Gaara sighed with frustration, glancing down at the small white notepad one last time before he heaved a tray laden with food up to his shoulder and marched off to his next table.
He forced himself to smile pleasantly at each of his customers while he set a plate of steaming food down in front of them. He may be tired, cranky, and antisocial but he really did need the tips now that he was living on his own. With one last nod at the content diners he headed off, pulling a rag out of his back pocket and wiping the sweat off his brow. With his free hand he pushed open the door to the kitchen, grimacing as a blast of heat slammed into him.
A perky blonde dressed in the same black and white attire as Gaara hopped off the countertop he'd been lying on and faced his friend with a charismatic grin.
"What can I do for you?"
"I'm taking my break now, if Orochimaru asks I'll be out front."
With that Gaara started undoing the buttons of his official black vest and heading back out to the entrance of the restaurant. The frigid October night came as a huge relief to the redhead, cooling the sweat of his face on contact. He sighed deeply, letting bright green eyes shut for a moment as he savored the sweet smell of fall. Even in the bustling and unforgivingly polluted city of Konoha this time of year was beautiful to him.
He reached into the pocket of his tight fitting pants, fishing about until his fingers found purchase on a tiny cardboard box which he immediately pulled out. He tapped out a cigarette eagerly, placing it between two pale pink lips and lighting up. When he'd still been living in Suna he found the habit of smoking to be disgusting, especially considering that his least favorite person in the world, his father did it. Just the smell of the smoke used to make bile rise in his throat. But when he decided to leave the neglectful asshole two years ago at the tender of fourteen the telltale scent took on a whole new meaning. It reminded him of the home and fun times he'd shared with his siblings, they were the only things he ever missed about his old backwater town.
It was sad but he just couldn't stand to stay with his dad any longer, especially after uncle Yashamaru's suicide when the man became even more withdrawn and spiteful. Besides, Temari and Kankuro abandoned him first, one going to college while the other dropped out of high school to live with his stoner friends.
Gaara sighed once again; he really hated to think about his hometown, it was filled with painful memories that were much better forgotten. He was much happier now, living in a dingy apartment with his two friends Naruto and Haku, they offered a better family life than he could ever have had hoped of having before. A slight smile graced his face as he thought about those the two lovable idiots who'd pulled him out of a year long depression. The trio had met a couple months after Gaara had moved to Konoha; all three were employees at Snake Eyes, the hotspot restaurant located in the middle of the city. Haku had been living with his now ex-boyfriend, Naruto had decided to run away from boarding school, and Gaara had been homeless. It just made sense money wise for the group to split the rent on a small two-bedroom apartment. It was a decision none had come to regret, the best friendships of their lives had arisen from it.
Gaara casually glanced down at his watch, eyes widening with surprise as he realized his break had once again run long. Quickly he pulled the cigarette from his mouth and dropped it on the ground, snubbing it out with the toe of his scuffed up sneakers. Fearful of being reprimanded by his boss he spun about hurriedly rushing forward without bothering to look where he was going. This, of course, was a bad idea. Seconds later he was lying flat on the ground, staring in shock at a tall brunette boy towering above him.
"Are you okay?"
Gaara blinked; momentarily stunned from the combination of his fall and the unnatural attractiveness of this man. He had the body of an athlete and was impeccably dressed in some very expensive looking designer duds, with long shiny brown hair falling down to the middle of his back and a stunning pair of pearly light eyes staring back at him from the midst of a perfectly proportioned face he was nothing short of enrapturing. The stranger noticed the stare, and it wasn't difficult at all to guess what it implied. An arrogant smirk spread over his face as he began to survey the boy before him with a new set of eyes. He chuckled lightly when the teen still hadn't answered his question.
"You didn't sustain any brain damage did you, honey?"
Gaara was immediately snapped out of his stupor, fists clenching with annoyance, it really was a pet peeve of his to be patronized.
He snarled ignoring an outstretched hand and pulling himself to his feet. The man raised an elegant eyebrow, a little taken aback that the boy was being rude to him.
"Well, glad to hear it, for a minute there I was a little worried."
Gaara straightened out his outfit and ran a hand through his sloppy red spikes before fixating his piercing gaze on the brunette.
"Well don't be, everything is just peachy keen now."
If sarcasm could be used as currency Gaara would be the richest person on earth. The man stared for a moment longer before the corners of his mouth quirked up and he started laughing.
"I like you Gaara."
The redhead started; pulling a complete mental blank as to how someone he'd never met before knew his name. His worries of a stalker were instantly quelled however when he remembered the mandatory nametag he kept pinned to the front of his white dress shirt. He was certain his shock had been painted all over his face and now a blush was rapidly rising to his cheeks as he realized how stupid he must have looked. The cocky brunette chuckled one last time.
"My name is Neji, and I'll be seeing you around."
With those ominous parting words he turned and gracefully ascended the marble steps, disappearing through the double doors of the restaurant. Gaara glared after his retreating back, mumbling angry words under his breath as he too headed back in.
"Stupid conceited bastard…"
Neji sat at his table, long fingers fiddling idly with the silk tablecloth as he awaited the arrival of his uncle. Despite being one of the most clever and wealthy businessmen in the world the man had an unfortunate penchant for being late. The normal amount of annoyance and impatience he would feel in this situation did not exist however, as he was thoroughly entertained by running his encounter with the fiery redhead over in his mind.
'Such an interesting boy…not too hard on the eyes either.'
The sound of a throat being cleared brought Neji out of his daydream as he looked up to lock eyes with the owner of the restaurant he was currently seated in. It wasn't really surprise to see such an important and undoubtedly busy man standing in front of him, he was used to receiving special attention wherever he went. The greasy man grinned down at him, sickeningly long tongue darting out briefly to wet his lips before speaking.
"It is such an honor to have a highly esteemed member of the Hyuga family dining in my restaurant."
Neji smiled politely.
"Thank you very much, you truly flatter me."
Orochimaru shifted, narrow unblinking eyes flashing with delight as the infamous tongue flashed out once again. He really did look for all the world like the snakes he seemed to have such a dedicated love for.
"If there's anything I can do to make your visit more comfortable please let me know."
The Hyuga tilted his head to the side thoughtfully, a genius idea suddenly occurring to him.
"Actually I believe there is something you could do."
Orochimaru gave him an eager smile.
"What would that be?"
"I'd like to request a specific waiter who goes by the name of Gaara."
The man looked quite surprised.
"Yes, I met him outside and was quite intrigued by him. I only assumed that he worked here by the way he was dressed if I'm mistaken then-"
"No,no, no." Orochimaru cut him off. " He does work here I was just slightly taken aback. Don't worry I'll get him."
Neji smirked to himself as he watched the restaurants owner eagerly shuffling off to fulfill his demand.
'This just keeps getting better and better.'
Gaara didn't have any other tables to wait, this time of night there was usually a slight lull before business really heated up and he was trying his best to enjoy the break. He had hardly had any time to relax however before the boss himself was pushing through the kitchen's metal doors and making a beeline for him.
Everyone in the kitchen went quiet, those who hadn't been working started and those who had picked up the pace. Gaara swallowed nervously, desperately searching his mind for any of the possible mistakes he'd made recently that could constitute a conversation with his superior. Due to his long spindly legs it wasn't long at all before Orochimaru was standing inches away from the redhead, eyes darting to the side in an uncharacteristic display of anxiety.
"Gaara. I have a very important job for you. We happen to have one of the wealthiest and most revered rising business tycoon's in all of Japan sitting in our dining area and he has requested you to be his waiter."
Green eyes widened nearly to the size of dinner plates as Gaara stared at his boss with shock. What the hell could a person like that want with him?
"Are you up to it?"
Gaara hesitated for a minute and then nodded vigorously, this sounded like a great opportunity for a hefty tip.
"Good, good glad to hear it."
Orochimaru reached out, trying in vain to flatten out the boy's unruly hair as he chewed fretfully on his lower lip.
"You'd better be on your best behavior, I don't want to hear of any smart ass comments."
Gaara shivered of the feel of the cold clammy hand touching him but managed a slight nod anyways.
"Alright, good luck."
An instance later the redhead found himself shoved unceremoniously out into the main dining area of the restaurant with his mind still spinning. He took a deep breath and glanced down at the pad of paper Orochimaru had shoved into his hands at the last minute. He was supposed to go to table number seven. He looked up, scanning over the heads of various customers before his eyes came to rest on his assigned table. There sat a rather familiar looking brunette, staring straight at him with a smirk painted unabashedly across his face. Gaara's jaw dropped, his heart plummeted, and his hopes sank.
"Aw, shit. Not this guy again"
Well this is a pretty short first chapter but I was really eager to get this out quickly. The idea was buzzing around in my head and wouldn't leave me alone but I feel really guilty because I have other stories I'm supposed to be updating.
But anyway, I really like where this is going and if you guys like it too I'll put out a second (and much longer) chapter as soon as I can. REVIEW! …please.