Another story by Balloon Animal

I've based this story on that awkward handshake that Naruto and Gaara share at the endr the Rescue Gaara arc. Naruto was acting kind of nervous, as though something happened between him and Gaara that the reader was never shown. And I'm sure they must have at least spent a night in the Suna before they went back to Konoha. You don't fight Akatsuki, revive the Kazekage from the dead and attend a funeral all in the same day. Bah!

Anyway Enjoy!

Get Some Sleep

The Suna Weather was unusually calm that night. There were no long bursts of wind that caused sand to pile against the stone walls that surrounded the village. There were no individual grains that stung the skin and collected in the eyelashes. No; it was just a calm expanse across the desert that night.

The same couldn't be said about Naruto's state of mind.

He clasped and unclasped his hands nervously as he followed a Suna Anbu soldier up towards the Kazekage's office, wondering just why he, of all people, had been summoned to see the Kazekage in the dead of night.

Sure, maybe he had played a tiny role in reviving and saving him. But surely any proper thanks could wait until the next day.

He had been peacefully asleep. It had, after all, been a harrowing day. Facing two Akatsuki members and, for a sickening moment, thinking that the wind country's leader; not to mention childhood friend, had lain dead at your feet. It could definitely take a toll on your mental reserves.

Which was why, when a masked stranger came to his bed to shake him awake, his room had been filled with screams and an unfortunate Rasengan to a weight bearing pillar. So, now while he sheepishly followed the Anbu soldier, his team mates were being relocated to new sleeping quarters.

"What's the time?" He drowsily asked as he began to ascend the stair case.

"It approximately 1:32 am," came a stiff reply.

"Ah" was all that Naruto could say. He had gone to bed fairly early. Before his head had even hit the pillow he had been fast asleep. He could only imagine how Gaara had been coping after the whole ordeal. He looked down and realised he had been too distracted to think about changing out of his sleeping clothes. He stopped walking, and the soldier turned his head to see why. The mask hid any hint of emotion.

"Er, should I get changed? I don't really think I'm addressed appropri-"

"-That won't be necessary."

"Okay?" Naruto raised an eyebrow. He was especially curious now. What could be so important that it warranted Naruto to appear before the Kazekage like he literally just woke up?

They kept moving and were now walking down a long hallway, lit by a few sparse lanterns. They flickered across the sandstone and created long warping shadows that stretched down the corridor. Naruto glanced out of one of the large circular windows and lost his breath.

The Suna was beautiful.

From this vantage point he could see across the tops of the buildings. The full moon was hanging heavy in the sky. It cast a blue tinge across the cracked buildings of the village. It was a tranquil departure from an otherwise bustling, hot and busy city. If the view was this nice, he couldn't wait to see it from the Kazekage's office.

Hang on. They were going to the Kazekage's office, weren't they?

When he began to make a turn to where he knew the room was located, he noticed that the soldier was moving in the opposite direction. Naruto scratched the back of his head in confusion. "Uh, where are we going?"

This time the Anbu soldier didn't turn around when he spoke, simply expecting Naruto to follow behind him. "We are going to Kazekage Sama's bed chamber."

Naruto had to quicken his pace to catch up with the other man. "Oh okay…" He squinted dumbly for a moment before this information sunk in.

"Huh, bed chamber!?"

He screeched to a halt. The soldier didn't pause with him and continued up the hall.

Once again he jogged up in pace with the masked man, chuckling nervously. "Ahh, real funny Mr. Wise guy. So seriously, where are we going?"

The man stopped in front of an impressive oak door and placed his hand upon it. "The Kazekage's bed chamber."

He made a move to push it open.

"Wait!" Naruto grabbed the soldier's wrist before the door could be opened. "B-bed chamber? Why am I needed there?" Naruto's overactive imagination was reeling over some possible scenarios for why he would be summoned to the Kazegake's bedroom in the middle of the night. None of them he was entirely comfortable with.

"He made a special request," was the only answer Naruto was given, before the soldier shook his hand off in annoyance and let the door open with a loud 'creak'.

Naruto bit his lip as he tentatively peered inside. The furnishing was lavish, as was expected for a Kazekage, but he couldn't locate Gaara. His eyes kept returning to stare at the king sized four poster bed that was the most prominent feature of the room. Naruto followed few steps behind the soldier into the room, licking his palm and making a desperate last ditch attempt to smooth out his bed messed hair.

The Anbu soldier kneeled and seemed to address an invisible entity. "I have brought him as you requested, Kazekage Sama."

"Thankyou, you are dismissed."

In a cloud of smoke the soldier was gone, and if Naruto hadn't of just heard Gaara's disembodied voice, he would have believed he were alone. He looked around in confusion before jumping back a little in surprise. Gaara had actually just been sitting in a large leather chair which had now swiveled to face Naruto.

Their eyes met.

Naruto swallowed.

Gaara was dressed in a magenta embroidered silk robe. Light, and appropriate for Suna temperatures, yet dignified for a country leader. It put Naruto's shabby orange boxer shorts and white tank top in perspective. He rose to his feet and approached the nervous blonde. He appeared very calm for someone who had been through so much strife.

Naruto wasn't sure what acceptable behavior in this circumstance was. Was he supposed to bow? Did he need to speak to Gaara with the same formality that the Anbu soldier did? Should he throw himself to his knees and beg him to be gentle?

Naruto must have looked like a deer caught in headlights because Gaara stopped a few feet away and gave him a peculiar look.

In a hasty effort to compose himself, Naruto chuckled a little too enthusiastically and rested his hands behind his head in an attempt to appear casual. "So, whatcha need Gaa- er, Kazekage Sir?"

Gaara tilted his head and closed his black rimmed eyes in thought.

Naruto leaned forward in nervous anticipation.

"I need you to help me…"

His knees began to buckle.

"… Fall asleep."

Naruto nearly fainted with relief. He pulled the biggest grin his cheeks could handle as he took a step towards Gaara, chuckling at his own stupidity. "For a second I thought…well…nevermind."

Gaara didn't smile back, but Naruto knew this wasn't an intentional social snub. The Kazekage was far more subtle at expressing himself. To a naïve onlooker he appeared withdrawn, but really it was only quiet observation behind those mint-green eyes, taking in everything with thought and sincerity.

"Ahh, sleep?" Naruto tilted his head at Gaara. He knew that the other man had had insomnia imposed upon him since birth. An unfair situation caused by the Jinchuuriki that had resided within him, but Naruto wasn't aware of the full extent of it. He personally had never had any problems sleeping (aside from a few nightmares), so he didn't know if Gaara expected him to relate.

Gaara looked distantly out a window, his face showing the tell-tale signs of someone whose thoughts were somewhere darker. The long pause before he spoke again made Naruto listen all the more intently.

"Tonight will be the first time in fifteen years that I can truly rest."


"I believe the closest to sleep that I've come is a self-induced meditative state, but still I could only maintain that for two or three hours. Tonight I can actually experience it."

"Gaara," Naruto repeated as he looked down at his feet. It was difficult to stare at eyes that continually radiated intensity like that. "It's really an honor that you asked me up here for this, but perhaps you need someone who's better with herbs and relaxation techniques. Sakura-"

"-I want you."

Naruto was a little taken aback by Gaara's abrupt stance on the matter. He bit his lip, still unsure. More people accused him of keeping them awake than putting them to sleep; unless of course, he was punching their lights out.

"Please help me," said an almost timid voice that was uncharacteristic of the Kazekage.

Naruto's resolve crumbled.

"Okay," he said.

Gaara closed his eyes again and looked visibly relieved. It was quiet in the room, the only sound coming from a grandfather clock that stood at the furthest end. It ticked like a metronome, reminding the two men that valuable sleeping time was ebbing away.

Naruto used this opportunity to have a proper look around the bedroom. The floors weren't carpeted, a wise choice, houses in the Sunagakure hardly needed insulation. Instead, rich polished floorboards lined the floor and didn't chill the feet like stone habitually did. Elaborate tapestries hung from the walls depicting great Shinobi of the past, and beside them resting against the wall were large bookshelves littered with large tomes and manuscripts. There was a glass door that led to a balcony outside that Naruto guessed, had another incredible view of the city. All-in-all it was an awesome bedroom.

It also had that bed…

Gaara was still watching him, waiting for him to take the initiative. Naruto wrung his hands together. It was now or never.

"Well, er, I guess you should lie on the bed. Because when I sleep, usually it's on a bed" he finished lamely. He wondered why he was acting so nervously. It was unlike him. He decided that it was probably because Gaara was now the Kazekage, and he needed to display a certain degree of respect around him. Although, he never had a problem getting into heated arguments with Granny Tsunade, his brain unhelpfully reminded him.

Gaara took a slow languorous look at the bed, he appeared unconvinced. Still, he made his way over and lay down in an almost comically mechanical fashion. He looked up at Naruto expectantly.

"Um, and then you close your eyes?" Naruto ran the steps through his head, he was sure he had covered the basics of sleeping.

"Are you going to join me?"

"Huh, Join you? Join you on the bed?"

The redhead just looked at him patiently. Naruto rubbed his arm, didn't Gaara know that sharing a bed with someone usually meant…oh shut up! He was just being silly. Of course this was nothing like that. He was turning an innocent situation into something more akin to the fiction in one of Jiraiya's novels. He had spent far too much time with that man.

"Yeah I guess so. That makes sense." He hesitantly stepped over and sat on the edge of the bed; he sank in slightly and felt the silky texture of the sheets beneath his hands.

Wait a minute.

This bed.

This bed was amazing.

Naruto, not one used to luxury of this degree, bounced up and down a few times, testing its firmness and laughed. He sprawled himself out across the sheets like a cat, revelling in their soft texture. He momentarily forgot where he was as he made gibberish sounds of awe.

"Is this what you usually do before you sleep?"

Naruto snapped back to present, abashed at his behaviour, remembering he was in the presence of a dignitary. "Oh! No, sorry. It's just; I've never been on a bed this comfortable before. How can you run a country? I'd just want to lie on this all day." He finished with a cheeky grin.

Gaara looked up at the ceiling thoughtfully. "I've never used this bed."

Naruto couldn't help but let out a startled sound of amazement.


"Before today its purpose was superfluous" then, as an afterthought he added, "I was most likely conceived on this bed."

Naruto immediately stopped feeling up the sheets. The bed had just lost its appeal.

"Er, that's a bit weird." He didn't have anything else to say after that, and apparently neither did Gaara. So they lay side by side for several minutes listening to the clock tick distantly in the background.

Naruto turned his head and studied the profile of the other man. Gaara's attention was still fixated on the roof, his chest rose and fell in steady breaths. It was incredible to think that only a few years ago, this calm and composed person used to be so unstable he would crush strangers to death on nothing more than a whim.

Gaara soon became aware of Naruto's close observation; he turned his head and returned the stare. They stayed like that, just looking; until Naruto felt that awkward sensation again and decided break the tension.

"So, um, you feeling sleepy yet?" He smiled and raked a hand through his hair.


"Nah, me either…"

They were both quiet again, and resumed staring at each other. The moment was getting a little too intense for comfort, so Naruto sat upright in a bolt, making Gaara widen his eyes at the sudden movement.

"I don't think this is gonna' work. Hey, there isn't a kitchen nearby is there?"

Gaara furrowed his brow as he took his time to look at Naruto. "You think it would be easier to sleep in the kitchen?"

"What?" Naruto said in confusion. He laughed out loud when he realised what Gaara thought he meant. "No! No, I just mean that sometimes when people can't sleep they drink warm milk. It's supposed to be a traditional remedy or something. It can't hurt to try."

Gaara turned his attention back to the ceiling. "There are food preparation quarters on the ground level. Usually I have assistants prepare meals for me. However, for the purpose of this exercise perhaps it would be better if we did this ourselves."

"Yeah!" Naruto felt excited energy pool inside him, despite the late hour of the night. "It will be just like when I was a kid and used to sneak food from the Hokage tower."

Gaara looked at him in interest. "Did you get away with it?"

"Not once." He grinned as he leaped to his feet and started towards the door. "Never stopped me from trying though." He placed his hand on the door handle before a gust of wind made him turn his head. He saw Gaara perched on the windowsill, his robes still fluttering from the sudden movement.

"It's quicker this way." And in a blink of the eye he leapt away.

In his haste to follow the Kazekage, Naruto was suddenly reminded of Kakashi's preference for using windows. In fact, he could count on his hand the number of times he had actually seen the man walk through a door. He smiled and was refreshed as the cool night air brushed against his face. He felt fortunate to be alive tonight.

The Kazekage's bed chamber was five floors up, so Naruto had to use a few awnings and windowsills to brace his descent. Gaara was already on the ground waiting for him patiently. His speed had certainly improved since the last time they met.

He landed with a graceful crouch, but with enough force that the sound reverberated against the walls of the houses on the empty street. He was nervously excited. It was as though he and Gaara were two kids skipping school to watch the dirty movie at the cinema. He stood up and resisted giggling like a six year old. "Now now, what would the people of the Suna think if they saw their Kazekage walking around the streets in his pyjamas?"

There was a slight twitch at the corner of Gaara's mouth which perhaps could have been interpreted as a smile. But the amusement was clear in his eyes. He turned on his heel and walked back towards the building.

"I'm more decently dressed than you, and I should remind you that there are fifteen hidden ANBU soldiers watching us, so try not to do anything too incriminating."

Naruto followed close behind Gaara, but now he couldn't help looking over his shoulder with mild paranoia. He was thankful when they were indoors again and away from hidden eyes. He looked down the dimly lit corridor, the lighting gave it the illusion that it extended into an infinite tunnel of darkness. Although, it most likely just led to the Jounin barracks.

"The kitchen is this way." Their bare feet padded across the tiled floor and soon they had reached quite a large room with long chrome tables. Everything was clean and stacked neatly beneath the benches. It was also very quiet. Naruto poked around in interest. Konoha didn't have a catering system quite as large as this. Most of the shinobi preferred to manage their own food anyway.

"This place must be really busy during the day," he mused out loud, "things can be so different when you look at it from another perspective."

Garra's black rimmed eyes dropped down in thought and Naruto wondered (not for the first time) what was going through his mind.

"You'll find the milk in the refrigerator at the far left corner."

Oh! Oh yeah. Naruto remembered the purpose of this trip. It was strange, he didn't feel tired at all and it was safe to bet that neither did Gaara. He was doing a pretty lousy job at helping the Kazekage out with his problem. He scratched his head as he opened the fridge door and squinted as he looked for the elusive milk. "Hey Gaara, could you find a pot? We need to warm this on the stove."

When there came no reply he turned his head in curiosity. He was slightly disturbed see Gaara holding a large kitchen knife and staring at it with a frightening intensity.

"Ahh… I don't think we'll be needing that. Milk doesn't require much chopping."

Gaara didn't appear to hear Naruto. Instead he placed the blade of the knife against his index finger and made a short quick cut. Naruto immediately stopped what he was doing to dash across the room and prise the knife from the Kazekages hands.

"Ok, if warm milk really makes you this upset you could have told me!" He held the knifes handle tentatively away from him by the fingertips.

Gaara still appeared to be lost in his own world. He watched the droplets of blood fall from the wound and pool in his palm. He closed his eyes and released an immense breath. Naruto placed the offending knife on a bench (and out of reach of Gaara) and took the injured hand into his own. Gaara jumped a little, startled at the physical contact and saw Naruto looking back at him in concern.

"It's gone." He said simply and looked at his wound with an unnatural fascination.

"No,' Naruto leaned closer just to make sure his eyes weren't deceiving him. "No, I'm pretty sure you're still cut. C'mon" he gave a tug on Gaara's sleeve "we should probably run that under some water."

"The sand is gone." Gaara murmured, his green eyes becoming misty and distant, "and it hurts." He lifted his head and, for the first time since Naruto had known him, gave a warm genuine smile.

"Ah…oh. OH!" Naruto said in realisation. Gaara's ultimate defence. The involuntary protection that shielded Gaara from all injury for his entire life was gone. Gone!

The sand that had given Naruto nightmares for weeks after the Chuunin exam had ceased to be. And yet, although it had made the Kazekage more vulnerable, he could see it wasn't an inequitable trade. Gaara had unquestionably gained a part of his humanity back that was more valuable than any Jutsu, no matter how powerful. Still, Naruto couldn't begin to imagine the adjustment it was going to be for the Kazekage. It certainly meant some serious training was in order.

"Wow," he chuckled. "I've never seen anyone so happy to see their own blood. But seriously, I know it's new and exciting but don't go around cutting yourself."

Gaara let Naruto clean and bandage his wound using first aid box they found underneath one of the kitchen benches. He held his hand away from him and admired the dressing, sill with an expression of disbelief at his self inflicted injury. Naruto clucked his tongue and rested his hands on his hips.

"Ok, that's enough of that. We're wasting time. Where's the milk anyway?"

Soon they were underway with the task they had originally come down for. Naruto whistled as he stirred the milk over the stove. Gaara was content to lean against the counter and casually observe the cheerful blond. It must have been refreshingly domestic departure from his council meetings and paperwork.

"Hey Gaara!" Gaara was lifted from his thoughts as his attention was drawn to Naruto. "When I'm Hokage let's make this a regular thing. I'll arrange diplomatic missions just so we can have midnight rendezvous."

"That sounds like a gross abuse of privilege." When Naruto was caught by Gaara's serious stare his smile wavered.

"I look forward to it."

"Ahh!" Naruto's squeal of delight reverberated through the kitchen. His stirring became more frenzied causing some of the milk to slop over the side and hiss against the hotplate. "Woops!" He lifted the pot off the stove and tested it with a spoon. "Mm, it's hot enough. Hey! A little bit of honey would be really nice with this. Does the Suna have honey?"

"We have very rich honey due to the nature of the desert flowers. Unfortunately it is only available in the spring and in limited quantities. It is considered quite a luxury."

Naruto pouted his lips.

Gaara sighed and turned to look at the cupboards that lined the back wall of the kitchen. "However for the Kazekage's personal kitchen I believe we'll find some available."

So, after a few minutes of searching accompanied by excited chatter from Naruto, they did eventually find some mythical Suna honey. Naruto remarked its deep reddish amber colour, unlike the light yellow stuff they had back at home. It seemed that everything in the Suna was a richer, more concentrated version of what they had in Konoha.

It also tasted wonderful! He sampled it with a teaspoon and was overcome. He definitely had to bring some of this back to Konoha. He added a generous dollop to the milk and after a quick stir divided it into two mugs. He handed one to Gaara and they broth drank in amicable silence.

He paused to contemplate Gaara. It was such a dramatic turn around. Gaara once represented everything that Naruto feared he would become. And now he was everything that Naruto strived to be. An unexpected surge or emotion swelled through him and he had to place a hand on the counter to steady himself. Gaara lowered his mug in apprehension as he watched Naruto's odd behaviour. "Is everything alright?" He asked.

"Yeah, yeah I'm fine," Naruto looked down at the mug in his hands, embarrassed. "I must just be tired." Truthfully Naruto wanted to tell Gaara how much he admired him, but feared that such a random emotional declaration this late at night would be a little off-putting for the Kazakage. So, instead he sipped his milk and silently respected Gaara from a distance.

Soon they were finished, and after a brief attempt at cleaning up after themselves (assistants could do that later, they concluded) they headed back up to the bedroom.

After a few leaps and bounds they were once again standing on the polished wooden floors and the dim light of the Kazekages bed chamber. He couldn't speak for Gaara, but Naruto was definitely feeling more sluggish. The adrenaline from their expedition had worn off and was replaced by a deep fatigue. He looked longingly at the soft blankets on the bed and turned to Gaara. "What time is it?"

Gaara looked the clock and said, "three thirty in the morning."

Naruto groaned. Although he wasn't as though he never had late night missions, it was just that he usually was able to prepare for those. "C'mon," he motioned. "It's time to lie down."

Naruto was the first to sit on the bed, although it was more like a running leap. He gave a sigh of satisfaction to be back on such a comfortable bed and threw the covers over him. He heard the squeak of springs and the mattress dipped a little as Gaara lay down on the opposite side. He tilted his head and couldn't help but chuckle at the dainty way Gaara adjusted his clothes. He took off his robe first and folded it carefully before resting it on the side table. It then pulled off his black singlet (which caused Naruto to unintentionally widen his eyes) so that all had on was a pair of loose slacks. He pulled the blankets over him and then lay so still that if it weren't for rise and fall of his chest, Naruto would have worried that he had died again.

The whole strangeness of being in bed with the Kazekage hit him once again. He knew a lot of the young girls in the village would kill for the privilege. He shifted uncomfortably and noticed that Gaara was wide awake and watching him. They were back to silently observing each other again. Even in his drowsy state Naruto's mind was running a mile minute. He had never really shared a bed with anyone before. He had, of course, slept side by side with people on missions. And sometimes when he was rolled out on the floor and Sakura was nearby, he liked to pretend that they were sharing a bed. But that was different.

This was very real and admittedly a little exciting.

"Thankyou Naruto."

"Huh,"Naruto said softly, surprised at Gaara's words. "What for?"

It was difficult to see too much detail in the dark room, but Naruto was able to discern Gaara's eyes lower in thought. The dark rims emphasized the movement. Naruto wiggled a closer, not wanting to mishear something that was possibly incredibly important.

"Thankyou for caring. Thankyou for trying. Thankyou…"

Naruto had to look away from Gaara's earnest eyes. It wasn't very often that he was thanked so sincerely for his efforts. He shouldn't even need to be thanked he thought. It's what any self respecting shinobi should have done. "Aw, shucks, I couldn't have done anything else…" He finished, feeling unusually shy.

He nearly stopped breathing when a felt a hand move under the covers and touch his arm. Physical contact initiated by Gaara was not something to be taken lightly. It was very gentle, barely grazing the skin, but it was still there. His spine tingled when it travelled upwards and rested on his shoulder.

"Gaara?" he managed to squeak.

"Naruto, " Gaara continued. "I always though of death as an end. A nothingness. And life was painful, so for me there was only pain or nothing. I made others feel pain because that made me something…" He trailed off, as though lost for words. Naruto was enraptured, absorbing every syllable. "But when I died, it… it wasn't nothing. It was something so vast, so intangible and endless. I knew, I could see, I was sorry…"

Naruto swallowed and lifted his own hand to rest on Gaara's.

"I saw my body, but I no longer felt connection to it. I was no longer tethered to it. But I knew that there were things here I still needed to understand. You brought me back so I could understand."

Naruto felt a melancholy as he listened to Gaara. He often felt that if they had known each other earlier they might have been spared so much loneliness. But perhaps that solitude gave them a greater appreciation for the companionship that most others took for granted. If it took loneliness to appreciate friendship, then did it really take death to appreciate life?

With a little courage he trailed a hand across Gaara's face. There was no reaction from Gaara. He didn't flinch from the touch, nor did he lean into it. He simply accepted this affectionate gesture. Naruto felt so close to Gaara at this moment. This man had opened a window to a part of him that had almost certainly never been shown to anyone before. It filled Naruto with hope in humanity. Hope that there was redemption in everyone. Hope that anything was possible…

Gaara's face was soft. Ridiculously soft. He was curious to know if that extended to the rest of his body but hesitated. He didn't want to spoil the moment and do anything inappropriate. However, he didn't need to worry about his own behaviour. Surprised didn't even begin to describe Naruto when Gaara continued what Naruto had started by letting his hands trail beneath the white singlet and down the blonde's smooth chest. Naruto's heart rate tripled. He had never imagined Gaara capable of intimacy like this, let alone with him. This night was just getting stranger.

He let out a breath he didn't know he was holding when Gaara finally pulled his hands away. Although they were no longer touching he could still feel the heat of the man beside him. It was getting pretty warm beneath these covers.

"I think I know what I need to understand…" Gaara whispered cryptically.

"Uh," Naruto didn't really know what to say, wondering if his teenage brain was misconstruing Gaara's words. When a sudden movement caused Naruto to find his body flush against Gaara's, it began to seem a much less likely.

His mind was in a state of panic. What should he do?! He couldn't just push Gaara away. Not only would that be rude, he was still slightly unsure about the stability of Gaara's mental state. Would he be able to handle the rejection? On the other hand, he didn't know if he was comfortable about reciprocating Gaara's advances. He had to decide quickly too, because Gaara was in the process of pulling Naruto's singlet over his head.

"Gaara, wait I…"

Gaara spoke again, and he couldn't help but note the sad tinge to it.

"I've never been this close to anyone before." His heartbreaking eyes met Naruto's.

Naruto gave in.

He relaxed and lifted his arms in cooperation. The singlet was discarded and they lay side by side with their bare chests pressed against each other. Naruto was breathing heavily, but noticed that Gaara was eerily calm. His eyes had adjusted to the darkness, and he could see that Gaara looked more pensive than anything else. It was very sensual to feel such smooth bare skin against his, and the hand that was tracing his side had the rough texture of Gaara's bandaged finger.

Their faces were close. So close that he could feel Gaara's breath bush against his cheek. Naruto couldn't move. He was frozen solid. Could Gaara feel his hammering heart between their chests? Gaara rested his forehead against Naruto's and closed his eyes. They stayed liked that for a while, just breathing and enjoying the warmth of each other. Perhaps this is all that Gaara wanted.

Naruto could handle that.

Although it was kind of nice, his arm was going numb underneath his weigh. He slowly began to pry himself away but was stopped when an arm shot out and caught his wrist. He didn't think he'd ever know what was going through Gaara's mind that night, but the redhead pushed Naruto on his back and buried his head into the blonde's chest with a guttural groan. Although surprising, it was also very ticklish. Naruto had to bite back a laugh that was caught in his throat.

As Gaara breathed Naruto in, the blond began to collect his thoughts. It was apparent that that the Kazekage was inexperienced in the realm of touch. His movements were more instinctual than deliberate, and just a little clumsy. But it was clear that he wanted it.


Naruto swallowed. Gaara needed a guide, and there was only one in the room this night.

Naruto stopped the redhead's frantic movement by cupping the man's cheeks with his hands. They looked at each other.

He leaned his head up and pressed his lips against Gaara's.

Gaara's reaction was minimal. He didn't pull away, but nor was he reciprocating the embrace. He was still; as though baffled at the gesture and unsure of what to do. Naruto pulled away wondering if he'd made a mistake. Gaara's grip tightened, and his breathing quickened. Just before Naruto's head touched the pillow Gaara was back; his movements mingled with determination and desire. Their lips were locked together once more. Both of the teenagers were in fresh territory with this new frightening, exhilarating experience.

Tenderness was not an ability a Shinobi was trained in. They learned to fight, to kill, to endure. But when it came to truly connecting with another human, they were ill-equipped to handle it. This was a fact that Naruto was still learning, and something he knew Gaara was only beginning to realise. He wanted to show Gaara how important it was. Make up for all those years of neglect. He daringly parted his lips to let his tongue trace the purse of Gaara's mouth.

If an assassin were to enter the room at this moment, it certainly would have been an opportune time. Both teenagers were so firmly concentrated on the interaction between each other's mouths, that not even an earthquake could have drawn their attention away. Naruto shifted beneath the weight of the other teenager, waiting for Gaara to respond to his advances; or at the very least give a signal that perhaps they should stop.

But, finally, Gaara let his mouth part slightly and Naruto tried not the exhale in relief too heavily. Their tongues briefly brushed against each other and the smooth sensation mingled with the lingering flavour of honey sent a ripple of heat down Naruto's body in a way he hadn't expected.

As they continued the kiss and Gaara became more accustomed with the performance, he also became bolder with his movements. His hands travelled down Naruto's sides, taking in every inch of skin until they brushed the waistband of the blonde's boxer shorts. Naruto broke away from the kiss to collect himself and calm his breathing. He looked up at Gaara's face and saw an expression that almost certainly mirrored his own. A flush had spread across his cheeks and his mouth was partially open, drawing in short ragged breaths.

"I…I want…" Gaara began. His black rimmed eyes squinted in frustration when he couldn't find the words he was looking for.

Naruto nodded. Gaara didn't need to say it because he understood completely, and it terrified him.

Terrified him because he wanted it too.

He moved his body until they were both lying on their sides again, still pressed against one another. The heated skin contact felt so nice, so wonderful, so, so…right.

"Closer" Gaara finally breathed, and that was enough to give Naruto the courage to hook his thumbs around the elastic of Gaara's waist pants and slowly pull them down soft hips. The red-head only briefly paused when he realised what Naruto was attempting to do, but after a glance into wanton blue eyes, he lifted his hips in cooperation until they were discarded next to the bed.

Naruto's orange shorts almost immediately followed suit.

Just when he thought his heart couldn't beat any faster…

Now there was nothing between them, and Naruto's mind had nearly melted with a sensation overload. His painfully hard erection was pressed against Gaara's, and the reality of the situation was beginning to bear down on him.

He was naked.

In the Kazekage's bed.

With the Kazekage.

His heart was beating so fiercely that he could hear the blood rushing past his ears. He squeezed his eyes shut when panic began to seize control of him. It wasn't until gentle hands cupped his face that the trembling of his body calmed and he looked beneath his lashes at the concern and need clear on Gaara's face. He saw desire and a little trepidation in those green eyes; but most of all he noted the sincerity looking back at him. Gaara was not a person who ever masked his feelings or intentions; a side affect of his upbringing that had become an endearing quality of his character. And Naruto realised just how rare a quality that was to find.

It was as though the world had crumbled away until it was just the two of them alone on the bed. And for the first time in a long time Naruto felt safe and wanted.

Gaara kissed Naruto, and Naruto was happy to kiss back.

This was a different embrace to the previous. It was more intense, more passionate. He opened his mouth wider to deepen the kiss and their tongues found a harmony of movement as they brushed against each other. Naruto felt Gaara's legs entwine with his own, and took a sharp intake of breath as the movement caused a grinding friction between them. Gaara had closed his eyes, brows furrowed in an almost pained expression as he catalogued each new touch that travelled across his body.

Naruto found his hand had taken on a life of it's own as it inched its way between the two teenager's bodies. He paused when he reached a coarse tuft of hair, but as Gaara arched against his touch he was encouraged to continue.

Experimentally, he let his fingertips gently trace the underside of Gaara's erection. He was rewarded with a sudden jolt and a tight grip on his arm as Gaara gave a sharp inhale. By the startled look in his eyes, it made Naruto wonder just how far this unfamiliar territory stretched for the Kazekage.

In any case, it was clear that he was enjoying it because Gaara pushed his hips forward in an almost demanding way to persuade Naruto to continue. The blonde, feeling his own need growing, moved away a few inches so that he had enough space to take both himself and Gaara in his hand and give a few strokes along both of their lengths.

It was a strange experience to feel another man alongside him while he did, what he considered, a very private act. In his opinion, this was far better. He was thrilled to watch the sounds and movements elicited from Gaara as he increased the pace, and idly mused on how exhilarating it was to have another human pressed against him. Gaara buried his head against Naruto's shoulder while hot puffs of ragged pants tickled his chest. Hands had snaked around Naruto's body until they were clawing at the blonde's shoulder blades, gripping and relaxing in unison with Naruto's strokes.

"Ah!" He hissed through his teeth as he concentrated keeping the pace right. He used his left hand to hold Gaara's hips steady, occasionally letting it skim across the curve of Gaara's backside simply because his friend's skin felt so damn nice.

They were moving together in a way that felt so natural, so sensual… Naruto clenched his jaw closing his eyes and lost himself in the moment. It wasn't long before he felt Gaara's body shudder against him. Warm sticky fluid ran down his hand, and that was all it took to send Naruto over the edge. He held Gaara tight against him has he convulsed in a series of toe curling waves of bliss.

"Ahh!" He repeated, muffling his groans into Gaara's neck. Finally, he relaxed his arched back and heaved a sigh of satisfaction. It was over, though they were still clinging to each other like glue.

He tentatively pulled his hand out from between them while he began to prise himself away. The white residue on his hand was cooling down as he held it away from his body and he crinkled his nose. "Ew" he murmured, and proceeded to wipe it down the side of the bed, glad that he wasn't the one who had to change the sheets.

"Hey Gaara," he whispered as he turned back to face his friend, feeling rather embarrassed now that he had returned to a proper state of mind.

What had just happened?

"Gaara" he repeated hoping maybe between the two of them they could find some rationalization for what had just occurred. He frowned when he didn't get a response. Just before he was about to poke the man in the ribs, he noticed those familiar black eyes were closed, and his chest was rising and falling in a gentle tempo.

Gaara was asleep.

Naruto smiled. Although using an admittedly unorthodox method to fulfil his mission, he had fulfilled it none-the-less.

He was going to make a damn fine Hokage.

Naruto was sure that Gaara wouldn't mind if he took the liberty of draping his arm over his unconscious form while he also nestled his head down to sleep. He didn't know when the next time would be when he was this close to someone, and he was going to make the best of it while he could.

Anyway, anything that needed to be said could wait till morning.

Naruto grinned until drifted asleep.