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The Birth of RoriTemari and Shikamaru were back in Suna visiting for the week. Gaara had asked them, along with Kankuro, to hang out with his very pregnant wife at home while he was working, helping her with whatever she might need. He was extra protective of her these days, paranoid of anything that might happen.Harley was due in a month, though she already looked like she was about to pop. It was getting harder to move around, and it was a pretty painful pregnancy overall from the beginning. But she didn't care. Getting pregnant in the first place was a miracle in itself.They had been trying for the last couple of years. Eventually they sought out medical attention, and… learned that it wasn't just Harley who was infertile. Gaara was too.It broke their hearts. They kept it a secret from most people - especially the elders - and just claimed that they weren't ready yet. What else could they say to a public with such high expectations? But they truly wanted a child so badly. The doctors were very straightforward with them: they would never be able to bear children.But then one day it happened. Somehow, someway it happened. The doctors later warned that Harley's pregnancy was dangerous and posed several threats to her health. But she didn't care. They were going to have this baby.Of course this terrified Gaara. He knew very well what had happened to his mother when he was born. He couldn't bear the thought of that happening to Harley. Not at all. His anxiety skyrocketed, but she assured him time after time that she would be okay. He hoped to God that she was right.Back at their home at the estate, Harley and the other three were watching TV and just having a lazy afternoon. Eventually Harley got up to get more water."Hey, let me get that for you," Kankuro said. "That's why I'm here, you know.""I'm pregnant, not crippled," she teased. "Anyways, I'm already up. Be back in a sec."Temari got up after a minute to follow her. She knew from experience that moving around could be difficult in the later stages of pregnancy.She suddenly heard a loud thud and ran to the kitchen. Harley was on her knees next to a spilled glass of water, holding her stomach and groaning in pain."What happened?!" Temari asked."I… I think…"She needed to say no more. Temari saw the water running down her leg. She quickly took her hand and lifted her up. "Come on, it's time. Let's go."~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~This baby was going to be born premature. Like father, like child.Harley was rushed to the hospital, which was luckily inside the estate; accessible at least for the higher-ups of the council. Kankuro had rushed off to get Gaara, who was out in the desert training.He ran faster than ever before back to the estate, leaving Kankuro behind from sheer speed. He never would've expected her to go into labor this early. He hated himself for not being there when it happened.Rushing down the hallways and finally catching sight of Temari and Shikamaru, he sprinted to the doorway. His jaw dropped and eyes widened in horror at the split-second glimpse he got of her.Blood was everywhere. She was pale and looked half dead. The doctors quickly shut the door, with one of them coming out to speak to Gaara."What's going on in there?! What happened to her?!" he asked, in a loud and panicky voice."She's having a lot of complications with delivery," the doctor said. "We might have to do an emergency C-section. Though that could be risky as well, given her condition. I promise we're doing everything we can.""Let me go in," Gaara pleaded. "I need to be with her.""I'm sorry, Lord Kazekage, but this is a dangerous situation and we can't let anyone in. You're still covered in dust from the desert, and could cause contamination and make things worse; especially if we decide to operate. Please wait out here."With that, he went back into the room, leaving Gaara paralyzed and hyperventilating.Bloody murder screams could be heard from behind the door. It was the loudest Gaara had ever heard anyone scream; at least in a very long time. He felt like he was going to have a heart attack.It was happening. His worst fears. His dear Harley was going to end up like his mother. The complications of his own birth were being passed down. It was all his fault. He had never been more scared in his life.Why couldn't he be in there with her? Why?Temari pulled out her fan and blew the dust off Gaara with a strong wind. But he knew he still couldn't go in. He'd be in the doctors' way. It was killing him.More screams. She literally sounded like she was being murdered."Harley!" Gaara yelled in panic, as he instinctively shot up and started pounding and tackling the door."Gaara, stop!" Temari exclaimed, running over to try and hold him back. Shikamaru had to hold him with shadow paralysis."I know it's a pain, but this is for her own good," he said.He was in such an intense state of panic that he didn't even think to slip his third eye under the door. Although he probably would've decided against it anyways, as it might startle the doctors and cause them to mess something up.Another nurse came walking towards them. Gaara turned to her the instant the shadow paralysis wore off."Please, please let me see my wife," he begged."I'm sorry, but I don't have the authority to let anyone in there," she said.Harley's next scream was the last straw. He broke through the doors at the speed of light and saw that they were beginning a C-section."Lord Kazekage…!" the doctors exclaimed.Ignoring them, he rushed to Harley's side and took her hand. Her face was soaked with tears and sweat. He wiped her forehead with his free hand."Are you okay?!" he asked."I… everything hurts...""Can't you give her something to numb the pain?!" he asked them."We just gave her a little bit of anesthesia, but she's bleeding too much to give any more. Her insides are tearing, and the baby is breech and has a low heart rate. We need to operate now," a doctor said authoritatively.They didn't have time to kick him out. Gaara watched painfully as they sliced open his wife's abdomen. She cringed in pain, though not as badly as before due to whatever small amount of anesthesia she was given. In that moment he almost forgot why they were even there; he just wanted, needed his best friend to be okay.Unable to keep watching, he squeezed her hand and snuggled his face into the crook of her neck. She was gripping his hand so hard it felt like it would break off, but he couldn't care less. If he could take all her pain on himself, he would. But, all of that panic came to an end soon enough."It's a girl!"They both looked up at the doctor holding that tiny, tiny baby up for the world to see. An inexplicable warmness filled their hearts at the immediate sight of her.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~After cleaning up the baby and patching Harley up, they finally came back with a wrapped up baby, proceeding to hand her to her mother."Oh, let Gaara hold her first," she said, winking at her husband.She was well aware of his fears and anxieties of becoming a father; the biggest ones being that the child might be afraid of him or that he'd be a bad parent. She knew that couldn't happen. But nonetheless she wanted to give him the honor of being the first one to hold her.The doctor placed her in Gaara's arms. His eyes welled up as her small eyes opened and fixated on him, and before he knew it he was full-on crying. This was his child. He loved her so much. This beautiful creation was brought into the world because of his existence, which was a wild concept. And also, of course…He looked over at his wife with such gratitude. This beautiful girl she had given him… how amazing she was. He handed the baby to his wife and placed kisses all over her cheek."Recovery will take some time, but you're going to be okay, Harley. We've called for Lady Tsunade to come aid in the process," a doctor said, to their extreme relief. "Have you two decided on a name yet?""You did all the work, love. You choose the name," Gaara whispered to Harley, squeezing her hand.She remembered the discussions they had on names before.~.~"What if it's a boy? What names do you like?" she asked."Hmm. Maybe Baki? He was like a father to me, after all.""What about if it's a girl?"He thought for a moment."Perhaps… we could name her after you or your sister? I'm not sure. I'm not much good with names, I'm afraid. What do you think?""If we're going to name the baby after someone dear to us, what about... Karura? Or Chiyo?""Both sound wonderful. But please don't feel as though you have to name our child after someone from my life. It's your child too. What names do you like?"~.~"Rori…" she uttered after a moment. She looked into Gaara's eyes and smiled. "Rori Karura."----------------------------------------------------A/N: tbh I know like nothing about childbirth or complications or any of that. Just felt like I needed to make this dramatic.And yes they still adopt Shinki later on
Who I WasA/N: This is directly connected to my previous Gaara x OC fanfics.----------------------------------------------------His chest felt like ice. His face was hot as fire. Everything else felt numb, yet his feet kept moving.He was running. As fast as he could, he was running away from something; he didn't know what exactly.Faster… faster…Those were the only thoughts present in his mind.The heat in the air was thick and was weighing him down. Sweat was dripping down his face. His heart was beating so fast it felt as if it might explode.Suddenly in the distance he could hear screams, and the smell of blood was strong. It made him want to vomit. He wished he could, but couldn't shake the feeling that he had to get away. There was no time to lose.In his aimless sprinting, he unknowingly came full circle back to the scene.What was causing all of this? Who would do such horrible things to these people? Who-Before he knew it, he came face to face with himself. His old self. Looking into those sad, angry, desperate eyes, his heart sunk into an abyss."You did this," his former self spoke, trying to put on a sadistic front. "This is all your fault! Kazekage or not, you can never take any of this back!"He was suddenly caught in his own sand coffin. He couldn't breathe. His sand wouldn't obey him."How does it feel? This is what you did to people!"I…Can't…Breathe…~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~..~.~.~.~.~"HHHHHH-"Gaara was gasping for air as he suddenly sat up, clenching his chest. The terror in his heart was insufferable. Contrary to what one might believe, he didn't have nightmares often; he didn't dream often, for that matter. But when he did… it was intense, to say the least.His panic woke his lover next to him, and she gently placed her hand on his back."Hey, what's wrong? Are you okay?""I… I'll be fine," he managed, trying to slowly calm his breathing."Do you want to talk about it?"He didn't have to say anything. She knew."No, I don't want to burden you.""Oh, come on. You should know well enough by now that it's no burden to me. I'm here for you.""I wish I could say it was just a dream, but… more than it being very much real, it's something I can never reverse.""You're feeling guilty about your past, aren't you?"Harley took both of his hands into hers, gently rubbing his knuckles with her thumbs. Gaara looked into her worried eyes. He could never understand how someone could love him the way she did."How… how can you hold these hands with such love? These hands that have… committed such atrocities…""That wasn't you. That was who your father forced you to be. And let's not forget, these hands have also saved and protected. You've protected your comrades, your family, the entire village… and you hold me with more love than anyone ever has.""I'll always do whatever I can to atone for my sins, but… those lives I took… I can never…""Oh, Gaara. If only you could see yourself the way I do…""I wouldn't be able to see any good in myself at all if it weren't for you.""Come here, hon," she said as she took him into her arms. "You can't time travel, so there's no use in beating yourself down when you've already repented completely. You have a beautiful vision for the future, and you're always keeping your eyes on what lies ahead. I really love that about you. This village is thriving now because of you and your beautiful heart."Tears were filling his eyes. There was never a day in their relationship when he felt that he deserved this love, but nonetheless he somehow learned to let it in. She meant the world to him.His head was resting in her lap as she ran her fingers through his hair. Though he was still disturbed from the nightmare, exhaustion was winning. He was starting to drift off."Just take some deep breaths and get some rest," Harley said. "I'm right here with you. Always will be."----------------------------------------------------A/N: This fic has been in bullet points for years so I finally made something of it lol, short as it may be.I'm still bummed that we never got to see him mentored by Bee and do the waterfall of truth thing.
Torn ApartA/N: So this is based on another anime dream I had (seems I've been having a lot of those lately) where Gaara and Harley were forced to break up. This is NOT canon to my other Gaara x OC stories. I'm thinking of starting a sub-series of fics for when my brain decides to go into a bunch of "what if" scenarios.As a sidenote: the elders in my canon timeline actually are very fond of Harley and her contributions to the village; I just wanted to explore the idea of them not liking her simply because she's a civilian.----------------------------------------------------------------------------"Whaaaat?! The Kazekage has a GIRLFRIEND?! Who woulda thought!"Indeed.Gaara had been dating Harley Greene for around two years now. Anyone who knew him at all would argue that he had never been happier. Harley had been his long lost childhood friend, who had fallen in love with him upon their reunion several years back. She knew everything he had been through, and had witnessed a great deal of it. She was the only one who never once viewed him as a monster, and was constantly showering him in love. She helped his heart heal so much.But the elders of Suna didn't care about any of this. Gaara's happiness meant very little to them. All that mattered was appearances. They let this "love phase," as they called it, go on for a while, hoping it would end somehow and they wouldn't have to intervene. The girl was a civilian, after all. She had no way of defending herself against any kind of shinobi attacks. How could the Kazekage be with someone like that? A few of the elders were worried that Gaara would pop the question soon. They couldn't allow that to happen. If he was going to marry, it would be to a respectable kunoichi of their choosing.They knew trying to convince Gaara to end it would be futile. No, they needed to manipulate Harley, the easier victim in their eyes. Now they just needed a plan.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~Harley was going through her large stack of paperwork. Being the Kazekage's assistant meant a lot of monotonous tasks, but she didn't mind.Gaara was out of town for the day with Temari and Kankuro. That meant Harley was alone.Three of the elders, two men and one woman, entered her office."Put the pen down, Harley," one of them spoke. "You're done here.""Um… excuse me?"She was not at all happy to see them. A little while ago they had tried the direct approach, asking her to break it off with Gaara, to see how it went. They were now forced into more underhanded methods."I wanted to be civil about this. I really did," the man continued. "We tried to play nice with you, but it seems that you have no intention of leaving.""Of course not! I told you, I'm committed to Gaara. What's your guys' problem, anyway?""You realize we have connections around the world, right?""Yes, I'm well aware.""Then you know we could've gotten rid of you a long time ago had we chosen to. You have no ninja powers, so you would be easy. But we've been patient. We don't want to have to resort to that, so we're giving you one last chance.""Are you threatening me?""Imagine Gaara waking up one morning and finding you dead. What's more, we could frame anyone we wanted to. Temari or Kankuro, for instance. Or even that Naruto from Konoha he looks up to so much. It would be an easy task. He would never be able to trust them again. He would carry the guilt for the rest of his life. Is that what you want?"They wouldn't. Are they insane?"Listen Harley," the woman said. "We truly don't want to do this. We like you. It's just that Gaara is no ordinary man. As Kazekage, he can't marry someone so defenseless who would just be baggage to hold him back. He's busy and can't always protect you. But rest assured, we will see to it that he marries well."She felt like she was going to puke. "I-""Here's the plan," the first man cut her off. "We want you gone by tomorrow. Use today to pack your things, and break it off with Gaara when he returns in the morning. And don't even think about telling him or anyone else what we've discussed here. Our spies are everywhere. If you fail to comply, we will come after you. And keep in mind that we're more than capable of going after your friends and family too."~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~Gaara was back in his office, unloading and getting situated. It was a quiet morning. He was planning to go over to Harley's office since he hadn't seen her yet, but she beat him to it."...Hey," she said, shyly standing in the doorway."Hey. I was just about to come see you," he said.Something was wrong. Very wrong. This girl who was always smiling and radiating sunshine wasn't even looking him in the eye. She looked sad; almost sickly."We… I can't do this anymore," she began. "The two of us, it just can't work. I need to go. I'm sorry."Gaara's heart skipped a beat as he immediately rushed over to her. Did she really just say that?"W-what…? Where's all this coming from?" he asked, suddenly panicked. "What's the matter? Did I do something wrong?"He gently placed his hand on her shoulder, but she turned away."No, it's not you. I just can't be with you anymore.""This is all… so sudden. Can we at least talk about this?"She turned back to the door so he wouldn't see the tears running down her face. "I'm sorry. We're done."She descended down the hall and Gaara simply stood there, paralyzed in shock. His heart sunk into an abyss.What did I do? What did I do…?Harley… come back…~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~She was sitting on the train, traveling to God knows where. Her heart was in pieces. Seeing the look on Gaara's face when she told him… it was the worst thing she'd ever seen and it destroyed her.How badly she wished she could tell him. She wanted so much to rat the elders out, and have them apprehended before they were able to hurt anyone. But who knows how many hidden cameras or voice recorders they might've placed? Not just in Suna either; they could've put them everywhere, including other villages. They had that kind of power.It wasn't so much that she was scared for her own life, though that was part of it. She knew full well that, had the elders carried out their plan, they would make sure that Gaara was as miserable as possible. They would make him believe it was his fault.How such evil, heartless people could ever get onto the council she would never understand.The train made a stop at the Hidden Waterfall Village, where she randomly decided she would get off. She searched for the nearest hotel."I need a room," she told the lady at the desk."Sweetie, are you all right?" the woman asked, taken aback by her pale face and bloodshot eyes. "You look like you've seen a ghost!""I just… need a room. Please.""Okay, then…"She handed her the room key. "Don't hesitate to ask if you need anything."Harley walked down the hall as quickly as she could. Her head was spinning. She needed to lie down.Dropping her things wherever and flopping down on the bed, she started thinking about Gaara and their times together. She remembered the time when they were kids, when she actually witnessed Yashamaru saying those horrible things to him, and how she ran up and hugged the heartbroken Gaara and assured him that he was loved at least by her.She thought of the times when he'd get so excited to show her his new cacti, and how he could talk to her about them for hours and she wouldn't even get bored, no matter how dry the subject was. His face lighting up was a beautiful sight.She reminisced about all the times she felt sad, anxious, unwanted by the village, or like she didn't fit in. How he would hold her and comfort her until she felt better. How warm and safe she felt in his arms…They would hang out on the estate's rooftop on date nights, where she would always tell him five different things she loved about him (at minimum). He would then do the same for her.She remembered him laughing for the first time since they were kids, and how it was her doing.They had spent so many late nights talking about the future. He had such beautiful visions for the village. He wanted to make sure that no one, especially children, would ever have to suffer like he did. He wanted to reform so many things.No matter how busy he was with Kazekage responsibilities, he would always make time for her; bringing her little gifts, leaving her sweet notes, coming over to talk or just sit and be together. He never failed to kiss her goodnight, no matter how exhausted he was.He was the kindest person with the biggest heart she'd ever known. She loved him so much.Clutching one of the pillows to her chest, she began to sob into it. She'd never be able to hold him or laugh with him again.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~The elders were all having a meeting in the council room. Gaara wasn't there, as he had literally become sick with heartbreak and was physically unable to get out of bed that day. He had been throwing up all night. The elders claimed he was just being dramatic.Baki wasn't supposed to be there, but his mission got cancelled at the last minute, so he decided to attend after all; though late. He'd fill Gaara in later, and would be sure to go check on him as soon as the meeting was over.As he approached the room from down the hall, he could hear the elders talking; thinking they were keeping their voices down when they really weren't doing a good job of it."We finally got rid of that stupid girl, so now we can move forward with our plans to find him a respectable wife," Baki heard one of them speak. He didn't enter the room or make his presence known. He hid behind the wall and listened."What about Lord Kazekage's well being?" another elder asked. This particular one was not in on their plan. Neither were several others in the group. They found the whole thing a bit appalling."He'll get over it. She's just a girl. Not that important.""I understand you did this out of concern for the village and its respectability… but did you three really threaten to kill that girl and her loved ones if she didn't leave?"Baki let out a silent gasp. He rushed down the hall as quickly and quietly as he could.Gaara! Gaaraaaaaa!~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~It had been two days. Or three. She didn't even know anymore.She had hardly gotten out of that hotel bed during that time, unsure of where she was even going to go. She supposed moving back to her home country would be the most realistic.Staring at the ceiling, she was hoping and praying that Gaara was doing okay; that he would be able to move on like the strong person she knew he was.A loud knock on her door snapped her out of her trance.She didn't want to answer it. On top of everything else, her hair was a mess and she probably smelled like a sweaty gorilla from not showering in several days. But the knocks kept coming.She reluctantly got up and answered the door, shocked to find out who it was."...Kankuro? What are you doing here?""I'm here to take you home.""Um…" she stepped out of the way, motioning him to come in."How… did you even find me?" she asked, not knowing what else to say in that moment."Had to call a lot of hotels," he said.She sat down on the bed, rubbing her tired eyes. "I'm sorry. I can't go back with you.""Relax. We know everything that happened.""Wait, what?! How?!""Baki overheard the elders talking. He told us everything."She felt some warmth in her heart after hearing that. Baki was such a good guy, always looking out for her and the sand siblings."But, what if they retaliate? It's not safe for you to be here!" she said, suddenly panicked.Kankuro laughed. "Seriously, don't worry about it. Basically, after we found out, Temari went and screamed at them for five straight hours, and then they were arrested for their little conspiracy. They won't be bothering you anymore. Also, if anyone ever tells you again that they have 'spies everywhere,' don't believe them. It's a load of crap."Harley let out a sigh of relief, but she was still conflicted."I'm glad they were caught," she began after a moment. "And I appreciate you coming all the way out here, but I still can't go back.""Why not?""I... broke his heart…""It wasn't your fault, and he knows this.""Even so… if only you saw his face when I… it was horrible.""Again, not your fault.""It's not a matter of casting blame. Something like this could happen again. I don't care what the elders think of me. But I can't go back, because Gaara is too kind and too pure to have to be with someone who could be taken away from him at any moment, and to have his heart broken over and over. I refuse to do that to him. I don't ever want his heart to break again. He doesn't deserve that.""I'm gonna be honest with you. My brother is resilient and he'll be able to move on from whatever he needs to and still be good at what he does. But even so, he's miserable without you. He loves you more than anything in the world. Do you realize that? Think of it this way: if you leave, those crusty old elders will arrange for him to marry someone of their choosing. But it'll never be fair to that person, because Gaara's heart will always belong to you. There's no changing that."Tears started spilling down her face. She sloppily wiped them away with her sleeve. She couldn't make out any words. He was such a good brother; both to Gaara and to her."Come on," Kankuro said, holding out a hand. "Let's go home."~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~Harley dropped her bags down on her apartment floor; relieved that she didn't have to abandon it after all. She showered so she wouldn't be so gross when she… visited him.His office was getting closer as she made her way down the hall. She had never felt nervous around him until now. Finally approaching, she softly knocked on the already open door."...Gaara?"His head shot up from his paperwork at the sound of her voice."...Can I come in?""Of course," he said, walking over to meet her. He invited her to sit on the couch.They were silent for a long time. How badly he wanted to wrap his arms around her; but he knew it wasn't the time for that.Harley felt the strange urge to be formal with him, even though he was her best friend."I know that 'sorry' doesn't even begin to cover it-""No, don't be sorry. There's nothing to apologize for. I'm sorry that you had to go through this…"He gently held her hand, but she cringed in guilt."I don't deserve to be with you…" she said."Why would you say that?"She finally looked him in the eyes, with tears filling up her own. "I promised I'd never hurt you."He knew that was an unrealistic promise even back when she made it, and that was okay. She was only human just like anyone else.He felt terrible that she was carrying so much guilt. He hated it."Please understand that I'm not at all angry with you. None of this was your fault. I love you, Harley, but whatever you decide to do, I just want you to be happy."He was so kind. So selfless. She gazed into his eyes for a moment, before leaning in and kissing him; making her decision clear."You know I'll always love you," she said.He smiled his sweet, warm smile that always made her heart melt. "Come here," he said, pulling her into a hug.She rested her head on his shoulder, beginning to cry. She almost felt embarrassed at how much she was crying."I'm so sorry. I'm SO sorry…""It's okay," he whispered, kissing her forehead and rubbing her back."I love you, Gar. I always will, no matter what."----------------------------------------------------------------------------A/N: Welp, there's my attempt at both fluff and angst. Seems like most of my fics lately have been dream inspired; or at least what I can remember from dreams.Again, not canon; I just remember seeing an interesting take on how the elders' approval of Gaara's s/o would be important in this way, and wanted to explore it in my own stupid, cheesy way.
Heart SnatchedA/N: This is a stand alone fic and is not canon to my other Gaara x OC stories. I'm basing it off a random dream I had about a Naruto x Sailor Moon crossover universe involving heart snatchers. It's absolutely ridiculous and nauseatingly fluffy. Enjoy.-----------------------------------------------------------------------The war was long over and times were peaceful. Konoha was hosting a cherry blossom festival on this particular spring day. Gaara was in town for a couple days on business and his girlfriend Harley was accompanying him. They decided to check out the festival while they were there.It wasn't really Gaara's thing but he wanted to show support. And, he loved watching Harley have fun. That alone brought joy to his heart.They were sitting on a bench eating some festival bentos when Naruto and Sakura approached them."Gaara, hey!" Naruto called out. "How are ya? It's been a while. Good to see ya too, Harley.""It's good to see you both," Gaara said politely. "It appears you've drawn quite a crowd today.""Cherry blossom season is a big deal over here," Sakura said."I can see the appeal," Harley said. "All this time that I've been in Japan, this is my first time seeing them in person. They're really beautiful.""If ya want, we could give you guys a tour," Naruto offered."Sure! Just one sec," Harley said, looking out behind them. "I'm gonna go grab a snow cone. Do you guys want anything?""Oh, that's nice of you, but I think we're g-" Sakura began, before Naruto cut in."Yeah! I'll take a cherry lime! Oh, and Ramune if they have it!"Sakura knocked him upside the head."Alrighty, no problem," Harley replied with a small giggle. "I'll be right back."Those two continued talking with Gaara after she left, eventually getting up and walking to the booth across from them that was selling masks and fans, per Naruto's request.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~Sitting on a rooftop overlooking the festival were two suspicious men."Ready to go?" one man asked the other."Ready when you are.""Do you think we'll find any pure heart crystals?""Who knows? But even if we don't, the crystals we get are sure to provide a good source of energy.""Of course. And with our combination, we're sure to succeed.""Remember the procedure. All you have to do is place your hand on a person for five seconds, and then their crystal will be extracted. And then, thanks to my power, the heart crystal of the person they love will also be extracted automatically, as long as they are no more than a mile apart.""Then the crystals will be drawn to you like a vacuum. As a result, the bodies of the victims will all be dragged towards you too through that energy. But they'll be unconscious, so it doesn't matter.""They'll have maybe a few hours at most left to live after the extractions. There shouldn't be any trouble.""It's foolproof. Those Sailor brats don't live anywhere near this region of the country, so there will be no one to stop us."~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~Harley was waiting in the surprisingly long line at the snow cone stand. She felt bad keeping the others waiting.Out of nowhere, she could hear some screaming and freaking out in the distance. She was caught off guard and didn't immediately realize the hand on her shoulder. After a few seconds, she turned around to face a sadistic-looking man with a star shape on his palm, and then… blacked out.Over by the mask booth where the others were, Gaara suddenly collapsed to the ground, seemingly out of nowhere."Gaara!" Naruto and Sakura cried out, as they knelt down and tried to shake him awake."Gaara? What happened? Are you okay?!" Naruto panicked.Sakura felt his pulse. "He's still breathing, but it's very faint. His heartbeat is still going, so I don't think it was anything like a heart attack… what in the world?"Just then the two looked up and saw a sparkly, shimmering crystal floating in the air."What is that thing?"Looking around, they saw several others just like it. And then the crystals all flew away in the same direction. And after a moment, Gaara's unconscious body lifted off the ground and floated that direction as well."H-hey! Where are you taking him? Come on Sakura, we have to follow!"~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~There were about a dozen unconscious people laying on the ground in front of the two men; the crystals all depositing into their bag. It was a much lower turnout than they had expected, but their powers only worked on couples who were in love, so they took what they could get.Gaara's body arrived at the scene, and ended up dropping right next to Harley's. Throughout the heart snatchers' experience, some people got knocked out completely after losing their crystals, while others were able to maintain a smidge of consciousness. It just depended on each person, they supposed.Harley was the latter. Not knowing what was going on, where she was, or anything of the sort, her eyes were open as she lay on her back, breathing heavily. She managed to turn her head to Gaara when he landed next to her."I thank you all for your heart donations," one man said sarcastically. "Sorry to dispose of you all here, but Doctor Tomoe needs these, so we'll bid you farewell now.""HEY!!!" a voice cried out. "What do you think you're doing?!"Naruto and Sakura arrived on the scene, out of breath from running."Oh? And who might you be?""I asked you a question first!" he shouted back."What are we doing? Well, to put it simply, we stole just a few heart crystals. Our boss needs them for a mission, but unfortunately the details are a secret.""What's gonna happen to all these people?""They'll die within a few hours, probably. It's a small sacrifice for an ultimate goal, you see.""Give them back!" Naruto shouted, starting to charge towards them."Wait!" Sakura interrupted. "How did you guys even do this in the first place?"Harley could hear. She was listening. But she couldn't move. Gaara's eyes had opened too and his consciousness was hanging by a thread. His vision was blurry but he could hear clearly."It's simple, really. Our boss is a scientist and gave us the power to extract heart crystals. And in our case, once we steal from someone, the person they love also gets theirs stolen. It's quite convenient; the only caveat being, the person's love for the other has to be genuine, or it doesn't work. But that's all there is to it. We've got to be going now. You two had best say your goodbyes to these people while you still can."Gaara and Harley turned their heads to each other. With seemingly blank stares and heavy breathing, they slowly reached out their hands to interlock. A year rolled down Harley's face."RASENGAN!"Naruto blasted his attack into one man's stomach."CHAAA!!"Sakura landed one of her fearsome punches into the other man's back."I-impossible! You two aren't Sailor brats! How-"The heart crystals went flying away from them. It seemed as though they knew where to go; who their humans were. They slowly floated back in the direction of the people."Sakura! Naruto!" a couple leaf chunin called from behind, running to catch up to them. "What happened here?""We'll have to explain later. But take those guys into custody! Don't let them get away!"~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~The two ninjas were sitting by their friends as the crystals went back into their hearts, not fully sure what to expect.Gaara awoke first."Gaara!" Naruto said with relief. "Look at you, getting us all worried again!""Naruto…"He looked over to his girlfriend, who was taking longer to arise. She looked lifeless. Panic rushed through him as he started to recall everything.Why wasn't she waking up? Would she be okay? Was it already too late…?She didn't even appear to be breathing. Even Sakura was having a hard time finding a pulse.This girl who was the ray of sunshine in his life every single day; the girl who cared for him since the beginning, long before he was Kazekage; his best friend in the world… was she… going to… die?But after what felt like an eternity, she slowly opened her eyes and met his. A wide smile spread across her face as she felt immediate relief knowing he was okay."Gaara…" she said almost tearfully, slowly sitting up."Harley… you're…"They pulled each other into a long, long hug. Just then Gaara started sobbing along with her, which came as a surprise even to him. He never wanted to let her go.The others were starting to stand up and regain composure. Sakura went around and tried to explain what happened, encouraging them all to seek immediate medical attention just to be sure everything was all right.Harley and Gaara eventually stood up too, which took a lot of effort, as the whole ordeal had depleted their energy as well."I'm… so glad everyone's okay…" Harley said, before immediately fainting.Gaara caught her in his arms before she could hit the ground, but was panicking once again. Sakura came rushing over."She's okay," she reassured. "Just a fainting spell. She isn't used to this kind of thing, is she? And she's never been a victim of an attack like this… it was probably overwhelming for her.""I need to get her to the hospital," Gaara said, nearly hyperventilating."Don't worry. I'll take you there myself. We can ride on Katsuyu.""Summoning jutsu!"~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~Gaara followed Sakura into a hospital room with Harley still in his arms, before gently placing her on the bed. He took a seat next to the bedside and held her hand, with no intention of leaving whatsoever."I promise she'll be okay," Sakura reminded him once more. He couldn't help it. He was shaken up. He didn't care about what had happened to him; but with her… it was a different kind of fear than he'd ever felt before."You really care for her, don't you?" she asked after a long moment of silence."She… means the world to me," he said."It's natural to worry about the ones you love. But I can assure you that after some rest, she'll be just fine. I'll make sure of it.""I appreciate it. Truly, I do. It's just… I… I almost lost her before my very eyes. I don't think I ever knew what true fear felt like until now.""There's always going to be that sort of worry in any relationship, even without big incidents like this. But, the love you feel for the other person is stronger than fear. Right? And I know that she loves you so, so much. It was proven further today when your heart crystal was stolen along with hers. It wouldn't have worked otherwise."He just sat there in silence, appearing to be deep in thought."I've got to go check on the others," she finally said. "I'll leave her to you, but come grab me or one of the nurses if anything comes up."So he sat there for what felt like forever, holding her hand and watching her sleeping breaths. She deserved better than this. This was a dangerous place in the world for people without ninja powers, but she had insisted time after time that there was nowhere else she'd rather be. As long as he was there with her.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~Sakura had come back into the room briefly to check on them and grab some supplies.Eventually, Harley's breathing rhythm changed and she slowly opened her eyes. Gaara was the first thing she saw, and she smiled."Hi, honey," she said.Filled with relief, Gaara squeezed her hand and exhaled deeply."Hi," he said with a sweet smile. "How are you feeling?""A little dizzy I guess… but other than that I think I'm okay.""Make sure you stay hydrated," Sakura said, setting a jug of water on her side table. "Lots of water and lots of rest. Understand?""Yeah. Thanks a lot, Sakura."She left the room again to give them their privacy."Come here," Harley said, motioning him towards her.He leaned in and gave her another long hug."I'm so glad you're okay," he managed."Likewise, hon. Do you… remember everything?""I do.""I'm so sorry you had to go through that with me," she began. "It's sick, what they were doing. Exploiting peoples' love like that…""I agree completely. But don't feel sorry. It wasn't at all your fault.""Well. On the bright side, at least now we know we both have hearts," she teased.She went on, making jokes and telling funny stories like she usually did. Gaara started to laugh a little; something she alone could bring out of him. But that mild laughter immediately turned into crying."Hey? What's wrong all of a sudden?" she asked, gently placing a hand on his cheek."I… couldn't protect you…" he managed through the tears."Oh, no. Please don't do this. Don't go blaming yourself… it wasn't your fault and there's no way any of us could've seen this coming.""There was no way for me to keep you safe, and I almost lost you…""Gar," she said firmly. "Do not beat yourself up. It's not your job to be my full-time bodyguard. And besides, I always feel safe when I'm with you…"He took a deep breath and regained his composure.Those two only used terms of endearment when they were alone. It felt embarrassing in front of other people. But, given that they were alone in that moment, he leaned in to kiss her cheek."I love you, sweetheart," he whispered.Little did they know, Sakura, Ino and Tenten were hiding behind the door quietly watching, acting like nosy schoolgirls. They'd let out a quiet "awww" every so often. They knew full well the kind of person Gaara was before his reformation. So seeing him love someone so deeply was just a beautiful thing to behold.-----------------------------------------------------------------------A/N: Ngl, it's been several years since I've watched Sailor Moon so I'm just going off memory.I know this was cheesy af but it's what happened in my dream lol. Kinda thought it was an interesting idea so I word-vomited what I could remember.I felt like this whole thing was too stupid to actually publish but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯