Important A/N's: This is the edited version of Hot Sand…it was originally very, very smutty (mostly from chapter 2 on). If you would like to read the real version, please hop over to my author's page and follow the links, because it is complete (yes, finished, 21 chapters of GaaNaruGaa goodness) over at AdultFanFiction. Also, this isn't beta'd so there are probably still errors, but I'm too lazy to hunt them down and fix them right now though I probably will do that later).
The sand trundled along lazily in the midday sun, almost as if it too refused to expend any extra energy during the most smoldering hours of the day. Gaara observed as dunes trickled apart, slowly disintegrating before rising up again nearby. The Kazekage was seated beneath and protected by the shade of a rock facing that was next to one of the few oases near Suna.
It was unusual to find any human among the desert on a day like this, but this location was normally a place of great comfort to Gaara. Usually hiding amongst the reclusive outskirts of Suna was a very gratifying experience for the Kazekage, but today Gaara found himself only feeling tired and grumpy as he tried to ignore the stifling heat which was not only rising from the earth around him but also bearing down from the sun above.
Taking a water flask and bringing it to his lips, it was quickly realized that Gaara had already used over half of his reserves, dangerously low for a day spent surveying the vastness of the desert. The Kazekage knew well that the oasis that he leisured next to was not fit for drinking. This particular watering hole contained too many minerals and bacteria from the desolate tract around his village, leaving Gaara with little options other than returning to town during the worst possible time of the day. The red-headed man wasn't that worried, knowing that if he needed to it would be easy to create a canopy of sand that would guard him from the elements, but the chakra needed to manifest the protection and the time that would be added to his travel due to its extreme mass would be troublesome to say the least.
Gaara heard a crinkle of footsteps in the sand nearby and looked up to find his older sibling's puppet Karasu. The Kazekage was impressed, Kankuro's ability had improved greatly in the past few years. Being able to control any marionette at this range only proved how capable the Kazekage's brother truly was.
"I thought that you might need this. It's much hotter today than predicted." The puppet held out two flasks of water to Gaara, who took them immediately and attached them securely to his pack.
"Thank you, I was just thinking how bothersome it would be to travel back just for a canteen of water," Gaara murmured. "How are the preparations going?"
"It'd be nice if you were here, because Temari is not happy that you decided to hide amongst the wasteland rather than be hospitable to our guests," the puppet said before sitting down beside Gaara. Any other person wouldn't have had a clue that it was not Kankuro settled in the sand beside the Kazekage, but Gaara knew it from the second he laid eyes on his brother's likeness.
"It is not a wasteland, it is our home," Gaara growled. "Further, it is Temari that is getting married, not I. Therefore, I don't see the need for me to be present to entertain her guests."
Gaara's eyes narrowed as he considered the hundreds of guests that were plaguing his mansion. Even the thought of the number of stuffy elders that were present were enough to give the Kazekage a migraine. The audible sigh that escaped Gaara's throat was not ignored by his older brother.
"You might find that it's a bit more fun that you think," Karasu began, "It isn't like our normal diplomatic meetings with Konoha, boring and stiff, it's mostly friends who have come to help celebrate. That brat Shikamaru brought half of the jonin from his village here with him, but it has been nothing but enjoyable so far. We've all spent the day half drunk off of good sake that they procured before coming here."
Gaara grumbled and slumped over slightly in what Kankuro knew to be his brother's version of pouting. "I do not drink sake."
Karasu let loose a hearty laugh, "You should, maybe it would loosen you up a bit, help you with the ladies."
Kankuro was infamous for bedding the women of Suna, Konoha, and any of the other villages that the three siblings visited frequently. The puppet master knew that Gaara had no wish to not follow in his lecherous footsteps, but was always teasing his younger brother about it all the same. Gaara furrowed non-existent brows and pounded his fist into a cushion of sand at his side.
"Really Gaara, what is wrong with you? I haven't seen you this frazzled since before Shukaku was removed."
There was to be no more discussion on the matter, the single word that Gaara had grumbled out explained clearly that the Kazekage wished for no more discussion on the topic. Kankuro, being the nosey older brother he was, ignored the warning tone and needled his brother for more information.
"Hmmm…perhaps you are jealous." The puppet representation of Kankuro said in a joking manner, not realizing that he had hit the nail on the head. Gaara rose furiously to his feet and began pacing and mumbling things under his breath. "You're kidding me! You are jealous of Temari? I didn't know you liked Shikamaru."
"I don't like Shikamaru, and I'm not…" the growled response was cut short as Gaara realized that his brother might be right. "Perhaps I am a bit frustrated that Temari has found someone, but I have not."
"You haven't been trying very hard little brother, pushing away any possible partners under the guise that you are too busy to deal with such matters," Karasu told the red-head quietly, knowing that he must choose words carefully or meet the wrath of a confused and lonely Gaara.
"I do not wish to be coupled with one of those power-hungry wenches whose mother has decided that their daughter shall be the one to produce the heir to the Kazekage. It is disgraceful how they lust over power, not even seeing me. I refuse not to be seen and appreciated by the one that I am with!" Gaara fumed.
Kankuro knew this was true, the only people that had expressed any interest in the Kazekage were those that desired the position of influence they would inherit, or those that thought that it was thrilling to pine over an ex-murderer. Partners that fell into either of these categories were not acceptable to who Gaara had become in the six years since the removal of the demon within him.
The deeply troubled youth that the Kazekage used to be had changed drastically as Gaara grew older. Yes, the red-head could be a bit dark and twisted at times, and his quiet brooding nature was still an aspect that hadn't been altered, but at the same time Gaara held life in high regards and cared deeply for those around him. Senseless murder was no longer in the Kazekage's fighting repertoire, and Gaara had formed friendships with many other Shinobi, especially his own siblings.
"Then it is you that must do the inquiring. If you do not draw those that you desire to you, then you must be the one to pursue your own interests." Gaara stopped his pacing when he heard Karasu's words. As much of an idiot that his brother pretended to be, it always surprised him when Kankuro shared such hidden wisdom. "What are you looking for in a partner?"
"Someone that understands me…someone that's not power-hungry." Gaara gave a small annoyed snort as he added, "Not one of the bimbos that you are drawn to. I don't wish for meaningless relationships that can be so easily discarded."
"I would've never assumed that," the puppet told the Kazekage. "I understand that you do not accept relationships easily, not even ones that are seemingly temporary. Being the person you are requires that you need something a bit more stable. Why don't you come back and spend time with those of us here? Perhaps you will find possibility in one of your friends from Konoha…they have always treated you with respect."
"Perhaps…I will return to town at dusk. I don't wish to travel in such conditions," Gaara told Karasu as he sat back down against the rocks in the shade.
"Fine, I'll tell everyone when to expect you…"
"Kankuro?" Gaara calmly interrupted his brother. "Is Uzumaki among the guests?" Gaara asked this with no added emotion to hint at why the Kazekage asked about the young man in question.
"Yeah, your little blond friend came along. I believe that he's currently drunk off of his ass complaining that you ran off without saying hello." Karasu raised an eyebrow at Gaara, "I didn't think that you would be interested in such a person."
Gaara hadn't really realized why he'd asked about Naruto, so he quickly snapped at his brother, "I should care when the Hokage visits Suna, it's a rare thing."
It was a bit unconvincing and Karasu's eyes rolled in an unbelieving fashion as Gaara spun his web of excuses. "Don't look at me like that Kankuro, he's my friend."
"Yes, one that is remarkably like a young leader of Suna that I'm acquainted with. I mean the guy has a demon dwelling within him and is a dignitary of an ally nation, I don't think you can get more understanding than that Gaara."
Gaara's eyes bugged out at Karasu, "Kankuro, he is a man."
"Yes, and apparently a man that you are interested in. I've never known you to show an concern for anyone else in such a way. He'd be a good choice, seeing that he could identify with your struggle and has enough of his own power that he wouldn't be chasing after yours." Karasu stood and started walking back to the village, leaving Gaara to mull over the possibilities in solitude.
Kankuro leaned lazily against a wall as he watched the people celebrating in the Kazekage's mansion. It was humble by most rulers' standards, but the puppet-nin found it unnervingly large when not filled by so many individuals. Most of Kankuro's family, save Temari and himself, were either dead or had fled thanks to a younger, more hostile Gaara. Now only the three sand siblings resided here on a regular basis. This was soon to change, because Temari was returning to Konoha with Shikamaru. It was their agreement; she would live with him, but their marriage would take place in Suna.
Kankuro wasn't sure if he was happy or saddened by the fact that his annoying sister was moving away to be the bride of some Konoha jonin brat…maybe he was both. The puppet-nin certainly wouldn't miss his sister's nagging or the way she could beat the living tar out of him when she so pleased, but he would definitely miss what was left of their small, broken family. This whole marriage ordeal actually made Kankuro consider the thought that he should settle down too and find someone to be with, because something told him that he would be the only single person in their family very soon.
Out of the corner of Kankuro's eye he caught the familiar fiery tresses of his brother pushing through the crowd, avoiding leisurely conversation that several of the Konohan guests tried to spur the Kazekage into. Gaara was highly protective of his friends, family, and the residents of the village that he ruled and protected…this did not mean that the Kazekage enjoyed conversing with any of those people on a regular basis. The solitary nature of the Suna leader was something that hadn't changed since Gaara's youth. There were very few individuals that Kankuro's brother actually enjoyed chatting with. Therefore, most of those that tried conversing with the Kazekage were rejected under some untruth that Gaara would give them to avoid getting into a dialogue of any kind.
"Speaking of the devil…" Kankuro whispered under his breath as Gaara finally made it to where he was standing. Gaara's return was several hours after his planned arrival. "Where have you been?"
"There were bandits, I took care of them," Gaara replied nonchalantly, his eyes speaking of nothing out of the ordinary.
"I'm sure you did…how dead are they?"
"They are not dead at all, I brought them in for questioning. That's what took me so long." Gaara glared at his older brother, Kankuro still had so little faith in him. "What have I missed?"
"Ino parading around topless…you definitely missed that," Kankuro replied with a smirk. Ino and the puppet-nin had been intimate on more than one occasion, so her breasts were nothing new to Kankuro, but he liked them all the same. They were perky and bounced with each of her drunken steps. If Sakura hadn't intervened Kankuro might have invited the blonde up to his room to rekindle old memories.
"You never change," Gaara sighed. "I suppose that I must go say hello to all of them."
"Yes, you should. They have all been excitedly awaiting your return. Apparently you have many more friends in Konoha than you do Suna. There is one particularly drunk Hokage that has been stumbling around calling your name for about the last hour."
Kankuro's words caused Gaara's eyes to raise a bit as the Kazekage scanned the room for his inebriated friend. Kankuro leaned in close to his younger brother and whispered into his ear, "Good luck tonight, I hope you score big."
After giving his brother an angry retaliatory punch to the arm, Gaara began making the rounds and saying hello to his guests. The Kazekage made quick small talk with everyone and always ended with a question inquiring if they knew the whereabouts of their esteemed leader (usually making up an excuse that he had important dealings to discuss with the Hokage). Sakura finally pointed up the stairs that led to one of the mansion's areas for sleeping quarters.
The pink-haired kunoichi's face squinched as she recalled the state of her former teammate, "He was really drunk, he's probably puking or sleeping."
Gaara thanked her and ascended the stairs to search out Naruto. The young Suna leader didn't have to look long, because Naruto was splayed on the floor with a bottle of sake just a few feet from the top of the staircase.
"Gaara? Is that you Gaara?" Naruto's words slurred together as he tried to determine which of the three spinning men was in fact the Kazekage.
Gaara shook his head at the site before him. Naruto was donning an ornate robe that was probably intended for the Hokage to wear at important events. It was red and white and painstakingly embroidered with silk thread. Under normal circumstances Gaara was sure that it looked very regal, but seeing that it was wrapped awkwardly around the sprawled Naruto, it instead appeared wrinkled and messy.
"You are drunk."
"And you are not…come drink with me, Gaara," Naruto said while patting the ground beside him, inviting Gaara to sit. The Kazekage complied against his own better judgment and Naruto attempted to push the bottle of sake into his friend's hand. "Drink it."
"I don't drink."
"Well, start." Naruto laid his head back on the floor and grinned up at Gaara, causing the Kazekage to blush unconsciously. That handsome, toothy smile was infectious, making the red-head feel like returning the grin, but at the same time receiving a wave of complete nervousness as Gaara watched his drunken blond friend. Naruto poked his fingers at Gaara's hand and maneuvered the sake bottle into the Kazekage's grasp.
The bottle was heavily inspected by Gaara as he warily sniffed at its contents. "What does it taste like?"
"At first it burns a bit, but the more you drink the more it just tastes like…well, it's good. Just try it," Naruto insisted.
Gaara complied and found that too soon the bottle's contents were emptied thanks to him and Naruto. This was when he started to feel his composure failing. "Which one of these is your room?" Naruto asked pointing at the doors that lined the hallway.
"My room is at the end of this corridor," Gaara told Naruto. He felt so warm inside, almost like the sake had been laced with some fire jutsu. "Want to see it?"
Naruto's face lit up as the Hokage ginned like an idiot, "Hell yeah! I wanna know if you live in dark, scary squalor,"
"I do not live in such a way, I am not like that."
"You used to be like that," Naruto laughed as he teased his friend. "I am just kidding. Come on, I need your help…you haven't had as much alcohol as I have, give me a hand."
Naruto began to get up, unsteadily balancing himself against the wall. Gaara watched his friend with great interest, trying to determine when the blond man grew up so much. It wasn't like the days when they were sixteen and Gaara had been saved by a younger version of the Hokage. This Naruto was a man that resembled the formerly short and slightly pudgy exuberant child and teen, but he was also something else.
Naruto flashed Gaara a smile, and the Kazekage noted that the amazingly bright blue depths of the Hokage's eyes were the same. The trance that they seemed to place Gaara under made the Kazekage want to move closer to examine them. Gaara stood and moved to where Naruto was propped up against the wall, watching him intently the entire time. The Kazekage almost reached out to touch Naruto's face…he wanted to examine the blond further, especially the eyes that seemed to draw Gaara to Naruto like a moth to a flame.
Gaara soon found Naruto's arm slung over his shoulder as they tried to make it down to the Kazekage's room. Naruto laughed and joked the whole way there, making the situation less tense. It was so nice to have someone be so casual around the Kazekage, it was definitely not something that happened very often to Gaara.
Naruto stumbled a bit, tripping on the hem of the Hokage ceremonial robe. The two men nearly took a tumble, but Gaara steadied them and gripped Naruto hard to keep him upright.
"Thanks, Gaara," was the appreciative response from Naruto. A bit tangled from their near-disastrous trip, Naruto and Gaara tried to untwine themselves from each other. Naruto was still unable to stand completely on his own and leaned against his friend for support, allowing the Kazekage to leech warmth from the blond's body. It wasn't like Suna required any extra exchange of heat. It was summer, and the desert could be stifling during days like this, even the nights were still relatively tepid for the residents of Suna.
The warmth that Naruto shared with Gaara did nothing but create a different kind of heat between the two. The Kazekage's heart starting beating madly as if out of control and Gaara noticed the proximity of Naruto to himself. Gaara stared long and hard at his friend.
"Gaara, are you all right?" the still drunk Naruto asked quietly, examining Gaara's furrowed face intently.
Attempting to breath and speak normally, Gaara choked down the last bit of nerves and responded, "I'm fine."
"Are you sure about that?" Naruto asked, laying his palm across Gaara's forehead for a moment. Naruto's fingers moved to the messy strands of red hair that were a bit sticky from Gaara's perspiration, pushing them out of the way to get a better feel of the forehead in question.
"I don't have a fever," Gaara muttered.
"Nope…you don't," Naruto beamed, extremely happy that there was nothing wrong with Gaara. "So why the sour face?"
There were no words that Gaara could find to describe his dilemma. In front of him was his friend Naruto, someone that was important and special to him…a person that until today Gaara had never considered romantically. But Gaara was considering now, the thoughts that flooded his mind concerning the Hokage in a more passionate light seemed innumerable and impossible to count. The worst of it was the fact that the more he watched Naruto, the more Gaara was drawn to the pert lips of the other man…Gaara wasn't sure why or what he wanted to do, it seemed so hopelessly ridiculous to have feelings for Naruto.
Gaara watched as Naruto swallowed hard, and the hand that had been firmly placed on the Kazekage's forehead traveled down, tracing Gaara's face until it came to rest upon the other man's cheek. Naruto's eyes were locked with Gaara's, both men now fighting some hopeless internal struggle.
Naruto's fingers traveled further down again, touching Gaara's lips softly with the tip of his index finger. "Would you think I was strange if I wanted to kiss you?" was the nearly inaudible question from Naruto.
Gaara's breath hitched in his throat and he tried to comprehend the fact that Naruto wanted to kiss him. Naruto…the one that Gaara desired…Naruto wanted him as well.
Words didn't answer Naruto, only the soft, warm lips that Naruto had been caressing made any move to respond. The space between the two disappeared as cautious mouths met and began exploring each other. Gaara was very hesitant and Naruto quickly took the lead, making the Kazekage groan as Naruto pulled closer to the other man, hooking his arms around Gaara's waist and anchoring himself to the red-head.
Gaara's emotions were going haywire as Naruto continued to kiss him fervently. Not liking the feeling of Naruto being the dominant force, Gaara allowed a bit of unresolved aggression to manifest itself physically as he shoved Naruto hard against a nearby wall. Gaara's head was fuzzy and all of the thoughts it contained were muddled together. Pushing away from Naruto and stepping back momentarily to examine the man that the Kazekage had pinned against the wall, Gaara grinned a most sinister smile. With a look of malicious intent, the Kazekage sauntered back up to the confused blond and attacked him viciously with warm lips, leaving Naruto perplexed and curious.
Here stood the two leaders of ally nations, legs intertwined and lips fighting for dominance, a situation that was induced and given confidence by a bottle of sake, but had been just underneath the surface all along. Neither had expected anything of this nature to happen between them, but that certainly wasn't stopping it from occurring. Naruto's head was now nuzzled in Gaara's neck, sucking hard on his pulse point. Gaara groaned at the feeling, but then let out a muffled scream as Naruto bit him so hard that the Kazekage was sure that it had drawn blood.
Naruto returned to the lighter and more fleeting kisses and attentions on Gaara's skin before asking, "Where is your room?"
Gaara motioned to the end of the hallway, specifically to the door was only about ten meters away. Naruto threw Gaara off of him and pushed away from the wall that he had been trapped against. Next, the Hokage grabbed onto the vest of the growling red-haired man and pulled him toward the bedroom that Gaara had indicated. The nervous look that graced Gaara's face quickly dissipated as Naruto opened the door to red-head's quarters and pulled the Kazekage inside and began to once again kiss the man passionately.
Naruto swore that he heard the faintest of whimpers escape Gaara's throat, but was overshadowed by Gaara actually ripping his ceremonial Hokage robe with eager fingers. Gaara would pay for that. Naruto's hands crept around to Gaara's hard gluteus muscles and lifted him off of the floor, letting Gaara's legs wrap around him as Naruto carried his friend toward the bed. Naruto was not gentle as they found themselves thrown on the Kazekage's mattress moments later. The Hokage let his hips work themselves furiously against the body of his partner finally making Gaara start to lose control and murmur incoherently.
Gaara wasn't willing to give up dominance quite yet, and with the aid of his sand Naruto found himself sprawled on the mattress below them with a very satisfied looking Kazekage straddling him. Naruto should have been furious at the underhanded and sneaky assistance that Gaara had been granted, but smiled up at him with a foxy grin instead.
"Someone doesn't want to be bottom, do they?"
Gaara's eyes rose in a mocking way, "I suppose that will be an area of dispute."
"We could share the responsibility. I'll even let you go first if you like," Naruto's hands and legs were firmly held in place by sand restraints, but nothing held down his hips as he lifted them against the man on top.
"Mmm," Gaara said as much in a response to the compromise proposed by Naruto as a reaction to the friction pressing against him. "I think that is a diplomatic concession I'm willing to make."
Gaara arched his back forward and brought his head to Naruto's. The drunken fog was starting to lift and the Kazekage's mind able to think of more than just raw animalistic desire. This time he claimed Uzumaki's lips in a soft, sensual way, running his fingers through silky golden locks and carefully stroking a cheek of his soon-to-be lover. The kiss was so slow and deliberate that it almost made them ache.
Naruto invited Gaara's tongue into his mouth as he suckled on it and let it dance methodically in time with his own. The sand that had been holding Naruto dripped away and Gaara gasped as hands ran up his sides and began unhooking clasps from his vest. Gaara rose up and let Naruto remove the unwanted clothing, leaving him shirtless in only his pants and sandals. Naruto's gaze focused on the flawless skin in front of him and slowly ran one hand up Gaara's well-toned chest.
"It never ceases to amaze me to know that you completely lack any scarring. It's like this isn't the body of a shinobi at all, but someone who has never seen battle."
Gaara allowed a small grin as he watched Naruto study him, "I don't think that I'm alone." Hands snaked into folds of ripped fabric (which was formerly a very expensive ceremonial Hokage robe) to reveal tanned skin that rippled over layers of hard muscle. "You are also nearly devoid of blemish, only decorated with ornate seals of protection."
Naruto found this a bit funny and chuckled at Gaara's description of the seal, "I can thank my tenant for that, because he likes to keep his jail tidy. And I've come to appreciate the seal…it's like a very cool tattoo that only I get to have."
Gaara also allowed a quiet chuckle to escape his throat. He was quite aware of the healing powers of the demon that resided in Naruto, and now found himself oddly grateful that Kyuubi had protected his friend in such a way over the years. There were times that would have surely meant death if Naruto hadn't housed the nine-tailed fox within him. The thought of such a death wasn't one that Gaara appreciated.
"It does look…cool," Gaara mused, tracing the black lines of the seal carefully with one finger.
"Gaara?" Naruto asked in a near whisper. Gaara raised his head, which had been intently focused on Naruto's stomach, to lock gazes with the blond. "What exactly are we doing here? I don't mind it, but…I suppose I want to know."
It was clear that the alcohol was quickly getting metabolized away as heads and hearts were swiftly intervening between the longings of the two men's bodies. "I'm not sure," came Gaara's quiet reply. "I guess I hope that it lasts longer than only tonight."
Strong hands reached for Gaara's neck and pulled him down, and just before Naruto kissed his friend once again he murmured the words, "So do I."