Summary: I have a condition. I'm going to forget everything. I'm going to forget you. And there's nothing you can do about it. NaruGaara. Yaoi. AU.
((08/23/10: Story has been editted. Nothing major. Just fixed the hilarious amount of inconsistencies, spelling and grammatical errors that were somehow still present, as well as added a link to an editted (less explicit) version of Part 3 for both A:R and SBM.))
Author's Note: I didn't know exactly how to characterize this story. It's a little bit of angst, a tad of hurt/comfort, a teensy bit of a tragedy, a lot of a romance story, but most of all, it's a discovery of feelings story. That's really all you should know before/if you decide to read it. Thank you.
One day, Naruto rode a bicycle to school. When I asked why, he said it was because he had crashed his car. When I asked how, he said with a laugh that he had forgotten how to drive it. Of course, I didn't believe him.
He had loved his lemon of a vehicle more than most people, and he took great pains to ensure that no harm came to it. He drove ten—sometimes fifteen miles under the speed limit and parked as far away as possible from other cars. This infuriated me whenever we carpooled, but I found a certain amusement in it nevertheless. Such eccentricities possessed a magnetic charm, making him who he was. Still, I knew that car would last forever. He had to be lying. But I never saw it again. The day he showed me the damage report, I was in utter disbelief.
Needless to say, I started paying more attention.
"Where on earth did I put them?"
I glanced up from my Russian Studies textbook in time to see Naruto pat himself down in confusion. He turned toward me, blue eyes alive with uncertainty, and cocked his head a little to the side. "Do you know where I put my keys?"
"Your apartment keys?" I asked casually.
"No," he scratched his head, golden tufts going awry for a few moments, before he crossed his arms and looked around again. "My car keys."
A crease settled itself on my forehead as I stared at him for a small span of time. "You totaled your car."
Naruto paused, looking at me again with a puzzled expression—like he didn't quite believe me—before slapping his forehead and grinning. "You're right; I'm stupid. It's an old habit." Grabbing his books off the counter, he pushed a burnt piece of toast into his mouth and was out the door with a rushed goodbye. Without his car, he would undoubtedly be late, but he had politely declined when I offered to let him drive mine, so it was his own fault. It wasn't my concern, anyway.
We were roommates, and had been for two-and-a-half years now. My freshman year of college, I had decided to go random in the hopes that I would be paired with someone I could simply ignore. It was always easier to stay away from someone if I didn't already know them, and my brother and sister weren't too keen on using the money father left us to pay for a single. What I really wanted was peace and quiet, single or no single. What I got was Naruto, the enthusiastic blond who made it his priority to see that we were friends by the end of the first month.
I told him he was crazy. He told me I was probably right, but we would be friends by the commencement of four weeks. I took my usual route and ignored him. He took his usual route and annoyed the hell out of me by inviting me to go everywhere with him. I tried to scare him off by telling him I was gay. He said he had five other gay friends, so what was one more? And really, in the end, it was useless to resist, because we were lodged together in an eleven-by-seven foot room, and I came home to his smiling face every night. Somewhere along the line, I conceded. I'm pretty sure it was during the fourth week.
Our relationship after that was abnormal at best. He assumed we were friends, and I grew tired of telling him he was wrong. Somewhere else along the line, I agreed to go places with him, if only to shut him up. We were an awkward pair—Naruto was a boy of charismatic appeal and an amicable nature, while I considered myself plain and prided myself on remaining relatively unsociable. And yet, he dragged me everywhere, to the point where we were known for being together, and people questioned us if we went somewhere without one another. What in the world did he see in me? I spent my weekends at the library, immersed in my Historical Studies until I was ready to collapse. Naruto partied from Thursday until sometimes Sunday, collapsing everywhere from the street outside to my lap on some occasions, making it clear that he didn't take his pursued Art Education degree very seriously.
We were so very different.
He dragged a new girl home almost every week. On the off-chance that I actually dared to stop by the apartment with a boy, Naruto would smile and treat him kindly, indiscriminately, and tell him them that I was a keeper. I couldn't tell if he was being serious, but I told him to stop being stupid, nonetheless. And I don't know how, but we got along. Our worlds began to merge together at some point, and the random girl arrivals substantially lessened, along with the wild nights out. Naruto started showing up at the library, to my dismay, and we worked side-by-side. I even agreed to accompany him to places on a very few occasions, but it was enough that the gay community thought I had a thing for him. That was crazy. They were crazy, and I told them so, but they just smiled and told me to stop lying to myself.
As juniors, I really had come to know him quite well, whether I liked it or not. When I went to the library, I subconsciously waited at the door for Naruto to pack his things and come along. When Naruto went out, though these occasions were now few and far between, he assumed I would be joining him and patiently waited for me to get my things together. My stoic, unremitting countenance never changed, and Naruto's bubbly, outgoing temperament remained the same. One could say the circumstances had changed, and we had come to accept them. I knew he would be a lifelong friend, even if I hated the idea of friendship. I had a feeling I would know him for the rest of my life. He had somehow come to know almost everything about me. I likewise knew nearly everything about him.
That's why I knew, I just knew…From the moment that he had rode the bike to school, I knew that something was wrong.
I glimpsed up at Naruto as he bustled into our adopted corner of the library, throwing his books down and bending over to catch his breath. A few people looked up at him and glared, as Naruto never made too much of an effort to be quiet. I couldn't help but admire how he didn't seem to care about what other people thought of him. Of course, I never told him this.
"You're late," I said succinctly, turning my attention back to my note-taking. I made sure my tone communicated that I didn't care but was simply stating fact.
"I'm really sorry about that, Gaara," Naruto said between breaths. Taking his seat beside me, he pulled out a book and hastily flipped to a desired page. "Believe it or not, it slipped my mind."
"There's no need to apologize," I muttered, pen scrawling across my page. "We all forget every once in a while." But what I was saying didn't seem right. Naruto had never ever been late or forgotten. Every Tuesday and Thursday; that was the established agreement. It was February as well, so I couldn't link his confusion with finals or tests. Maybe he simply had a lot on his mind. I looked at Naruto, but he was no longer looking at his textbook. His eyes had drifted off to some place I couldn't see, thoughts emerging in that void I was not permitted access to. He looked troubled. I wanted to ask what was wrong. I wanted to, but didn't.
"Tonight," Naruto spoke up, looking at me again. I maintained my gaze on my books, because I knew that if I looked at him, I would ask him what was wrong. He would then ask me what was wrong in return, because I never inquired as to his possible problems. He used to ask me nearly every day, before he finally realized that I naturally wore an expression of irritation. I don't know why, but I felt uncomfortable asking him such things. I knew that if I did, it would bring us inevitably closer, and I didn't want to get any closer than we already were. I was afraid, deep down, of what it might mean.
"Tonight?" I repeated, turning the next page. I hadn't realized that such a silence had passed between us, but it had. Sometimes, it just happened, but it wasn't uncomfortable. Probably the strangest facet of our relationship was that I never once felt uncomfortable around him. Annoyed, yes, and irritated, yes, definitely, but he never made me feel uneasy. Maybe that was why I didn't mind being around him, even if he was one of the strangest people I had ever met.
"There's a party later tonight," Naruto continued. "Do you wanna come?"
"I can't." Forget the fact that it was Thursday. "I have that big paper due tomorrow." Reaching into my bookbag for more loose-leaf, I continued to address him indirectly. "I thought I had mentioned that."
From the corner of my eye, I watched him pout a bit. "That's right…Well, I'll have to go without you this time. I really need to relieve some tension."
"By drinking?" I questioned skeptically, dropping some paper by my books and fishing out a pen.
"Just enough to forget."
I finally looked at him. I wishd I hadn't. He looked forlorn and depressed and such a drastic opposite of the lighthearted boy I knew. Why did that somehow sadden me, too? "Don't you think forgetting is the problem?" I finally inquired, pulling him once again from that invisible emptiness. His blue eyes met mine, and he smiled, but whether out of habit or for some other reason, I did not know.
"What do you mean?" said Naruto, chin resting neatly in his palm.
I raised a nonexistent brow. "You seem to be forgetting quite a bit lately."
He looked amused. "Have I?"
I glared at him. With one, simple lift of a golden brow, he had issued a silent challenge between us—the are you going to ask what's wrong with me this time game. I did not want to play it tonight. For some inexplicable reason, I felt like more was at stake than usual. This was not some failed quiz or monetary problem. This was something else. I was sure of it. I was also quite sure that a part of me didn't want to know. How fickle the human mind is.
Thankfully, Shikamaru happened to catch sight of us and stopped by, talking more to Naruto than to me, but I was both used to and thankful for that. While they chitchatted, I turned back to my studies, eyes scanning back over the seemingly endless printed texts before me. One of Naruto's cheerful laughs broke out, and I found myself watching him as he shared in an animated conversation with a less-enthused Shikamaru. That was the Naruto I knew…so different from the crystal-blue eyes that had seemed to withhold a secret within their depths just moments prior.
Maybe I didn't really know him at all.
Naruto had left the library with Shikamaru not too long after the black-haired student had joined us. Before his departure, he asked me again whether or not I wanted to accompany him, but I declined yet again. I tried my best to disregard his disappointment.
The time alone gave me an ample opportunity to make some major progress on my paper, and before I knew it, I was finished. With my twenty-pager in hand, I walked the short distance from the library to the apartment and was back by 2AM. Not bad, but not good enough to face my Friday in a positive manner. Then again, did I ever face any day of the week in a positive manner?
Shrugging my jacket off onto one of the living room couches, I had tossed my paper onto the kitchen counter and was ready to practically fall into bed when I saw the strange lump on my mattress. I paused in the doorway of our shared bedroom, before exhaling tiredly and trudging up to my bed. Only a few golden strands peeked out from under the blanket, but it was enough for me to know that it was Naruto. Reaching out my hand, I laid it upon where I estimated his shoulder to be and shook him lightly.
"You're in my bed, Naruto," I said quietly, characteristic look of annoyance fighting to win its place across my face. This was not the first time that this had happened. This was not the second time, either. Sometimes when Naruto got very drunk, he would simply mistake my bed for his own. At least I told myself it was a mistake. Sometimes I was even in the bed when it happened, which made for a rather awkward situation, but we always came out of the happenings unaffected, as if it had never transpired. It was more prevalent during our freshman year, and especially during our sophomore year, but ever since Naruto had cut back on his partying and drinking, the occurrences had almost been forgotten. I suppose it was too good to be true.
I shook him again, and this time he shifted beneath the covers and groaned somewhat oddly. Annoyed, I pulled back the covers, and he winced as the moonlight from the nearby window played across his face. He reached out blindly, searching for the coverlet, but he stopped when his hand landed on my arm. His touch was cold. It jolted me to awareness. I watched in a bleary fascination as his eyelids opened slightly, the sapphire of his eyes taking on a glowing quality in the moonlight. It was somewhat beautiful. As his hand slid up my arm a fraction, and his eyes locked with mine, I became cognizant of the potential danger of the situation. It was weird, but whenever Naruto was inebriated and conscious and within so many feet of myself, he was apt to mistake me for a girl. I don't know how his mind processed during these moments, but he had done everything from trying to kiss me, to actually kissing me on one embarrassing occasion, to even attempting to sleep with me, before promptly falling into a deep, intoxicated slumber when he could fight me no more. Thank heavens he usually just conked out until morning, but there were still those rare happenstances in which things almost happened.
It was one of those times.
I tried not to make too sudden a movement, feeling stupidly like a small rodent cornered by a snake. Slowly, I pulled my arm further and further out of his grasp, trying to ignore the small jolts of heat that travelled up my limb. Right when his hand was encircling my wrist, he smiled and pulled me on top of him. He thought this was a game. I knew otherwise and guesstimated that he had roughly five minutes of strength before he passed out again. It would be an extremely long five minutes. I never should have woken him up.
We were a tangle of limbs as I struggled to free myself from his grasp. That only seemed to make things worse, however, as one of the blankets got caught up in the mix, securing me to him at the waist. I tried to roll us off the bed in the hopes that I could knock him out or free myself, at the very least, but that move only worked to his advantage. He rolled on top of me, legs on either side of my own and both of my wrists pinned to the bed on either side of my face. I was going to be kissed again. I glared darkly at him, my face no doubt vivid as a spear of moonlight spilled diagonally across it. Naruto stared at me for a long time, face unreadable, and oddly enough I wanted him to kiss me and get it over with rather than suffer this strange scrutiny that seemed to have no end. When he finally leaned down, I don't know why, but I held my breath. I was not new to kissing, neither was I new to kissing boys. I was not even new to kissing Naruto, but even the idea of it felt strange. I don't think I could ever be ready for such a thing.
As if he could read my thoughts, his lips never reached my own. I felt relieved, and yet, disturbingly let down. His mouth finally made contact with my neck, petal-soft lips dragging slowly across my skin. They seemed to leave an indelible fingerprint wherever they touched, and I realized that this may have been much more dangerous than a simple kiss. When he nipped me gently above my collarbone, I arched into him. I couldn't control it, but his teeth had both tickled and felt oddly good, sending a sudden shiver throughout my smaller frame. Gods above, was I actually enjoying this? Before I had a chance to consider this, Naruto pressed an open-mouthed kiss to the very same spot he had playfully bitten, and I felt my body wracked with an alarming shudder as his tongue did tantalizing things to my skin. I closed my eyes and tried to pretend that this was not happening. I tried to imagine it was someone else, but nothing worked. I could imagine no one else but Naruto. Something must have been very wrong with me, because I was perilously close to becoming aroused and that was certainly not a normal reaction to this. Not for me, anyway. His lips on my neck deepened their physical assault, causing me to draw in a sharp breath. I found myself wondering who it was that he was imagining I was, but I also didn't want to know. It was a strange contradiction.
The suction on my neck increased, almost painfully so, and I clenched one of my hands, finding the fingers interweaving tightly with Naruto's own slender digits. It scared me, and I opened my eyes. How long had it been since I had been with someone like this? How long had it been since I had even held someone's hand? Why did it have to be Naruto? Why did it have to be me? Our friendship would be ruined after this. While before, such a notion would have greatly relieved me, why now did it so significantly bother me?
Who was Naruto thinking about?
Naruto's tongue and lips finally left my skin, but I didn't feel as reassured as I had hoped to. His mouth dragged slowly upward until it finally settled just below my left ear, and he collapsed unconsciously on top of me.
"Gaara," he mumbled incoherently against my skin. My heart seemed to stop as my thoughts registered my own name. It seemed to echo endlessly in my ears, both a blessing and a curse. Why did he not say "Sakura" or "Hinata" or any of the dozens of other girls he had seen in the past? Wasn't he kissing one of them? But he had said my name, so…why had Naruto kissed me as me? That was not how it was supposed to happen. And what in the world would happen now?
My thoughts jumbled together as I fought off sleep. Naruto's deadweight body was still on top of me, useless to try and move, so I could do nothing other than leave him. It was an odd way of looking at it, but he provided warmth, despite the sweet, alcoholic breath that travelled up to my nose every once in a while. Before I knew it, I was drifting off to sleep. I would deal with it all tomorrow, but for now, I at least wanted to acquire a few hours of respite.
I didn't realize it until later, but Naruto never once let go of my hand.
When my alarm sounded on my cell-phone later on that morning, I had never felt so horrifically torn from a deep sleep. I shut off my alarm, losing my cell somewhere under the bed, and when I went to push the warm covers off of me, I was delightfully reminded of my roommate's body, which was so gloriously draped on top of me. My alarm had not disturbed him in the least, and neither did I as I pushed him to the side. I was inches away from beating him or even smothering him with a pillow, but I somehow opted to pull the comforter over him instead.
"Don't forget the bananas," Naruto said sternly in his sleep, finger waving dramatically in the air. With a weary sigh, I grabbed his arm and shoved it under the covers, securing it in place with a blanket. As I stepped back and regarded his dozing visage, I wondered how we would settle the matters of the previous night. Naruto always remembered what he did, and regardless of the fact that I tried to avoid him for at least a twenty-four hour period, he always found me and sat me down to have a talk about his alcohol-induced actions. It was closure. It made it so that we could face one another without hesitation, without that lingering recollection of I remember what happened last night. I was curious as to how he would play it off this time. He was rather good at linking his actions to some unresolved relationship and then laughing it off. I was probably making something out of a whole bunch of nothing. And yet, his lips seemed to whisper numerous words across my skin, and I grimaced and threw a pillow over his head. Five seconds later, I had pulled it off. If anyone could spontaneously die by accidental smothering, it was Naruto.
Walking into the bathroom, I quickly washed my face and tugged my shirt off, pausing in mute shock as my eyes fell upon the reddish-purple bruise neatly reflected in the mirror. I dropped my shirt in my surprise, the fingers of my right hand coming up to glide over the contusion above my collarbone.
I had a hickey. Naruto had given me a hickey. There was something exceedingly wrong about my straight roommate sucking on my neck hard enough to break blood vessels.
As if on key, Naruto trudged into the bathroom behind me, leaving yawns and stretches in his wake. "Morning," he greeted tiredly, covering his mouth with one hand and waving to me in the mirror with the other. Going still, his hand hung awkwardly in front of his lips as his eyes settled upon the quarter-shaped bruise on my neck. "Ne—Gaara," he said in puzzlement, slinging an arm over my shoulder, "did you go out last night after all?"
I couldn't look at him. We had never talked to one another so soon after such an incident. I settled my eyes on the sink. "No, I didn't."
"Then…" He peered over my shoulder, standing on his tippy toes and holding my upper arms as he tried to examine me closer. "…Who gave you this hickey?"
I slipped out of his grasp, saying "Very funny, Naruto," before heading back to the bedroom and pulling a black turtleneck out of a chest of drawers. Whereas I had expected things to be awkward, it was starting to feel like any other morning. And Naruto playing innocent did not do too well to improve my mood. "I assume we'll talk about this later," I said, pulling the fabric over my head and worming into the material. My dark-washed jeans from the former day would simply have to do.
"You look nice," Naruto said, admiring me from the bathroom doorway that he had propped his arm against. With his hair disheveled from sleep and his lazy blue eyes, I was fighting the urge to think he looked nice, too. "Any special occasion?"
"Just class, Naruto," I said tiredly, pulling on a black Converse shoe and proceeding to tie the laces. "Aren't you at all repentant?" I looked at him for a brief moment before searching around for my other piece of footwear.
Naruto seemed to pull my other shoe from nowhere, manifesting it like a cheap magic trick as he extended it toward me. "Repentant? For what?"
I propped my hands on my hips and examined him for another five seconds. Hastily, I grabbed my shoe and struggled to maintain my balance as I attempted to put it on while standing. Naruto reached a hand out and steadied me, and I was finally able to get the blasted thing on. "Are you playing stupid, or are you actually that dumb?" I inquired flatly. Glancing around for my backpack, Naruto picked it up and handed it to me as well.
"What did I do?" he asked innocently, making me feel like the one at fault. I was sure to maintain my blank stare.
"The hickey, Naruto," I finally disclosed. "It was another drunken night, so I don't blame you." Naturally, we seemed to migrate into the kitchen and front room. "I just thought you should be aware of what you're capable of when you're not sober." I had barely started searching for my paper when Naruto placed it perfectly in my hands. I looked from the glaring white to his face, which was alive with bafflement.
"Are you saying I gave you that hickey?" he queried at last, even poking me in the vicinity of where he seemed to estimate said hickey to be.
I quickly stepped back and found my hand closing over the same area. "It's fine; these things happen." Actually, they usually didn't, but that was beside the point. "I suppose we'll have the usual talk later on today." Dropping my paper into my bag, I vainly tried to comb my hair with my fingers until Naruto pulled my hands away and mussed it up with his palm. I was skeptical. "How do I look?"
Naruto smiled charmingly, hands falling upon my shoulders again as I fought the internal urge to push him away. Why now did I feel uncomfortable? "You look stunning," he teased, "as usual." Turning me around and walking me to the door, he opened it and placed the apartment keys in my hand. "Have a good day, Gaara."
I juggled the keys between my hands and turned to look at him with a critical gaze. "Yeah."
Nodding, his face adopted the sad expression in which his eyes seemed to hide something. "We'll talk later, okay?"
I could feel my heart skip a beat, but I wasn't sure why. Could it be that I was nervous? But I never got nervous. "Okay," I said quietly, shifting my bag on my arm. He continued to look at me with that knowing gaze before I could take no more of it and headed off down the hall. Naruto's amused laughter spilled out into the hallway, causing me to glare, but try as I might, I could not bring myself to be mad at him.
I tried not to think about what that meant.
A/N: This story will not be longer than a few chapters. It's meant to be a one-shot, but I've split it up since it's quite long (and it should be finished soon). It's also a more mature story (and I don't mean in the sexual sense, though that can apply as well), but I don't quite know how to explain it. I just hope you'll come to understand. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you didn't, sorry about that. Regardless, thanks for reading.