I don't own Naruto nor make money from writing this fic. Edited by the wonderful Master of the Rebels. Idea inspired by darkalbino's er, similar mistake that Naruto makes in this fic.
Speaking of Dark – I AM SO SORRY! I originally planned to post this yesterday (on her birthday), but I completely forgot due to X, Y, Z, and then some. (Full apology, excuses, and begging for forgiveness will be made to Dark.)
Chapter 1: Mistaken Identity
Naruto looked around him for the umpteenth time. So far, he had been unsuccessful in his attempts to find his friend in the crowd of people mulling through the art exhibition.
For the past half hour, Naruto had been looking for his friend with no luck, and he was getting beyond frustrated.
His friend, Gaara, had been presented with the high honor of having his artwork displayed alongside some of the most famous artists of their area (though Naruto would be damned if he could name a single one of them – he just knew that they were famous).
Most of the artists seemed the same to Naruto. They all seemed to have a darkish-angsty-broodish-come-close-to-me-and-die type attitude. Not that it truly bothered Naruto all that much.
Among Gaara, his friends Neji and Sai exhibited the same artistic emo tendencies.
He also had a lot of friends that balanced out his artist type of friends like Gaara, such as his friend Kiba who he currently saw waving at him erratically to come over and see him.
As Naruto approached Kiba, he enveloped him in a big hug. Naruto was openly affectionate and greeted all his friends (and most people in general) with a hug. He was a friendly kind of guy after all.
"Have you seen Gaara?" Naruto asked.
"No. But I thought this might have been his at first, but it's not. I mean, it drips his usual style of emo-angst though apparently most artists here have the same kind of style," Kiba said, pointing at a particularly large painting.
Naruto turned to look at the painting. He could understand why Kiba would term it "emo-angst" right away. The painting was of a man lying in a bathtub with his wrists bleeding, the blood dripping down the white sides of the tub.
In the man's hand was a razor, and it was clear the man had attempted suicide.
At first, Naruto was appalled by the image, but then as he looked closer, he saw that the blood formed different kanji as it pooled on the bottom of the tub: lust, greed, hate, revenge, anger, fear, drugs, pain, and loneliness. Naruto's eyes flickered down to the title of the painting: "Silent Killers of the Soul."
It was one of those morbid types of paintings that get people thinking, and it made Naruto think that the artist was most likely a very lonely person, but someone who saw that there was a lot more than just suicide that could kill a person. A lot of people had very destructive lifestyles that might as well be termed a sort of suicide. There were also deep emotions that could drag someone down to make someone feel suicide was their only way out.
Each stroke of the person's face showed his heart-wrenching loneliness. There was something strangely intimate about the painting due to his utter loneliness, and it was only his sense of loyalty to Gaara and Gaara's artwork that Naruto smothered the sudden thought that this was one of the best paintings he had ever seen.
Naruto's musings were interrupted as Kiba elbowed him to get his attention.
Naruto whipped his head around, finally locating Gaara amongst the crowded art gallery.
"Oi! GAARA!" Naruto bellowed, getting Gaara's attention. Kiba guffawed at Naruto's action. Gaara raised his non-existent eyebrow at Naruto's boisterous greeting.
"Hey, before you go and embarrass him any more, I want to talk to you about Gaara's brother -"
Naruto was only half listening to what Kiba was saying. Gaara had started to meander back on through the crowd. Naruto turned back toward Kiba, noticing a black-haired youth standing off by Kiba's right. Having only half been paying attention to Kiba, he took in the young man standing next to his brown-haired friend.
His brain registered that Kiba had been talking about Gaara's brother. While Naruto had never met Gaara's older brother, Kankuro, he knew that Kiba and Kankuro were good friends, even though Naruto had never met him. As Kiba began to continue with his explanation, Naruto looked back over the crowd, cursing when Gaara was getting harder to pinpoint.
So instead of listening to Kiba introduce Gaara's brother, Naruto instead decided to make a quick introduction and hasty retreat so he wouldn't have to spend another half hour looking for Gaara if he lost him from his sight again.
He had come to offer his support to his friend, and he was going to go and see him at his show, damn it!
Coming right up to the black-haired man, Naruto gave him a huge bear hug and a hearty man-to-man slap on the ass.
"It's great to finally meet you! Your brother always speaks very highly of you. Speaking of which, I'm going to go and speak with him before he disappears again!" Naruto said, waving goodbye to Gaara's brother, and clapping a hand on Kiba's shoulder, oblivious to Kiba's shocked look.
Keeping Gaara locked in his sights, Naruto began to all but shove his way through the throng of people.
"Gaara!" Naruto said happily, coming up and hugging Gaara. Gaara, for his part, stood stiff and let Naruto hug him, used to (though not entirely comfortable with) Naruto's public display of affection.
"Hello, Uzumaki Naruto," Gaara greeted in his eccentric and formal way.
"So where's your stuff? I've been too busy trying to find you, to find your work," Naruto explained, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly.
"I've been looking at the other artists' work. Rock Lee, Sasori, Deidara, Killer Bee, and Pein all have work in this exhibit. I am shocked that I made it up to par with all of these artists, but far more so to know that I am sharing exhibit space with the Uchiha brothers. They are the best of the best."
Naruto nodded, figuring those were all famous artists, and he was clearly supposed to be impressed, meanwhile thinking Gaara hardly looked impressed despite his words.
"And Kankuro's puppets are on display here as well. I don't believe you've met," Gaara said, lightly grabbing Naruto's arm and maneuvering him effortlessly through the crowd. Naruto's mind got set on watching how people seemed to float to either side of Gaara like he was able to part the crowd with thought alone. So focused on this anomaly, Naruto didn't realize that he had already met Gaara's brother.
Or so he thought.
"Kankuro, this is Uzumaki Naruto. Naruto, this is my elder brother," Gaara said, gesturing to a man in front of him that was NOT the man Naruto had hugged…and slapped on the ass.
"Hi," Naruto said, feeling stunned. "You're Gaara's brother? For real?" Naruto asked, almost desperately. Kankuro didn't seem too happy about this greeting.
"Do you have a problem with that?" Kankuro demanded, offended. Naruto put up his hands apologetically.
"No, no! It's, just, umm, well, you see, I was just talking with Kiba, and he started saying something about you being here. Well, there was this guy standing right next to him, and so, instead of listening to what Kiba was going to say, I just sorta hugged the guy, saying I was happy to meet him, but apparently he wasn't you."
Both Gaara and Kankuro stared at him for a moment, before Kankuro's face split into a large grin, making Naruto glad to see that Gaara's brother, at least, was prone to smiling.
"You mean to tell me you hugged some stranger, thinking he was me?" Kankuro said, barely suppressing a laugh.
"You really are an idiot," Gaara said. Naruto just shrugged awkwardly.
When Sasuke had first seen the brunet male looking at his work, Sasuke wanted to roll his eyes. He had a feeling that the idiot hadn't realized what the painting was about.
The man didn't seem to hold a high enough IQ to understand the complexity of the self-destructive nature and activities that other human beings include in their lifestyle that kill their soul little by little, even sometimes in forthright actuality. Sasuke noted he also didn't seem to suffer from the same types of emotional distress mentioned in the painting.
When Sasuke saw the onlooker to his painting call over his friend, he listened in to see what the man had to say. Due to the amount of people around them, he missed the first part of their discussion. He got closer, hearing the man refer to his work as "emo-angst" making Sasuke positive the man didn't understand his work. Therefore Sasuke expected the first onlooker's friend to likewise be unable to appreciate his painting. The blond appeared to have a lower IQ than his friend (Sasuke wasn't being stereotypical whatsoever).
Sasuke was therefore surprised to watch the expression of awe come over the blond's features, and it filled him with a sense of pride as he saw the understanding and emotion cross over the man's face.
There was a flash of loneliness that crossed over his features, and Sasuke felt a strange connection with his painting's admirer.
Idly, Sasuke wondered if the man was an artist himself.
Sadly, Sasuke was lost in thought and therefore unsuspecting when he suddenly noted the blond standing right in front of him. Before he could speak, he was stunned into silence when the blond approached him and greeted him so...unusually.
He'd never been hugged and slapped on the ass before by a stranger.
He wasn't even sure if he'd ever been slapped there before.
Sasuke stood gaping, watching the blond male that had hugged him and then had the audacity to slap his ass disappear amongst the crowd. Even so, the unknown man's words seemed to have struck a chord in him deeper than any sort of physical intimacy that had transpired between him and the stranger.
"It's great to finally meet you! Your brother always speaks very highly of you. Speaking of which, I'm going to go and speak with him before he disappears again!"
Who was the man? How did he know Itachi? How had he recognized him?
Usually Itachi and Sasuke didn't let their fans know what they looked like, yet this man had come up to him, recognizing him right away. He must have been a friend of Itachi's to recognize Sasuke like that.
And, did Itachi really speak highly of him? Surely the man must be one of Itachi's more unusual friends for the stranger to greet him so familiarly.
Sasuke watched after the other man before turning to the blond stranger's friend who seemed to be having a spasm of sorts.
"I – he, I mean, sorry about him!" the man apologized. Sasuke shrugged it off as he turned and walked back through the crowd, strangely pleased by the greeting, the praise, and the way the other male had so fully seemed to understand his painting.
He would have to get Itachi to give them a better introduction later on.
I know. Another multi-chapter fic to work on. This one will not be too long. Famous last words, right? ~ Jelp