Dear Uzamaki Naruto,
I know who the person you like is.
I know someone that really, really likes you.
I know that they're not the same person.
And I know that both of them are very close to you.
Happy love-making, Anonymous
Breaking the Music
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, but I do own this story: so you steal, I kill
Being in love with your best friend stinks.
Being in love with your best friend who is in love with your other best friend stinks even more.
And having your third and last best friend laugh at us all behind our back really makes my day.
I'm sitting here in the middle of my best friend's room (the one who I have a crush on), large, black, padded headphones snug around my ears playing my favorite band while attempting to catch onto my friends' conversation.
"…so I stood up there in front of the whole class and shouted out that Maito-san was a total loser—this was before he came in—and guess what—"
"He came in at that exact moment?"
"—he came in at that exa—hey!"
"You're so predictable, Naruto."
"Shut up, Sasuke-teme!"
I roll my eyes, casually flicking the volume on my CD-player louder as I blankly watch the two squabble. Neji, who's dozing besides me sipping a flat coke (Naruto, apparently, doesn't drink soda much and the cans in his living room were from last year), rolls his eyes and sighs, pulling out a well-worn, small brown leather notebook that actually contained some of the most famous stories every known (according to him by the way).
Naruto and Sasuke's fight goes a little like this—
"Just piss off! You always think you're so damn smart but in the end you're just a freakin' retard!"
"Who are you calling a retard, you dumbass? Who can't even score a 'B' in art? Who's failing four subjects out of seven? Who doesn't even know the Pythagorean Theorem even though he's a junior?"
Naruto scoffed at the Pythagorean Theorem comment. "I do too! It's… it's… er… wait…" He slowly counted his fingers as everyone else and I sweat drop, "…oh I remember! It's that thing where it says that all numbers are even right?"
Neji deadpans, then gets up and continues his book.
Sasuke pressed his fingers against his temple and sighed. "Naruto… you're impossible…" The ecstatic blonde looked blank, as if calculating what he did wrong. Turning to me, he leans over and whispers in my ear, "What's the Pythagorean Theorem?"
I whisper back, almost giggling since his breath tickled my ear and felt nice, "It's for triangles—it says that the square of the base of the triangle and the square of the its side sums up to be the same as the square of the hypotenuse."
Naruto seems to look blanker.
He pulls back and looks at me for a second.
He opens his mouth, about to say something, then shuts it.
Sasuke's obviously getting pretty ticked off about it, and whams the youth hard on the head with a feather-pillow.
"Baka, what do you want to say?"
Naruto, rubbing his head, scowled "I just wanted to say—when'd you get so smart, Gaara?"
I raise my brow a little (due to my lack of eyebrows—an incident having to do with my older brother, Kankuro, his razor, and my sister's tampons…) and purse my lips, "Oy, what'd you mean by that?" It was supposed to be a joke, but the way it came out it sounded extremely serious.
I hate it when I say something like that by accident.
Thankfully, Neji chose this time to close his book and look out Naruto's bedroom window, "Hey, it's about time we get started, right?" We all turn towards the window, and Naruto breaks out in a grin.
Casually swinging his arms around my shoulder, he shouts, extremely loud, "That's right! Starting now!"
I grin along too, not because my crush has an arm around me, but because Naruto's laughter is extremely and highly contagious and can make anyone laugh (me). "Downstairs?"
The blonde beams.
I remember when I first moved to Konoha.
I was around twelve at that time, a first year in junior high, transferring to a town I didn't know and didn't care about. It was pretty bad, too, since I didn't have my older siblings there to protect me, unlike in Suna where the teachers allowed them to trail me wherever I went. Temari wasn't even in Junior high—she was just starting high school at that time so I didn't see her at all except at home, and Kankuro and I didn't get along as well. Temari said it was our male pride. I say it's because Kankuro's obsessed.
Don't even ask me what he's obsessed about—he's just… obsessed. About anything: dolls, puppets, TV, computer, Temari's tampons… yeah. He had to be obsessed with something, or he'd probably cease to function and (hopefully) die.
Anyways, it was pretty horrible in Junior High since the bullies there had immediately targeted the 'new boy' as a victim and started to tease me. You know, scratch 'fag' and 'gay-wad' on my locker, lock the doors whenever I need to use the restroom, tripping me in class, blaming me for things I didn't do—the usual. It got really horrible sometimes—once, they actually tried to rape me (they were third years, and I was still in first) until Kankuro came in and actually ripped each of them apart (sent them to the hospital, all three of them, with two broken noses, one broken arm and two sprained ones, a deep knife wound in the thigh, all sprained ankles, and bruises everywhere).
It was the only time I felt genuinely grateful that I had an older brother.
Part of reason bullies target me was that I was an automatic 'loner', which was probably due to my silent personality. I didn't like to talk, and if I did, people thought I was creepy. I had no eyebrows (the eyebrow incident happened when I was in fourth grade) I had red, flaming hair, which was and still is (embarrassingly) as bright as a beacon, and a 'love' tattoo sketched over my left eye. I liked to talk about blood and violence a lot, too, and that made people stay away from me more often.
I was actually pretty dangerous if I had to be.
I admit, I've killed someone before.
… Ok. Multiple someones.
Just that, before we finally arrived at our new house in Konoha, Temari had turned around and looked me straight in the eyes and said, lowly, "No more killings, Gaara."
And, knowing that Temari could do worse to me then just shave my eyebrows off, I promised myself I'd be a good boy this year.
Or as good as I could get.
Which was not good when a boy whom I could easily break his neck is stuffing my head into the toilet trying to get me to kiss a piece of poop. "Come on," he sneered, "Eat my shit." Of course, this got me pretty pissed off, and I would've really broken his neck and killed (yet another) student until someone (amazingly) stepped up for me.
"Hey, leave him alone, you asshole."
The boy who had me by the neck yelped as a tall, handsome boy grabbed him around the waist and roughly flung him across the bathroom like a rag toy. He hit the counter hard and immediately started to scream as blood trickled down from a crack in the back of his head. I sneered as I lifted myself from the toilet (he was inches away from actually plunging my head into his unfinished business) and looked at my savior.
He was pretty tall, with pale porcelain-like skin contrasted by dark ebony hair which was tied back with a dark blue headband. Except for the headband, he was pretty cool-looking, and it only took me a split-second before I figured out his name—Uchiha Sasuke, loner, emo kid, probably one of the most popular guys in school. I squinted. The headband made him look like a dork.
He was glaring at me.
"What the frick' were you doing letting him do something to you like that?" He reached to grab me, and I was just about to dodge, when a blonde blur came about and crashed into the porcelain-boy, who grunted at the impact.
The dark-haired boy winced. "…Naruto…"
The blonde grinned at the mess of black hair on the tile, then frowned when he caught sight of my bully, still screaming, blood pooling down by his ankles. "Oh, gross. Sasuke, what'd you do?" His crystalline eyes scanned the bathroom, taking note of the poop-filled toilet, me, with my brow covering most of my eyes in a glare, and the bully, who had thankfully just fainted. He drummed his fingers against his chin and pursed his lips. "Hm… this will be kind of hard to talk about to Aunty about… damn, Sasuke I think you've crossed the line here."
Sasuke, who had pulled himself up from the floor, hissed at a newly purpling bruise on his wrist and pointed at me, "hey I was just trying to save his ass."
My scowl darkened. "I could save my own ass, thank you."
Naruto's eyebrows shot up into his hairline and he gasped, "The New Kid Speaks!"
I hate these kind of people. A little spoiled, can't think straight, happy-go-lucky. Ugh. Totally not my day.
He was staring at me.
His head cocked to the side, his mess of blonde hair fell a little into his face as he examined me up and down, starting with my psychotic red hair, my love tattoo, my piercing green-blue eyes, pale, almost white vampire-like skin, my black sweater and clingy red t-shirt, dark cargo pants and bare feet. My brow raised a little.
What was he doing? Checking me out?
His face broke out into a wide smile, and immediately I felt uneasy.
"Sasuke!" Naruto announced, quite excitedly, "He looks nice! Let's make him our friend!" I blink slowly, then reel back in shock. Nice? No one's called me nice before in my life. Was this guy crazy?
Sasuke narrowed his eyes at the sight at me, and I knew he thought I was trouble, but he shrugged, "Ok, whatever." Naruto clapped his hands.
"Yay! Hey you're name is Gaara, right? The new kid?" Grabbing me by the hand he pulled me up and smiled, "I'm Naruto! Uzamaki Naruto! Let's be best friends!"
And that was how I met him for the first time.
(My bully was still bleeding on the floor, and was found two hours later almost dead. Oh well, he deserved it)
Naruto's basement is huge.
His Aunt and Uncle are actually the head of the educational department in this district, chairman and president of Make-Out Paradise Enterprises and heirs to the Konoha Fortune. Which makes them, all in all, super, filthy rich. So rich, in fact, that his Aunt could afford to down four bottles of the most expensive wine in the whole county and not even make a dent in their financial status.
So rich that they were actually excited about buying Naruto a whole band-set with the highest quality technology in each and every instrument (a keyboard, a stereo system, one of those DJ things, a bass, an acoustic guitar and an electric one and a bunch of other sound systems that Naruto hasn't even touched) and even some stands and a microphone set.
So rich, that, they could afford to transform the once cobweb-infested basement into a band studio for their nephew.
Of course, all this was done with little persuasion from the said teenager.
"Sometimes they treat me like kids, sometimes they treat me like an adult," He mutters as we head downstairs into the studio, "Tell me I have to take responsibility but buys me anything I even take the slightest interest in…"
Neji and Sasuke exchange knowing glances, both coming from extremely wealthy families as well, at Naruto's dilemma. I, a born street punk living in the run-down downtown portion of the district, shrug uncomfortably.
After we finally reach the bottom steps, I fling my backpack down besides the miniature stage and immediately grab Kiss Oil. He's kind of dirty, and I quickly wipe away some of the dust off with my sweatshirt, smiling a little as the slick red paint shows up brightly after cleaning him off a little.
"Come off it, Gaara, it's just a frickin' guitar, don't baby it." Sasuke plopped himself down at his seat behind the drum set, and picked up his brushes, "You act like it's going to die on you one day or something—don't worry too much, it's gonna last."
I glare at the Uchiha behind my guitar, wrapping myself protectively over him. Hey, it was mine. Really it was.
Before, I had borrowed Naruto's electric-blue guitar, the real high quality one his Aunt and Uncle had bought him. One day, I'd accidentally plucked a string too hard and the damn thing just came off with a 'twing' and scared the heck out of me. As I mentioned before, I come from a poor family and couldn't possibly pay for a new guitar-- but then his Aunt just waved it off and told me to just go and replace the string for free at the guitar shop they'd bought it at.
Surprised that the shop wasn't that far away from my house, I'd planned to go there during Saturday to replace the string. Of course, that was before I heard Temari's wonderful and enthusiastic declaration of going-on-vacation. She had graduated high school two years ago, Kankuro, one, so both of them had enough spare time to go on a mild-expense tour to some place called 'Tokyo' or something, and had expected me to come with them.
"Come on, Otouto!" Temari pleaded, trying to dislodge me from the banister, "It'll be fun!"
"I'm not going to a frickin' city in a frickin' country that speaks a different frickin' language!" Of course, I didn't really use the words 'frickin' but Temari told me (no, ordered me) to be child appropriate, so I've adjusted my sentences to fit the ears of minors. Or course, I'm a minor myself, but still.
"Gaa-ra!" Temari shrieked exasperatedly, pronouncing my name like it was two different words, "Ok, young man, I don't care if you're a legally pronounced serial killer or not you are my brother and you are going on this trip!" And, with a very rare burst of enormous power, she finally pried my hands and feet off and literally stuffed me into the trunk of our car.
Ok, it's not as bad as it sounds—we have a really huge trunk, since we own a Chevy. I glare at the pedestrians as Kankuro starts the car and drives down the street, to this so called 'Tokyo' place. I could hear them bickering as Temari tries to do some back seat driving and Kankuro starts getting annoyed.
"No, no, no, the quickest way to Interstate 31 is down Norway Lane—"
"Ne-chan," Kankuro said between clenched teeth, "I know exactly what I'm doing so just shut up ok?"
Of course this led to some weird scuffle where Temari tried to take control of the wheel from the passenger seat, Kankuro was leaning over to avoid getting hit by our sister and I was receiving several bruises as the car started to swerve in the road. Finally Kankuro gave a cry of frustration, pulled over and stopped the car. He turned to Temari with a dark scowl.
"What the heck is your problem?"
"What's your problem?" She screamed back, "I told you if you took that street on Norway Lane we wouldn't be stuck here lost in the middle of nowhere!"
"We are not the in middle of nowhere," He roared, "I know where I'm going!"
"Yeah?" She shouted, "Prove it!"
Of course, there's me in the trunk, contemplating whether or not this was a good time to jump out of the car and run back home, trashing the idea of this trip altogether. Of course, this was a pretty silly idea considering I was at least fourteen miles away from home and I didn't have the spare key.
After Kankuro and Temari resolved their conflict (something my counselor would probably say) we were off.
I dozed a bit in the back, dreaming of Temari chasing after me with a razor, Naruto's Aunt screaming at me trying to hit me with the broken guitar, Naruto and Sasuke making out—ok, ew, why I was I dreaming that?
I was finally startled awake when Kankuro braked the Chevy with a loud screech, stopping in front of a rather cheap-looking hotel with some sadly artificial red curtains draped across the entrance.
"Home," He announced, "For five days."
I groan—the worst five days of my life.
Of course it wasn't really all that bad. Since it wasn't as bad as I thought (the place we went was actually a town called Little Tokyo, not the actual place) I started to relax after the first day. Temari dragged me to those little one-room shops where they sold cute little dolls and toys and stuff and forced me to choose which one was better—this doll of Yuki from Fruits Basket or this little keychain of these two boys making out.
Why girls are so obsessed with gay people? Beyond me.
Then Kankuro decided to take me to the ocean (gasp! My lazy-ass brother actually doing something with his time?) and he actually got me to strip down to nothing but my shorts and my collared jacket, running around in the sand. For some reason, I felt like a little kid when I excitedly brought my older siblings some shells I'd found by the water, one that was spiraled brown and speckled black, another which was like a circle with rings, a bright orange.
"If you put them against your ear," I quoted Naruto, who constantly told me about the ocean, "You can hear the ocean."
Temari smiled behind her hand.
As soon as we came, it was over—it was our last day in Little Tokyo and then we needed to head back (due to my school—Temari had made up the excuse that I had caught a severe case of influenza and it would've been weird if I'd stayed out a little longer). Temari, as she was packing our stuff back into our trunks, grinned at me.
"Hey, want to go 'round the shops again one last time?"
Of course, we sneaked out while Kankuro was out putting stuff away in the trunk and ran giddily up against the aisles of shops by the hotel we were living in. I was, like the past four days, eying the merchandise in the windows, with Temari drifting alongside me. We passed more anime shops, cafes, ice cream stalls, clothing stores, and, finally, my favorite—the music room.
It was a pretty small business, only about half the size of my room, with instruments crammed into every imaginable area there was inside the store besides the little narrow black carpet that lead the entrance of the store to the counter and to the backdoor. Temari, who wasn't that much of a music fan, rolled her eyes as I glued by eyes to the display and refused to move.
I admit it.
I'm a total music geek.
And I just had to get that guitar.
It was a sleek, red thing, arched and curved perfectly, glinting in the sunlight. Mighty strings clung from the arm to the body, and, from the look of that amplifier sitting to the right of it, it was an electric.
I puppy-eyed my sister. "Te-ma-ri!"
"Gaara! You're always so normally quiet and uncaring: why the heck are you obsessing over a stupid guitar?"
I just made my green eyes larger. "Please? All last summer I helped you at that weird café place you were waitressing at and you never gave me anything but maybe a smile. You know I really like music, and I really like electric guitars, and I really, really, want one…"
I have to admit, this was totally not like me at all. I was not a drop-down-on-knees-and-beg person. Really, I wasn't, but for this guitar, I would do anything.
Temari, who took one look at my determined, puppy-eyes face sighed and got out her wallet. "Ok, ok, but you better get a 'Little Tokyo' sticker and stick it somewhere on that thing so when people ask you can just say it was a souvenir." I sort-of smiled and moved to sort-of hug her.
All I can do was sort-of do stuff.
"Thanks, Ne-chan." I said, and Temari stared at me like I had just grown two heads.
"…you haven't called me that for ten years. Wow…"
Anyways, I got my guitar, Kankuro got pissed off at us ditching him, we went home, end of story right?
"Wha--?! You haven't replaced the strings yet?" Naruto freaked out, "Man, Aunt Tsunade's going to get sooooo pissed!"
I'm tuning my guitar now, Sasuke's playing a weird improv beat on his drum set, Naruto's attempting to sing his messed-up lyrics, and Neji's strumming his bass. Naruto actually plays a mean acoustic guitar, but goofs off so much it isn't that obvious at first glance.
"And those who dance, sing under the stars—" Naruto was attempting to reach a high tenor and made himself sound squeaky instead, like he'd swallowed a bubble of helium or something. Sasuke, who was only right behind him, leans over the drum set and grabs the back of Naruto's neck, making the blonde choke on his squeak.
"Sasuke!" He shrieks, like a mouse, as the brunette digs his fingers into the fine pressure points in the others neck. "Stop it!" Sasuke just smirks as Naruto aimlessly struggles to get out of the Uchiha's grip while Neji and I were laughing our asses off.
"Ooh! You're getting it!" Naruto finally manages to pry Sasuke's eager fingers away and tackles him off the stage good-naturedly. Neji, who had almost immediately recovered after his bout of laughter, sighs and continued to strum his bass.
His bangs are clipped back behind his ear with an almost transparent black bobby pin, hair parted from the side, above his right eye. His pale eyes focuses intently on his left hand, which was strumming the bass, while his right hand fiddles with his small charm necklace that hung high on his slender, pale neck. Of course, that means he wasn't actually playing any notes, he's just fooling around.
Neji, fooling around?
We were all dressed in the same clothes, our band clothes-- dark and soft black pants that covered our feet completely, making us instinctively shuffle a little on the cool wooden stage floor as we got up and down to adjust the microphone and stereo settings and other things. A different color t-shirt for each of us—all splayed with a violent design of a heart, a chain ruthlessly cutting through the middle, the side, the diagonal, in white. In the background there were multiple chains everywhere, and, in the way far back directly behind the heart was a pair of hands silently making the sign for 'name'.
All thanks to our resident artist, Hyuuga Neji.
My shirt, which was a dark maroon-red, was crinkled up and sort of dirty, due to the washing machine breaking down twice this week because of Kankuro constantly banging it with a chair trying to open the door (he was pushing it in when he should have pulled. It even has a sign that said 'pull'. How stupid could he be?)
"Ok," Naruto announces, triumphantly holding a microphone to his mouth, "Ready! Let's start practicing, shall we?" We got into position and sang.
Ok, so we sort of sang.
I know that we're a decent band at our finest, with Naruto and I as tenors and Neji as bass (Sasuke would just get drowned out by his drums). However, I will note, our finest. Which meant some of our early band rehearsals, like this one, stink.
Naruto kept tripping over our lines, losing beat, and then stops the whole production and shouts at Sasuke for missing the beat.
"I am not missing the beat," Sasuke roars at him, "You're the one who frickin' messed up in the first place!"
"I just stuttered a little," Naruto growls back, "I couldn't have possibly been off the beat by that much!" Neji, who was chewing gum, offers me a stick. Neji's the only person I know who can be chewing gum and talk at the same time without someone noticing.
After accepting the piece of gum, and waiting it out for the two other members of our team to stop bickering, we'd practice the song over. And over. And over. And over, again.
After a while, it was just like, the entire band knew the song by heart, even if Naruto kept stumbling over lines.
"There's a dream, there's a r-rush,
For your darkness, there's a touch,
Of mighty fine, silver duster powder—"
Neji growls as he continues to strum his bass, "Dust, not duster, you stupid…"
Naruto, who is pointedly ignoring him, continues to sing,
"So there is nothing you can do
Nothing you can hide
A silver lining on your words
Ain't gonna pass it by
There is nothing you can do
Nothing you can hide
Sweet talking Momma a-ain't
Gonna make me forget about you"
Naruto moans and sort of flings his acoustic onto the ground, collapsing on stage.
"I'm so dead now!" He whines, and Sasuke moves to kick him, "Can we stop now? Please? We can go upstairs and play video games. Or watch TV. Or talk about girls. Or eat food."
"Or," I add dryly, "Do our homework."
The blonde wrinkled his nose. "Oh. Yeah, that."
I sigh. It was going to be a long second semester this year.
Author's Notes: Ok, I know, not very exciting. I mean, who CARES if Gaara went to little tokyo or not? Its not IMPORTANT. But it was fun to write and unless I find a home for the scene elsewhere I am keeping it there. I reuploaded this chapter with some corrections... gomen...