Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or anything associated with Naruto, though I wish I did.

Sorry for the long delay, writer's block is a bitch and a half. That being said I have gone back and edited and have rewritten some things because of my change in tastes and other inspiration coming to me during my dry spell. I hope you all like it and I'll try to update soon but life or other stories could get in the way. Enjoy! ^-^

xxxxx

Naruto looked at Arashi with incredulous eyes. This was the fifth time, this month alone, that he had requested a high-ranked mission. The other four missions, all A-rank and S-rank solo missions at that, had been completed in record time. In less than a month the much dreaded conference was happening and his brother seemed to be trying to bury himself in missions, the more suicidally dangerous the better.

The blond jinchuuriki had refrained from asking Arashi what was upsetting him since the incident with Deidara's clay messenger bird, but he absolutely drew the line at this kind of self-abuse. The silver-eyed seer needed a large amount of sleep and extended meditation. The rings around Arashi's eyes looked like they were from sheer exhaustion instead of just his regular jinchuuriki markings.

"Do you really think I'm going to let Gaara allow you to go on a mission while you look like you haven't slept in months. You're paler than normal and look like you haven't eaten decently in a while either. There is no way in Hell I'm letting you leave Suna until its time to go to the conference. Understand?"

"Naruto-"

"I said do you understand?"

Arashi sighed inaudibly in resignation. It was bad enough he already felt the terrible soul deep longing for the guardian of his heart as well as the holder of his soul tugging at all of his senses along with the countless half-visions and warnings that were plaguing his mind constantly. One of the great crossroads of Fate was approaching and there was no telling what was to happen. There were too many different paths that could be taken for a clear future to be seen. So the poor silver-eyed seer had been seeing multiple outcomes for infinite paths. Of course his ability do see those infinite paths and stay sane was one of the reasons why his formal Sennin title was Mugen Sennin.

"If that is what you wish Naruto," Arashi said calmly, even though he felt anything but, before disappearing in a shimmer of heat, one of his new shunshin variations.

Naruto took a moment to admire the new variation before sighing softly to himself. Something really was wrong with his dearest companion, who would say nothing of what was wrong. It was not his intention to needlessly pry where he was not welcomed but whatever was troubling Arashi was serious. Why else would the silver-eyed shinobi be wearing himself out constantly with hard missions this close to the potentially deadly and definitely perilous conference?

Arashi knew that the conference would be dangerous so this behavior was baffling to say the least. It looked as if he was going to have to speak with one of their kindred because it could be no coincidence that the seer had stopped all contact, of any kind, be it platonic or sensual, with anyone, almost as if he was repulsed by it.

That was a troubling thing indeed. Naruto was very well aware that contact, of any kind that had no ill-intentions behind it, for jinchuuriki had a calming effect and helped quite a bit when an individual's heat came around. Now Arashi wasn't even indulging in that one small bit of comfort.

Arashi needed his mate or a lover but the seer would never speak of what he had seen in his visions regarding his mate nor spoke of any lovers he had. The Jinchuuriki of Kyuubi had no idea that his companion only had one person he had ever called lover. Among the people Arashi was raised by to call someone lover implies that there are deeper feelings involved instead of just physical release.

Naruto could only hope that things with Arashi would get better before the conference because even the blond could feel the cold, foreboding in the wind when he stopped to pay attention to it.

Something was going to happen soon, something big, something that would reverberate throughout the world.

xxxxx

Arashi watched dispassionately as the sand dancing in the wind gave him the same message as his other methods of divination had. Austromancy, Bletonomancy, Botanomancy, Capnomancy, Cartomancy, Lithomancy, Oneiromancy, and Spodomancy to name a few that he had tried had all shown the same results. Him attending the conference was the equivalent of walking straight into a trap of epically fatal proportions.

He was not afraid to die.

He was more than willing to sacrifice himself for his precious people, especially his most precious.

But…

It was not his reactions that he had to worry about. Arashi was more than certain that it had not quite occurred to his nakama that he, Arashi, having not reached his majority or having mated his fated partner was not immortal like they were. This lack of realization could be attributed to the fact that Arashi seemed invulnerable to his nakama at the best of times as well as him never telling any of them his true, chronological age.

Spiritually, Arashi was actually the eldest of the Jinchuuriki. Chronologically, he was just

ahead of Naruto, who was the second youngest, in age.

As the silver-eyed seer pondered the trap that he was going to step into he could not help but ponder over two questions that had tormented him for ages.

Would Death be his gift or his curse?

Was he ready and willing to live up to the meaning of a Jinchuuriki's existence despite the consequences?

xxxxxx

"Gaara have you noticed…?" Naruto asked, trailing off as he spoke.

"The changes in our Sansai? Yes, yes I have noticed my sweet sacrifice. If the sudden withdrawal from almost all physical contact had not been a large enough clue then the lack of proper sleep, the back-to-back missions, and the constant wandering just added to my suspicions." There was a weary, concerned look in Gaara's eyes as he spoke and gathered his mate up into his arms.

Arashi was acting like a trauma victim but there was no obvious catalyst that caused the behavior to begin. Everyone was baffled and even more on edge because of both Arashi's behavior and the conference that was looming ever closer.

"Perhaps he has Seen something that is worrying him?" The blond tentatively hypothesized to his crimson-haired mate.

"Perhaps." Naruto sighed into Gaara's robes as he picked up on all his mate did not say.

Arashi is our brother and we should trust them. Arashi should know he does not have to shoulder his burdens alone. Can't our seer see how much they all were worrying over him?

With the conference so close it would be stupid to ask and risk angering the seer who would flee rather than unleash his rage upon them. And they could feel the volatile emotions that seemed to simmer just under the surface even if they couldn't discern just which of those emotions were present besides rage.

Too bad none of them could feel the agony or the sorrow or the longing or the beginnings of despair that the rage masked.

xxxxx

Arashi glided along the surface of the sand barely paying attention to the bright half-moon that hung overhead. Gaara had ordered him not to travel to Konoha shortly after the vision he had had of his destined partner because of the problems Tsunade had been having with the Konoha Council. Now he had been ordered not to leave Kaze no Kuni until it was time to go to the Ame Conference.

The seer was aware that his precious ones were worried about his recent behavior but he couldn't bring himself to care. Not when he was cut off from his source of comfort and strength. To get around the first order his allied Kage and clan head had given him Arashi had been taking missions in the hopes of even a glimpse.

After all, his lover had always been the one to soothe his emotions and being cut off from the first holder of his heart was not doing Arashi's temperament any favors.

xxxxxx

Gaara nipped sharply at his mate's neck, drawing blood as he did so. The Kazekage relished the heavenly taste of Naruto's essence as well as the high-pitched keen that accompanied the grinding of the blonde's ass against his hard cock in response to the sensation the sand-user's teeth created.

"Don't… tease… me… Gaara…" Naruto panted while continuing to rock and grind onto his mate's hard cock. It had been too long since the Kamikaze had had the Kazekage take and claim him. The coming conference and the troubles in Konoha had kept the most of the Clan too busy to pursue more pleasurable activities.

No one had the audacity, or the balls in some cases, to tell Chiyo-baa-sama or Ebizou-jii-sama to stop fishing in the well and do work. Those two were dangerous enough normally without pissing them off enough to make their vindictive, and experienced, shinobi sides come out. A shinobi or kunoichi does not live to see old age without being very lucky, very dangerous, or both.

Soon honey skin was littered with purpling bruises and flecks of crimson from already closed wounds. The sweet mixture of pleasure and pain was driving Naruto insane. All he wanted now was for Gaara to be thrusting inside him until he screamed his throat raw. But no, his mate wanted to be cruel and tease him right to the edge of bliss before pulling back.

"Anxious my only?" questioned Gaara who was getting satisfaction from his mate's pained pleasure. A slightly desperate keen issued from that lovely tan throat in answer and this did nothing to deter the sand-user, in fact, it spurred on his teasing.

"Beg me. Beg me to slam my hard cock up your tight little ass dry with only your blood to slick the way." Another of those delicious mewls followed by a buck of hips was Gaara's answer.

"So hot for me, so hot for my cock aren't you my little sacrifice? Perhaps I should tie you up like a proper sacrifice then fuck you raw. I want you so hoarse from screaming my name you can't speak."

That was the last anyone saw but not heard of either of them until the next afternoon. No, the sounds of their mating finally forced Arashi to take pity on Temari and Kankuro by putting up a sound barrier before returning to his bedroom for a night of meditation.

xxxxx

Arashi sat peacefully watching the sunset from the receiving room of his suite in the Sabaku compound while sipping tea. He was in a much better mood that day, though no one knew that because he hadn't left his suite all day. The seer had had more than pleasant dreams last night, more than likely because of emotions Gaara and Naruto had been broadcasting to anyone sensitive enough to notice them.

Of course the majority of his good mood could be attributed to the message that had been delivered to him by one of his lover's most favored summons. Arashi also got to pamper his lover's summon as well as exchange important messages. His lover's summons always reminded him of his own, which made him love them more. Suna was just too hot for either of their summons to subjected to for long.

His lover must have been really anxious to have asked one of his beloved summons to endure two days in the desert. Not that he blamed the man because he would have already said to hell with Gaara's orders if he didn't already know that they would see each other in Ame.

"Have a fun time last night?" Arashi asked with a sly look in his eyes.

Naruto froze for a moment. He had thought his ability to sneak up on the seer had been improving. Arashi must have been taking pity on him again. This meant his stealth training needed more time devoted to it.

"Last night was wonderful as a matter of fact."

"I know, and so do Temari and Kankuro. I had to put up a sound barrier last night so they could get a decent amount of sleep seeing as both have duties today. You are both lucky that neither of those two have developed empathy. I at least know how to shield so that I do not feel emotions running rampant everywhere."

The sapphire-eyed male understood the mild rebuke beneath his first precious person's words. As Kakashi always said, 'One must look underneath the underneath.' This was true for everyone, but especially true for shinobi. Arashi had just subtly told him that when there were others in the compound to either tone it down or shield it. Not very outrageous demands all things considered.

"Arashi we have all-" Naruto was cut off before he could finish his sentence.

"I know that you have all been wondering about my behavior. I understand that, I really do. You are aware of how private of a person I am. I do not wish to discuss it at this time."

"Karai," Naruto pleaded using that intimate name in hopes of a reaction. Arashi was a private person when it came to his personal life. Naruto was not aware of half of what the seer did when he wandered or anything that he did unless Arashi said something about it. But just thinking about that had Naruto's thoughts racing

Arashi above all else was a free spirit. It was one of the reasons that the seer had mastered the elements as he had. He understood them. The elements were as wild as the seer was and just as untamable. And that freedom had been restricted. Naruto knew damned good and well that while Arashi liked the desert he did not love it as Naruto himself did.

The Guide of the Jinchuuriki loved the forests and the mountains and the sea. These things reminded him of the place of his birth, which he loved even if he did not love the people. The seer loved being in the thick, endless forests of Hi no Kuni more than the wind-swept desert of Kaze no Kuni.

Being stuck in a desert for three months must have been torture for his wanderer of a brother. No wonder he had been asking for missions. He had been trying to get some time out of the country and had kept getting ones that would not even let him see past the borders. None of them had thought of this. They had all been trying to help and had just made things worse instead.

"Don't Naru-chan, just don't," Arashi said, being able to read what the blond had been thinking from his expressions. "I am not upset enough to hurt anyone over it. I understand your behavior and forgive it as long as you remember from now on that I am an active, S-rank shinobi who can take care of himself. Besides, I will forgive you now if you let me leave for the conference now."

Naruto huffed a little before smiling and agreeing. Anything to make up for the hurt all of their coddling had caused. Though he was a little curious. "What are you going to do?"

"I did promise myself to escort Tou-san to the conference. There are some people in Ame that he has not seen in a long time."

"Who might those people of interest be exactly?"

"Tou-san once taught some orphans from Ame during the Second Ninja War. Nagato and Konan are in for a surprise and so is Tou-san."

'And with any luck I can see my lover before the conference starts. It has been far too damn long since I have tasted that smile or felt those possessive arms wrapped around me. Soon love, soon.'