Fury pulsed through Gaara's veins. The prick was at it again. ~ &~

Hiashi smacked Neji again leaving a red print of his hand. Neji stoicaly took the abuse not even flinching as he hit harder. It was normal for him to be hit after a traing session.

"How do you to expect to be able to protect my heir if your so weak? You don't even deserve to live in the compound, your weaker than Hinata is and that's pitiful." Hiashi continually berated him saying things that Neji had heard thousands of times before.

When Hiashi walked away leaving the younger Hyuuga to nuse his bruises he didn't expect that he would one regret his actions.

Neji watched as his clan's leader left. He couldn't help the fact that Hinata had disappointed Hiashi with how their training session had turned out. Heaving a long sigh he turned to walk through the traing grounds. Neji never saw the person following him, too deep in his thoughts.

Gaara followed the brunette determined to stop any more abuse on the man. His teal eyes were flashing with surpressed fury, and his hands shook with the need to hit something.

His foot steps were muffled by the grass he walked on so the Hyuuga never turned to look at him. Gaara almost tripped when Neji spoke.

"I know he hates Hinata but why does he despise me?"

"I don't know. What I do know is that he's a fool."

Neji stopped so abrubtly that Gaara almost ran into him, belatedly realizing that the Hyuuga hadn't been speaking to him but had actually been talking to himself.

Neji turned around and couldn't keep an astonished expression from crossing his face as he found himself staring into teal eyes.

"Gaara? Why are you following me? Does the Hokage know your here?" Neji sputtered.

"First answer, to keep any one else from hurting you, and the second answer, yes, she knows." The redhead was plainly waiting for him to get passed his surprise.

Neji turned and started walking again this time heading back toward the Hyuuga complex. Gaara fell into step beside him a moment later. They walked in silence for a while until Neji suddenly blurted out, "Your following me to protect me, did you mean that?"

"Yes."

The brunette mulled that over in his mind as a warmth began to spread through him. Gaara suddely wrapped his arm around the younger man and pulled him to a stop. When he lightly grabbed his chin and turned his head to examine the bruise marring his left cheek a new wave of fury swept through him.

"I'm sorry I didn't get to you sooner." The words were whispered against Neji's ear as Gaara gently kissed his bruised cheek, hiding the all consuming rage.