Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ Paranoia ( Chapter 2 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Disclaimer: I do not own it. I’m not making any money off of it. There are too many people in the world for you to sue for it. Just read. ; )

A/N: I will make the note that this doesn’t follow exact true form with the anime/manga. But that’s what fanfiction’s about right?

Summary: He needs something. She has that something that he wants. When he gets it, will he leave her to the rest of the world or take her for himself…

Chapter Two.

It had been just before dawn that Gaara woke up to a sweet smell filling his senses. Oh yeah, it was her. He pushed off the wall and stood. She hadn’t woken up– not even to his footsteps crossing the wooden floor. Such a poor ninja. She hadn’t the right to call herself the title.

He exited without a sound, leaving no trace, save a little sand, that he had ever been there.

But this only served to fuel the mystery that Sakura found in the sand. Every morning it pooled in her floor near the window, just begging to be swept up. Where the hell was it coming from? Maybe she should just shut her window tighter at night. Or maybe she could paint it closed. Sakura had been meaning to paint her walls for some time now. Maybe a nice fitting color. Pink? Red? Something along those lines? No, that wouldn’t work, she told herself. There were nights that she just loved to leave her window up, letting the soft, cool breeze float in when she read at night.

Ah well, tighter the window would be.

Sakura sweep the sand out her door and began her trek to get ready for her day, hoping it wouldn’t be hectic. For the past week, at least, she hadn’t gotten a good night’s sleep. It was unnerving, but she had felt something was wrong. Nightmares flooded her thoughts, and restless afternoons turned into short evenings where she dreaded even going to sleep. Once during the night, she woke up, thinking there was a presence in the room but dismissed the thought as just another figment of her obviously overactive imagination.

–0.0.0.0

Kakashi was always late. He’d never really shown up on time unless it was dire—and even then he was always doing something more important at the time. But Sakura was pleased to find that she was not the last one there on this day (barring their pervert sensei).

Business went as usual. Team Seven had survived Sasuke’s return, though his emotional state was more in question than ever. Sakura often wondered if he would ever truly get over his brother, let alone the massacre of his entire family. She could only hope that with her and Naruto around, bringing back the normality, he might one day be able to let go of his hatred.

A part deep inside her ached for him, looking at him, still having feelings for the troubled youth… She couldn’t help the fact that her emotions still returned to that school-girl desperation for the dark, handsome, loner-type. But today, Sasuke was different. He was more on edge, and there was a definitive hunch to his shoulders as if he was constantly one guard.

“Sasuke, what’s wrong?” Sakura asked. She knew that he probably wouldn’t like her asking in the least bit. There was something about privacy that the boy valued more than anything sometimes, and usually it wasn’t a good sign.

“You don’t see him?”

Huh? What the heck is he talking about? See who?

“There’s a presence.”

“Sasuke, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” She followed his dark eyes as they broke from hers and moved along the line of her shoulder until moving slowly up above her head. Sakura finally turned around.

A huge mound of sand was growing behind her, skinny and tall, and it loomed over the entire team. But Sasuke was the only one besides her that seemed to notice it. Naruto and Kakashi weren’t in the least bit worried or even aware of the thing. But it shifted in the flowy way that sand moves when it’s lifted by the air, calculated and precise, until it reached her and paused. Sakura wasn’t sure what to do. None of the others were running to her defense, but she clearly saw this thing right in front of her eyes. Was it meant to harm her? Was it going to do something to her?

Why was her team just standing there?

The blob of sand, now towering over her comparatively small frame, dove for her, covering her in darkness.

Sakura’s leg jerked her awake, almost like those dreams where you’re tripping down a flight of stairs, but certainly a lot more intense and drawn out. It had been so real. That thing for lack of a better term had made her feel an uncertain fear that she hadn’t in a long time. Damn her dreams and her imagination for always running through her head. Not doubt this was some insane way for her mind to come to terms with the sand that was in her apartment all the time, but it did little to ease her fears. Affirmed them, if anything.

The pinkette looked around the dark room, fully awake even though the clock said it was just barely into the small hours of the morning. Her room was nothing but dark shadows and moonlight coming in the window. A full moon. Maybe that was why she had been on edge lately.

Her legs swung over the edge, bare feet contacting with the cool floor. No use wasting time getting to sleep now. She was just going to have to find other methods or entertain herself.

Outside, another figure was just as on edge as Sakura was.

Gaara was livid, actually. He’d been in the middle of a dream… a dream! They were intoxicating, something others took for granted probably, when they weren’t all about the death that he’d caused. But she had to wake up. He’d barely detected her change in breathing in time to remove his presence from the room, lest he was discovered and this opportunity to experience some REM be taken away from him.

But now she was walking around her room, no sleep in her eyes. He stared at her from one of the trees across the dirt road from the complex where he’d jumped to in less than a second before she had time to look around the room. And he didn’t appreciate having to wake up so soon. Now he knew how others could complain when they didn’t get their whole night’s rest. Gaara could see Sakura leave her bedroom and turn on a light somewhere in the front of her house.

Might as well call it a night. He jumped from tree to tree and made his way back to the Sunagakure, questioning his actions for the hundredth time in that week. He wasn’t one to do something so rash as to travel to another territory every night to visit a woman, and if anyone back home knew anything about it, he was sure he’d loose a little bit of the edge he had going. Fear was a wonderful way to keep people under your bidding, but once they found out that you were human just like them, that you had human urges just like they did, it was over.

After the sixth night of waking in a dreamy daze to some familiar and boding chakra signature close to her house, Sakura decided that living alone was finally getting to her and that she might just need more of a social life, which would effectively cure the paranoia that she was experiencing. Sakura found it hard to believe that she was even having a problem with being alone in her house. Why now all of the sudden? She’d lived alone for longer, it seemed, than she cared to remember, but it had never bothered her before. She’d gotten over the irrational fear of the dark, or being alone, of the possibility of ghosts standing over her bed at night. What she needed was some social interaction. She was nothing if not a social butterfly, but all she’d done lately had been meet with the team, grab a little lunch with Naruto, and then go home. It was no wonder she wasn’t feeling quite like her usual self these days! The rosette was glad she’d found a likely source for her problems.

Most likely.

Well, she was banking on it.

So, just like that, Sakura decided to postpone coming home to enjoy the company of her friends (who she’d neglected lately).

Unbeknownst to her, a certain sand nin wasn’t going to like her makeshift solution.

“So, I’ll meet you there in an hour?” Sakura waved bye to the girls. It was amazing how she could feel so wonderful, even after a long and testing day on the training grounds. And most of that was credit to Ino and Tenten, whom she’d bumped into on her way home.

Seeing their faces reminded her of the resolution that she’d made to her sanity. But they seemed more than pleased she wanted to do something together:

“How about we all meet at the bar or something?”

“Really? Sounds great, Sakura. Any occasion?” Ino looked her over. Sakura almost never wanted to do much anymore. It seemed that beyond her training with the infamous Tsunade coupled with Team 7’s almost daily routines she never had a spare moment.

Even TenTen was pleasantly surprised. Sakura hadn’t really gotten to know TenTen too well, only the occasional conversation back when she hung out with Lee quite often. “How about in an hour or so? We’re all a bit sweaty and gross.”

And that was it. Sakura had forgotten how easy it was to make a date with her friends.

She twisted the key in the lock and made a bee-line straight to the bathroom.

The Kazekage focused on the paperwork and scrolls laying about his desk. There was nothing exciting about being the leader of a village. It was all paperwork.

Usually it didn’t really bother him. He would do it at night when no one could disturb. But now that his nights were taken up by some more satisfying pastime, he was left to answer messages, sign agreements, the whole shebang, during the day when he was constantly pestered by annoying people.

Some had noticed this change in schedule.

His siblings, for instance, the poor people who had to live with him noticed a shift in his routine. And being siblings didn’t count for much. He’d left the whole ‘family cherishing’ emotion behind when his father had imprisoned a demon within him.

How could you have a brothers and sisters who were scared of you? Mind you, they were getting better about it. He wasn’t exactly the monster that everyone thought he was.

Kankuro leaned on the door frame, Gaara aware of his presence but not acknowledging it. The painted man’s lips curled up as if to imitate a smile. Emotion was one thing that made his brother very uncomfortable.

“Hn.” It was recognition enough.

“Not like you to be locked up in here doing your paperwork during the day.” His brother wasn’t exactly known for sporadic changes in personality or schedule.

“Something you want…” Gaara barely glanced over.

“Just wondered where you’d been going during the evenings.” He could feel his brother’s eyes on him.

The sake cup touched her lips, letting its contents slide down her throat, warming her insides. She hadn’t had alcohol in ages, but she enjoyed the way it made her loosen up now that she was in more of a social situation.

Lee was on one side, Ino on the other, and their group of friends had somehow managed to cram into one of the large booths in the back of the restaurant/bar. Somehow the small gathering that she’d been expecting had turned into a massive party compared to what it was supposed to be. Sakura had planned on starting small, hanging out with some friends before getting everyone in the same room.

But thanks to Ino and Tenten, she’d gotten more than she bargained for.

Or course, there were some missing parts of the teams. Neji hadn’t made it—not that she’d expected that. And Shino had moved away to other parts of the bar to drink alone, which was bothering her—she’d made an effort, why couldn’t he?

Sakura walked hazily, not quite used to the amount of alcohol that she’d taken in without even realizing it. The stools around Shino were all empty, and she imagined that he liked it like that. But there was nothing wrong with a bit of company; after all, you weren’t supposed to drink alone.

“Shino… why are you sitting here all alone?” He turned his head towards her, and even though she couldn’t see his eyes, she knew that they were trained on her face.

“I don’t even know why they dragged me here. I’m not a socialite.”

For not being a socialite that was the longest string of words that she’d ever heard from his mouth at once.

“You know that there’s this rule…” She paused for a moment. His expression said ‘go on’. “Well, it’s a no-no to drink anything alone. So you’ve got to at least start off another round with me.”

Her eyes shined, and she didn’t know whether or not it was the sake, but she felt that connection with this man. They didn’t have too much in common, but the basics stood out. Both ninjas, on paper at least, and they were both out of their true environment when it came to bar-type situations.

“Alright.” His hand rose as he signaled the bartender for another bottle. Sakura finished what was left of her cup as she turned towards Shino in the mood for starting some type of conversation.

Sakura opened her eyes to the afternoon light shining through the window. What she knew immediately was that Plan A had backfired on her end. Spending time with friends had sounded good, but she was reminded why she stopped hanging out with them all the time in the first place. Ino like to drink. And she wasn’t a happy drunk unless other people were getting drunk, and then everyone had to be drinking for it to be a fun night. And Sakura couldn’t take waking up like this every morning anymore.

Judging by the sun out her window, it wasn’t quite morning anymore either.

Plan A had backfired even more when she noticed Shino lying in the bed next to her. Obviously clothed and obviously not waking up from a drunken one-night stand was the best thing she’d expect to happen to her that morning. His glasses were laying on the night table, making Sakura roll over and just stare at her current bedmate.

She’s never actually look at him without his glasses. Sure, during some of the more progressive fights, he’d taken them off and done more demonstrative attacks, but there was something about staring into his soft features while he was asleep.

It was even more interesting to see his eyes when they opened. Still adjusting to the light, he reached over her figure for the sunglasses, but not before she stilled his arm and took a good look at him. “Cute.” She smiled in approval, wishing that he’d show those dark eyes more often.

“We didn’t…” Sakura shook her head at his implied question. “Good.”

She wouldn’t take offense. Sakura probably would have said the same thing.

Shino rose from her bed barely big enough for two and stilled himself against the wall. “Now I’m reminded of why I never drink.” Sakura nodded in agreement. For all her headaches, however, she couldn’t really deem the night as a total failure since she’d definitely had fun.

Shino had refused a cup of strong coffee, instead intending to brave the walk to his own place and rest there for ‘the next week’ as he put it.

He wasn’t a lazy ninja, just a light-weight.

Sakura wandered about her house with her own mug in her hand and decided that just going back to the bedroom to lay down alone for a few—minutes? hours?—was the most appealing idea. She opened her window to let the afternoon breeze float in while she rested, but was stopped short.

Her eyebrows lifted, twitched more like, and Sakura’s mouth couldn’t help but drop. She used to enjoy that tree across the way, to love the shade that it provided during the summer months. But now it was half gone.

Two branches lay on the ground, three others were split barely still hanging onto the tree, and there were numerous holes and a lot of bark was gone.

Sakura sighed. She couldn’t let the tree die. Despite her lingering headache, she jumped straight out of the second story window and landed next to the tree. What was her training on logs all worth if she really couldn’t fix an actual tree? Her hands glowed the medical green as she placed her hands above the most damage on the trunk.

It brought back memories of her first few trainings with Tsunade as she carefully pieced back the split wood.

When she was done healing the trunk of the tree, the exhaustion from the night before was amplified and Sakura just jumped back into her apartment towards the bed. The tree had needed a trim anyways, what were a few limbs that she didn’t feel like healing at the moment?

She didn’t really question what happened to the tree or why no one seemed to be concerned. It had been a late night with half of the nins in Konoha drinking at the bar. Most likely some of them got a little antsy. Why they had to take it out on that tree, however, she didn’t know.

It seemed that with all of the festivities of the night, Gaara was probably the only one in Konoha that wasn’t in the best of moods. Most of the passerby citizens had been in an alcohol-induced personality change that was happy, bubbly, or just plain horny.

But he didn’t expect his nightly visitations to be screwed up by said partying. He couldn’t tell if the woman that had been unknowingly harboring him at night was horny or just happy, but whatever the reasons, she brought home another man.

Not that he’d staked claim on her or anything. More like he was just using her for his total benefit. But if it ruined his schedule, then there would be hell to pay.

To his great appreciation, they’d collapsed and hadn’t gone on to anything more sexual in their inebriation, but despite his attempts, he couldn’t get to sleep.

It seemed Shukaku was not happy with the other presence in the room.

So he’d taken it out on a tree. Gaara couldn’t really bring himself to be sympathetic to anything, but if he could that tree would get first priority. He’d left it in quite a state. But as it was, he couldn’t really feel sorry for anything, even himself, over his lack of sleep. Even though it probably wasn’t the best idea to destroy a tree near her house of all places and leave physical proof that he’d been there, he wasn’t real concerned in the end.

But he was sure mad. His brother was once again asking questions about where he would go at night, not even stopping to realize that on this particular ‘day-after’ he was in a most furious mood. He only knew one thing in his head…

The Kazekage bent for no one. Gaara hadn’t slept since he could remember, years ago, and now that he was dreaming, waking up restful, and doing it all in secret, there was nothing that this little wannabe kunoichi could do or change to stop him.

Tsuyoku: I guess you could call him a demon with a plan or something. I’m not quite sure about this chapter. I know that I am really working on this story and another DBZ fic (Tempt of Fate) right now, but this chapter seemed rough, raw maybe, to me.

Tell me what you think. College is starting back up, so not sure when updates may happen, but what do you know, I could get inspired between classes. We’ll see. THX.

Sleep?
Obsession