Just for the record, I HATE the 'holidays' with a passion... Anyway, to get out of my 'bah humbug' mood. I worked a bit on this and decided I wanted to post it finally.

Note: Not my characters, NaruGaa, AU, yaoi, lemons, I fucked with the ages big time, prostitution, a grown up Naruto who is kinda cool (which i love more than anything), some OOC-ness and a tiny bit of a love triangle.

Summary: Shudder
Life isn't easy for twenty year old Naruto.
After their parents died over two years ago, he's been taking care of his three year old brother Konohamaru, putting his own dreams on the back burner.
Life isn't exactly wonderful for seventeen year old Gaara either.
After running away from an abusive home at age fourteen, he's been living on the streets, selling his body just to stay alive.
What could these two possibly have in common?
And what could one act of kindness start between them?
AU. NaruGaa.


Chapter One

-Naruto-

Pain exploded across my forehead making me shoot straight up. "Ah!" A child's voice cried out ans a weight flopped on to my legs. I reached down and scooped the little body into my arms. A giggle exploded through out the room as I covered the tiny face with kisses. "Sowwy!" The voice shouted and laughed as I reached over and turned the bed side lamp on. The three year old smiled brightly up at me, big eyes wide awake and happy. He laughed again and smacked my forehead with his sippy cup. "Juice!"

"What're you doing up so early?" I yawned out, spotting the time. Three am. I'd only been asleep for four hours. He whacked me again. "Owch!"

"Juice!" He cried. I caught his hand as he swung it forward again.

"Don't hit Konohamaru. It's not nice." I scolded taking the plastic green and white froggy cup from his tiny hand. He pouted until I sighed, kissed his forehead and got up. "What kind of juice?"

"Up! Up!" He chirped. I picked him up and headed for the kitchen. He snuggled into my chest happily.

"Don't suck your thumb. Now what kind of juice do you want?" I asked again, pulling the tiny digit from his mouth. He looked up at me, face concentrated, tongue poking out of the side of his mouth. I smiled and walked to the fridge. "We've got orange, apple, strawberry banana, and white grape peach." I yawned again and twisted the lid off his cup while he thought about it. I just wanted to crawl back into bed and sleep away the rest of the night.

"Peach grape!" He exclaimed. I smiled, filled the cup, made him go to the restroom and took him to his own room. "No." He whined, clutching at my pant leg. I picked him back up and asked him what was wrong. "Don' wan' be 'lone." He sniffled and rubbed his tiny fists against his eyes. My smile fell a bit and, not for the first time, I wished he had a mother figure of some kind. My arms wrapped tighter around him.

"You can sleep with me tonight, but you are sleeping in your own bed tomorrow. Alright?" He nodded, but we both knew he'd be in my bed again tomorrow, and the next night, and the next. I don't know why I even try. He's always slept right next to me. Ever since he'd been born. I walked us back to my bedroom and laid down with him still in my arms. He let out a small sigh as I turned out the lamp and snuggled closer. "You spill that juice and you're sleeping on the floor." I mumbled softly letting my eyes drift shut.

Just as the sandman began to pull me under, Konohamaru's frightened voice pulled me back. "There's man! Papa, man!" He pushed himself back into me. My eyes snapped open at the sound of the slow clanging footsteps on the fire escape just outside our window. I quickly rolled us over, placing the frightened brunette on the floor between the wall and the bed, securely out of view. I got out of bed and walked to the window quietly, reaching to slide the lock into place. I froze.

A rumpled looking red head gazed up at me from the level below. His beautiful shock of crimson hair fluttered to his shoulders, making his skin a beautiful translucent white. His build was petite and frail, almost sickly looking as he haunched forward, clutching his stomach. The clothes he wore were ratty and looked as if they were too small, clinging to his body indecently and suggestively. But his eyes... his eyes were cold, dead, and defeated. Despite their unique and lovely color, they screamed unloved and abused. That's when I recognized the look.

Prostitute. I blushed a little and pulled back a bit. He smirked at my window before continuing down the rest of the metal stairs. I swallowed and tried to calm my furious heartbeat. What the hell was my deal anyway? I'd seen them before. Fuck. This neighborhood was crawling with them. But this was the first time any of them struck me as beautiful. I let out an uneasy breath and shuddered. A guy? Beautiful? Yeah, that boy was beautiful.

"Cogapher?" Konohamaru asked, peeking over the side of the bed, eyes wider than usual. I think he was asking if it was a robber or killer. I smiled at his nonsense and walked back to the bed, lifted him up and burrowed into the still warm bed with him.

"It's alright. There's no one out there anymore. I scared 'em away." I whispered, kissing his forehead. "Now shut your eyes and go to sleep." He began chattering unintelligibly, obviously arguing at my apparent ease at the fact there had been a strange man just outside our window, that much I could gather. The argumentative babble didn't die down until I began humming his lullaby. As the clock beside us lit the room dimly, displaying the early hour of three thirty six proudly, we both slipped into a sweet sleep.

-

"Naruto? Hey, Naruto." I squeezed my eyes shut tighter and pulled Konohamaru closer to me, rolling away from the light and the soft touch. I clung to the sleep still hovering over me, trying to get it to cover me once more. A sigh sounded out next me and a little fingertip poked at my cheek. I frowned and tried to block all the irritants out. If they would just leave, the warmth of the blanket covering me and the quiet of the morning they were interrupting would surely let me return to true sleep. Lovely lovely sleep.

"Wah!" I yelped as my comforter was pulled away, the tiny body was grabbed from my arms and I was shoved to the floor with a loud 'oof!'. I laid there for a moment letting the freezing temperature of the hardwood floor seep into my warm body, blinking up at the pink haired woman standing above me. She glared down at me playfully, holding a sleepy looking toddler gently in her arms. "What the fuck Sakura?"

"Fuck!" Konohamaru chirped, clapping his hands. "Fuck!"

"No, no! That's a bad word. We do-" I jumped to my feet quickly.

"Fuck!"

My hand covered his mouth, my brain scrambling for a clean up plan. "If you promise not to say that bad word anymore, we can have spaghetti and meatballs for dinner tonight. Okay?"

"Yeah! Me'ball!" I smiled and ruffled his hair. Ah. The great power of bribery.

"Now that that's over... In twenty minutes, you'll be late for work." Sakura stated calmly. I jumped and looked at the clock. Fuck. She was right. I gave myself five minutes to get ready and the rest to race downtown. I stripped down to my boxers, ignoring the squealing protests of the woman, dodging the fist she swung at me, and hopped into my clothes. I had my teeth brushed, face washed and the coffee the pink haired woman had ready for me downed in three minutes. I kissed Konohamaru, thanked the nanny holding him and ran down to the car. Yeah. To bad this was our regular morning routine.

-

I ended up making it to work with four minutes to spare. My body sore, I walked into the apartment, announcing I was home loudly. I heard little feet running for me and smiled, kneeling down and opening my arms. Konohamaru ran into them and I blew a raspberry into a chubby cheek. He laughed and wiggled in my arms. "Papa!" He cried happily.

My heart fell and I tried to keep my smile in place, correcting him as best as I could. "Brother kiddo. I'm your brother." He looked at me quizzically.

"Go work like papa." He smiled as if that settled everything.

"No use arguing with him Naruto." Sakura smiled from the living room, picking up brightly colored toys the little one must have lost interest in when I walked through the door. I set him down on the floor and helped Sakura with his mess. He picked up a cloth book and looked up at me. "You're the only father he knows. It's natural for him to call you 'dad' or 'papa'. Kids often call babysitters and nannies mom. It's all about who spends the most time around them and takes care of them." I didn't miss the emphasis she put on nanny. Hell, it would've been hard to miss. Konohamaru didn't miss it either.

"S'kura." He stated boredly. I tried not to laugh as the womans face fell.

He smiled up at me as I took the book from him. "Go find your boots and coat. We've gotta go to the store." He tilted his head back and smiled again. "We don't have any spaghetti noodles." His face lit up and he ran to his room. I chuckled.

"You know... I'm still waiting for that date." Sakura whispered, hand coming to rest on my forearm lightly. I swallowed nervously.

"What date?" I tried sounding innocent.

She smiled and leaned in closer. "The one you asked me to go on two years ago."

Fuck. "I've gotten pretty busy lately... trying to take care of my little brother and everything."

"Uh-huh." She kept coming closer and I remained frozen. I was just going to have to be blunt about it then.

"Look Sakura," Okay, how do you tell your childhood friend and first crush that you really don't have time for her? And ever since she turned you down brutally you really don't care to date her anymore. "I do-"

"Ready!" Sakura jumped back as Konohamaru burst back into the living room. I scooped him up and walked with the blushing pink haired woman to the door. As all three of us stepped into the hallway, for one brief moment, I imagined the three of us looked very much like a family. We walked down to the sidewalk together, Konohamaru in one arm, Sakura lightly holding the other. We paused for a moment and stood there awkwardly.

"Sakura. I real-"

"Do you mind if I go to the store with you guys? I need some things and it'll be funner to go with you guys." She cut me off on purpose. I nodded and zipped up Konohamaru's thick coat and began walking towards the corner store. He shivered and buried his face in my neck. I laughed.

"We gotta fix that kiddo. That tickles." He laughed. The small talk continued blandly the rest of the way. Sakura throwing date ideas and days she's free out at me. Konohamaru interrupting every time she got close to actually asking me out. Unsurprisingly, Sakura was a bit pissed when we finally walked through the door. "Yeah, yeah. So, what kind of sauce do you want?"

-Gaara-

It was one second. Our eyes only met for just one second and only one. So why couldn't I get that wild golden hair, bronze skin, and those deep crystal blue eyes out of my head. Eyes that, despite the momentary fear that widened them, shone with a genuine kindness and love. It made me shiver. It made me long. I pushed the man to the back of my mind as I stumbled down the littered alleyway. My head swirled angrily forcing the blue eyed beauty to swim dangerously in and out of my thoughts. My stomach seized and I emptied it's contents violently on the concrete beside me.

After the episode passed I continued forward. I had to find somewhere dry to spend the night and, since I was vomiting everything that I swallowed for the past few days, getting picked up probably wasn't going to happen.

My stomach seized again and I leaned over, worried my dry heaving might turn into something more. I groaned, heaved a few more times, stumbled towards the street before darkness overcame me and I fell forward.

I didn't even feel myself hit the ground.

-Naruto-

"Papa!" I sighed as Konohamaru raced back to me, the loaf of French bread he had begged to carry thumped against his head with every step. I bit back my laughter and took the bread when he got within my reach. "Papa!" I started to correct him again but the frightened expression on his face stopped me.

"What's wrong?" I asked, both hands on his shoulders, Sakura taking the groceries when she felt the mood change.

He turned and pointed to the alley. "Dead!" I gulped and picked him up. It was usually just a dead dog or cat, but in this city I was always worried one time he would find something bigger than a lost pet... "Dead." He whispered as we go to the mouth of the small littered alley.

Okay. This was a lot bigger than some dead pet. My hand flew up and shielded Konohamaru's eyes and passed him to Sakura. Fuck. Her eyes widened and she turned away, covering the little boys eyes as well. I walked forward and recognized the body as that of the red head from last night, flat on his stomach and even paler than before.

His chest moved. I paused. He was breathing. I took a deep breath. "He's not dead." I called back to the others. The smell of vomit made me gag as I moved closer. The smell got worse and worse the closer I got. Turning him over gently, I placed a hand on his forehead. He was burning up. "He's sick though." I looked around. There was a pile of vomit lying ten feet away. I gagged again. I could take him to the hospital... but that would only cause someone in his situation more trouble. My conscious wouldn't let me leave him here either.

I looked back at my baby brother. He smiled. Sakura frowned as if she knew what I was thinking. I sighed. Placing my arms under his knees and neck, I lifted him easily. He weighed next to nothing. Sakura started to protest, but I stopped her. "I can't just leave him here." She bit her lip and nodded. We started back for the apartment. One unconscious red head added to our little group.

By the time we made it to the apartment, I was ready to collapse. Sakura tried to protest several times, trying to get me to reconsider. When she brought up the fact I was putting Konohamaru in danger, I growled and she mumbled her goodbyes awkwardly, kissing the little boy on the forehead, and slamming the door angrily on her way out. Yeah. I love that woman.

I put the shivering red head on our bed, my body was glad to be rid of the extra weight. "You go watch cartoons. I'll fix up our guest and we'll start making meatballs."

His face lit up. "Me'ball!" He cried running from the room. I smiled, put the groceries in the kitchen, grabbed a bucket and a cool wet towel, and returned to the room. Mopping his forehead, I took in his condition. He looked dangerously thin, waif like, even more than I had thought. He was paler in the light and the red tattoo on his forehead glowed. He really was beautiful... even if he was sweating like crazy and shivering as if he was dying. I sighed. I was way too tired to deal with this right now. I put the rag over his heated forehead and placed the the bucket next to the bed near his head. He groaned painfully as I shut off the light and walked back to the kitchen.


This story is pretty much obvious from this point on... but I'd still like feedback.