The story has been rated M, because I'm not sure how graphic the future content will be (detailed violence, sexual content, blah blah).
I'm trying to make this story's environment a mix of Naruto world and reality. For example, the Land of Wind doesn't actually exist, but Fuchu Prison is an actual high security correctional center in Japan. You'll see when you read.
This will be slowly developing, eventual GaaNaru/NaruGaa. If any of the content isn't your cup of tea, feel free to stop reading as soon as that conclusion hits you and save any personal opinions on matters that are purely a question of preference. Reasoned criticism on the other hand is welcomed.
A blonde man let out a lengthy breath of relief as he put aside his pen and shut down the expensive laptop on his desk. He couldn't resist the urge to give up the good posture and sink down in his chair. A small yawn escaped his lips as he rubbed his weary eyes. It had been a long day. A rough day, too. The tired, blue-eyed gaze wandered off to glance at a file on the desk in front of him.
He was a defense attorney, specialized in homicide cases. He liked his job, liked the challenge it offered him. But some days, some cases…sometimes it was hard. Sometimes it was hard to stand by a person who had no hope of winning the case, who without a doubt had committed the crime in question. But it was never too hard. That was what made him good at his job. He'd learned the talent of blocking out emotions when necessary. Even today, while working on a case that'd drained him dry. But though he had the talent of disallowing feelings from interfering, from time to time it was a struggle to keep them at bay. Today had been one of those times.
The man glanced at the file once more before standing up, grabbing the file and walking a small distance to drop it in a drawer. He couldn't help but feel a slight stab of hatred towards his most recent client. Cases of murdered children. Those were his only weakness, and today it had taken a considerable amount of strength to keep it from impacting him.
An unexpected cough from behind took him by surprise.
"Yo, Naruto. Got a minute?" a man dressed in a sharp suit asked.
Upon hearing his name, Naruto turned around to look at the man in question. He sighed and walked lazily back to his chair.
"Depends. Is it urgent or are you just tryin' to piss on my plans of goin' home?" Naruto answered, slightly annoyed.
The man walked over to his desk with a small smirk on his lips. "You know it's not like me to be troublesome, so yeah, this is urgent."
Naruto took a quick look at the man in front of him. His appearance alone was worth mentioning. Being fairly tall with well structured, sharp features and brown, shoulder-length hair tied into a neat ponytail, he carried that certain vibe of intimidating professionalism. Nara Shikamaru, brilliant human rights attorney plus a genius. He rarely made mistakes, rarely lost cases. He was like Naruto — loved his job for the challenges it offered him. They'd gone to school together, challenging each other to a silent race to be the top of their classes. He had motivated Naruto to become the man he was today. Aside from being his respected colleague, he was a close friend. Had been for several years.
Naruto lowered his gaze to the file in the other man's hand. He sighed.
"Shit, seriously? You sure this can't wait till tomorrow?" he asked with a pleading look. Shikamaru rolled his eyes.
"Sorry, this was emphasized as urgent. Someone requested specifically you and said that they need an answer by tomorrow," the man said, laying a stern look on his friend.
Naruto's tired eyes opened wider to express vague interest.
"What's the urgency?" he questioned. Shikamaru shrugged as he turned around, leaving the file on the desk.
"Dunno. Read the file and find out," he said and walked out the door.
Naruto felt like glaring at the man's turned back, but couldn't really blame Shikamaru for the bad timing. Supposing he wasn't given much of a choice, he huffed and opened the file. It was a report on a re-opening of an old case. Admittedly intrigued, Naruto went straight to the description of said case.
Defendant accused of first degree murders of seven people.
He couldn't help but release a tired groan. This wasn't going to be an easy one. With that thought stirring immediate stress, he let himself go through the details.
Murders committed in July of 2007, the suspect taken into custody two months later, sentenced to life imprisonment in November of 2007. In August of 2014, by the request of the victims' families, the prosecution filed a complaint about the sentence and is now demanding capital punishment, death by hanging. But with the case being re-opened, new evidence has come to light, favoring the defendant. This has made the defendant optimistic, who now wishes for a new layer, not being pleased with the work of the former.
Naruto frowned. The defendant obviously held hopes for being released. In fact, he was distantly aware of this particular case. It had been brought up as a fresh example of a first degree murder case in law school, he remembered, but wasn't particularly familiar with it. As the lesson had focused more on legal technicalities, he'd never seen a picture of the killer nor did he remember their name, but the short summary of the case back in school had taught him it'd been a disturbing one. He didn't know the full story, but did know whom to contact about it. That is, if he found the case interesting enough after going through the details.
Naruto fixed his attention back on the text in front of him. The vague description wasn't really enough information to go by. Hoping to learn about the details, he turned the page. Something turned in his stomach as he was introduced to the pictures of the crime scene.
Although the pictures were mere photocopies, they were very detailed. The scene was horrific. He couldn't remember seeing such vast amounts of blood in a single crime scene photo, ever. The picture had been taken of a room with once white walls. Blood had covered most of the surfaces around the room and literally pooled the floor. There were body parts and more or less intact human beings lying on the blood soaked hardwood. Some of the victims had been cut to so many pieces, there wasn't really much left from which to identify them as once having been living people. Others hadn't had anything severed, but had suffered such severe bullet wounds to the head that their faces weren't recognizable anymore. One didn't have a face at all, like it had been cut off.
Naruto felt a burning in his throat as the lunch he'd eaten attempted to escape. He took a deep breath to calm down. He wasn't sensitive to these things, but also hadn't been expecting this. The crime had been committed with such hate. The first thought that came to mind was that this crime hadn't been done for pleasure. It'd been planned, yes, and sadistically enjoyed, but didn't come off as a perverse pleasure. The hate wasn't consistent with it being a perversion. But neither was it a spontaneous crime of passion, it had been carefully designed. History certainly knew of multiple serial killers who'd fulfilled their perversions using people that their sick hate towards the world culminated in, but this attack had been much more personal, and the differences between the victims so obvious that it would've been unlikely for a serial killer to have such a wide range of preferences among victims.
Naruto took a look at the report attached to the pictures.
Weapons used in the crime have been identified as: Makita chainsaw, two kinds of army knives, AA-12 shotgun and Colt .45. Two of the victims had also suffered fatal wounds that were proven to be the result of using an axe in the attack. The axe was not found on the scene nor was it in the possession of the suspect. A partial fingerprint was discovered on the AA-12 shotgun, but the investigators failed to find any crucial DNA on the weapons, victims or crime scene in general. The partial fingerprint was proven to be a match with the suspects'.
The file included pictures of the weapons used in the attack. Apart from the AA-12 shotgun, all of them appeared to be brand new. Not a scratch on any of them, even after the blood bath. Naruto wondered if this was somehow relevant. It appeared that all other equipment had been acquired specifically for the attack. The killer might've used the shotgun for sentimental reasons. It seemed apparent that the gun held some personal value to the killer; it would've explained why he'd used a traceable weapon. The gun's traceability raised a high risk of being tracked down. On further inspection Naruto learned that the shotgun had been registered to the suspect. So why had it been left behind? Did something go wrong with their plan that made them flee before they could finish?
Naruto turned another page. There he found a picture of a man. For half a heartbeat, he felt his breath hitch. A man with a ghostly pale face and piercing blue eyes stared at him from the picture. His eyes came across so void that Naruto questioned if it were a picture of a living man at all. His doubt faded as he realized that this was the suspect's mug shot. The hair on the back of his neck stood up as he continued to gaze at the photo. Somehow it was difficult not to. The man's face lacked all expression aside from what seemed to be an almost unnoticeable smirk. It made the man's already deviant look downright eerie.
That wasn't the only unusual aspect about his features. He was pale as snow, had blood red hair and a tattoo on his forehead. Or was it a scar? A kanji for 'love'. Naruto didn't know how to feel about the irony of it. It took him a while to discover that this man had no eyebrows. That particular feature made his piercing blue eyes stand out even stronger, a dark shade around them emphasizing the cold stare. Still, somehow, this man was…handsome, he supposed. Though he wasn't charismatic in the conventional sense, he had a face many would've either envied, or fallen for. Strong jawline, sharp cheekbones and overall harmonious proportions. Naruto knew it wasn't unusual for people with violent tendencies to be attractive. It seemed that good looks often came with the lack of something else. In this case, it seemed to be a sound mind. Such a shame it was for all the women in the world, to have good looks wasted on men like him.
As always, Naruto wanted to forbore making any final conclusions about the man just yet, as he'd only gone through a fraction of the data. He turned another page and came upon a name; Sabaku Gaara. Faint recognition piqued his interest.
"Gaara, huh?" Naruto voiced.
Not getting hung up on it, he eyed the rest of the information.
Name: Sabaku Gaara
Born: January 19, 1986
The early childhood of the defendant, according to himself, was a conventional one. The effort to gather details proving the claim true was a failure due to the defendant resisting cooperation on the subject. From official records it has been successfully tracked down that Sabaku was born and raised in Suna, Land of Wind. The mother of Sabaku passed away in 1986, due to complications that occurred after giving birth to the defendant. Sabaku was born prematurely, but wasn't proven to have suffered any mental or physical damage.
Sabaku is the youngest of three children.
Official records were able to track down the life of Sabaku up until January 2001. Thereafter no official track record of the man's actions existed until the arrest of 2007. The defendant has refused to discuss the issue of lost records multiple times. No attempt on recovering the records has been successful.
The health of the defendant was thoroughly inspected after the arrest. No clear indicators of physical diseases or other medical issues could be found. However, severe psychological anomalies were present — strong signs of antisocial behavior were declared, and through long-term monitoring while incarcerated, the defendant was given a diagnosis of Brief Psychotic Disorder. The episodes associated were infrequent, never violent nor obtrusive, thus nonsupporting of the disorder's potential involvement in committing the crime. After careful consideration, the defendant's psychological deviance was deemed insufficient for a waiver of liability.
A verdict of compos mentis was made, the defendant thus remaining to be seen as one of a sound mind.
Insufficient for a waiver of liability? Unlike Sabaku's looks seemed to indicate, the man wasn't incapable of rational thought. But he did have secrets, it seemed.
Naruto yawned and checked his watch. He was surprised to find out it was nearing 11 p.m. He'd been prepared to leave around nine, but it seemed like the case file had unexpectedly swallowed two hours of his time. He finally closed the file and took out his phone to dial a familiar number. After two rings, there was an answer.
"'Sup moron?" a deep voice asked. Naruto smirked and rolled his eyes.
"Pleasant. Drag your ass to The Place. I'll see you in ten."
With that, Naruto hung up, not giving the other one a chance to decline. He packed away the case file along with his other belongings and after putting the lights out, closed the office door behind him.
Exactly ten minutes later Naruto found himself in front of a bar. The Place, it was called, one of his favorites. It was a relaxing, yet classy place. He made his way inside, immediately catching a familiar figure on the left.
"Yo, bastard!" Naruto hollered and made his way towards the dark haired man sitting by the counter.
The man was Uchiha Sasuke, Naruto's closest friend since childhood. Appearance wise, they were like day and night. While Naruto was blonde, tan and blue-eyed, Sasuke's complexion was as pale as the moon, eyes dark as the night and hair blacker than the feathers of a raven. Despite the grim image such a description might've given, there was absolutely nothing disappointing about the way nature had blessed him. He truly was the ultimate pretty boy, as Naruto often referred to him, knowing it stirred annoyance.
"That was uncalled for", Sasuke grunted, bumping fists with the blonde. A childish habit they'd never grown out of.
"You called me a moron. That makes it entirely called for", Naruto huffed and took a seat next to his friend.
"Your logic is full of shit", the man said, taking a sip from his drink. Naruto chuckled.
"No, you are. But that aside, what's up?" he asked, while signing to the bartender for a beer. Sasuke shrugged.
"Not much. You?"
"Dead tired and pilin' up with work", the blonde told, ruffling through his black briefcase.
From there he took out the case file he'd stuffed in and slid it over to the man beside him.
"I need you to take a look at it", Naruto said, taking a sip from his newly arrived drink.
Sasuke glanced at the blonde, looking skeptic, before opening the file. Mild surprise was seen on his face when he discovered the content.
"Re-opened?" was his simple question.
"Yeah. The prosecution decided to file for a capital sentence instead. Consequently new evidence came up, now favorin' the guy in prison", Naruto filled in the info.
His friend silently read through the text. The man looked as intrigued as he did disappointed. The latter Naruto dismissed, focusing on the fascination.
"You worked on this case, didn't you?"
"Yeah, I'd just started. I was there, on the scene that day", Sasuke told.
Sasuke was a couple of years older than Naruto. The man had gotten a head start in the business of law and crime solving while Naruto had still been studying. Sasuke was a crime scene investigator. Initially he'd aimed to become an officer, but had then decided he wanted to challenge his mind instead of his body and went on to study criminology. The case he was reading through had been one of his firsts as an investigator.
"So, what you think?" Naruto asked after a while. Sasuke gave him a somewhat judgmental glare.
"You know I can't give you details without it goin' through the prosecution as well", he said with a stern voice.
"Thought you might say that", Naruto told. "I don't really need any details yet, I just wanna know 'bout the case in general. From someone who was involved."
Sasuke sighed. He didn't know why he bothered resisting, when it was easier to just let the blonde have his way. Thus he decided to skip the arguing and gave in to the other's request.
"It's been a while since the case, but…I still think 'bout it sometimes. It was a strange one. The scene was gruesome, but I guess you figured that out from the pictures. I haven't seen a scene like that after it, ever. The amount of blood and body parts was unbelievable. No matter how hard you tried, you ended up stepping in pools of blood and god knows what else…"
The man's speech trailed off, as if overtaken by wonderment. A short pause later, Sasuke frowned.
"There's a few pictures missin' from the file", he claimed, sounding certain. "Weapons. There were more."
Naruto mimicked the other's frown. "More weapons? The file only mentioned four. And an axe, which was never found."
Sasuke shrugged. "I'm sure it's marked somewhere in the report. Aside from the five weapons you mentioned, none were used in the murders. But they were all brand new too, so it was concluded that the killer brought them as well."
"You sure they were the killer's? Maybe the weapons belonged to the victims?" Naruto suggested.
"Nah, the massacre took place in an office building famous for its luxurious meeting rooms. I doubt they had any use for chainsaws there."
Naruto fell into silent thought. Several unused weapons? Why carry extra weight for nothing? He wondered what the report had to say about it. Somehow the crime seemed sloppy, yet highly intellectual. It took skill and brains to get away without leaving DNA and fingerprints all over the scene, especially with the murders being so messy. The partial fingerprint seemed to be the only mistake the suspect had made. As far as he knew, anyway. There was still a ton to read through.
"You're a defense attorney. That means they want you to take over the defense. You ain't seriously thinkin' 'bout it, are you?" Sasuke asked, laying an intense stare on his friend.
"Dunno yet," Naruto said and sipped from his drink. The other man sighed.
"God, Uzumaki, this is a hopeless case. You won't win in a million years. Have you even read the file?"
Naruto made a face. "Not really, no."
"Fuckin' figures. If you've just gone over the vague description, you don't know shit. The reason this guy went to prison ain't just a partial fingerprint on the gun, but a fucking survivor of this massacre", Sasuke explained. Naruto chocked on his drink just a little bit.
"A survivor? What the hell, why ain't that the first thing in the file?" he asked, coughing beer out of his lungs.
"It is, right there, dumbass", his friend grunted, pointing at a paper on the counter. Seemed like it really was, on a sheet of paper Naruto had skillfully skipped.
"Fuck, how did a miss an entire piece of paper?" Naruto mumbled, running his fingers through his hair. "These rough days take a toll on me."
"Not just a paper, but the first page of the entire goddamn file", Sasuke sighed. "Anyway, what's this new evidence?"
"No clue yet. I wanted to learn 'bout the original case first", Naruto explained. Sasuke tilted his head.
"Well, unless the evidence is absolutely fucking groundbreakin', that guy ain't gon' stand a chance in court", the older man said, pointing at the picture of Sabaku.
Naruto took moment to think about it. He didn't really know about the case enough to say if accepting the job was a good idea or not. But somehow he'd grown interested. He made up his mind about something crucial.
"I'm gonna go meet the guy", Naruto declared.
Sasuke raised an eyebrow. "Sabaku?"
"Yeah. Do you know who made his profile?" the blonde wanted to know.
"Yeah, but I'm sure the profile is attached to the file", Sasuke pointed out.
"Sure, but I wanna talk to the guy who made it. Ask his personal view on this dude, not academic", Naruto explained, waiting for a name.
Sasuke pondered if it was really necessary to tell the blonde, but then again, it wasn't his time wasted.
"Hatake Kakashi, a criminal profiler. Works in the same building as me."
"Is he good at this shit?" Naruto wanted to know. The other one chuckled.
"Shake his hand and he'll know how many times a week you play with yourself", Sasuke said, earning a laugh.
"I'll take that as a yes", the blonde chuckled, while reaching into his pocket. "Hold on a minute, I gotta make a call."
He then took out his phone and dialed a number. After a while, a soft female voice, belonging to his secretary, answered.
"Hey, Hinata. I'm sorry to disturb you this late, but I need you to make a couple of calls first thing in the morning, okay?" Naruto requested.
"Uhm, sure...Is it urgent?" the woman questioned.
"Yeah. I need you to contact a man named Hatake Kakashi in the police department. He's a criminal profiler. Try to arrange a meeting with him 'round noon. I also need you to contact Fuchu Prison and ask them to schedule me a meeting with a potential client, Sabaku Gaara. As soon as possible, please."
"...Hatake Kakashi by noon, Fuchu Prison, Sabaku Gaara, urgent...I hope you realize it might take a day or two to get you into Fuchu Prison. It's maximum security", Hinata told him while writing down the information.
"The guy in charge is familiar with me. That should help", Naruto supposed.
"Okay. Will do, good night."
Naruto put away the phone and turned to face Sasuke. "I'm interested in this one, y'know?"
"Tsk, you've always been after the impossible haven't you...Well, can't blame you really. I was there. In court the day he was sentenced. Gotta admit, even in the deep shit he was in, he still seemed to be in charge of the situation. You can't buy charisma like that", Sasuke smirked and downed the rest of his drink.
He then pulled himself up from his seat and put on his coat.
"I'm gonna go home and sleep away this exhaustion. Call me when you get back from Fuchu?" Sasuke asked, buttoning up his black coat.
"Sure. Sleep tight, fucker", Naruto grinned and bumped his fist against the other's again.
With that, Sasuke walked out of the bar and left Naruto to finish his beer, whose thoughts still very much revolved around the case.
Strangely, he was kind of excited.
The wind around there, it had a scent to it. A faint scent of iron and raw flesh, despicable and vile. Like the smell of blood, only lacking the sweetness. It reached towards disgusting, yet wasn't sharp enough to produce a gag. It fell short of causing nausea, but easily disturbed the otherwise still air. If madness had had a smell to it, it would've been that exactly. Subtle enough to seem harmless, yet too eerie to perfectly hide the danger in the mix.
Whether a figment of imagination or not, it was real to everyone there.
A young man closed his eyes and took a deep breath. The cold air filled his lungs, creating the illusion of space and freedom. As an illusion, it worked astonishingly well. But he knew better. Opening his eyes he let the air slip from between his lips, while his dead gaze glanced around.
This place knew no freedom. This ground knew no peace. These walls knew no happiness. This place was the definition of sad. Not sadness. Just plain, pitiful sad.
Glancing around the yard, he couldn't stop his eyes from narrowing in disgust. The people around him were just as sinful and soaked in blood as the walls surrounding him. The visible red of blood had been washed away, but that didn't mean it wasn't visible to him. Just like the walls caging him would never seize to absorb the evil within them, the men inside would never be able to wipe away the scenes of death from their eyes. No matter how careful they were, no matter how well they played out their act, the eyes would always give it away.
Madness was never something for mankind to control, but the other way around. Hence the imprint it marked its victims with.
He knew, because he possessed those very same eyes. He had the eyes, but he wasn't insane. No, he couldn't be, a madman wouldn't have been aware of the cold gleam behind his gaze, giving it all away. He had the eyes, but wasn't mad. He was unsure of what it meant. Was he on his way to madness? Or did he live in senseless denial and delusion, convincing himself he was immune to weakness such as lunacy? He didn't know, nor would he care until it became a problem.
The man let out a grunt, one leaving behind a bitter aftertaste, and turned his gaze towards an opening in the wall beside him. It was blocked by thick iron bars, chain link fence and barbwire, but did let through the view behind the concrete walls. The sight was barely worth mentioning — a dry field, trees preparing for the winter and a tightly shut gate. He walked closer to the opening, to better see the world he'd begun to forget. Slowly he reached out a hand to feel one of the thick iron bars separating him and freedom. It was cold to the touch. Something familiar gently hit his face.
Wind. Wind from the other side. The feel of it made him shudder. It smelled so different, so…pure.
It smelled like a beautiful lie.