharp spine of sand drove straight into Orochimaru's chest. Gaara watched emotionlessly as the snake man vomited blood and gasped desperately to breath.

"That was for hurting Naruto." Gaara spoke as the man jerked and shuddered until finally stilling.

Gaara stood still as his sand writhed over the corpse, wary of any movement. After a minute, it slid off the body and returned to swirl around its waiting master.

Satisfied, Gaara's deadly eyes moved to where Naruto was lying on the table. There were no emotions in those dark depths as he moved towards the blonde.

"Gaara?" The man said nothing and Naruto's ear twitched a bit in consternation.

Sand traveled up the table and slithered its way to Naruto's limbs. He tensed, expecting a rough treatment, then blinked. It felt sensual. The small living desert worked its way around his limbs as if exploring. It surrounded his ankles and wrists, and seconds later he felt his bindings fall loose.

Naruto stayed still just as he was as the sand continued it way around his body. He should have been frightened, but oddly enough, he wasn't. He felt no danger from the sand that had, just minutes ago, killed the man that had tortured him for most his life. Instead, he felt warmth and assurance.

To Naruto the sand appeared to checking him over, the grainy bits caressed him ever so gently as both sections met at Naruto's middle. The sand engulfed the round object on Naruto's stomach before violently diving itself at the wall. You could clearly hear a crack and many tiny pieces fell through as the sand released its grip.

Naruto lowered his arms, wincing as he maneuvered the injured hand carefully, as the knife was still lodged in it. Naruto's body twitched from pain and with Naruto's leg in the same condition as his hand, he didn't make the move to sit up for now.

Long black claws stroked his cheek, startling Naruto from his thoughts. Naruto turned his head to Gaara, whose eyes still showed the demonic black and gold. None of the killing intent lay within their depths, now they displayed clearly sorrow and worry. Naruto could feel the sharp tips drifting down towards his neck.

A growl and a slight tug later, Naruto could feel the cold air on his neck again. Naruto brought his uninjured hand to his neck. The collar was gone, thrown at the other side of the room like Orochimaru's contraption.

"That feels better." Naruto smiled up at Gaara.

Gaara had not spoken to Naruto, and from the color of his eyes, it was a safe bet that Gaara's demon's side had taken over. Gaara nuzzled Naruto's now bare neck and breathed in deeply.

"Gaara?"

The redhead again said nothing, lifting his head to look to where Naruto was holding his hand then his eyes traveled down to his leg. Claws hovered but dared not touch. Dark eyes looked at him, unsure. Despite Gaara's demon side taking over, the man had not lost himself completely.

"I know they need to come out. Perhaps we can tear up some cloth stop the blood?" Naruto was unsure if Gaara had heard him at first, since the man had stayed in the same position, but he soon moved around the bloodied room. Gaara opened one large cabinet, and inside it held some medical supplies.

Gaara gathered a generous amount of the gauze rolls before heading back to Naruto's side.

"Perfect."Naruto grimaced knowing what was to come next. Gaara dragged one of the tiny metal tables and laid out the supplied he gathered. Gaara moved to grabbed Naruto's shoulders adding some pressure on them, silently telling him something.

"I'll stay still, I won't be able to guarantee it, but I'll try." Naruto tried to give Gaara an encouraging smile, but Naruto knew from Gaara's worried eyes he didn't convince him.

A black clawed hand gathered up Naruto's injured one. Naruto had closed his eyes for this part, but he could feel from the slight painful movements from the object that Gaara had gripped the handle. Naruto could feel the slight sensations from the sand around his thigh. It appeared Gaara was going to pull both knives out at the same time.

"One…two…AHHHHH!" Naruto screamed as the knives were torn quickly from his skin. Naruto laid there, his ears flat against his skull as Gaara quickly worked to wrap gauze around both wounds. Naruto whimpered, tears ran down his cheeks from his tightly shut eyes.

Something wet ran over his nose.

Naruto opened his eyes and looked up to the caring dark ones above him. A tongue dragged over Naruto's nose once more. Gaara lowered his head to rub his cheek with Naruto's.

"I'll be fine, Gaara. Honest. With a few days care, I'll be as good as new." Naruto showed Gaara a watery smile, a few tears escaping. Gaara kissed an eyelid, before doing the same to the other. The redhead placed his forehead to Naruto's and gave him a small smile, the dark eyes shining with adoration.

Naruto shivered, he was cold and lying on a metal table in a freezing cold room did not help. There was the small fact that Naruto was bare of clothing. Gaara lovingly moved a strand of hair from Naruto's face, before going off and rummaging through another set of cabinets. Soon he returned to Naruto side holding a white sheet. Naruto's cheeks gave a slight pink tinge as Gaara gently wrapped him up in the white fabric.

"Aren't you cold?" Naruto asked, all Gaara had on was a horribly torn pair of pants that looked barely to be hanging on its threads. Gaara shook his head and finished wrapping Naruto, giving him enough space to move if need be. Blue eyes looked at the gruesome bite marks that littered Gaara's body, though they had stopped bleeding they certainly looked deep.

Naruto slipped an arm out of his cocoon but regretted it as his body fell into a painful episode of uncontrolled tremors. Gaara had held unto him to make sure he didn't fall of the table. Naruto took deep breaths as the traveling pain slowly subsided.

"W-we need to… g-get out of...h- here." Naruto's voice trembled, as he forced his jaw to move.

Gaara carefully scooped him up in his arms and walked out of the blood painted room. They wandered the halls, trying to find the exit. All the walls looked the same, and every time they turned a corner they came upon an exact looking hallway. They walked for hours, in the maze of hallways.

Gaara looked down at Naruto, the blonde had passed out and was shivering uncontrollably. Gaara growled in frustration. He had no idea if he was going deeper or even making a breakthrough in this maze.

BANG!

Gaara tightened his grip on Naruto as he felt the earth beneath him rumble. He could hear yelling, but he couldn't understand what was being said the voices by the thick walls.

BOOM!

The wall burst open just a few feet from them causing Gaara to jump back and from a wall of sand to avoid the debris.

"Fucking pieces of filth, wait till I get my hands on them I'll-" A familiar looking blonde busty woman stepped through the gigantic hole now in the wall.

"Gaara!" The woman ran to him, but Gaara had formed a sphere of sand to prevent woman from coming closer.

"Gaara? Kami! What happened?" Tsunade paled as she saw her friend's eyes and the precious package he carried. Gaara growled as Tsunade took a step forward, the woman may not have attacked but that didn't mean she wouldn't attempt it.

"Gaara, it's me, Tsunade. Remember?" The woman, now named Tsunade, watched him in concern.

Tsunade…. I have heard it before…but, where?

Flashes popped up in his mind. One of Tsunade helping him bathe the dogs, bubbles floating everywhere. Tsunade holding out a small cupcake that had a single burning candle forcing him to make a wish. Tsunade, using a stack of paperwork as a pillow.

She is our boss… our friend…she was the one who introduced us to Naruto.

The sand diminished its velocity and settled back down to the ground.

Gaara said not a word as Tsunade took a cautious step forward.

She can help Naruto. She will keep him safe.

Gaara loosened his hold on Naruto.

-0000-


I do hope you guys enjoyed this chapter! It looks like I will be doing all my stories without a beta from now on. I am afraid I haven't found a new one.

I would like to thank all my reviewers! Thank you for being patient with me!

IYN