Full Moons and Diplomats
Summary: Diplomatic relations may be hard to maintain when one is in heat. (Why is it always Kyuubi in heat? That's right. Shukaku in heat. NaruGaa)
Warning: This is yaoi. Male on male. There will be graphic sex between two males. Don't like, skitter now. Ta.
Also, I screwed with the timeline. Wrote this before I'd seen Shippuuden. Oops. Hehe. I like it this way, though. So... consider it slightly AU if you wish.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Suing won't get you anything. Yet. I don't even own the Akatsuki cloak I'm planning to get yet.
Spellcheck of the Day: Kankurou: Cancer
When Gaara's siblings looked at him, they saw a killer. Fierce, bloodthirsty, emotionless. Well, not exactly emotionless. But crazy, insane, riddled with madness. The Shukaku eating away at something inside him, taking away whatever he could have been and making him what he was.
They saw Shukaku as violence, insanity, sand steeped in blood that crushed people and absorbed more blood. They saw it as the black rings around Gaara's eyes, the way he was up at all hours of the night.
Sometimes Gaara saw this too, and he agreed with them. Shukaku was the thing that ate away at his mind until he readily believed that sand was his mother; the thing that caused everyone to run from him and left him a broken child who believed- no, knew that nobody loved him, who felt alive only by stealing life from others.
But he also saw Shukaku as the animalistic creature it was. It wasn't all cold bloodlust and madness- there was burning rage, too, and the haunting longing of a beast in a cage.
His siblings knew that Shukaku increased activity during full moons- they knew when Gaara's eyes became crazed, when he came back to the village after leaving without telling anybody two days previous. When he came back with the sand in his gourd smelling even more of blood.
This had been true for all of his life; he'd always felt more touchy, more uneasy around the full moon. By the age of twelve or so, the lack of sleep and the pulse of demonic power combined with the scars of his early trauma had driven him nearly to true insanity. Then came the Chuunin exams and Shukaku was beaten. He was beaten; learned for the first time what physical pain was, what it was like to bleed.
And Shukaku relented, a bit, withdrew to gather its power again after such a disastrous defeat by another of his kind. Gaara had used the opportunity to snatch a couple of the first hours of real sleep since the age of three. It was a short-lived luxury.
By the age of fourteen, Shukaku's influence during full moons began to take on a new tone, a new flavor, one that enflamed his body for several days and then left as the moon began waning. During that age, Kankurou was bullied by Temari into giving Gaara what he called "the Talk." He seemed to find it highly embarrassing and perhaps rather traumatizing.
Gaara found it informative, at least once he had separated the simple meaning from Kankurou's convoluted, avoidant phrasing. It explained several things rather nicely. Like, for instance, why he had some strange compulsion to actually look at other people during the days of Shukaku's activity.
It wasn't until he was fifteen that he learned one vital piece of information that either nobody had known or nobody had bothered to tell him.
Shukaku was female.
It seemed a rather impossible fact at first. Gaara's immediate reaction had been to want to go be sick somewhere. However, upon further consideration, it couldn't be that big a deal. Demonic possession was equally unpleasant, no matter what the gender of said demon was. It was a fucking demon, for god's sake.
Gaara sat out on a roof one night, clouds partially blocking the nearly-full moon from view, letting the cool night air wash over his pale skin and steal the heat away, allowing him finally to be comfortable. Somewhere in an alley below, one of Suna's cats was meowing, loud, desperate, abrasive. He could see her, a scrawny gray tabby, rolling on the ground and panting as though to absorb the coolness into her body.
Gaara knew the feeling. Usually, though, it was when it was hot out, and the village was full of people. So it would only be hot air he would be breathing, and the people would probably think there was something wrong with him.
The cat meowled again. A ragged brown cat had approached her, sniffing, attracted by whatever hormone or pheremone she was emitting right now. She chased him off angrily when he sniffed at her tail, obviously not dubbing him good enough.
She was in heat. Gaara had read about that term some months ago in one of the books he'd checked out from Suna's civilian library. He'd long since finished with all the scrolls they'd let him near.
A fat black tom had ambled up now, boxing with the rejected cat a little as though to prove his superiority. 'In heat,' huh? So she was basically ready to have kittens, and was therefore making a nuisance of herself until one of the male cats claimed her.
Gaara wondered if she felt anything like he did now. He certainly wasn't going to roll in the streets and meow, but the frustration built through the three or four days of the full or mostly-full moon, built until he was quite ready to shred through his sanity and– do what?
She had deemed this male worthy, and now they were circling and rubbing and getting ready to do whatever it was cats did to make kittens. Gaara moved several rooftops away. He didn't need or want to see cats having sex in the streets.
It wasn't like he could just listen to Shukaku. No, he'd already seen where that had gotten him before, hadn't he? So he'd just sit out here at night and try to make the weird feelings and thoughts in the day go away. And if the sand sometimes liked to spill from his gourd when the moon was highest and slide up and down his body, trickling over his skin and making him shudder into its cool, inhuman touch, well, so be it.
He reflected that they really should get some of these cats fixed before they went into these ridiculous kitten-making plans. They were so fucking loud!
Gaara was on a diplomatic mission to Konoha. He'd wanted to send Temari as usual. Going on support missions to aid Konoha militarily was one thing, but going to meet with the Hokage? So what if a more formal treaty was long overdue? He didn't understand why that meant he had to go.
...So he did understand, if he stopped denying it to himself. To send someone of lesser importance would be inviting any number of things to go wrong. It might be interpreted as impertinent; a lack of respect. Plus, they simply didn't have the authority to fulfill all the duties that might be required of them.
Thus, Gaara was heading out, alone. (Somebody had to stay behind and keep an eye on the scheming village elders. In this case, 'somebody' was Temari and Kankurou.) The full moon was in about a week; with any luck it would be finished before then. He would be distracted during the full moon- not a good thing when conducting proceedings of this caliber.
The journey took three days traveling at a good pace, and Gaara resigned himself to disaster. It would take a miracle to get such a thing as a treaty being drawn up done in four days, and it was likely that he only had three days before Shukaku stirred. He doubted you could call for a break in proceedings by pleading that you were in heat and could not pay proper attention.
...He wouldn't say anything like that anyway. It would draw attention to the fact that he was a jinchuuriki, which was never a popular concept. Plus, imagine admitting a weakness like that. No, asking for a recess was not an option.
He arrived at the huge gates without fanfare- thank god. They were open, as usual. Konoha was so trusting. He caught movement out of the corner of his eye- a guard. Maybe not so trusting after all.
Two ANBU, cloaked and masked, appeared in front of him, probably from the top of the wall. They both gave the barest of bows; Gaara inclined his head in response. (Bowing with the load of his gourd was simply not a viable action.)
"We are to show you to the Hokage's office." one said stiffly.
The other one elbowed the first. "We bid you welcome to Konohagakure." He sounded more cheerful. "If you would please follow us, Kazekage-sama."
They led him around the village, following the winding streets to the Hokage's tower. People watched with curiosity as they passed, but only from some with long memories (and grudges) against Sand was there fear or antagonism. It was different from Suna, where even though he led them, the people were all nervous of him. They would never forget what he was. Of course, that might be because it was their roofs he spent his nights on.
Konoha was much the same as it had been when he'd been here previously. The jumbled collection of buildings, the slew of wires and signs, the diverse people wandering around. It had changed enough that he didn't recognize exactly the placement of buildings and such, but then again, his memory could also be faulty, considering that he hadn't been here in a while.
"If you would please wait just a moment, we'll see if Hokage-sama is free." the more talkative of the two said. He moved toward the door to the office when it burst open, propelled by an irate blur of yellow and orange.
"FINE THEN! I'll do your stupid C-class mission! But I swear, if you give me one more of these damn things, baa-chan-!" Naruto was yelling, as usual. He was also complaining. Also usual. Apparently the other jinchuuriki had not changed much.
"You'll do it, brat, and you'll like it, whether you want to or not!" a woman's voice roared. Gaara realized that he had never actually met the new Hokage, though he knew of her- Tsunade, one of the sannin.
"Yeah, righ– " Naruto had turned his head and caught sight of the three in the hall. He stopped moving rather abruptly. "Hey, baa-chan! You've got visitors!"
"I have what?!" she yelled. "I can't have visitors, damn it, the Kazekage's supposed to come today!" The woman, presumably Tsunade, appeared in the doorway. She showed no signs of surprise other than a slight widening of her eyes. "BRAT! You could have told me it was the Kazekage, damn it!" She knocked Naruto over the head, which sent him crashing into the floor. Obviously the Hokage was not someone to mess with.
"It's just Gaara!" Naruto complained from the dent in the floor he was crawling out of. Gaara inwardly snorted in amusement. Naruto was probably one of the only people to ever say 'It's just Gaara.' "It's not like he cares about propriety or crap!"
"..." Gaara thought that Naruto was assuming quite a lot, but since it was quite true, he would let it go. He hated the constraints of formal proceedings, almost as much as the half-terrified people trying to prove to him their necessity. Actually, he was already rather pleased with the informality of Konoha he'd seen thus far.
"'Propriety?' Come back when you've learned your damn vocabulary, kid! Try 'procedure!'"
"Whaa?" Naruto asked blankly.
Tsunade hit her face against her palm. "Find a dictionary, do your mission, Naruto. You're dismissed."
"Fine, fine. Hag." Naruto grumbled, dusting himself off.
"I heard that!"
"Long time no see, Gaara. Good luck with Baa-chan." The blonde waved jauntily at him before he passed. Gaara watched him go, bemused. The Hokage obviously had the strength to pound Naruto six ways from Sunday, yet he was never bothered, never intimidated. His ability to trust in others was one thing that Gaara could never imitate.
"I'm sorry about Naruto. Please, come in." Tsunade held the door aside.
"It's... not a problem." Gaara said stiffly. They were closed into the room, the ANBU members were closed out. Tsunade sat behind the desk, he on the other side. She laced her fingers together in front of her face and stared over them at him. Gaara stared back.
The proceedings had begun.
True to his prediction, it would have taken a miracle to get the entire treaty over with in three days' time. They did not have a miracle. Instead, they became hung up over a small issue of trade regulations that they could not agree on but Tsunade refused to simply ignore. By the fourth day, the draft treaty had been worked out and was ready to be submitted to Konoha's elders. By that same fourth day, the effects of the beginning of the full moon had begun.
It seemed worse than usual, but that was because he was actually forced to be near people. In Suna, the only two that presented a problem were Temari and Kankurou, but they had learned to leave him alone during the full moon. The rest of the people gave him a wide berth anyway.
In Suna, Gaara classified and assigned missions, but he did not hand any of them out personally. Here in Konoha, though, ninja were in and out receiving missions straight from the Hokage, and Gaara felt the consequences of Shukaku's attractions to their strength.
After the third interruption that afternoon, this time by three jounin who had either not understood the meaning of personal space or not realized how wide Gaara's 'bubble' was, the heat in his body was comparable to noon back in Suna, coolness of the room aside. He fought to ignore the signals running through him, but Tsunade had noticed anyway.
"Are you all right?" she asked after the door swung closed. Her assistant, Shizune, who was the room's other constant occupant, looked curiously at him as well.
Gaara shifted in his seat and tapped the papers on the desk, trying to direct the conversation back into more professional areas. They didn't have to know of Gaara's condition- it was bad enough without others being aware.
"You look flushed." Tsunade frowned at him, the way she had at a chuunin who had come back two days ago from a mission, still bloody. She leaned over the desk and reached a hand out for his forehead. Gaara flinched away, but the Hokage was not deterred. Her hand felt cool next to the 'ai' symbol, and his breath stopped in his throat. Her frown deepened. "You're feverish."
The green glow of her healing chakra fizzed against his skin, probably meant to reduce the temperature. It did anything but- the glimpse of her chakra had excited Shukaku; she was practically begging to be taken.
For the first time, Gaara was forced to admit that the genders of demons might indeed matter. Shukaku didn't seem to distinguish very well between human genders, either- otherwise perhaps she would realize that he was male and therefore her vessel was not going to be 'taken' by a female. Not the way she wanted, anyhow.
Shizune came over as well then, and Gaara very nearly panicked. The jounin mixed with the power of a sannin... it was hard enough to control the urges as it was, even normally, back in Suna!
"I'm fine." he snapped, ducking away from the still green-glowing hand. "We can get this finished today if it's actually worked on."
Tsunade sat down heavily in her chair, eying him warily, and Shizune backed off. Gaara closed his eyes in half-meditation and tried to make Shukaku back off. The sand shifted and rolled in hsi gourd. He knew the Hokage could hear it- she was giving him her 'look,' the one that even to Gaara, uninitiated in interaction, said clearly 'I don't trust your affirmation of health.'
She didn't pursue it, though, to Gaara's great relief. The troublesome trade stipulation aside, which had been solved that morning, the treaty was finished. Tsunade said that they could look forward to at least two days while the elders reviewed it (she mentioned it taking a miracle rather like the one Gaara had referenced for the entire trip) and wished him happy sightseeing around the village.
He left the Hokage's tower as the sun was setting, and headed in a straight line for the residence building he was staying at. He was glad the Hokage did not believe in keeping visitors in state; it wasn't like he was ever going to actually use a place to stay the night.
Gaara ended up on the roof as the stars began to come out, finally allowing himself to relax enough to- well, do the opposite. The frustration, the excitement, the rising heat, want, need of the day that he had pushed away, seeped back in until he was sure if anyone was out to see him, he would glow.
Arousal shortened his breath until he was panting, like the cats in the streets in Suna. Except his was a human body, even if the urges that prodded it into this state were animalistic. Shukaku's readiness to procreate (and there was a terrifying concept, demonic procreation) was not able to translate properly to the human body, especially the male one. Humans also had more ways out of the blinding need than an animal looking for a mate.
The sand that had been rustling for most of the day spilled out now and flowed over him in a cool torrent. The soft, scratchy familiarity of it soothed him; its touch against his skin used his arousal to turn his body into its plaything.
It slid around him, pooled under him, slipped under his clothes to rub against bare skin. To Gaara, the concept of 'sandpaper' was foreign- the sand was smooth as silk sliding along his body. It went under his pants and rippled along his erection in little waves.
Gaara arched, unable to bring his hand to bear where he needed it, but it was unnecessary- the sand squeezed and shivered against him and brushed ans stroked over him until it was too much and he came, gasping for air. The sand absorbed the splatterings of his come, tricking out of his clothes and back into the gourd. He was lowered back down to the roof, where he sat limply for a moment to restore his breathing to normal.
The tension was gone, for a while. But the heat was still there, still curling and coiling through his body. The nights were warm here, compared to Suna. The humidity trapped the heat of the day and made the relief of the night air less than what he needed.
Nevertheless, he sat and stared at the moon on a roof in Konoha through the too-warm night, letting Shukaku's raging needs become the energy to keep him awake.
Tsunade knew that the treaty works were putting her behind on her paperwork, but the piles that Shizune had been discreetly stacking behind her desk had become alarming. Damn that boy for being such a dedicated workaholic. It was like he didn't have any interest in finding other things to do!
...He had been acting oddly earlier that day, though. Tsunade reflected on this as she chewed on the pen she'd been marking forms with. He had been twitchy and even less relaxed than usual. (And considering that he seemed always stiffly formal, that was saying something.) He had definitely been warmer than he should have been, but a fever would never react to her chakra by rising. She was a top medical ninja, damn it, she did not screw up on a basic attempt to quell fever!
Which of course meant that it couldn't be fever. If she didn't know better, she would have classified it as... well, sexual tension. But that was just weird, and far too prolonged to be normal (or possibly ever healthy). On the other hand, Gaara was a teenage boy, not just Kazekage and– a jinchuuriki. Hm. It was quite possible that that might have something to do with this. It merited further investigation.
CRASH. Her door slammed open, revealing a distinctly unwelcome orange-clad visitor. Naruto stomped over and slapped his mission report on top of the papers she was reviewing. Tsunade raised her eyes to meet his, then shot straight to glare level two of five. The only good thing about Naruto's mission reports was that they were short; the blonde didn't have the attention span for a proper report.
"What... exactly. Are you doing here?"
"Giving you the report, Tsunade-baa-chan. What does it look like?" Naruto griped.
"Who the hell let you in?!"
"Shizune-nee-chan, who else? She said you'd be up for a long time anyway. And its your own damn fault for sending me on that screwy mission! It– "
Tsunade cut him off before his rant could really start. "I don't care. I have far more work to do than I should, and I don't need your presence to do it."
"Wha-? You always have too much work."
"Blame your damn workaholic redhead friend." Tsunade grumbled.
Naruto blinked. "Gaara?"
"Yes, Gaara. The one who doesn't sleep and therefore has some notion that the rest of us have the amount of time he does but we don't because we sleep!" So she was ranting without dignity. So what. She was looking forward to the next three or four days and sleep.
"...You look like crap." Naruto sniggered.
"Fine then! You look after him for the next couple days. Get out!"
"Okay, okay!" Naruto made his usual noisy way out.
Tsunade dropped her head to the desk on top of Naruto's mission report. Yes... sleep.
Gaara watched the sun rise and wondered what he was going to do with his next two or three days of misery. Perhaps he could go out in the forest and while most of his day away in a tree. It would keep Shukaku quieter than she would probably be in the village. Civilians weren't a problem- both Shukaku and Gaara were picky enough to reject most of them.
Shinobi, on the other hand, particularly powerful ones... Shukaku's demands became undeniably tempting.
The village was coming to life around him. Lights turned on (unnecessarily, he thought- the sun was more than bright enough to see by), curtains opened, and in a few exceptional circumstances, shops were being opened. This was one thing that was no different from Suna- the villages took a while to unfold from the compression of sleep.
It was about nine 'o clock by the sun when Gaara was forced to abandon the room as an acceptable place to remain during the day. It wasn't that the sun wasn't helping to decrease the heat of his body- Konoha's days were gentler than the desert's- but the appearance of several shinobi zipping past on adjoining rooftops. Gaara didn't want to chance being interrogated. The sand was restless enough as it was.
He ducked back in through the fire escape exit, the same way he'd come out the evening before. The sand kept the alarm sensor from going off, then returned to the gourd. Gaara's attention was kept from corking it properly back in, though.
This was mostly due to the fact that Naruto was banging cheerfully at his door.
A/N: ... Well, this was written as a one-shot, but got really long, and so turned into a two-shot. Typed up due to the fact that I really don't want to write this English essay...
Yes, I know. No smut yet. Wait for the next bit. (cackles evilly)