Title: "Sleepless"
Author: Erisabesu
Pairing: Naruto/Gaara
Genre(s):Drama, Romance
Description: Gaara doesn't sleep, but it's not always Shukaku's fault.

Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day.

-Friedrich Nietzsche

In some ways, Gaara likes Naruto best when he's asleep.

It is usually the only time Naruto is ever still. Even without the demon fox's contribution, Naruto's energy is as constant and changing as the wind in Gaara's home country: incessant in chatter, motion, and demands for acknowledgement. During waking hours, it requires all of Gaara's self-control to endure the unguarded emotions shifting across that whiskered face, the blue laughter in Naruto's eyes, the intensity of his touch. It takes all of Gaara's will to accept Naruto's full attention and meet his strength, and by all accounts it should be him lying there asleep, instead of Naruto.

Wrapped in thick shadows, Gaara leans against the plain wooden dresser two body lengths from the foot of Naruto's bed, arms crossed, watching. The gourd is a solid presence at his feet, comforting in a room that doesn't belong to him. Naruto is sprawled diagonal across his view, his muscled body floating in the black of the sheets, copper, gold, and opal where Konoha's moonlight hits skin, hair, and teeth. Gaara's eyes linger on the glint just below Naruto's collarbone where his necklace has rolled upward on his skin; everyone knows it's just a matter of time before Naruto becomes Hokage.

And it's just a matter of time before Naruto does what he always does. At least… Gaara hopes Naruto does what he's done in the past when his bed partner has slipped away to stand apart and wait and think and breathe—and watch. Exactly the way Gaara's watching right now.

Another half-hour passes before Naruto stirs. Gaara drinks in the sight of those lips shifting into a mischievous grin even in slumber, the expression so natural it defies consciousness. Naruto's blond head turns further to the side—where Gaara had been lying an hour ago—and the movement turns the rest of his smooth skinned, lean muscled body with him in a fluid movement reserved for lazy moments between lovers.

Naruto's hand reaches out; palming the sheet in search of the body he expects to be there. Gaara watches as a tremor of doubt twitches across blond eyebrows just before Naruto sits up in abrupt panic.

"Gaa--!" Naruto whips his head in all directions and cuts off the shout when his wide eyes register where Gaara stands across the room, four paces away. Gaara stays right where he is and memorizes the fear and anxiety he sees sliding down Naruto's temple in the form of sweat. Gaara's pulse races from the sight, and from his own internal panic that a different name might have been on Naruto's tongue. One slip is all it would take.

"Jeez, Gaara," Naruto ruffles his own hair into a lopsided, wild tangle. Gaara can still smell the moment of shared terror in the air, sweet and acrid. "What the hell are you doing over there?"

Gaara isn't surprised Naruto can see him in the dark. He watches Naruto fight off the yawn that rises from his chest, the result of startling himself awake.


"What for?" Naruto gives a dry laugh. Then his face settles into an expression far more serious than one would expect from someone so unconsciously friendly. Gaara burns the image into his mind, the face of this Naruto who brooks no opposition, even from him. So fierce. So hungry. Accusing.

"I hate it when you do that." Naruto says.

"I could lean elsewhere," Gaara replies, and his heart twists along with the scowl forming on Naruto's lips.

"That's not what I meant," Naruto growls. He thumps the space next to him. "Gaara. Get back over here."

Gaara lifts his chin and considers making Naruto come to him instead. But there's a plea somewhere within those blue eyes locked on him from the center of the bed, and Gaara steps forward. It's not that he wants to leave. It's that he needs to believe Naruto wants him to stay. Him—and only him.

"You know I won't sleep," Gaara says, moving around the side of the bed and sitting beside Naruto. Naruto shoves five fingers into the center of his chest and pushes him backward until his red head is firmly denting the pillow.

"Neither will I," Naruto hovers next to him, eyes searching. The necklace tickles Gaara's paler chest as Naruto's feet stretch out alongside his. Naruto leans forward and whispers, "Not if I think you've left."

And then Naruto is kissing him, coaxing out long sealed emotions from the dark places inside until it hurts to think that this is what it feels like to love. Gaara feeds off Naruto's passion, drenches himself in Naruto's warmth and lets strong hands press him down into the mattress. Naruto strokes his hair, slides possessive arms around him to pull their naked bodies tight together, and Gaara closes his eyes and thinks yes—this proves it, this right here.

Naruto's lips travel upward, covering the tattoo on his forehead with feathery kisses and wet licks of his tongue, and Gaara almost feels guilty for testing him, for needing to know the truth of whose loss Naruto fears enough to wake up in a sweat, and for needing to know it over and over again.

"I'm not going anywhere," Gaara whispers, the best apology he can come up with, and Naruto sighs warm breath over his skin and meshes their bodies together.

"Damn right," Naruto punctuates this with a thrust of his hips. When they lock eyes, a gleam of mischief is back in Naruto's smile, and Gaara holds his breath, the beauty of the next words stinging like nothing he's ever felt before—he thinks maybe he finally understands that love is different from fear. Naruto, of course, has always known.

"I don't let my precious person get away so easily."