Chapter 28: Instant Romance
I do hate reading about how stories give characters amazing powers and then they're never used. Here I use Naruto and Gaara's powers a bit excessively, maybe. ^ ^ Also reintroducing characters long in sleep (otherwise known as unused). Hope you enjoy and apologies to my loyal and new readers for the wait between this chapter and the last, as always.
It happened to be a Monday.
In the back of his mind, he recalled briefly that Mondays were free ramen days at the ramen stand. But only briefly.
The two boys were on a long low valley between two hills and the sun had just begun to creep out to warm them. Naruto was cracking his back and knuckles, yawning with his mouth open wide enough to stick in both fists. His sunshine yellow locks waved only slightly with the motion of his own movement for there was no wind. Subsequently, the early hours of the morning had been rather cool but not cold in the absence of the sun.
Then again, there had been enough to do to keep both boys moving and warm, so it hadn't mattered much.
Beside him, Gaara was combing the blood and long strands of dark pink hair out of his sand, sitting indian style on the dew-laced morning grass with only a pair of knee-length shorts on. He'd long ago cleaned their blood from his pale skin and was now at the very end of removing the last of their remains from his sand.
Nothing except the bits and pieces that fell from Gaara's sand remained of the three intruders.
They'd seen to that.
Quite suddenly, Naruto and Gaara had wanted him and all the others gone.
It was a thing of curiosity, for sure, but Itachi's survival instinct had clearly said getting further away from them when they wanted to be alone was a good thing.
And ninjas were not curious.
And so the entire party left as soon as it had arrived, including Chouji, Shikamaru, Iruka, Temari, Kankuro, and himself. They traveled together as a group for a while before splitting up. The Sand duo decided to return to Suna for a while and left in the direction of the deserts. The remaining four traveled onwards to Konoha, a long and lonely trail. Once back, they'd gone their separate ways; Chouji and Shikamaru to the Academy, Iruka to his home, and Itachi to the Hatake estate. It had been a long walk and he hadn't seen head or hide of any of the others that had left the Fortress since. The night had been half-spent walking and then resting without dreams.
When dawn came, the dark-haired man rose and dressed as usual, donning a navy shirt with long sleeves and a pair of loose black pants. He was tugging on a pair of slippers when the owner of the estate popped his head in the door of the room Itachi had slept in, inquiring cheerfully if Itachi would like to join him for breakfast. The offer was accepted as the Uchiha finished slipping into the blue slippers, and the silver-haired head disappeared around the corner from whence it came.
He should have noticed it when he left the room to see the sun come over the rooftops. That the morning was particularly quiet--like the calm before the storm. He didn't know it as he walked outside to sit at the base of a tree, but he would forever rue not being more aware of his surroundings.
Itachi was sitting with his fingers laced together peacefully and his back against the bark of a tree when it happened.
He hadn't planned much for the day beyond breakfast with Kakashi, so he supposed being abducted from where he sat by an abnormally large brown dragon wasn't going to interfere with anything in particular.
It took an instant for the original genius prodigy of the Uchiha clan to adjust to the swiftly moving current of air against his face and he couldn't completely squash the violent ingrained urge to throw himself into an attack or at least some kind of defense against whatever had caught him in a strangely warm grip.
Itachi's brain instantly kicked into overdrive and analyzed the situation as rapidly as possible. He'd trained his mind uniquely for situations that had somehow caught him off guard. Very suddenly he was aware of all the differences around him. The paws that held him were quite large and thickly padded. Itachi noted with a hint of cold amusement that he could've very well been killed by being stepped on by whatever had him. They were moving quickly--him and whatever had abducted him--but he wasn't being harmed beyond being removed from an otherwise very comfortable place in the sun. Also they weren't going off at an upwards angle but instead were going straight skywards, possibly to climb back above the clouds from whence the creature had come and out of sight. Whatever had him was propelling them into the air with powerful thrusts of its long body, slithering through the sky like a snake would through grass. Its scales were a deep earthy color and Itachi could see multiple white spines protruding from the creature's back and tail. It was noteworthy that the dragon carrying him, for Itachi could conclude that it was indeed some species of dragon, had six limbs instead of the expected four. With his mind factoring all the clues together as quickly as only he could, two whole seconds passed between the time he was swept from the ground and the time the identity of the beast came to him.
The eldest Uchiha failed to keep the surprise out of his voice as he intoned the name of the beast. ".....Taro?"
As they passed into a layer of cloud far beyond natural human sight, Itachi was rewarded with a cry like thunder.
It was tinged with.... agreement? Itachi observed with amusement, chancing a glance at the clouds below and wondering if anyone in Konoha had witnessed the snatching or heard the monstrous call.
Not likely, considering HE hadn't seen or heard it coming.
As he was carried off into the sky he reconsidered, realizing that, at the least, Kakashi would know something was wrong if only because Itachi wouldn't show up later on for breakfast as he'd said he would.
It wasn't the sight of her dying on that strange pale-skinned boy's hands that wrought absolute horror on his heart but rather the last sound that escaped from her throat as her killer clenched her innards and gave a cruel, sharp twist.
Righteous rage had him dashing at an enemy that was not only superior in every way but obviously so before sense and reason in the form of his other teammate took his shoulder with a firm grip. The white-haired boy's words were raspy and his usually emotionless face was tensed in a way Zaku had never seen it before.
"Leave her, she's finished."
"What the fuck are you talking about? We can't leave her, she's our--"
A hand reached out through his chest up to the elbow and plucked Kimimaro's grip off. Zaku's eye twitched once as blood climbed up through his throat before he was plucked off the limb that had impaled him. The last thing he remembered was his name shouted into the night and then a swirl of sand.
Kimimaro watched as the sand pressed down in the same manor it had finished Tayuya. Heat had risen to his cheeks and his vision was starting to blur. "You."
Gaara watched the sand sweep back to him. It was the color of rust from having absorbed very nearly the entirety of two people's blood.
"You killed my friends."
The reply was slow, as though repeating the words was giving him trouble. "She's your..."
"She was. So was he. They..."
His hands turned palm-down. The flesh separated and slid apart so sharp bone could penetrate. The needle-like daggers that extended from his hands sliced silently through the air and came to point toward their target.
Jade-yellow eyes blinked once, interested but largely unimpressed.
"They were. My precious people... my friends." The expressionlessness cracked and Gaara recognized quiet rage. "I won't forgive you."
Gaara snorted and tilted his head. "I don't think that matters much. Those words...." he flexed his hand as his opponent rushed him, "....you'd say them again, if you could."
Several cracks resounded in the darkness but there was never a scream. Gaara was slightly impressed now. He cocked his head and caused several more cracks to echo in the vicinity, though again there was no cry of pain. He noded and took that jaw in one hand, lifting the other boy effortlessly from the heap he'd been reduced to moments ago. It's hard to stand with both your legs broken, he knows.
"You would say them again, if you could. I'm not sure I want to hear them anymore."
There was a short, sick ripping sound and the redhead gave a half-hearted kick that sent the bone-weilding boy not into but through several trees.
Gaara held the strange organ in his palm with an eerie scientific curiosity, as though he'd never seen a tongue in his life. It was still luke-warm, throbbed once, twice, and then proceeded to bleed itself out onto the pale demi-demon's palm. Its former owner panted heavily as he struggled to sit upright, a hand to his own mouth. It hardly served as a dam for the red flood behind thin lips. The red head pressed against the foreign organ with a finger, his ears twitching in amusement, prodding it and producing more red droplets. The organ finally failed to produce more blood and Gaara then looked up to the bone-weilding boy rushing for him. It was finally impressive, considering both his legs had been broken and his tongue had been ripped out, but hardly exciting.
The sand rose up and the bone-boy fell down, as all his opponents did, down into the sand, never to get up again.
Another kind of crunch resounded in the darkness.
"...and then I came along?"
"And then you came along," Gaara agreed, his gaze cast out over the expanse of the world visible from the top of the tree he lounged in, "and I was combing their filth from the sand."
Naruto scurried up the same branch, causing the limb to groan a bit under their combined weight.
"Oi," Gaara warned. The blonde made a face but descended a branch lower. The groan silenced and Naruto nodded his head side to side.
"Do you think about them?"
"Once. I squished a rather large raccoon recently and its fur and blood ruined my sand. I was combing it out and thought of them."
Naruto continued to tilt his head back and forth. Gaara had to stop himself from joining along but felt his head begin to pull in one direction of its own will.
"Cut that out."
"Heh heh heh!" The blonde stopped but proceeded to grin.
Gaara didn't really mind.
"How long do you think it'll take for them to get here?"
A hand trailed idly down his chest as he spoke. The touch was too gentle and suddenly the hand was snatched up in his own. With a tug, the red head brought the hand's owner chest to chest with him on the warm sand. No answer greeted the slightly annoyed jade pools except for that Naruto's blonde eyebrows hiked up an inch or so in surprise. He planted his free hand in the sand beside Gaara's cheek and grinned cheekily.
The hand rose up out of the sand to cares Gaara's cheek tauntingly, the boy below him turning into the touch and then soft lips dipping slightly into a pout as the smooth skin pulled away again. Then the sand caught it and held Naruto captive over him, though Naruto could've argued that Gaara was captive beneath him, they both really knew that no one was anyone's captive.
Naruto sat up straighter a bit, throwing one leg over the boy's steel-hard stomach to straddle his midsection and leered down at his partner. "Hmmm....." Gaara's grip on his hand and the sand's grip around his other tightened ever-so-slightly and the pout deepened. The blonde laughed and tilted his head, pretending to consider the proper estimate of time with which to reply. He pretended to think with a silent look of actual thoughtfulness until the sand loosened a bit; then he cocked his head the other way and simply grinned.
The red head, denied a response too long, leaned up, annoyed, to plunder Naruto's mouth, very determined to drag the answer out.
Naruto made a noise of subdued laughter before there was a tongue around his tongue, and then, it was pretty hard to make any identifiable noise other than pleased.
Eyes shut and hands moved. The sand was warm beneath them and Naruto kissed Gaara back to the ground. Their tongues danced devilishly and then the world was inverted, and it was grainy and warm against Naruto's back now. The sun joined their play as the clouds drift in and out lazily above, leaving warm kisses along both boys as it shined down evenly over everything. Knees in the sand on either side of Naruto's body, Gaara proceeded to kiss and caress the boy beneath him. There wasn't any hunger or heat behind the kisses, though, just a slight impatience. Gaara's hands moved over Naruto's skin and pressed gently into him, pushing, searching. Naruto responded accordingly, even giving a slight sigh when Gaara's hands stroked a particular way down his chest and over his shoulders and stomach. He felt himself curl up beneath Gaara, deliriously happily, withdrawing into his center best he could with his partner straddling his middle. The redhead let up, leaning back to get up and allowing the other boy to draw into himself instinctively. Once balled up, Naruto wiggled in the sand to get more comfortable. Moments later he felt the pale boy's palms on his back, moving in soothing circles and spirals down his skin. The jade-eyed boy wasn't surprised when he felt the warm cavity beneath his open palms vibrate in content.
"....maybe a few minutes," came the reply as Gaara stroked his smooth golden peach skin, warm palms never stopping even after the answer came.
"Aa." The hands slowed and began to spiral the opposite direction.
Naruto purred, and exhaled slowly.
And suddenly the ground shook because Taro was landing. Gaara gave Naruto a look.
It was not a happy look.
"Ah. A few minutes," Naruto clarified as a twitch developed at the corner of Gaara's jade-yellow eyes, "was the answer a few minutes ago, so I didn't lie. You just didn't ask the right question!"
Logic didn't stop Gaara from tackling the other boy.
Itachi watched in undisguised amusement as the two rolled on the grass, the sand following them playfully as they tumbled about, Gaara eventually ending up on top of a laughing blonde boy with bright blue and purple-hued eyes that laughed at him, too. And then the red head was half-snarling and fingers danced and Naruto howled in laughter, unable to take the tickling, calling out that it wasn't fair that Gaara got the sand to hold him down. The Uchiha thought he heard something grumpily muttered from the red head but the tickling let up even if the sand didn't. And Naruto was still laughing when Gaara leaned down to kiss him.
The large paws settled into the ground and the snout came up beside the Uchiha, and he rested an open palm on it. The scales beneath his hand quivered a moment, adjusting to the flesh, and then the entire head moved forwards, brushing against Itachi gently.
An eyebrow rose but the Uchiha, ever polite, replied anyway.
"....it's good to be here." Again.
Itachi said nothing of the sudden coming and going, knowing full well the power of the two innocently harmless looking boys before him. Despite having lived to know them the longest of perhaps anybody Uchiha Itachi wisely chose to take no chances to test the boundaries of his strange relationship to the demi-demons.
"Aaah, ah! Gaara--mmmph, Gaara, s-s-stop! 'Tachi-nii-chan's here!"
The red head let up, releasing the struggling blonde from beneath him as he regarded the Uchiha with a curiously blank stare. Itachi returned it for a moment and then turned to greet Naruto with a nod.
"Oi, oi, Itachi," Naruto said, waving him over, "C'mere."
The Uchiha did so, if only to satisfy his curiosity about why he'd been brought back, and in doing so unknowingly asked for his own undoing.
Ninjas were not curious.
"We forgot to ask you before you went, 'Tachi-nii," Naruto bubbled as Itachi finally joined the two boys.
"Ask me what, Naruto?"
Gaara and Naruto looked at each other, then gave Itachi their most serious, innocent, curious expressions.
"How do you make babies?"
The two half-demons stared at the Uchiha with expectant eyes, waiting for his reply.
Behind them Taro blinked its own very large, very round eyes as though it, too, was interested in Itachi's reply.
At first, the Uchiha wasn't certain how best to proceed. Certainly the boys had gone far enough into their exploration as to have figured out that answer themselves? What were they planning, asking him? The strange task of having to explain the process of human reproduction to Naruto and Gaara seemed so abstract that the Uchiha prodigy, flawless in all skills observational and otherwise, actually paused to take a moment and confirm what he'd heard.
"You want to make babies," Itachi monotoned.
At this, the two demi-demons cocked their heads.
Naruto made a face.
"Well of COURSE we don't want to make babies," he said, as if Itachi had suggested something gruesome beyond mortal comprehension, "They're HUMAN-things."
Gaara shook his head in agreement.
"You want to know how to make babies," Itachi corrected himself, trying and failing to wrap his mind around the idea.
Gaara's mouth twitched. ".....you know how, don't you?"
"I know how," the elder Uchiha clarified, shaking his head, "....you want to know how make babies."
There was something about this that struck Itachi oddly. He'd been abducted because the two were curious about reproduction?
"Yeah," Naruto replied, rolling onto his back and staring up at the Uchiha like a kitten waiting for a toy to be presented for his enjoyment. "Tell us how."
Itachi was silent for a moment, his mind racing to discover some hidden question within the demand, then deflated a bit as he realized the best solution to the situation.
"Look at my eyes."
The boys complied, and suddenly the world was twisted and turning and then they were tumbling into a very unique version of the infamous world of Tsukiyomi.
It was an instant romance.
He always lost himself, and at once, each and every time. There was little resistance, for who could resist the temptation?
Gaara found himself somewhat nostalgic, looking up at the skies. Itachi had answered their questions and Taro had been happy to occupy the Uchiha's time while Naruto and Gaara went their own ways to mull over what they'd been told (or rather, shown). There was something small and delicate tugging at his heart now. Memories of himself alone standing on hot sand with his neck craned and jaw slack and big eyes broad as they could go. There was something untouchable back then and it was back again. Bright jade eyes were stretched wide, hoping to take in the entire sight at once, no matter how many futile attempts in the past discouraged him. He would try and try and try again. Leaning back and breathing out, Gaara breathed in the sight of the sky.
There was something instinctively attractive about that limitless blue expanse.
An instant romance that he couldn't refuse.
"It's so blue."
The words were breathy, for the air was tight this high up in the tops of the trees, or what was left of the trees anyway.
Today the skies were clearer than any time he could recall. There was no white to lure his eyes to drift hither and thither, only blue. That strange, strong sensation pulling his eyes and his heart and his thoughts straight to the sky.
Gaara breathed in and let a small smile cross his lips, high up and lost in his own thoughts where no one could see.
Yes. This was the blue. The blue of the sky.
It was the same endless blue that had captured his heart in the eyes of a boy.
They often stood side-by-side. Naruto was just as tall as Gaara if you didn't count his blonde sea-urchin spiked locks. Standing side by side, one could tell a lot about the person next to them. Their emotions often leaked through posture, body temperature, stance, etc. For two people that had spent the majority of their lives together, Naruto's body was easily a book to the red headed boy.
The sunburst of bright yellow tilted to the side slightly as the demi-demon beneath it considered the statement.
The flat line that was forever Gaara's expression-less expression twitched.
"Now you're lying."
It didn't matter what he was saying. Naruto's body spoke volumes over what he said. Beside him, Gaara's eyes slid sideways to glance at him.
"Lying is bad for you."
"That's a lie," Naruto countered, neither agreeing or disagreeing with the statement and not meeting the sidelong gaze directed at him. "I'm not worried."
"It rots your mind."
"Not my teeth?"
"Maybe just your tongue."
Naruto made a face. "Why would lying make my tongue rot?"
"I don't know," Gaara said with a shrug, "why would you think lying would rot your teeth?"
The blonde didn't reply and shifted his weight from one side to the other. Gaara could read Naruto. The red head knew that despite all placid and calm appearances annoyance and frustration was building up in his long-time partner. He could read the aggrivation with clarity. He could tell when the boy was joking or serious despite his demeanor and could tell hostile from harmless no matter what the boy beside him would attempt to portray. By Gaara's expert calculation, he was getting close to the breaking point.
"It's nothing?" A hint of curiosity colored his question.
"It's nothing." A touch of warning backed the response.
Gaara could read Naruto. And he'd come to the zenith of the other demi-demon's very limited tolerance. Just one more push, even a gentle one, would do it. He didn't stop the twitch at his mouth that pulled suspiciously in the direction of a smirk.
"Is that another lie?"
Naruto snarled and pounced.
About an hour later, as Gaara was peeling back the skin from his forearms to better re-attach the broken bone and muscle tissues, the blonde admitted it was a lie.
The bone was seeped in dark teal chakra and re-attached with a 'click'.
With a flash of blue the skin on his other arm split open and with another wave of chakra the muscle tissue came free of the bone. A jade eye twitched once during the entire process--not at the grotesque sight of what his arm had been reduced to or the pain of having his muscles exposed to the air but at the sad puppy dog look that the person responsible for his state of ruin was donning.
"Don't be sorry," carefully, the chakra worked to repair the shredded muscle, flowing over the bright red tissues in waves of sharply contrasting aqua-blue, "you meant to fuck me up."
Naruto didn't deny that.
The muscle quivered before wrapping itself around the exposed bone again, quickly followed by a webbing of veins and finally the pale flesh layer. "I don't mind if you maul me." Teal rushed over the entire arm, energy hissing off the repaired limb, and Gaara gave it an experimental flex. "I like being mauled, on occasion." Satisfied that his fingers were responding to his mental commands again, Gaara fixed Naruto with a level look.
"But if you're going to maul me, do it properly. Without regret."
Purple eyes flickered red. "I don't like it when you say I'm lying."
Naruto rolled onto his stomach and then his back again and groaned. "Don't be so logical....!"
"Don't be so stupid?"
Azure eyes blinked several times as the palms that he'd recently very nearly ripped in half reached out to rest on either cheek.
Anything else Naruto was going to say (or whine, for that matter) was cut off my a pair of cool lips. And tongue.
Silence occupied the air as the dust, still settling, continued to drift about. For a mile around everything was either completely upturned, smashed in, scraped, severed, melted, and in some places small craters littered the demolished ground. Animals had long ago vacated the area. The only thing left in the vicinity of destruction was just that--destruction. Tree trunks thick around as a hippopotamus were snapped in half, shattered into splinters and fragments of wood, burned and still burning, uprooted, and several were marked with what would appear to be fang indents of some large canine creature. The ground and surrounding undergrowth had suffered similar similar fates. In places smoke was drifting up from where red and orange continued to eat away at wood and leaf alike. Blood was liberally splashed and dotted about the former battlefield in various locations, as was sweat. There were several structures of unnatural nature no doubt summoned by different techniques and then several smashed or exploded structures that had most likely been the result of being 'in the way' during the battle.
And in the very middle of it all despite the earthen carnage and destruction that surrounded them Naruto let out a mewl of pleasure as Gaara kissed him hungrily.
Lips pressed against lips pressed back against an invading tongue licked up the side of his cheeks flushing warm--someone's hand pressed to the ruined earth and they tumbled several times until Gaara was on his back and Naruto was kissing up his jawbone. The red head rumbled like thunder and ran a smooth palm against Naruto's inner thigh. Hyper-sensitive and flush with post-battle heat, the blonde all but purred and kissed the other boy's mouth hungrily. Long newly-healed fingers pressed and pawed at sensitive flesh.
The initial playful mewls of interest and snickering eventually dissolved into purrs of content and gentle groans, which later evolved to grunts and panting and plenty of meaningful moans, and finally degenerated back to silence and contented purring.
What was left of the forest echoed with tremors and smelt faintly of sex.
At the end of it all, Gaara rolled onto his stomach, propped his head up on one palm, and gave Naruto a questioning look.
"Do you imagine anyone will survive? That thing," he asked, "that we said we might do if we felt like it."
The blonde cocked his head in response and let the silliness of the question drag a smile out across his lips. "Of course not. It's us, remember." Then, Naruto blinked once or twice, recognized the buried proposition for what it was. He nearly sat up in excitement. "Do you feel like doing it?"
Naruto let a pleased rumble sound in his chest. Gaara, who had rolled over to lay on top of Naruto's back, shivered in response with a grin.
That it had been verbally agreed upon at last was significant. Neither moved for what must've been hours, letting the sensation of the wind across their bodies seep deep into their bones and being. It was a good night.
So I lied. This chapter wasn't the whirlwind of chaos that I predicted, but that's to come. I felt like there were things that needed to be said and written, here they are. I realize Konoha didn't make much of an appearance, but perhaps there's a reason for that? The next chapter should be what I've been waiting to do with all of this. Hopefully I'll hang on until the end. Thanks very much to everyone who's hung in there with me until even the last late late chapter.
Eh, I gotta run. Something's burning.