A.N/ There will be some offensive material in this chapter.

Chapter Thirteen: Here We Are Again

Kurenai stared at Naruto with fire in her eyes. Or at least more fire than there usually was. She hadn't said anything yet, which could be good or bad. She might be thinking of what she should say, to have the most powerful effect, or she could be screaming in her mind, and spend herself internally before huffing out and letting them go unscathed. Naruto really doubted it was the latter.

They sat in Kurenai's office for the second time that day. Gaara was forced to sit in the chair beside him—or rather was coaxed gently by the red-eyed woman to take a seat.

The room seemed different now. The last time the blonde was here, he could barely see anything. As he looked around, trying to avoid Kurenai's eyes, he saw that in each corner there was a small library of books, all stacked up neatly on shelves. They looked like textbooks from here, Naruto thought. Some of the side bindings each had one letter, and spelled out one word when next to the other books. When Naruto looked up he saw that the lights were a warm color—cozier than the bright light that assaulted them outside. He decided he liked the warm light. It made his skin lose that pale sickly color and replaced it with something softer—a few shades away from tan. When the blonde looked at Gaara he saw that the light was having a similar effect on the redhead's skin, only—better. As always.

Everything about Gaara was better, Naruto thought.

With a small sigh, he put his head down. It had probably been a full minute since he looked at Kurenai. He was tempted to do it again, but decided against it. He knew what he would see on her face. Anger, or worse, disappointment.

The story of Naruto's life was disappointing people. He didn't think there was one person he met that he didn't disappoint. His grandmother when he left home, Sasuke when he couldn't give up the drugs, that angry blonde policewoman when he didn't spill the beans, the lazy eyed policeman when he realized that the blonde woman had been right all along—Naruto had disappointed everyone. Everyone except for Gaara. But the redhead was a completely different case. Did he even know how to feel disappointment?

Naruto started when a scrape of a chair sounded in front of him. When he looked up he saw Kurenai sitting back down, and still glaring at him. Her cheek was moving oddly, as if she was biting it from the inside of her mouth. Naruto made a small embarrassing sound, like a child trying to clear his throat but getting interrupted. He gulped down and looked away from the woman, who was burning holes into his face. He was about to let his eyes wander again, when the sound of Kurenai's voice made him start again.

"After everything I told you…" she spoke in a tone that was grave.

Naruto blinked at her. He waited for her to speak again, but when she said nothing, he let out a lame, "What?"

Kurenai's eyes narrowed, and the deep breath she took was visible. "After everything I said," she repeated, and Naruto could hear the sound of her left hand squeezing the leather armrest. "And still," she said—or more like growled.

Naruto put his head down, looking away from her. He lost Kurenai's trust. That was clear enough. But did she really have to look at him like that? Like it went a little deeper than disappointment? As if it was a betrayal instead?

"I'm sorry."

"You could have gotten yourselves killed!" the woman suddenly shouted, surprising Naruto. "You could have gotten Gaara killed!"

Naruto winced. It was obvious who the woman cared about more in the situation. But it was understandable to Naruto. He wasn't deserving of anyone's favor really. Not after what he'd done. The rules he'd broken. The people he frustrated.

"I spoke to you, heart to heart about the way Gaara was treated, I told you to be careful, I told you to stay in our room and wait for Kakashi to arrive, and you do this? Do you have any idea what this does to any sort of alibi or excuse you were going to make up to tell the police who are going to question you? Do you have any idea?" the woman was breathing harshly now. "I'm so tempted to beg Kakashi to reassign you a new parole officer—"


The word left Naruto's mouth before he could think twice about it. He felt his face and neck flush with heat, and looked away from Kurenai's bright eyes.

"What was that?" It was a whisper.

Naruto gulped and wrung his hands together. He was embarrassed and nervous for a reason that eluded him. "I…don't want you to take Gaara away." There. He said it as plain as he could.

When Kurenai didn't speak for long moments, he risked looking up at her.

She was watching him with eyes that trembled with surprise and distrust. "Why?" she asked almost angrily. "Because he does what you want? Because he's practically your slave—"

"Because he's my friend."

Naruto gulped again, and put his head down. He surprised even himself with the force he said that, but it had to be done. It was one of those rare times where he was sure of something.

"What did you say?"

Naruto wrinkled his nose. Kurenai asked that a lot. "He's my friend." He said again. "I…I like him, and I wouldn't hurt him. On purpose," he had to add, because it seemed his actions tied to the pains of Gaara's past, which he still had a lot to learn about.

Kurenai stared at him with only surprise now, and it was a while before she finally blinked and looked at the redhead. "Gaara? You and Naruto are friends?" she spoke softly, like she always did with him.

Gaara shifted beside Naruto, and the blonde turned to look at him. The policeman was straightening in his chair. "Yes."

It was plain. Simple.

But then why did that confirmation sent a jolt straight to the base of the heart behind Naruto's chest? The blonde sent a pained smile Gaara's way, even though he wouldn't be able to see it, before turning back to Kurenai. She was still watching the redhead, with something unreadable in her eyes.

When she turned to look back at Naruto, her eyes lost some of the heat but not enough to stop the blonde's initial flinch. There was also something else in Kurenai's eyes. Disbelief? Distrust? He bet more on the latter, but he could understand the reason for the former.


The blonde jumped at the sound of her voice.

"I want you to go back to your room, the one you slept in last night, and I want you to wait. Gaara will stay here with me. I need to talk to him."

Naruto blinked. He didn't understand. Was that it? Wasn't this the part when he got punished? When he supposed to get kicked out of the hospital, or something just as devastating? And why have Gaara stay here? Naruto felt much safer with him.

"What are you waiting for?"

The chill was back in Kurenai's voice, and Naruto scrambled to his feet. "I…" he started softly, before he shook his head lamely, and walked to the door.

"Don't leave your room until you are advised to do so this time." She said, as he was opening the door. "I'm going to look into tightening your house arrest jurisdiction."

There was a word in there that the blonde didn't understand, but he gulped anyway. "Right." He said lamely, before leaving the room and closing the door behind him.

His room was different now. It wasn't welcoming before but now…

Now it was a sad place. Depression was encouraged by the bland walls and the chipped ceiling—the same ceiling that was so interesting the night before, because of the wonder that came with having Gaara next to him. Now though, when he was all alone, Naruto thought of things he didn't want to think about. Like how much trouble he would probably get into when Kakashi finally came, and the crap he would have to deal with when Neji blabbed his mouth about anything and everything that had to do with Naruto's addiction and the company he kept before his hospitalization.

Naruto sighed. Neji. The hate he felt for the man wasn't the same as before, no, but it was still there, throbbing between his ears with a heat that associated itself with jealously and betrayal. Before, thinking about the lavender haired man made him want to spit; the thought of him was sort of accompanied by an annoyance that ran too deep not to be connected with hatred.

Neji was just a one of those men that seemed to live and breathe to make his life miserable, though it might have not been the case. Naruto just knew that every chance he got, the man would find a way to hurt the blonde. It was just the way he was. Even when they were children, Neji would find ways to get him into trouble, and make him feel like less of a person for a reason unknown to Naruto. He was worse than Sasuke when it came to things like that.

Naruto winced, and clutched his chest with a small fist.

Sasuke. This was territory he didn't want to cross right now. He would deal with Sasuke when his heart could take it, when the mere name didn't bring memories, good and bad, of them together. Laughing, crying, screaming, and making love to each other.

Naruto shut his eyes and sighed deeply. At least the name didn't bring tears to his eyes anymore. Not as many as it did before anyway. Sasuke was simply a past he wanted to erase, or at least smudge, so that the pain that came with the breakup would stop hitting him every time he thought about the raven haired man. It was time to move on wasn't it? Even if it was Naruto's fault he left, and even if he lost the only lover he would have, Naruto would be fine, because his heart was healing and learning to forgive and forget.

He didn't even want to kill Neji anymore. That was an improvement, right? Come to think of it, he thought differently about a lot of people since he'd first them. Hell, Gaara was his friend now.

Naruto had to quirk a smile at that, despite everything.

It was a knock that woke him up, maybe a little less than two hours later. Naruto blinked his eyes open groggily, and wiped a tired arm through his eyes.

"I'm coming in." said a muffled voice from outside. When the door opened, Kurenai stepped inside with an unreadable face. "Were you sleeping?" she asked softly.

Naruto blinked a few more times before he nodded painfully; there were cricks in his neck from the nap he'd just taken.

"Sorry." It was a curt apology. The red-eyed woman had her hands in fists at her side, and she seemed almost uncomfortable standing there.

Naruto straightened himself from the bed and made a move to get off it. "What's going on?"

Kurenai only stared at him for the longest time, analyzing him, scrutinizing him with her eyes. Naruto sat there, uncomfortably. He couldn't look into her eyes for long; he always turned away at the fifth second, staring awkwardly to the side, wondering what the hell she was looking for in him.

"Naruto. What I said earlier…"

The blonde waited.

Kurenai sighed and shook her head. "Forget it. It's nothing." She seemed to shake whatever was bothering her off, and she stood up a little straighter. "Get up. We're going back to my office. Kakashi's here." She paused then, and she gave Naruto an unreadable look. "And he brought someone with him."

Naruto forced down the gulp that would have made his fear obvious. He didn't say anything because he knew a tremor in his voice would betray his emotions. Instead he just stood up to find his shoes, put them on, and met Kurenai at the door.

The doctor eyed him for half of a second before she moved away from the door and started for the hall. That left Naruto to close the door behind him and follow her.

She walked in long strides, not really caring for Naruto's difficulty in keeping up. He didn't know why he lagged behind so much. He understood how he could fall behind from Gaara—because the redhead was a giant—but Kurenai couldn't be more than three inches taller than him.

The red-eyed woman looked back at him once, and still she didn't slow down, only gave him that look again, before keeping up with her pace.

When they finally arrived at Kurenai's door, Naruto was out of breath. They didn't even have to go up or down stairs and he felt like he'd walked a mile.

Kurenai waited for him before she opened the door to her office, which he was thankful for. It gave him a chance to catch his breath and brace himself against the wall for a moment.

"What's wrong with you…" Kurenai asked lightly. She stared at him critically. "Are you out of breath?"

Naruto nodded his head helplessly. He tried to say something, but coughed instead. He didn't know what was wrong with him—was it another withdrawal symptom?

He took long deep breaths, calming himself down before he made everything worse by panicking. After a few minutes, he was breathing easy again and the headache that had started to form was receding.

"I…" he started lamely. "I'm fine." He gasped softly. "I just…" he blinked hard and tried to stand up straight. "I'm fine." He said nodding head. He wasn't sure who he was trying to convince—Kurenai or himself?

Speaking of which, she was looking at Naruto with worried eyes now. "You know what," she started lightly. "Maybe we shouldn't do this. Maybe we should save it for another time. You're obviously sick Naruto. You've been here for two days and we have yet to run the proper tests on you."

Naruto opened his mouth to speak but stopped short. He was about to say that he was alright, but why would he do that when he would have a chance of getting out of this, have a chance of not answering the difficult questions they were going to throw at him…

"I…" he started quietly.

He didn't have a chance to speak when the door to Kurenai's office opened and a familiar grey haired man stepped out. He seemed startled when he saw them standing right outside. "You're here. I was coming to look for you." he said, stepping all the way out.

Kurenai gave the blonde a lingering look before she turned to Kakashi. "Yes, we're here. Naruto and I were just having a small talk."

Kakashi looked from her to Naruto. When he faced Naruto he paused and his eyes became a little more solemn.

The blonde suddenly remembered where they left off. He wasn't as angry as he was then, so all that was left was an awkward air in between them.

It was Kakashi who cleared his throat and broke the silence. "We should get going then." He said lightly. "We're all waiting inside."

Naruto twitched; we're. He already knew what he was going to see in there. The last person he wanted to see right now, and maybe Gaara, since he was his parole officer. Knowing that Kakashi would be in there as well also put Naruto on edge.

"Well, then." Said Kurenai, with a loud intake of breath. "Why are we just standing out here?" before the blonde could protest, she took his arm and swung him over, while opening the door with her other hand. Naruto was inside the office before he could blink.

The first thing he was assaulted with was the change in lighting. The warm, almost orange bulbs contrasted too sharply with the florescent ones outside, especially now that he didn't even want to be in here.

He expected to see familiar long hair first, because his eyes always managed to fall on the worst things first, but he was surprised when his eyes fell on a muscled man instead. A muscled man, who was glaring at him with too familiar eyes.

"What are you staring at, brat?"

Naruto blinked. What was Kankuro doing here? He didn't really have a chance to think about it, because when he shifted his eyes to the left of the room, the last man he wanted to see was sitting there, eyeing him with a smirk on his mouth.

"Well, well, well. If it isn't my old friend."


Naruto's mouth twitched in a way that he knew gave away his disgust. The hate that he thought he'd gotten rid of was coming back, slowly but surely. All he could see was the image of the long haired man with his ex-boyfriend, laughing it up, enjoying each other, while he stayed here in the hospital and suffered.

"Lets get this over with." Kakashi said, walking into he room and closing the door behind him. He stood next to Kankuro, and leaned against Kurenai's desk. Kurenai made a move to take a seat behind her desk, but something in Kakashi's eyes made her pause. "What is it?" she asked.

"Kurenai," the grey haired man stared slowly. "This is…an interrogation. A private session between city officials and…"he looked at Naruto momentarily…"suspected persons."

Kurenai looked blank for a moment, before her face morphed to taken aback. "Are you telling me to leave my own office, so you can have a meeting with one of my patients?"

Kakashi opened his mouth to speak, but Kurenai stopped him. "You know me, Kakashi. I'm not going to leave you alone in my office to discuss something with my patient—"

"This is beyond you, Kurenai. You and I both know the policies—"

"Don't you dare start with that policy bullshit." Kurenai almost spat. "How many rules have you broken with him alone?" she said pointing to Naruto. "How many have you broken with Gaara?" she said pointing in another direction.

It was then that Naruto realized that there was another figure standing in the far right corner of the office. He was almost knocked down by the relief that hit him when he saw the redhead standing there, leaning against the wall the usual listlessness on his face. But it wasn't really listlessness anymore, was it? It was more like innocence now.

Kakashi sighed loudly, and Naruto's attention was brought back to the issue at hand. He didn't really understand what was going on. Apparently Kurenai had to leave the room…?

"Fine, then." Kakashi said. "Stay. But know that all of this is confidential." He went around the room when he said this.

Kurenai scoffed and took a seat behind her desk with a loud plop. "Do you even have to remind us?"

Kakashi narrowed his eyes at her for only a moment, before he turned back to Naruto. "Take a seat." He said, pointing to a chair Naruto hadn't noticed before. It was right beside the door, and faced Kurenai's desk. When Naruto sat in it, he found himself facing everyone at once. He gulped noisily.

"We'll start right away, Naruto." Said Kakashi, eyeing him with a critical eye. "We're going to ask you some questions first, and then we're going to ask Mr. Hyuuga here to recall his version of the night."

Naruto only nodded his head.

Kakashi sighed and leaned backwards onto the desk. "I'm guessing you know what this is all about? A considerable amount of crystal methamphetamine was found in an apartment building not too far from yours two days ago. We have reason to believe that the meth'd been present for longer, but was only brought to the authorities now for reasons unknown to me." There was an annoyance in Kakashi's voice that Naruto didn't understand. "We didn't really have a lead as to who might have left the meth until we spoke to Hyuuga here," he said pointing towards the long haired man, "but after what he told us, we have no choice but to ask you, Naruto: where were you the night before you were taken to the hospital?"

There were so many words, so many phrases that Naruto had trouble keeping up with, but the question the grey haired man led up to rang in his ears. Where were you the night before you were taken to the hospital?

He didn't have to lie, he realized, now that he warned Zabuza and Haku. He just couldn't give names or locations—it would ruin everything.

But wait. Telling them the truth, meant telling them that he was the one who brought the meth to the building, and confirming what they already knew: that he did have something to do with the middle eastern drug marketing scandal that they kept talking about. Would the deal he and Kakashi made together still hold strong after that? Especially now that there were so many people in the room to protest? It wasn't a private deal anymore.

"Naruto, we're waiting."

The blonde took a deep breath. He still didn't know what to do. Was he afraid for his friends, or was he afraid for himself? More for himself, right? Because his friends, as far as he knew, were safe now that he'd warned them. Still though, what about him? How was he supposed to get out of this?

"Naruto…" Kakashi, started again, with something akin to a warning in his voice.

"Sir, if you would permit me to speak." said a haughty voice at the other side of the room. Everyone turned to look at Neji who didn't look the least bit fazed by the several eyes staring back at him.

Kakashi raised an eyebrow, "What is it?"

Neji shrugged his shoulders. "I just think it would be smarter to hear my story, then have him answer the questions. That way he would know what we know, and he'll realize that lying would be futile." Neji stared right at Naruto when he said that.

Naruto twitched—but it had nothing to do with nervousness, it had nothing to do with fear—only anger. Neji was one of those guys—more like girls—from high school who knew exactly where to hit you, to make everything around you fall apart.

"I see…" said Kakashi lightly, looking at Neji, unimpressed. "Very well then. Let's hear your side of the story."

Neji smiled widely, and to anyone else it might have looked like a smile of a Roman god, but Naruto knew that anything from the long-haired man came from beneath the earth.

"It's actually a funny story," said Neji crossing his legs. "Almost embarrassing to tell…I'm sure more embarrassing for some than others—" again that sideways and obvious look towards Naruto. He chuckled then, and shook his head as if recalling the memory.

"Why the hell don't you just get on with it?" said Kankuro, impatience dripping from his voice..

Neji took one look at Kankuro, sighed passively and began to speak again. "Naruto has always been a bit…unstable…"

Naruto had to clench the sides of his chair. He knew it, he knew it, he knew that stupid long-haired bastard was going to take this whole thing to a place it didn't need to go

"He started drugs before high school, and—"

"Not true." Naruto seethed, and he was only half surprised by the anger in his voice.

Neji shrugged, seemingly oblivious to Naruto's anger and continued. "Around that time," he corrected offhandedly. "He'd been having trouble at home so he turned to drugs, like most people in that kind of setting do." He let out a chuckle that was inappropriate for the conversation and continued, "I only knew this because he was dating one of my very good friends at the time."

"What friend?" Kakashi asked, when Neji paused for several moments.

"Sasuke Uchiha."

Naruto tensed at the name.

There was a bit of silence in the room for a time, before Kakashi cleared his throat and asked, "…and was Sasuke taking drugs too? Was he the one who got Naruto into the—"

"No, no, not at all." Neji said with yet another posh chuckle. "Sasuke was never into those kinds of things. He said it himself that he was disgusted by his boyfriend's habits and would always—"

"Wait, wait, wait—" said Kankuro, interrupting once again. "What the hell is this guy talking about? Boyfriend?"

When Naruto looked up he saw similar faces on Kakashi and Kurenai, some sort of odd disbelief mixed with disgust—although it was mostly disgust on Kankuro's part.

Before he could say anything, Neji spoke. "Were none of you aware of Naruto's…sexual lifestyle? Mine as well, I suppose." Another infuriating chuckle.

Kankuro literally spat. "Fucking hell," he started viciously, glaring at Naruto with distaste. "You bring me here, on my day off, against my will, and now I have to find out that I'm working with a bunch of fags?"

"Kankuro!" Kurenai exclaimed disbelievingly before she turned to give Naruto more of that look. "Naruto, is this true? Are you a homosexual?"

Naruto looked back at the group and hesitated. What was going on? Why was this such a big deal?


"Fucking hell," Kankuro said once again, putting his hands to his face.

Naruto made a face. What was the big deal?

"All right, we are getting off track here." Kakashi said with a wave of his head, but he couldn't quite hide the disturbed look on his face. "Neji, if you will?"

The long-haired man nodded majestically and continued. "As I was saying, before I was rudely interrupted," he turned to glare at Kankuro, but it was nothing compared to the glare the muscled-man gave him back. Neji wasn't fazed. "Sasuke couldn't take what Naruto was doing to himself. He'd given up on trying to fix him, and dumped him." He paused then, and chuckled again. He looked down with mock bashfulness before he continued. "Sasuke and I…started to get to know each other very well during Naruto's, ah, downward spiral, I should say?—"

Naruto couldn't really help the twitch that came from him at that moment.

"Where fuck do the drugs come in? No one wans to hear about your sick gay love shit—"

"Kankuro," Kurenai seethed, "What is wrong with you?"

Kankuro turned to her to speak again, but Kakashi stepped in front of him. "That's enough. We are getting off track here. Kankuro I suggest you keep your thoughts to yourself, and Neji," he said turning to the long-haired man, "get to the point."

Neji only laughed at him and shook his head. "Alright then. Like I told you yesterday. About a week ago, Naruto came to my apartment—the one the methamphetamine was found in, and tried to get Sasuke back after he'd dumped him. He was very upset when Sasuke revealed to him that he wanted to be with me instead. And expressed an anger that I feel would constitute his going to Zabuza, a drug dealer, for more illegal substances."

Naruto tensed. Shit.

Kakashi turned to look at Naruto with seriousness in his eyes, "Naruto. Tell me then. Do you know who Zabuza is? He's been on our Wanted List of illegal drug importers for years."

Naruto moved his mouth nervously. "I—"

"Now hold on a second." Said Kurenai cutting in. "Naruto had some sort of confrontation with someone in the building, so that somehow makes him a suspect for the crime?" she inquired disbelievingly. "How does any of this add up?"

Neji looked like he wanted to say something, but Kakashi spoke instead. "Kurenai, of course there are more factors." He sighed and shook his head. "Enough evidence, in fact, that I'm almost positive it was Naruto who left the methamphetamine in that staircase."

"And what evidence would that be?" Kurenai asked apprehensively.

"Well for one thing," the grey haired man started quietly. "Naruto was found in the grocery not too far from said building the next day, and after the tests were run, crystal meth was found in his system. Of course I'm not naïve enough to base it all on that; I know very well that the drugs could have come from anywhere, especially considering the kind of neighborhood he's from. But after further tests, we found that the crystal meth was a special kind of meth—some new middle eastern experiment imported by something more vile than the black market." Kakashi scoffed, and his disgust was evident through the sound. "All that did was narrow the places Naruto could have gotten the meth from. But the evidence doesn't stop there…" the grey haired police man turned to look at Naruto now, with sadness in his eyes. "Going back to the scene of the crime…we found…some things."

He paused for so long that Kurenai cleared her throat.

Kakashi shook his head. "Blood. We found blood."

Naruto narrowed his eyes. Blood? What did blood have to do with anything? Blood wasn't part of—

Then it hit him.


"At first we thought it was the blood of the person who left the drugs—or maybe vomit or something of the sort. But when we ran tests we found that the blood wasn't from the perpetrator. The blood wasn't even from a human being." Kakashi turned to stare hard at Naruto. "It was the blood of an animal. The blood of a dog."

The tension in the room was tangible, like heavy air pressing down on Naruto's shoulders. The blonde could swear everyone was holding their breath, himself included.

"And then…I remembered out that Naruto checked in a sick, bleeding dog into your clinic Kurenai."

A heavy silence followed soon afterwards, with the blonde breathing rapidly and keeping his head down.

"So what you're saying is…" started Kurenai quietly, "Is that there is no doubt in your mind that Naruto was the one who left the meth in the building all those days ago?"

"What I'm saying is," Kakashi said with another harsh sigh, "Is that Naruto needs to speak up and tell us the truth about what he knows because all the evidence is against him right now—"

"I think this is unfair."

"I think this is necessary—"

"I think the lot of you are speaking total bullshit." interrupted Kankuro from his side of the room. "We shouldn't even be having this conversation. We should have arrested and put the little shit away when we found him with illegal drugs. Why the fuck are we wasting our time trying to understand the truth? He's just another useless crack-head off the streets. What the hell makes you think he's of more value to us than all the other druggies in that damn city—why in the fuck are we wasting our damn time!"

"Kankuro if you don't keep your mouth shut," started Kurenai angrily.

"What are you going to do about it?" Kankuro seethed, turning to glare at the woman.

Kurenai glared back, standing up from her chair and taking a step towards the large man.

Naruto's own eyes widened at the look in their eyes. In the glares the two were giving to each other he understood the tension that must have been between them for years. The hate traveling amid them wasn't at all foreign.

It almost looked as if the two were going to pounce on each other before Kakashi interjected. "You two," he said angrily, stepping in between them. "We have more important matters at hand—"

"Important matters?" said Kankuro, not taking his eyes off Kurenai. "We're trying to get answers from some crack-headed illiterate fool! What part of this is important? I wouldn't be surprised if this is another one of your stupid charity schemes!" he shouted turning back to Kurenai. "Just you trying to give another useless citizen of society a benefit of a doubt."

When he said that, he turned his head to glare at a space in the corner. When Naruto turned to see what he was staring at, he winced. Kankuro was looking at Gaara.

Kakashi made a frustrated sound and pulled Kankuro by the collar. "Listen, to me—"

"Why should—"

"That's an order, Kankuro."

The larger man scoffed and pulled away from Kakashi.

The grey haired man huffed out another frustrated breath before pointing a finger at the policeman. "You were brought here because you were on duty the supposed night Neji said he'd had the fight with Naruto. I was hoping you'd cooperate and tell me if you remembered anything about that night—I knew you were in that neighborhood."

Kankuro rolled his eyes. "In the neighborhood, but nowhere near that building. The retard was in that building, doing his rounds—or whatever you want to call standing around and doing nothing."

Kakashi paused and stared at Kankuro, before he turned around to face slowly at Gaara. The redhead wasn't really looking at the scene before him. His arms were still crossed over his chest, and he was resting some of his weight on the wall.

"Gaara," the grey haired man started slowly. "Do you remember anything from that night?"

There was a pause.

Naruto squeezed the sides of the chair he was seating on. He was sure that if anyone saw him now, it would give his guilt away. His eyes were as wide as saucers, and he could feel sweat forming at his hairline.

When he looked at Gaara, he saw the policeman still leaning against the wall, with the same impassive look on his face.

"Gaara?" Kakashi asked again. "Is there anything that you remember?"

"The retard doesn't know anything. He—"


There was another pregnant pause, and the gulp Naruto forced down his throat was loud in the piercing silence that filled the room.

"What do you remember, Gaara?" Kurenai asked quietly. "Did you see anything peculiar? Anything strange?"

Gaara's eyes slowly turned to look at them, but still, he said nothing.

"Just fucking forget it." Kankuro said, exasperated. "Even if he did see something, he wouldn't tell us, because that's the way he is—"

"Shut the hell up, Kankuro." Said Kakashi, angrily. "Now Gaara. Tell me now. Did you or did you not see anything in the building that day?"


Naruto shut his eyes. It was over for him. It was over for him and he knew it. Gaara had a duty to tell everyone what he saw. He would tell everyone, and Naruto couldn't even blame him for it; it was Gaara's job. It was what he was supposed to do.

"Then are you going to tell us what you saw, Gaara?" Kurenai asked cautiously.

There was a small pause. No one breathed, no one spoke. Everyone waited for the redhead to say something…—


Kurenai sighed.

Kakashi swore.

And Kankuro screamed. "Typical! Fucking typical!"

"It doesn't even matter. I doubt Gaara was there at the same time of the incident—"

"Fuck that!" Kankuro said, whipping a hand at the air. "Look at his face—he saw something, but because he's a fucking idiot, he can't fucking spit it out!"

"Damn it, Kankuro. That's enough. We've had what we wanted from you, so now you can leave—"

"I wanna know why we're even wasting our time here." He seethed. "You should be in jail!" he said pointing to Naruto. "You're a fucking pushover!" he shouted at Kakashi. "And you…" he seethed, pointing at Gaara.

Naruto didn't even have to blink when Kankuro suddenly stepped up right in front of the redhead and pointed a finger to his face. "You're fucking pathetic Gaara. I can see it in your eyes—you saw something, but because you're a fucking retard—"

"Don't call him that—!" Kurenai shouted, getting up behind Kankuro and grabbing his shoulder.

Kankuro yanked his shoulder away, and only got closer to Gaara's face. "—you can't do anything right! You'll always be the little bitch who does what everyone tells him to do, but when it comes to things that fucking matter—"

"Kankuro!" Kakashi shouted, pulling the man roughly away from Gaara and shoving him near the door.

"—you're fucking worthless! Why don't you go back to the fucking country and scrub the dirty floors under my fucking feet again you fucking—"

"Stop it!" Kurenai screamed, shoving the larger man with both hands. "How dare you, how fucking dare you—"

"Kankuro leave." Kakashi said, with a look of disbelief and horror. "Get out of here—"

"I'm not leaving!" Kankuro shouted. "Look at him! Looking at him makes me sick, he makes me fucking sick. He's a fucking schizoid with no heart and no fucking brain, and a fucking murderer—he killed our fucking mother, and you fucking expect me to fucking stand to be in a fucking room with him—he makes me sick—Gaara you make me fucking sick—go rot, go rot somewhere, I fucking hate everything about you—"

It went on. Longer than Naruto thought Kakashi and Kurenai would allow it to. Both adults had resigned looks of horror, staring at Kankuro with disbelief in their eyes. Even Neji, the bastard, was staring at Kankuro with wide, amused eyes. All eyes were on muscled policeman.

And none were on Gaara.

Not even Kankuro, who was looking straight at him—seeing through him, with red, blind hate in his eyes. Not seeing his brother, not seeing—

Gaara, whose head was cast down, and had a single hand holding his forehead, with pale fingers tugging a bit of his hair, and a look of absolute desolation in his eyes. No. No one would see it: the desolation. Because Gaara's eyes had that same tint of emotionlessness, that same tint of impassiveness, that same tint of listlessness that Naruto was so used to—but how could the blonde miss the way the redhead's eyes were dimmed, almost closing, as if sleepy, staring down at the floor, as if he had no strength to gaze ahead, as if he felt unworthy to look up.

It was like seeing a man cry. Naruto felt a tug at his hurt that hurt—an emotion close to empathy, but was something else, something deeper, mixing with pity and understanding, and tenderness

Naruto stood up.

He wouldn't sit there and watch the redhead, his friend, get hurt; even if it was a pain no one else could see, it was a pain he would cater to. For a friend. For Gaara.

When he stood next to the policeman, Kankuro was still spewing the curses and insults, but Naruto could only hear—he wasn't listening. And he didn't think Gaara could hear him either, when the blonde put a hand on the one touching his forehead, tugging into his hair. Gaara peaked up slowly from his downcast position, or rather he only had to move his hand away and stare down at Naruto, and looked at the blonde with a vulnerability that broke Naruto's heart.

"Gaara…" Naruto whispered. He squeezed the fingers he'd managed to hold on to and gave the redhead a smile he knew looked awkward. "It's okay." He barely whispered it.

Gaara only looked at him, his eyes acquiring their normal size. Then the redhead blinked slowly once, leaned back against the wall, and stared listlessly ahead again.

Naruto smiled. Gaara was feeling better now.

"The fuck is this?"

Kankuro's voice pierced through the silence.

Naruto blinked.

That's right—the silence. It had been quiet. Everyone was staring at them now.

Naruto's confidence was gone, deflated once again, and he stuttered.

"Ah…I j-just—"

"Shut the fuck up." Kankuro growled lowly, glaring at the blonde with a seriousness that Naruto'd never seen in a man's eyes before. "Get away from him. He's already a retard, but if you turn him into a fag too…" the threat hung, unsaid, but the hate blew into Naruto like a wave of smoke.

Naruto took a step back.

He was afraid of this man.


"I'm leaving." The policeman said, turning to glare at Kakashi. "Thanks for wasting my time. Now I'll go back to the pregnant wife I actually know how to love." he snapped, glaring at Gaara again.

With that last statement that Naruto didn't quite understand, the muscled man left the room, making sure to slam the door behind him.

The sound reverberated across the room, before it left it in complete utter silence.

The five of them stood there, staring at each other. Kurenai was staring at Naruto with a weird look, and so was Kakashi. When Naruto looked away from them and looked at Gaara, he found the redhead looking at him too, with one eye shielded by a fringe of hair. Naruto gulped. He opened his mouth to say something—

"Well, that was unexpected."

—but of course Neji beat him to it.

When the blonde turned to look at him, Neji had an enormous smile on his face, obviously more than amused by what just happened.

"You know, I think you guys have bigger problems than a drug deal." Then he laughed that infuriating laugh, and leaned back in his chair. "I can't wait to tell Sasuke all about this Naruto. You know. Pillow talk."

Naruto bared his teeth before he could stop himself.

Neji raised an eyebrow at him. "What was that? Still jealous, Naruto?" he smiled a sneaky smile and whipped his hair back with a shake of his head. "I had no idea. But really, what is there to be jealous of, when you have a man like that standing next to you." He gave Gaara a look that would seduce any other man, and winked. "But I suppose it won't be long until I take him from you too…" he trailed off, still not taking his eyes off Gaara.

Naruto clenched his fists and a sound came from his mouth. Too pathetic to be a growl, but enough to express his anger.

From the corner of his eye, Naruto could see Kakashi shaking his head.

"Alright, Hyuuga. You've done enough." He gestured for the man to stand up. "Thank you for your services, but you'll have to leave now."

Neji chuckled as he stood, and bowed lightly to no one, before he exited the room. "See you later, Naruto." He called out from behind the door.

When the four of them were in the room, Naruto relaxed. Neji was…infuriating. The hate he'd thought he'd lost was back again, and he didn't know what to do with it. When he gained his strength back, he would beat the hell out of him.

Naruto looked at his puny hands. It would be a long time until then, but the time would come.

"Naruto…" Kakashi said lightly. "About Kankuro…I'm sorry. And the meth…" he shook his head and sighed. "We aren't dropping our suspicions against you, but it's obvious we need to look more into this before we can really question anyone..."

Naruto's eyes widened. What?

Kakashi shook his head again. "Due to lack of evidence," he looked at Gaara when he said that, "we can't pursue any charges or suspicions against you. You'll have to complete your house arrest, of course." He added quickly. "But when it comes to the investigation…you're free to go. For now, anyway."

Naruto blinked.

Kurenai cleared her throat. "I guess that's it, then." She said lightly.

Kakashi looked at her once before he shook her head. "Yes. I guess that's it." He looked very solemn. Naruto could tell that this was far from the way the way he wanted this meeting to end.

"Before I go," Kakashi said, turning to look at the redhead. "Your car is as good as new, Gaara. I'll have someone pick it up for you and drop it off at..."

He looked at Kurenai. "Would it be better if someone dropped the car at the hospital or at his house?"

Kurenai hesitated. "Well I suppose that depends on what we'll do with Naruto. He can't stay here...and we were thinking of letting him live with Gaara..."

Kakashi nodded his head. " Yeah, I remember that. It's better that the car is dropped off at then his house then, so someone here can drive Gaara and Naruto back home. I don't think we want Kankuro driving him back again. In fact I don't think Kankuro should have much contact with Gaara at all, after that."

"I told you from the very beginning that they didn't get along. But you insisted–"

"Alright, alright," Kakashi said with a shake of his head that was more sadness then exasperation. "I understand now. I won't make the same mistake again. And Gaara," he said, looking at the policeman again. "Why didn't you tell me that your brother was that hateful towards you? I can't imagine the things he's said and done to you when I assigned you both together."

Gaara said nothing. He didn't even look Kakashi's way. Kakashi sighed and ran another tired hand through his hair. "I can't...I can't imagine." he repeated and shook his head.

"So he's living with Gaara after all, then." Kurenai said.

"Yes." Kakashi said, nodding. " But you told me earlier how opposed you were to that..."

Naruto's eyes widened. When had Kurenai said that? Was it when she found out he and Gaara were missing?

The red-eyed woman shook her head, and looked away from the both of them. "Things have…changed. Besides, there's nothing much we can do. I don't trust Naruto by himself, and we need him nearby, don't we? For when more suspicions rise against him?"

Kakashi narrowed his eyes at her. "If that's what you think is best…"

Kurenai shrugged his shoulders. "I'll never know for sure what's best. I just know that I want to try this, and see how it goes."

Kakashi stared at her for a moment, before he nodded his head. "Alright then. Will you need my help at all with this?"

Kurenai shook her head. "No. I'll drive them myself."

The gray haired man nodded his head lamely, before he put his hand on the door-knob. "Stay out of trouble." He said to Naruto before he stepped outside.

The silence in the room when he left didn't last long. Kurenai cleared her throat and spoke, "Naruto, I want you to pack everything you came here with. That shouldn't be a problem considering you came with almost nothing."

"Am I…" Naruto began, almost cutting her off. "Am I really going to live with Gaara?" he asked softly.

Kurenai pursed her lips. "Temporarily." She said curtly. "The longest you'll be staying there is the duration of your house arrest, but I doubt it will come to that."

"Then why am I going there in the first place?"

"Because I don't trust you." Kurenai almost hissed. "I don't trust you by yourself….and until recently I didn't trust you with Gaara…but now…" she looked from him to the redhead. "I'm willing to try this. It might be good for the both of you…" She sighed and shook her head. "Once this whole drug dealing situation settles, and your house arrest is over, we're going to leave you in your grandmother's hands. I doubt she'll let you go back to that apartment of yours. "

Naruto twitched at the thought of seeing his grandmother again. Not now, he thought.

"For now, I just want you to get your things, so we can get you out of here."

Naruto nodded his head.

"Gaara, did you hear that?" Kurenai called to the redhead. "Naruto's going to live with you. Are you alright with that?"

Gaara didn't move for a few moments, but Naruto saw that movement in his eyes that said he was thinking about it.

"Yes." He said finally, and even then he didn't look at either of them.

The redhead had a real problem with eye contact, Naruto realized. He wondered if it had to do with the way Kankuro was to him all the time…or maybe the way he'd been treated before.

Naruto shook his head. He was almost disgusted with himself; he'd been so stuck on his problems and his misgivings, when it was obvious who'd had the harder life.

"Alright then." Kurenai said. "We'll be taking my car." She turned to the blonde, "Naruto, get your things. I want everyone ready in thirty minutes."

The ride to Gaara's home was…different now.

The first time Naruto took this road, he was confused. The second time, he was angry…but now.

Now he really didn't know what to think. His heart was beating fast, because of the enormity of the situation—but he wasn't in a state of panic. Not the way he would have been before. Because now he could say he trusted Kurenai's decision.

And he wanted to be closer to Gaara. Naruto could admit that there was a sort of budding likeness for the redhead growing somewhere in his stomach, but it wasn't something anywhere near what he used to feel for Sasuke. Now it was sort of an appreciation…a sort of gratitude.

Despite everything, Naruto could say that Gaara was probably one of the most genuine people he'd ever met. Weird, but genuine. He didn't think he could trust anyone quite as much as he trusted the redhead.

He sat in the back seat of Kurenai's small car, while Gaara sat in the passenger seat in front with Kurenai. He looked out the window the entire time, actually appreciating the scenery of growing trees, and tiny houses all lined up together, looking identical.

They had to go back to his apartment before they could go to Gaara's. Kurenai had realized that Naruto would have to have clothes, and other things. Naruto tried to say that he didn't have much, but they went anyway. He was almost amused at the way Kurenai flinched at every skitter, every sudden noise. It seemed she'd never really been in a neighborhood as horrible as Naruto's before.

When the two of them went up to the apartment (they made Gaara stay in the car) Kurenai didn't hide her disgust. The door was off of its hinges from the last time Naruto and Gaara were there. There were still marks of blood from Kiba, and the apartment simply stank as a whole. None of the clothes that Naruto brought back with him were clean, and Kurenai shuddered at his used stack of boxers. They'd somehow found a plastic bag to put everything in (which wasn't much in the first place) and Kurenai insisted on putting it in the trunk of the car where no one would smell it. She said the first thing they would do when they went to Gaara's house use his washer to wash his clothes.

They'd spoken a bit about what they would do about Kiba, and decided that Naruto could go with Gaara whenever he visited the hospital, which was often. They also spoke about what Naruto would do while Gaara was out on duty, and they decided that the blonde should stay in the hospital during those hours, and the redhead would pick him up when he was done for the day.

When Naruto asked what he would be doing in the hospital all day, Kurenai told him, very delicately that he was going to be a test-patient to one of their psychiatrist, so he could get the mental benefits of being in an Rehabilitation Center. At first Naruto was against it, but Kurenai assured him that this was simply sitting down and talking to someone about his addictions, and helping him cope with his peculiar withdrawal symptoms.

Naruto put a hand on his stomach. There was a constant dull ache in his stomach now. It was much more pleasant than the throbbing pain he'd felt the time he walked in the rain with Gaara, but it still worried him. He'd eaten what he could of the bread and banana the clinic offered him for breakfast (his stomach was so small it was hardly much) so he knew he wasn't hungry. And did withdrawal really include stomach aches? Naruto wasn't so sure about that.

"You're lucky today." Kurenai said suddenly, from the driver's seat. "Saturday is Gaara's day off, so you two get to spend the rest of the day together, getting to know each other I suppose."

Naruto swallowed. The whole day with Gaara? It sounded…intimidating, but welcomed at the same time. Whenever Gaara was around, there were other, more troubling things surrounding the situation. Like Kiba almost dying, and Naruto getting angry, and the huge blowout in Kurenai's room earlier. It seemed that he and Gaara never really got a chance to just be. Just sit and enjoy each other's presence without drama.

The blonde supposed it would be difficult to have stimulating alone time with the redhead anyway, considering he never spoke, and made it very difficult to interpret his reactions to things. Naruto smiled slightly to himself. he was beginning to understand the policeman despite that, though, wasn't he? He knew when Gaara was thinking, and he thought he knew when he was angry as well—or at least trying to express an emotion he didn't particularly like…

"We're almost there." Kurenai said softly, as if dreading the moment when they arrived.

Naruto wouldn't be surprised if she was. Gaara was like a brother, or a child to her. Someone who was vulnerable and cold easily be hurt. The woman must be so afraid that Naruto being there might damage the redhead somehow.

Naruto let his eyes dim. To be honest, he wasn't even sure he could be trusted with him. He wouldn't hurt Gaara on purpose, that was for sure. But there were probably so many rules, so many things that he could breach that could ruin everything.

"And…here we are…" Kurenai said as she eased into a tiny driveway.

Naruto looked apprehensively at the familiar house. Last time he was here, he'd taken one look at the place, then forced Gaara to take him home again. Naruto sighed and shook his head. How selfish was that of him? Making Gaara walk in the rain like that…

The three of them got out of the car. Kurenai took Naruto's belongings out of her trunk with obvious distaste. "When we get inside I'll put these in the drier." She said.

Gaara was walking towards the house before either of them, leaving Naruto and Kurenai to scramble behind him. When they were at the entrance of the house, Naruto watched the way Gaara carefully handled his keys, as if it was a precious thing, and guided it to the keyhole of his door.

When he opened it, Kurenai walked in first and disappeared down a hallway or something—Naruto couldn't tell as he was still half standing outside. Gaara went in afterwards, and held the door open until the blonde was fully inside.

Naruto's eyes widened at the house.

It was the way it was outside. Quaint. Simple.

There was what looked to be a dining room to his left, with a very small wooden table that couldn't fit more than four people with very small plates at a time. And there was a kitchen right beside the dining room, with a silver sink and a few cabinets above it. The wood on the cabinets were a polished burgundy, and matched well with the small silver refrigerator that stood adjacent the counter parallel to the sink.

To his left was a small living room. There was one small soft chair, and one small loveseat, which would have just been an oversized chair if not for the two padded seat cushions.

The walls were an off-white color that almost seemed to fade into blue.

Naruto blinked. He liked this house.

"Alright." Kurenai said, coming out of a room down a hallway in between the dining room and living room. "Your clothes are in the washer and will be done in about forty minutes. When they're done I want you to take them out and ask Gaara to put them in the dryer for you. It would be preferable if you watched him put them in the dryer so that you do it for yourself next time." She narrowed her eyes at the blonde, seeking understanding.

Naruto nodded.

"Good. Now before I go, there are rules."

Naruto nodded again. He knew there would be.

"Gaara only has one bedroom, so you will sleep on the couch here with a few sheets."

Naruto nodded his head. Kurenai was speaking as if it was some kind of punishment, but despite the smallness of the couch, Naruto knew by just looking at it that it would be much softer then the ratty mattress he had at his apartment.

"Second, food will be provided by Gaara; you will eat what he tells you, save for if you're allergic to anything…" she trailed off, looking at the blonde expectantly.

Naruto shook his head. He wasn't allergic to anything he could think of.

"If, after you've eaten, you're still hungry, you will wait until the next meal to eat again. Gaara will never give you less than an efficient amount."

Naruto wrinkled his nose. Obviously this woman was afraid he was going to give Gaara a hard time, and expect him to do things just because he knew he would listen. But ask for more food? Naruto honestly would be lucky if he could stomach a slice of plain bread.

"You will never be left alone in this house." Kurenai continued. "So Gaara will have to take you to the hospital whenever he has duties. During those times in the hospital, you will serve as a temporary patient in the ward for mentally disabled patients, and you will work with one of our doctors to talk about your…past life."

His life as an addict, Naruto thought solemnly. There were times when he felt like he wouldn't mind taking one snuff, and forgetting the world around him. Especially when he was alone and thinking about himself, and how hard it was going to be a changed person. He did realize that it could be harder, however. The crystal he'd had last wasn't working like the others, he realized. Usually he would be aching and shaking, but it wouldn't last long before he had his next fix. Now that he was going so long without any sort of substance, Naruto could see that he was lucky, and being spared somehow. There were horrible symptoms of withdrawal, worse than being cold, and getting stomach aches. For some reason those effects—or rather effects similar like them, came sporadically and at random, usually when Naruto was stressed out.

The blonde shook his head. He didn't get it, but he would take what he got.

"Do you have a problem with what I just said?" Kurenai asked, misunderstanding Naruto's shake of his head.

"No," he replied quickly. "I…don't."

Kurenai narrowed her eyes at him before she continued. "Lastly, not a rule, but a warning." She folded her hands in front of her and looked at Naruto with serious threat in her eyes. "If you do anything that I think can constitute towards Gaara's suffering…" she trailed off for a moment, and looked at Naruto as if she was genuinely afraid for him. "I…don't know what I would do. But you better believe I will make your life miserable."

Naruto blinked hard. "I believe you," he said softly. "But…I would never…hurt him on purpose." He felt the need to say.

The doctor pursed her lips. "Accidents will be taken into account." She said lowly.

Naruto didn't think that was at all fair, but he nodded anyway. He understood where the woman was coming from. She had a right to be over protective of the man.

"I don't want anyone leaving this house after today." She said, sighing. "Gaara, I don't know how you planned on spending the night, but…can you please be a dear and…show Naruto where things are? And don't hesitate to tell him he can't do something, and notify me immediately when he starts giving you any trouble." The way Kurenai looked when she said those things made Naruto think that she didn't really believe that the redhead would listen to her.

The doctor cleared her throat. "Alright. So. I will be…on my way." She said putting her hands together. "Gaara your car will be in your driveway by nightfall, and I…hope you two have a good night." She finished finally.

Naruto gave her a small smile, which she returned with difficulty, and Gaara did nothing. That didn't stop the red eyed woman from beaming at him. "I'll see you soon." Se told the policeman exclusively, before turning around, and heading for the door. She shut it behind her gingerly, but not before giving the Naruto another look of warning.

When she was gone, Naruto felt relieved.

But only for a moment.

He remembered the situation he was in, and who he was with.

Gaara Kaze, the policeman. A few weeks ago he would have been trembling in his presence, but Naruto didn't think he was that person anymore. The redhead still made him nervous, but it was more of a light fluttery feeling—not a heavy rock sitting on his stomach.

"Uhm…" Naruto started, turning to face Gaara. Gaara stood there, looking at Naruto with narrowed eyes.

Naruto was taken aback. "U-uhm…" he swallowed. Gaara had never looked at him like that before. He didn't look angry. Only in…deep contemplation.

"W-what is it?" the blonde asked carefully.

The redhead blinked at him, before his eyes resized themselves to normal. He still said nothing.

Naruto wrinkled his nose. "Can I…" he chanced, "see the house?"

Gaara continued staring at him, revealing nothing, before he turned around and made his way down the hall. Naruto stood where he was, staring at the redhead's back in confusion.

Gaara stopped walking when he was in the middle of the hall, and turned to look at Naruto. When he saw the blonde still in the same position, one eye widened, which Naruto was supposed would be the raising of an eyebrow, if the redhead had any.

He took that look as 'you should be following me' and held in a sigh of frustration. After all this time, he still didn't catch on to all of Gaara's little hints. He still hoped that Gaara would say things more often though. When he was right behind Gaara, the redhead started walking again. He made his way to the first door on the right of the hall and opened the door.

"Bathroom." The policeman said.

Before Naruto could even take a look inside, Gaara was walking down the hall again, to the next room. Naruto all but scurried behind the taller man. The next was at the end of the hall that ended with an intersection with doors at the end of each turn.


The door at the end was already opened, and Naruto saw two large machines. One made a small rowing noise while the other was silent. Naruto, after a moment, recognized them as a washer and drier. He didn't know the last time he'd come into contact with one. Even when he lived with his grandmother, he never washed his clothes, so he never had any reason to see the washer, or know how to work one.

When he looked back up, he saw Gaara waiting for him at the end of the wall where there it bent towards the right. He nodded at the man, and Gaara wasted no time walking on.

The next room was at the end of the intersection and when Gaara opened it, he actually went inside.

"Bedroom." The man mumbled as he walked inside. He pointed to the bed, "Bed." He pointed to the drawers, "Clothes." He pointed to a door at the end of the room. "Bathroom." Then the redhead promptly turned around and made his way out of the room.

Naruto couldn't help but smile a bit. Gaara's idea of a tour was an odd one. He didn't immediately follow the man out of his bedroom though. He wanted to take in the sight of the man's sleeping quarters for a moment longer. The bed was a size Naruto didn't have the pleasure on sleeping on for years, and the dark blue sheets neatly wrapped around the bed. The floor was carpeted in the same dark floor, and it didn't have any lint or strange dirt littering it. Naruto supposed it would be difficult to cause a huge mess when you were the only one who lived in a house.

Then again, Naruto thought solemnly to himself, he lived alone in his apartment, and it was a filthy mess.


The blonde jumped, the sound of Gaara's voice tickling something in his lower back. He turned around sheepishly and found the policeman waiting in the middle of the hall, at the intersection. Naruto made his way over there, closing Gaara's bedroom door while he was at it. The redhead started walking towards the door on the other side without preamble, and Naruto had to hurry behind him again.

To Naruto's surprise, the door didn't reveal a room, but stairs that led downstairs. Gaara glided down them, leaving Naruto to stumble after him. When they reached the bottom, Gaara turned on a light and revealed what looked like a basement.

"Basement." Gaara confirmed in a calm voice.

He turned to make his way back up the stairs, but Naruto called out.

"Wait." The blonde said. He was looking at the table at the very end of the dimly lit room, and the ledges on the windows. There were miniature people littering them, complex little figures with small arms, stumped legs, but detailed faces, from what he could see. He walked up to the table where there were a lot of them. The majority looked incomplete compared to the colored ones on the ledges. They were a light brown, sand-ish color, and as Naruto walked closer he realized that the faces were indeed the most detailed parts of the figures. The clothes were a close second. He saw a small man in a suit looking angry, he saw a woman in a dress that revealed miniature panties with a look of seduction on her face, he saw—

Naruto blinked.

He saw a small figure, smaller than the rest, with limp spiked hair, and wide eyes, curled in a fetal position with an animal clutched into his chest. A dog.

Naruto swallowed, with a bit of difficulty.

"Uhm…" he started slowly, his voice cracking. "Who is—"

"Let's go." The policeman said, before Naruto could say anything.

Naruto turned to face him, with urgent eyes, and questions running through his head. When had Gaara had the time to make these?

"Did you do all this?" he asked quietly.

The redhead suddenly looked uncomfortable, or whatever one could call that slight purse of his lips and that slow look to the side. "Let's go." He repeated, not answering the question.

Naruto frowned. "Gaara…"

The taller man looked at him, his eyes acquiring that narrow again. "Yes." he mumbled, not looking nervous, but sounding unappreciative.

Naruto opened his mouth to say something, but hesitated. He wouldn't push. It was impolite to, wasn't it? Even if the old him would have talked up a storm before he got his answers, the blonde wasn't going to do that now. So instead he nodded slowly, and held his tongue. "Right. Sorry."

Gaara said nothing back, and simply turned to go back up the stairs, shutting the lights off as he did so.

Naruto sighed and followed. He didn't know what it would be like living with Gaara, but so far it was…weird.

And the miniature figures…

Naruto took one look back at the table, but couldn't really see since it was so dark. He gave up and turned back around, walking to where the redhead was on top of the stairs.

He would find out about it later, he thought. But for now, he would concentrate on being a good guest.

End of Chapter

Author's Note

A year late, no biggie. Kidding. I'm so sorry to all my disappointed fans who I've forced to wait this long. Not sure if a lot of you will remember Oblivion, but those who do, no worries; I fully intend to complete this story. There could have been more to this chapter, but I didn't want you guys to wait another month. I'm trying to get to all the stories I've neglected while in college, so here you go. Not sure this chapter was satisfactory, but I'll do better next time. Next chapter Naruto and Gaara get close, and a lot of secrets will be revealed, so—

Until then.