Title: Starting His Own Collection
Author: yue kato
Notes: Inspired by 30hugs - #3. snap snap!; photograph
The first time he's at Naruto's apartment, they had been a little too preoccupied for him to pay attention to his surroundings.
The second time, after Naruto reluctantly pulls himself out of their tangle of limbs to shower and get dressed ("Wish I could stay with you longer, but Tsunade-baba's assigning missions today and if I'm not there to monitor her, I'll probably end up walking some fat lady's dog"), he lies there staring up at the mildewed marks on the waterlogged ceiling, mildly amazed that nobody really cares that there could be enough wasted water to damage buildings.
Naruto emerges from the bathroom, pressing a shower-warm mouth to his before leaving ("Just make yourself at home - look around. I'll be back soon, yeah?"). He luxuriates in the fiery tingle left upon his lips, hot even for one raised in the desert, but even that fades after a while, and he makes himself get up.
The skin upon his back feels slightly tender and a twinge goes through him as he remembers he no longer has Shuuhaku's protection. He pads over to the mirror to inspect the pink scratches Naruto has left upon his skin. He's been scored, marked. Running his fingers over them, he knows they are not merely skin deep.
It's at that moment that they catch his attention.
And that's how Naruto finds him when he returns to his apartment, still cross-legged on the floor, gazing at the photographs spread in front of him.
The Sand shinobi doesn't look up, continuing to run his fingers over the pictures instead. "You have so many." His hand stops over one, slightly faded with age, where three young faces (even the dark haired one with the pale, pale face) grin at the camera, with their masked sensei behind, a knowing smirk in his eyes.
"Yeah, well, those were good times."
Naruto comes closer and settles behind his lover, arms snaking around Gaara's torso. The other youth's body is tense, the line of his back unyielding.
"Yashamaru had one too. He said it was of my mother."
Naruto wants to hold him tighter, but knows it's not the time. "What happened to it?"
"I don't know. It disappeared after I killed Yashamaru, so I guess I lost it."
Gaara lets the photo of the former Team 7 drop back on top of the pile.
They sit in the dusty silence, eyes wandering over the images.
Then in a sudden flurry of movement, Naruto stands up and drags Gaara with him to the door.
"Naruto?" There's more resignation than surprise. Gaara has learnt to deal with the blonde shinobi's sudden flights of whimsy.
"Come on, we need to borrow Lee's camera! I need more photos for my collection, and you need something in your office for when I'm not there."
He looks back at the cheeky, smiling face and thinks, yes, it's probably not a bad idea to start my own collection.