This is my first ever Naruto fic, so I apologize if the characters are OOC or if I get names and traits of the Akatsuki members mixed up. I haven't even got that high in the episodes yet –sweatdrop- and so if I get personalities horribly wrong, just tell me, okay? Thanks. Oh, and here's a summary for people (like me) that don't read the first one:

Category: Naruto

Title: Fade to Black

Genre: Romance/Action/Adventure

Rating: T for starters, but I might raise it depending on what happens and how I word it…

Pairings: SakuraSauke, NarutoHinata, TemariShikamaru, GaaraSakura, mild ItachiSakura, DeidaraSakura, (No, Sakura's not a whore, this is all happening slowly, over great amounts of time)

Warning: There's no yaoi in this fic at all, so GET BACK YAOI FANGIRLS! Don't bother trying to suggest it to me, 'cause I'm not gonna listen. If you find something you think is yaoi, it's your own perverted self.


Chapter 1: Gaara of the Sand

He had heard about them, but he never pictured himself joining them. Until the day came when he got to thinking. You join them, and you get to kill. You don't have to worry about getting into trouble—you're supposed to kill people. That way, he got all the blood Mother wanted. The demon inside him would silence for at least a little while, and maybe they could seal it. Maybe there were others like him. Maybe he could learn how to control it.

But what about the village he worked for? He was their ultimate weapon. He didn't care about them, anyway. They had cast him out, attempted to kill him. Why should he care what happened to them? They were lower then he, and he had a demon within him.

And so, he decided to join them. He ad arranged to meet one of them on the cliff overlooking Konoha. Midnight. He patiently waited, watching the sleeping village. It was cold, but he hardly took notice. He was supposed to meet the strongest member. Yes, they were all strong, but this one was by far the strongest. Uchiha, they said. Itachi Uchiha. The man that killed the entire Uchiha clan, save for Uchiha Sasuke. No one knew his motives for saving his brother. That was a secret that would forever be held between the two Uchiha brothers.

He felt the Uchiha's powerful Chakra long before he showed. He ignored it.

Itachi appeared behind Gaara and gently placed his hand on the Sand-boy's shoulder. "Gaara," he whispered. Gaara nodded.


The Akatsuki base was smaller and more hidden then Gaara would've expected or preferred. He remained silent, looking the place over. He could've cared less about the people, but he watched them as well. The Uchiha remained silent and impassive, and so there were no introductions. It didn't matter. Just because they were all teammates didn't mean they had to be best buds, too.

Itachi beckoned him to follow. Gaara did as he was told. The Uchiha led him into a smaller corridor that forced a claustrophobic fear on Gaara. He ignored it, anticipating where Itachi was leading him. The corridor came to an end. Itachi placed his hand on the door. Only a second later, it swung open to reveal a room much bigger then Gaara had expected. It was about the size of Konoha itself. But it was completely empty. Itachi continued walking, and Gaara followed. They had taken a right and were following the 'stadium' until it led to another door. Itachi repeated the hand step, and the door swung open. He turned to Gaara, motioned for him to stay.

Impatiently and unwillingly, Gaara turned his back and waited.

And waited.

What the hell? Gaara thought to himself. He risked a glance over his shoulder. At that moment, a kunai was thrown in his direction. He coolly moved his head a fraction—enough to miss the kunai completely. He removed the cork on his gourd and allowed the sand to fall. He squinted in the darkness, trying to figure out who had thrown the kunai. But he could see nothing. He remained calm, as normal, and just waited. Arms crossed and feet apart, Gaara turned the other way.

Another kunai came his way, this time followed by hundreds more. With a single and simple hand movement, the sand on the floor rose up and hardened around him in the shape of a sphere. There was a crack between two side of the sphere where he peered out to try and see his attacker.

The person stepped out of the shadows and into Gaara's point of view. Was it a girl or boy? From both the distance and the darkness, there was no way of telling for sure. The boy (or so he assumed) he blonde hair and blue eyes. The former was tied back in a high ponytail. His bangs jutted out away from his head and covered his left eye. He had a wide, mouthy smile on his face. He wore the same cloak as Itachi and the others.

The boy held up his right hand and whispered something. A small mouth traveled down his arm and body and toward Gaara. He watched it intently as it scurried over to him and stopped dead in front of him. The blonde Akatsuki boy whispered another jutsu, and the spider exploded.

Gaara took the blow willingly. A flew through the air and landed firmly on his feet a few yards away. Eager for the fight, the Akatsuki boy ran forward. Gaara began the signals for the jutsu. The sand flew all around and circle the boy. He ran, and so Gaara aimed for his limbs. He caught his arms. "Sand Coffin," Gaara whispered, and the sand exerted all its pressure on the arms. The Akatsuki screamed in pain, trying to break free. But Gaara wasn't going to let go. Not now. He was bloodthirsty.

Before anything else had a chance to happen, Itachi broke the sand bonds. He looked over to Gaara "That's enough," he told him, "we've accepted you." Gaara forced his back to them. The sand slowly began to fill the gourd, which was followed by the cork.

He was shaking. Mother was excited. She wanted more. But he had to keep her inside. He couldn't let her take over. Not now.

She sent pangs of pain through his mind. He shouted and held his head, trying to forced her back in. She sent more painful strikes through him. He could hear the whirring sand within his own mind. He yelled out in pain, collapsing to his knees. The pain, as usual, was too much to bear.

A cold hand touched his shoulder. Judging by the Chakra it exerted, it was Itachi. The Uchiha turned Gaara around, prepared for something. Gaara was near unconsciousness now, and it was on the verge of taking over. Itachi's separate fingers glowed. He pulled Gaara's shirt off, jabbed his stomach as hard as he could.

Gaara screamed out in pain, but the pain caused by her was slowly fading. What had Itachi done to her?

A seal formed on Gaara's stomach. It was similar to the one used on the Kyubbi, but slightly weaker. This seal looked as though someone had placed bleeding hands on his bare skin and dragged them down. The marks themselves were red—a slightly weaker color then black.

At the moment the seal formed and showed itself, Gaara noticed Itachi fall into an incredibly deep state of weakness. The Uchiha swayed, placed a hand to his head. He lost control and fell onto Gaara, panting. With shock, Gaara realized Itachi had used almost all of his Chakra in forming the seal. If he had done any more, the Uchiha would've died.

Gaara's breathing was coming in short bursts of both pain and shock. He could no longer feel the demon within him. What had Itachi done to it? Next thing he knew, all was black.


A few hours later, or what seemed like a few hours later, Gaara awoke. For a moment, he knew nothing. But, slowly, everything started coming back to him. He remembered the monster within him, begging for more blood. He remembered trying to fight it off…Suddenly, he remembered Itachi hitting him in the stomach. Why had the sand not protected him? He was overcome with a cold, lonely feeling, and he realized what had happened. The demon. Itachi had sealed it away. It was gone.

Rubbing his eyes, Gaara swung his legs over the side of the bed. He looked around the room he was in. It was carved out the side of the mountain where the base was hidden. It was made of rock. There were no windows, no light. But it was bright in the room…

Gaara shoved the question out of his mind and looked around for his clothes. On the bed, he noticed, was the red and black Akatsuki cloak, as well as a kunai and his forehead protector. Gaara took the kunai and sliced it along the forehead protector without hesitation. What was there for him to want to go back to, anyway? Gaara threw the Akatsuki cloak over his clothes, collected his gourd which had been on the right side of his bed, and strapped the sliced forehead protector on the strap of his gourd. Upon a continuation of looking around, Gaara realized there was a nightstand on the left side of the bed. There was a note on it as well, addressed to him. Gaara read it.

Gaara:

You're to stay here until Itachi-san awakens from recuperating. It'll take about 2-3 days, so have fun where you're at. Itachi will come to you when he awakes. And every morning, you'll find a tray of food on the nightstand. Don't try to leave—we've sealed off the exits. Good luck staying sane.

The letter ended without a name. Had Itachi himself wrote the letter? No, Itachi had fallen unconscious when Gaara himself had. So what was there to do for two days? There was no way of leaving—they had sealed off all the exits…

But he could keep an eye on Itachi with one of his jutsus. He could look for a crack in the walls—any at all—and then all he'd have to do was find Itachi. Yes, that's what he would do. At least he'd be able to predict how much longer he'd have to stay in the enclosed area. It would keep him from falling deeper into insanity, and it would also give him hope. Hope that Itachi hadn't killed himself in the process of sealing away the demon.


The next few hours passed by painfully slow as Gaara searched every bit of the room for some sort of crack in the wall. Eventually, he was glad to note, he found one. Gaara activated the eye-jutsu and sent it through the crack in the wall.

It made it through! He was able to get the eye to the other side, the outside of the room. There were two people standing guard outside his room, probably there to keep him in. Gaara was used to that, though, and so he paid them no mind. He slipped the eye in between them and ran it through the halls of the Akatsuki headquarters.

Eventually, after waiting outside each door for hours, Gaara was able to find which one Itachi was behind. He had cast another jutsu so that the eye could see but no be seen. The eye flowed down to Itachi and focused on him.

Pangs of guilt ran through Gaara when he realized Itachi's condition. He was near death—he was so low on Chakra, breathing drastically lowered his levels. Gaara watched the Uchiha for what seemed like hours before he started to pray.

It was only the second time in his life he had ever cared about someone so much before. The second time in his life his heart hurt at the sight of another person critically hurt. But what was there for him to do, besides pray? He wasn't even sure if he believe in a god, but he was praying to one anyway. He wasn't very connected to the man, but something he had done left a mark beneath Gaara's skin. What was it? Why was he so worried about the Uchiha now that he was so drastically hurt?

It was because Itachi had had the courage to almost sacrifice himself for someone he hardly knew. He was willing to seal away the demon within Gaara—no matter what the cost. Why had the Uchiha been so…suicidal about his life. Why exactly had Itachi sealed the demon away? Was it because he knew what the demon could do? Had the Akatsuki followed him longer then he knew they existed? Exactly how much did they know about him? Was everything that had happened yesterday—or whenever it had actually happened—staged? Had Itachi been planning this from the beginning?

The anger finally taking effect, Gaara called off the jutsu and returned to his room. There was a crack in the wall that the sand could get through…What if he was to turn himself into sand, and go through as well? Even if he did, there were the two guards outside his door he had to worry about. He wasn't sure he could take them both on without killing them.

So what options were left for him? None. He had to wait in the room, alone, as the letter as instructed him. There was no other option. He could see how Itachi was doing if he felt the need, but after recalling his previous thoughts, he found he was no longer interested in the Uchiha.

Growling, Gaara removed the gourd and placed it on the right side of his bed where it had been before. He lie down on the bed, face down, and quickly fell into a deep slumber.


He was awoken shortly after his sleep by Itachi. He collected his gourd and slung it around his back, not even looking at the Uchiha. Anger was simmering inside…What was there to say that wouldn't be swears and questions he knew Itachi wouldn't answer? Gaara clenched his teeth together in an angry attempt at calming himself. It didn't help much.

Itachi brought him to the room he was to sleep in. He had to share one with the blonde haired boy. The one he had fought. Deidara, he had learned. Itachi dumped Gaara off there with Deidara. He kept his distance—he didn't like his roommate very much. Deidara hardly ever said anything to him, but when he did, they were one-word commands. Once, Gaara grew tired of Deidara and asked him, "Are you mad at me because I nearly blew your arms off?" Deidara's commands ended after that.

Aside from sharing the room with Deidara, Gaara trained with Itachi. At first, he despised the Uchiha, but after a while of being with him and him alone, Gaara realized how much of a genius Itachi was. He also realized what the seal had done to the sand—it was no longer able to protect him of his own accord. He had to cast jutsus if he wanted it to do that. It was a slow process, having to learn so much he had missed out on, but Gaara enjoyed the time spent with Itachi.

Itachi was silent more often then not like Gaara himself. He preferred to do something at his own pace then when they were expected to be done. He loved training, and soon that additude rubbed off on Gaara. Although seriously behind, he enjoyed learning the techniques with Itachi.

He was a good teacher, Itachi. Whenever Gaara got something right, Itachi would praise him, but not to the point where he felt like a child. And when he did something wrong, Itachi would simply point out his mistakes and run him through the steps again. There was no embarrassing insults, no loss of temper, no nothing. Itachi was always perfectly calm. He knew how far Gaara could go, and only pushed him a bit farther then that. Itachi didn't complain that he should be stronger—they just continued with their training as though it didn't actually matter.

There was one other thing Gaara had to learn that was almost impossible to teach: emotions. Because the demon had been sealed away, his emotions were more clear and easier to read and identify. But that didn't mean Gaara knew what they were or why they had come. It was a hard thing for Itachi to teach and for Gaara to learn because everyone took emotions differently and Gaara had gone without them for thirteen years. There was always more to learn…

After the training sessions, he and Itachi would go for lunch. The food was usually bland and gross-looking, but no one ever complained. Gaara silently ate the food, glancing from side to side at everyone attending. He was learning the names quite well: there was Zetsu, the green and black plant-man that loved eating things like a venus flytrap; there was Sasori, the red-headed puppeteer who went on missions with Deidara; there was Kisame, Itachi's mission partner, a half-man half-shark creature who could survive in both lands; and there was Hidan, the immortal. Anyone else Gaara hadn't gotten down yet. He spent most of his time with Itachi, away from everyone else, and so there was no time to learn names. But then again, what did it matter? He was there to train and kill.

When the time came that Itachi had to leave on a mission, Gaara was left feeling alone and abandoned. He sulked around the base for a while, before he became bored. He was desperate for something to happen. So desperate, in fact, he went off in search of Deidara. For what? A fight, maybe.

He finally found his target in their room. Gaara opened the door, entered. Deidara looked up briefly, but looked down when he knew who had entered. Deidara was sitting there, just staring at the mouths on his hands. His arms had been critically wounded by Gaara's attack, and so they were put up in slings.

Gaara made his way to his bed, dropped his gourd on the floor beside the bed, and sat down on the bed, facing Deidara. For a moment, all was silent. Then, "I'm pretty useless now, thanks to you." Gaara gave a small token of acknowledgement by looking his way. He remained silent and impassive. Deidara chuckled. "You've learned much from Itachi-san, hm?" Gaara remained silent. There wasn't anything to say. Instead of falling silent, Deidara plowed on, "Why do you never speak, Gaara-san, hm?"

Gaara looked down to the ground, closed his eyes. "When I was born, I killed my mother. I was 'bestowed' with the sand. I was cursed with the demon Itachi sealed away. The sand was the ultimate shield—it protected me without my doing anything at all. Even if I didn't want it to.

"My father was Kazekage-sama. I was left alone and spoiled with whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. I thought that was love.

"By the age of six, I was classified as a dangerous being. The sand altered my control of my emotions, and they soon figured that out. Kazekage had people try and kill me numerous times. I found that as well as protecting myself, the sand could kill. I felt that whenever I killed, I felt truly alive. And my philosophy was this: if there was always more people to kill in this world other then myself, the world was perfect. That was my soul purpose of living.

"But then I traveled to Konoha and I met these people…Uzumaki Naruto and Uchiha Sasuke himself. They both fought valiantly in their own way. Naruto possesses the Kyuubi, and Sasuke's lived up to the Uchiha name." Gaara sighed, fell silent. "And, eventually, I chose to come here myself." Gaara looked up to Deidara. Deidara caught his eye, looked away quickly. Gaara stood, made to leave the room. Deidara stopped him.

"Where are you going, un?"

Gaara didn't look back. "I know someone who can heal your arms."

"Let me go with you, hm."

"No, too dangerous." Gaara threw the cloak onto the bed, took his gourd, and said, "I'll be back soon." And with that, he left, leaving Deidara speechless.


A/n

So, what do ya think? This is my first ever Naruto fic, and if I get anything wrong, just tell me! Next chapter: Haruno Sakura.