AN: Using that update to remind everyone that the list of prompts that can be used for the GaaNaru Valentine Love Fest hosted on the GaaNaru Community from Feb 14th to March the 14th, is posted here: http : // community . livejournal . com / gaanaru / 331430 . htm (direct link on my profile)
Ah, and of course... HAPPY NEW YEAR, FANDOM! May you all be blessed with health, wealth, and lots of GaaNaru fics.
As usual, big thanks to my beta, Carcaptor_Eternity, who put aside her Christmas shinies long enough for that story, and this despite much resistance from the laptop of DOOM, and despite being very busy. (and I know she was very busy because she didn't use the opportunity to make fun a my grammar mistakes)
Lessons in seduction
Lesson 1: Find a good opening
Before that, he had been relaxing in a pleasing and informal meeting with the Kazekage of Suna, or to put it simply, his best friend Gaara.
Before that, he had been taking a good swallow of his green tea, a real blessing for his parched throat. He couldn't begin to understand how Gaara could stand the hotness of his own Kage robes without breaking a sweat, but as for himself he was past the sweating stage and well on the way to being dehydrated like a dried prune.
Before that, he had asked Gaara what brought him to Konoha.
Before the answer. That unfortunately occured while he was still drinking his tea.
"I want you to show me how you seduce a man."
Now if it had been an anime, Naruto would have sprayed back his tea in a very showy and highly amusing manner. Since it was real life, the tea went through the wrong airway and he half choked while trying to cough it out through the nose, which was still comical but far less aestically pleasing.
Gaara sighed and lend him a paper towel. The Hokage wiped his nose and mouth, and wittily retorted:
The redhead scowled. "I want you to show me how to seduce a man." Then: "Is that so hard to imagine?"
Well, yeah! Naruto thought. His survival instinct barely managed to keep him from blurting that. In all the time he had known his friend, it was the first time he even mentioned an interest of that kind. In fact, hearing the word 'seduce' from Gaara's lips was completely out of place, just like 'diet' from Choji, or 'wanna fuck?' from Hinata.
Of course it wasn't as if he never associated 'Gaara' and 'sexuality' in his mind before. Because he had. Quite often. But it was usually when he was in more intimate places, like his bed, or in the shower, or hell, his locked office, if he was freshly out of a Kage meeting with too much exposition of sexy redhead vibes.
Come to think of it, that sentence was fantasy stuff made, if not for the young man's blank and detached expression and his bland tone that were playing the role of a bucket of icy water on Naruto's libido. His fantasy Gaara was much more all lusty gazes and pouts and was acting all nice and shy... and, well, in an absolute non-Gaara manner.
The real life Gaara now looked like he wanted nothing more than to eat his heart out with a rusty spoon.
"Well?" he snarled.
"Ah, sorry, Gaara," The blond hid his shock with a sheepish smile, realizing he had quite spaced out. "It's just that... I never thought... er, does that mean you're gay?"
The redhead glared thought not fiercely as before. It was more his 'I-don't-even-know-why-I-put-up-with-an-idiot-like-you' kind of glare, and Naruto was used to that one.
"Obviously, or I would have asked you about girls, wouldn't I?" He pinched the bridge of his nose. "No, wait, I would have asked Sakura-san. At least she's seen some tits in her life."
Naruto bristled. "I let you know that I've seen plenty of women's tits before!" he said indignantly. Of course, it has been mostly an unfortunate collateral damage of being the apprentice of Jiraya, but he wasn't about to tell his friend that.
Gaara raised an invisible brow. "So my informant was wrong?"
"Informant? What? Gaara, no! We said no more spying each other's private lives!" It was an established fact between the Kage of the Shinobi World that if cooperation and good will was the true basis to build a successful diplomatic relationship, a healthy dose of paranoia was the cement that kept it all from crumbling over. Therefore, each country had carefully spread a network of spies in each courts and hidden villages, just to make sure that cooperation and good will were still working hand in hand, if with a kunai firmly pressed by their side. This leads to data reports that contained information from general clan alliances to the content of the Iwakage's breakfast (yogurt and half a grapefruit, what a freak).
In the beginning, Naruto had found it funny to taunt Gaara with this new information, sending him as a gift the exact brand of moistening cream he favoured (apparently, prolonged use of Sand Armour could cause dry skin) but his amusement faded as soon as the Kazekage retaliated by offering him the same frog-shapped nightcap that the one he wears nightly. Shortly after that, they decided that their mutual friendship was making the presence of spies unnecessary. Or rather, Naruto begged and pleaded until Gaara relented, as usual.
"My informant was Temari actually, and she didn't exactly need to pry to see you and that Inuzuka sprawled on the pool board of the most popular jounin bar of Konoha, on a Saturday night."
The Hokage rubbed the back his head, slightly embarrassed that Gaara had heard of that incident.
"He, he. I guessed that makes it public information, then." He mumbled.
"Very public." Gaara sneered, and then faltered a bit. "It is true, then? You really like men?"
"I guess." Naruto scratched his scars. "It's not that I don't like women. They're great, but most of them are scary. It's just that men are somewhat easier to deal with, ya know?"
"No, I don't. This is why I'm asking you."
Naruto stared. Right. The seduction. He already has forgotten about it.
He began to sweat. The game of seduction was already a dangerous minefield as it was, but if you added his sexy best friend in the mix, it was bound to explode in his face. He had harboured not-so repressed feelings for the redhead for far too long now, and he knew himself: he won't be able not to do something stupid, or say something stupid and reveal his feeling and have Gaara angry at him, or upset at him, or worse, laugh at him. He should really pretend that he has too much inexperience, or too much work, and gently turn the Kazekage down.
He looked back at his friend. Gaara was watching him with big eyes and a slightly –but, in his opinion, adorable- hesitant air.
"So... will you help me out?"
Naruto briefly considered throwing himself out the window. He really had to stop that pavlovian reaction of agreeing to everything Gaara asked while sporting such an earnest air. Okay, he was too cute for words, but still, one day he was going to inadvertently agree to declare war alongside Suna and the Council would have his head on a plate if the only excuse he could give was: "What can I say? The Kazekage looked so sweet when he asked!"
Naruto cleared his throat, trying to push away those uncomfortable, premonition-ish thoughts.
"Ahem. Now that you established the fact that you were… gay, er… do you know if you have a specific kind of guy in mind?"
Silence ensued. Naruto raised his eyes toward his friend, and he felt his heart give an odd twinge at the sight that greeted him. Gaara was blushing.
"I…" Gaara wouldn't meet his eyes. "I…k-kinda like s-someone already…"
'What?!' screeched Inner Naruto, while the real Naruto gave his friend a huge fake smile and said: "Really? That's great, Gaara!"
"Now who's the lucky guy?" he asked. 'And how do I get him out of the picture' he silently added.
Gaara blushed some more and began to poke his fingers together, in a very Hinata-like fashion.
"I'd… rather not tell." He said and frowned. "If I tell you, I might as well confess directly to him."
Naruto puffed his cheeks in annoyance. "What?! I am very DISCREET!" he yelled. Inner Naruto noted that Gaara thought he talked to the guy… It meant that he was probably from Konoha.
Gaara glared. "You told Shikamaru that Temari had a photo of him on her bedside table! And that was *before* they start dating!"
"Well, they did date, and got married; it turned out well enough didn't it?"
"She still was mad at me for telling you! She put oil in my shampoo, syrup on my chair, and tried to poison me up until the day Kankuro led her to the altar! She stashed porn magazines everywhere in my office just before a council meeting! She told all the Suna girls I had herpes!"
"Okay, you've got a psychotic sister, that doesn't have anything to do with me…"
Gaara gave him a glare that abruptly reminded him of who was the *real* psycho of the family. He immediately put his hands up, signalling defeat.
"Jeez, OKAY. I won't pry… I was just trying to help!"
Gaara looked suspicious. "Help?"
"Well, of course! To seduce a guy, it's easier to know a bit about him… his tastes, his personality… that kind of stuff."
Gaara suddenly seemed to find Naruto's lava lamp –a gift from Tsunade, who really should have known better than offer him something that could divert his already short attention span- very interesting.
"He's… very outgoing… and cheerful." Gaara's lips slightly turned upwards while Naruto's spirits plummeted down at the sight. "He's also very nice."
Naruto frowned. Outwardly he looked like he was really pondering his friend's words; but really, he was just throwing a big inward tantrum.
Outgoing? Cheerful? Tchh, that guy did not seem to have much in common with Gaara! How could he ever hope to understand him and make him happy? Of course, Naruto was himself rather outgoing and cheerful, but he has TONS of things in common with the redhead. Like, they were both Kage, had shitty childhoods and were, or at some point had been, hosts to a Tailed Beast. See? Lots of stuff to talk about on winter nights, when they would be done with the steamy sex.
But then a thought made him suddenly fight back a grin. "Hey, Gaara, you're sure your guy is gay?" Naruto sure hoped he wasn't; and even if Konoha was probably the gayest of all Ninja nations (with a strange and inexplicable peak around Naruto's generation); he still has the law of statistics on his side.
"Huh?" Gaara seemed to have fallen under the spell of the Lava Lamp, but he quickly recovered. "Oh, yes. Yes he is."
Damn. "You're positive? Like one hundred percent? "
Gaara's lips briefly tighten before he answered. "I've been led to believe that he lives a rather promiscuous kind of life."
The Kazekage sighed and translated. "He sleeps left and right, and made no secret about his sexuality."
Oh. Wait… and Gaara had FALLEN for him? Now he felt sorry for his best friend: not only he had picked up someone with a personality totally opposite of his, but the guy seemed to be some kind of slut as well. Kami knew that Gaara had strange likings in food, but in addition it looked like he was cursed with lousy taste in men.
Naruto was so busy establishing a mental list of 'possible candidates for exile' that he nearly missed his friend's question.
"I was asking," Gaara said with the ingrained patience of those who have to deal with Naruto on a regular basis "if the information I gave you was enough for you to help me with the seduction."
'No. but it will hopefully be enough for me to find that guy and shower him in S-Rank missions to be completed very far away from you.' But he couldn't start to 'help' Gaara right now… he needed to think alone for a bit. To buy more time while he did a few discreet hand signs under his desk, he asked the redhead another question.
"Did your guy even hit on you?" No reaction from above. Did he make the signs accurately?
Gaara slumped. "No," he answered with a bitterness that immediately brought his friend's attention back on him. "I seriously doubt that he ever considered me that way. He probably thinks I'm asexual or something."
Naruto made the signs again and slightly glared at the ceiling for emphasis.
"Oh well, you'll just have to put on tight and sexy clothes to attract his attention first, in that case." He said, slightly distracted… then his brain realized what his mouth had blabbered on and he froze.
"Sexy clothes? I think I'll need to do some shopping first." Gaara said, just as *finally* Hyuuga Neji, ANBU mask firmly set in place, popped into existence, one knee on the floor and his head bowed.
"Hokage-sama, your presence is required for matters of extreme importance." The Byakugan bearer intoned.
"Wait!" Naruto completely ignored Neji and hastily scrambled to his feet, as the Kazekage made to depart. "… I can help you with the shopping! I know where to go in Konoha! And I have very good taste!'
It has suddenly dawned on the blond that he HAD to be there if Gaara went to shop for sexy clothes. If only because a) shopping meant changing rooms, which meant plenty opportunity to gawk at Gaara in a slightly –gyah!- divested state, b) Gaara in tight clothes was bound to lead on some troll hitting on him, and he had to be there to prevent that, c) he had no intention of letting Gaara buy sexy clothes in the first place. He knew that his best friend was fit and attractive, but there was no reason for the rest of the world to realize that as well.
Gaara raised his pale brows at the 'good taste' part, but tactfully did not comment on the new embellishments of the Hokage's office. A furry red carpet, thick enough for Naruto to regularly try –and succeed- to lose boring scrolls in it; a totally useless mini-bar with zebra-covered stools pushed in a corner, orange chintz poufs everywhere and huge mirrors on the wall surrounding a six-feet tall official portrait of Naruto in Hokage robes, giving the world a V-sign: there was a lot of words that could describe the blonde's sense of decoration, and 'tasteful' did not make it to the top ten list.
"… I'll manage." The Kazekage answered, very diplomatically. "And I believe you have important matters to attend." With that, he raised one hand to his face and teleported away.
Naruto watched the whirlwind of sand with an unhappy frown. As soon as the last granules disappeared, he rounded on Neji.
"What took you so long to react? Got a freakin' dust in your Byakugan?"
Neji took off his mask to glare back at his Hokage. "We made that signal so I can give you an excuse to shake away, and I quote: 'annoying buggers who come only to whine about things I either can't do a shit about, or don't give a shit about'."
"It was *Gaara*." The ANBU answered, as if it explained everything. Which it sort of did, Naruto admitted grudgingly. After all, he was usually the one begging Gaara to stay a bit longer with him, or eat with him or go for a drink with him or… well, he could understand that Neji had a bit of a shock.
Naruto crossed his arms. "So? He can be an annoying bugger too, sometimes."
Hyuuga gave him a long, unblinking stare that uncomfortably reminded the blond who was the one with a super cool bloodline that enabled him to watch his boss' back in every circumstance, even when said boss just wanted to be left alone in his locked office with a box of tissues and the official photo of the Kazekage.
"Ahem. ANYWAY, I need you to watch him tonight. Focus especially on who he meets, and how he reacts to them. I want the detailed report on my desk tomorrow morning."
"Why don't you join him later?" Neji was very reluctant to sacrifice his evening. There was Konoha's Next Idol on TV tonight… He did not watch the show, but he needed to be at Tenten's flat as a brooding, reproving presence to damper the girl and her friends' enthusiasm for Kakashi and Genma's vocal (HA!) performance.
No one can be as huge a spoilsport as Neji Hyuuga.
Naruto sat back on his chair. "I don't want him to act guarded if he's around me and first of all…" he smiled a cold, un-amused smirk. "I have a list to make."
Next Lesson: 'How to attract some attention.' In which, Kankuro discovers that he is the only Sand Sibling with a fashion sense, Gaara meets an old acquaintance, and both a list and a report are written. Stay tuned! (this story will be about 4 chapters long)
I started this last June, and let's just say that the plot was much more romantic and dramatic at first, but then, as it was written conjointly to 'Inner Obstacle', I had to stuff all my 'fun' needs somewhere… Hence the completely crackastic turn that story has taken.
Personal Add: If there's anyone around who would be interested in beta-ing a Shizune/Iruka Christmas Story (with a side of GaaNaru)?