TO LOVE LIFE
My hand was shaking, fingers clutched desperately to a fine horse hair brush.
I swallowed back nothing and stared down at the black ink blotch on my previously pristine white scroll. Something… I had to write… something. Instead I stared on, eyes transfixed on the tiny ink spot. "Dear Gaara," I shook my head and finger combed back my hair, it seemed far too inappropriate.
"To the Kazekage, Subaku No Gaara."
Again I shook off the idea, much too formal, it came from my lips but it didn't even sound like me. Staring down at the paper, I clenched my jaw, unable to manifest any words on it. "What am I supposed to tell you?" I asked nobody, another black ink drip staining the page. There was so much I wanted, no, needed to express. Yet every thought felt dead at my fingertips. "I don't want you to hate me." I was talking, but I had already set the brush down, not even bothering anymore.
The paper seemed to stare back at me with two little splattered eyes. Oh how I wished this was enough, if you could stare into the page and see exactly what it is I wished so badly to tell you. I folded the soiled paper, sealing it into a chakra protected envelope. I placed a gentle kiss upon the crisp paper, whispering into the night. "This is the only warning I can spare you…"
I delivered the letter, not caring too much about it being discovered. It had no hidden message, no code to break or information that could be compromising. Inside that envelope bore my raw, uncensored feelings, and a few ink stains… Nothing more nor less… It was time to embark into the night.
"Uzumaki Naruto, You have been assigned an S-rank mission."
The heat pounded down mercilessly on my sweaty brow, feet weary from my travel of many days and nights. I had only taken so many steps onto the thick hot sand, barely clearing the humid forests of Konoha this morning. Already I felt the urge to lay down in exhaustion, the sun imbedding it's cruel rays into my blistering skin. My throat itched but I knew not to drink any water, in fear of running low too soon. I could not risk blowing this mission…
"Really Baa-Chan! By myself!"
"Naruto please try to understand the seriousness of this situation. You cannot use any of your chakra under any circumstances, unless it means sure death. This is purely a recon mission, but getting caught may cause an all out war in Konoha. Do you understand?"
Like every other normal human, I trudged on through the many dunes, countless… one after another... I did not run, I did not perform any jutsu's to ensure my safety or survival on this perilous journey through a cruel desert.. The tops of my hands where cherry red, burned from the brilliant light. My sleeves did not even reach over my hands to protect them.
I wore long thick black robes, they fell to my wrists and covered my sandal clad feet. I also wore a matching turban wrapped around my face, revealing only my eyes to the world, which squinted in disdain as the winds blew sand into them. As hot as it was in those robes, I feared even worse if I had not been wearing them. If the cooking skin of my hands amounted to anything, it wouldn't be a pretty sight.
"I understand… where are you sending me?"
My feet felt heavier than ever before, burying themselves into the hot sand, trudging on, painfully, sorrowfully. I had never wanted to do this. I didn't want to be to the one to walk into that village…
"You will spy on the Kazekage, make sure that Suna is still on our side. Be aware that being caught could lead to your certain death and war between us two countries."
"Why're you picking me for this! Gaara's my friend!"
"I know Naruto, that's why I'm sending you. If you are caught, it is likely that the Kazekage will spare your life."
I didn't want to watch Gaara against his knowledge… To suspect and assume the worst of him. I know Gaara would never betray Konoha, we saved his life… Right? Even if he did have some sort of conspiracy against Konoha, I didn't want to have to be the one to hand my friend over to Tsunade's wrath, not knowing what was in store for him.
The day dragged on slowly, my cloudy thoughts distracting me from the intense heat. A wave of sadness overwhelmed me. Normally, achieving such a high ranked mission always cheered me up, but this one just shocked me into a deep, melancholic state. After what felt like an eternity, there it was. The great wall of the Sand village, glittering like a diamond beneath the dessert sun. The glare pained my eyes but the thought of water and perhaps even a cool place to lay, dragged me forward.
The great barrier was intimidating, it loomed far above me and made me feel so small and insignificant. To think, I was invading this beautiful (albeit, hot) town, a person that couldn't be trusted, that connived and watched them with accusing eyes. The thought itself gave me shivers despite the heat. I dreaded seeing him… His corpse pale skin and apple red hair, my whole body was tense in apprehension.
I showed the guard at the gate my Konoha Civilian verification badge, and with a nod, he let me pass. Stepping into that fort, the temperature seemed to drop considerably. I knew they had chakra controlling the temperature in the streets, I also knew that in attempting to use any of my own chakra, they would sense it right away and investigate the unannounced foreign ninja. Beneath my cloak I clutched my necklace, the one the old lady had given me those years ago.
Even at the age of sixteen, I still felt a childish attachment to the artifact… though now it was helping to protect me, bearing a seal that masked my chakra. As long as I wore it, I would not be detected by any normal patrol ninja, in fact, it would probably even prove difficult for those with more advanced skill.
But I knew Gaara…
He may not have housed the Shukaku anymore, but I knew that he was just as strong as ever, just as keen as ever. I had no doubt that he would notice me. What then? What would I tell him my reason for being here was? For following or watching him? The streets were full, people everywhere shopping for food or clothes, or playing with their children right there, in the vulnerable streets… One which I, a potential enemy walked, unbeknownst to the gathering crowds. As I journeyed deeper into the town, the crowds grew thicker, until my shoulders could not go un-brushed. Panic set in and guilt twisted my gut. So many laughing, smiling faces, fathers and mothers and daughters and sons. Families…
Friends and lovers, completely comfortable and unsuspecting in their precious homes. The sights passing my eyes actually made me physically sick, or maybe it was the heavy heat still embedded in my skin… I drank my last swallows of water and relished in it's incredulity. I would never take water for granted again after this mission was over.
My wandering feet found me a park, one not quite as populated as the streets of dusk had been, but still littered in children, playing together and basking in the innocence of early childhood. I seated myself on an abandoned swing, creaking back and forth slowly as I gazed at the children whom so obliviously danced their little game together… Unaware of my enemy eyes.
A tiny brown kicking ball rolled to my feet, breaking me from my thoughts and catching my gaze. I picked it up and without standing, handed it back to a small, brunette child, probably around six or seven years old. She smiled up at me, showing off a fresh gap in her teeth. I couldn't resist grinning back at her, though she could not see it past my turban. I think she knew though, saw it in my gaze as she took off with her prize. "Thanks Miss!"
My eye twitched. Miss? I looked like a girl dressed like this? All misery temporarily escaped me as I sat and gaped in horror at the spot where the girl once stood. A girl? A woman? She had thought I was a woman? How many people on these streets had assumed the same? The thought was appalling! I clenched my eyes shut and shrunk into the swing, swaying softly, back and forth… back, forth…
Really? A woman?
The air felt painfully hot on my skin, hiding my knuckles in my sleeves I walked along the crowded streets, which not so oddly, began to dissipate at my presence. Despite the years, the fights, and all the blood spilled to protect this village… Still, the fiery gazes of discrimination and years of hatred weighed down on my shoulders, making every footstep heavier than it needed to be. It was probably the hottest time of the year, the sun left no mercy to those who fed off of it, instead it spitefully laughed at our lowered eyes and sweaty backs.
She was a mere villager, a saleswoman who hadn't seen me coming, by the time she took notice of my presence I was already within arms length of her. Upon seeing me, she didn't hesitate, with a long stride she backed away as if I'd just threatened her. A look of disgust swept over her face, but as quickly as it had come it went, revealing a painted smile. "Good afternoon Kazekage-Sama." She praised, bowing slightly.
She acted as if she had not pulled back in disgust, acted as if a ninja like myself would not have noticed the malice in her eyes. Her friendly façade sickened me. I nodded in acknowledgement, even without the demon inside me, Shukkaku's curse still clung desperately to my skin, driving everyone away.
My pocket burned hot, I felt the urge to stick my hand in and grasp the blank paper that smelled of dirt and leaves. I resisted the human urge, not wanting to depend too much on thing so small and meaningless… but somehow, it… or anything for that matter, became important to me after passing through his hands. But the questions still bled off my tongue. Why send me a blank sheet of paper with mere ink smears on it? Neither greeting nor signature… There wasn't even any way for me to prove that it had in fact, been the blonde-haired whirlwind that sent me the letter. But the thick scent that barely clung to it and something a bit, deeper than my logic knew it had to be him.
As the sun began to descend from its high point in the sky, a sense of relief washed over me. I would never take for granted that the sun would rise and fall every day, the night would always come as would the day. Things like blank letters and blue eyes left me with no feeling of certainty on anything, but knowing that in a mere few hours, the sky will be black, and then return to it's piercing blue (eyes…. No, wait), that itself was a comfort I could always rely on.
My feet took me all over Suna, the buildings, the stores, the homes, the families… despite that this village practically belonged to me, I felt so disconnected from it; as if staring from behind a never-ending glass wall. Unable to reach out and touch the world as I watched it go past me.
I found myself at a park, staring as if through a TV screen at the children playing so carelessly, recalling that those sweet childhood days had been swept right out of my tiny hands. A life not lived, every day spent waiting for something to come into your life and make it worth waking up every morning. I stared at my fingertips, admiring a small scar that adorned my pinky. A mere paper cut, received from shuffling papers too quickly, sand guard down for no fear of attack in the safety of my own office… That place, was the first place where I had ever accidentally caused myself to bleed.
Bleeding was not all it had been cracked up to be…
I held up the empty message, staring at it as the sun filtered its gold straight through the thin sheet. Was there some hidden message in the paper itself? I really could not fathom why someone would send a blank letter to me, even Naruto as eccentric as he is, had to have had some sort of purpose in doing this. I flared up my chakra levels in my hands, waiting for writing to appear. But none did, instead I looked foolish, standing there holding a blank, stained paper up to the sky. Though foolish would just be another adjective thrown into a pile of many other unkind ones the villagers… my villagers, referred to me as.
I examined my surroundings a bit more thoroughly, noting several people were indeed staring at me, mostly parents. I assumed they were watching me. Not because of my strange behavior, but instead in fear of their child's safety… As if was going to eat them.
Naruto had once told me that the monster was what lurked inside me and only that… deep down, there is a voice… It wanted to scream, to ask them what was wrong with this face, these two hands… But it laid dormant, it was far too much trouble and certainly not worth the scene it would cause.
The child hidden inside me cried out, it wanted so badly to be heard. I just buried it deeper; staring at the sun and inwardly requesting it to spare my villagers from another day quite this hot. Selfishly, I asked it to sleep and let it rain down for the first time in years…
I could still remember the last time it had.
I hadn't been able to feel the water on my skin, Shukkaku wrapped so tightly around me. I reached my small child hands into the sky, but felt nothing… fingertips as dry as the desert sand.
Wishing for selfish things… what kind of creature did that make me? I've been called a selfish demon, but isn't it the humans that are most selfish of all creatures? By becoming Kazekage, I gave up being selfish, gave up on wanting things to change. I handed myself over to this village, them disliking me is not something I could change.
I once thought I could, once imagined a lifestyle where hatred was not a factor. When I opened my eyes after returning from the valley of death, seeing the people with their tears and satisfied faces. I had been fooled into believing I was cared for. Soon though, it became apparent that the satisfaction was from having not lost another Kazekage so quickly, therefore Suna was not left vulnerable in its weakened state.
If I were to start becoming selfish, there's only one thing I could wish for… wish to keep to myself and share with no one, to hold tightly to and ignore the angry world with…
I stared up at the paper, standing alone in a park in the center of a village that harbored me with disdain, alone… I imagined something an even brighter gold than the setting sun… and a much richer blue than the sky of tomorrow that I knew would always come.
The night brought a well appreciated cool breeze, if it weren't for the thick taste of sand in the air I could almost be fooled into believing I was back in Konoha upon closing my eyes. I relished in the cool, knowing just as quickly as it had come, tomorrow the sun would rise again and take the merciful wind with it.
Suna looked so different from the rooftops, everyone fading into a tiny world. I watched through an open window as Gaara, my mysterious red headed friend, sat at his desk and sorted papers. A feeling of almost jealously swept over me, how I longed to sit at the Hokage desk of my village, to wear that name and protect my village from all that threatened it.
As I watched the former host work meticulously, a deep feeling of guilt churned in my stomach. How could Tsunade ask this of me? To work under the assumption that a personal friend... No, Gaara's always been just a bit more than that. Just to think that someone who means quite what he means to me is untrustworthy, to be placed under suspicion.
It clenched at my heart and I could only imagine how he would feel if he knew I was here, watching him, waiting for him to fuck up so I could report it to my boss and have his village attacked… Me, the only true friend he has ever known. Those pale nimble fingers worked so diligently, unlike me who probably would have been slacking off or distracting myself, he worked nonstop as the hours of the night dragged on sluggishly.
Guards were posted most everywhere, but I didn't worry too much about that, both my chakra and my presence was masked with great skill, Tsunade's own necklace bearing her powerful seal. Into the night I sat and stared, taking note of little things such as Gaara's tapping fingers as he became obviously irritated with what he was reading. Also, his pale glistening lips as he sipped so delicately at his cup, like a painting.
Despite my obvious dislike for many other recon missions, it appeared I just could not get bored watching those emerald eyes dart across paper nor those hands that seemed to move so flawlessly through everything, as if he had worked out the perfect system for existing in his mind a moment before the actions actually occurred.
I was almost disappointed when Temari and Kankuro entered the room, as if they shattered the one-sided connection I was having with my fair skinned friend. They mentioned something to him, held a quick discussion. I could only hear snippets of what was said but really didn't want to bother. This mission was a waste of my time and a risk Tsunade should not have put her village in. Suna would always be loyal to us as long as Gaara stood as it's head. How did I know this? Well, I just did, there was no doubt in my mind of Gaara's loyalty to my country. Somewhere deep inside me, I wanted to say his loyalty to me, but shook off the notion.
As Gaara's siblings departed, a sense of relief washed over me. All I wanted was to return to staring at the pace my red headed friend had set for himself, each movement, each glance… Like watching a performance done on stage by many brilliant actors, only they could not compare to the scene before me. I was almost scaring myself with how obsessive I was beginning to sound. But I couldn't help it, the desire to stay here forever was overwhelming.
Lost in though, it took me a moment to realize those piercing green eyes were staring straight at me. I jumped, startled at having been noticed upon my perch. I locked onto those eyes, almost unwillingly. His gaze swept me up in it, taking hold of me and forbidding me to move. "How long are you going to sit there watching me?" He spoke it aloud, the wind catching his voice and allowing my ears to be graced with his deep melancholic tune.
Sighing as it reached my ears, I snapped back to my senses, launching into the air, never taking my eyes off the man that never took his eyes off me. I disappeared into the brisk night, a sense of sorrow at the loss of my friends presence engulfed me but I pushed it aside, giving a silent apology.
The chakra was well masked, but it held a strong sense of familiarity, as the (what I assumed to be) ninja disappeared into the night, I stared out after it, taking half a moment to appreciate the cool air. It tugged on strings in the back of my mind, the person clad completely in women's robes, watching me for hours.
I vaguely wondered if she was ever planning to attack, instead she had just stared as I pretended to notice nothing. It wasn't too dangerous, I was perfectly capable of protecting myself, and even if it had been a spy, I wasn't working on anything that her viewing might jeopardize.
I pondered on whether or not I should mention this to anyone else, but decided against it. There was no need to stir up any unnecessary alarm. Plus, I sensed less malice directed at me from the woman than from those of my own village; in fact I had sensed none at all. If anything there was something a bit more inviting radiating off her, almost welcoming me into her gaze. I shook off the feeling and slid my window shut, pressing my forehead to the cool glass, once again separating myself from the outside world. I stared blankly and wished again for something very selfish.
After all, the child inside still waited for something to come into my life and sweep me away from all these hateful times…
The sun rose slowly the next day, but as I already knew, it did in fact come. As it would far past the day of my death. The morning seemed laced in some sort of unrecognizable emotion, a dreary sort of outlook. As if looking down on a world that didn't mean much to me anymore. I was slowly losing my will to exist in this meaningless life, though my fingertips held tightly the to concept of living that Naruto had given me. But it was becoming very faded and hard to grasp.
With my rage sedated it left plenty of room for my sorrows to swelter, to fill me up until I was almost choking on the hopelessness it left me. I did not regard either of my siblings as I left the building, exposing myself to the violent thoughts of the village streets once again, the morning sparing me from the intense heat of yesterday.
It was just another day, but it was missing my will to go on. Every step was forced as I approached the village exit. I just needed some time to think, to remind myself why I am doing all of this, then I am sure my will shall once again return to me so I may purge forward with life.
It's times like this when I crave the guidance of another.. A father or a friend… But have neither.
I arrived in a beautiful place, an abandoned oasis. No one ever really came here anymore due to the dangers of leaving the village grounds, but I found it a quite enjoyable place to relax, to rest my thoughts and be truly, in body and spirit… alone. As if this was enough to cool my frustrations and bring the answers to every question that sifted through my mind.
How slowly the days had been passing, spending them in practical solitude. How old I felt already, being barely seventeen… I had worn out the prime of my life, what awaited me was nothing but a dark impending future.
Eyes closed, this was my haven, my sanctuary. I felt almost timeless in this shaded cove of trees and glistening clear waters. My skin bristled when it became apparent that my solitude was broken; another presence entered into my sanctuary and for the first time in years, a bout of anger surged through me. It only lasted a moment though as it dissipated, leaving my shoulders slumped over. It was the same presence from the night before, and I almost found myself willing this ninja to kill me. It seemed like it was too much trouble to even bother struggling to survive.
A scratchy, obnoxious voice rang through my mind, but it was slowly fading away. Seconds ticked by, and the presence just stood there, not moving, I could feel their gaze sliding up and down my back, spiking my honest curiosity. Throughout yesterday, last night, and the morning thus far, I had been followed, though no threat was detected. I had been preparing myself for an attack for so long, surely they would have noticed me dropping my defenses, surely, they would have taken advantage of this opportunity to take my life.
So why? Why did I stand here defenseless, at the mercy of whoever it may be behind me, and remain untouched? "This is becoming ridiculous." I stated aloud, turning to face my follower. "Show yourself, I am growing impatient." On cue, reality seemed to twist as the same dark clad ninja from the night before appeared as if from thin air. She, I assumed, stared at me with the brightest of blue eyes. They struck a familiar chord in my heart. The intensity shook my nerves and I found myself having to catch my breath.
As if captivated, I couldn't turn away. "You remind me of someone I know." I admitted, baring myself completely to the potential enemy. When no reply came, I bit my lip in disdain. "What is it that you are waiting for? Here I am." I spread my arms in practical welcome, waiting for the onslaught. I vaguely wondered if I really had it in my to let myself get killed, I guess there was only one way to find out. That split second, before the final blow is landed, would I choose to protect myself, to save my life for another day? My coat felt heavy on my skin, arms almost weak with lack of will.
"Come and kill me, before I change my mind," I don't know why I admitted it, but for some reason the silence that those blue eyes gave me was unbearable. Neither moving nor caring. "and decide I'd rather live." My purpose, my reasons, they were slowly dissipating. I used to kill, spill blood by the pint and relish in it, I never doubted my existence. But now… what am I doing? Signing papers and sacrificing my body, my sanity, all of me, for a group of people that wanted nothing to do with me.
Those sparkling eyes widened at my statement, but just as soon narrowed, an obvious sneer as the once harmless chakra radiated immense anger. At this moment, I figured, now is the time to die. I wasn' bothered too much by it. As one who breached the valley of death and returned, it was not as horrible nor scary as everyone made it out to be.
If anything, the painful loneliness was to be feared, but it was barely less tolerable than the one I was feeling then. As the ninja launched towards me, I slipped my eyes closed and waited. The moment felt like forever.
Did I truly seek death? Had this world become so boring and meaningless to me? Family… friends... At this point, I finally had them, my siblings… and one friend. Uzumaki Naruto. What should I do? How I wished you were here right now to tell me whether or not this life was even worth it… though it wasn't hard to imagine what you would do, you would raise your voice, clench your fists and shout-
"Are you stupid or something!"
The sand lifted to block the impact, but the yell stopped it in its tracks. As if all danger had suddenly disappeared. There was no need to shield myself from the heavy mass that slammed into me, throwing me off my feet and onto the ground. My back hit hard, causing me to groan at the ache. Above, the form straddled me, one hand clutching tightly to my jacket as the other ripped their headdress off, revealing shining blonde locks.
I was left speechless, staring up at what I could almost refer as a god, glowing in the rising sun. I almost could not believe what was there before my eyes. "What the fuck is wrong with you?" The words were harsh and stung like a slap, but the voice was so rich, so lovely, it was like the coolest freshwater stream. I opened my mouth, "I… I just…" But the words fell dead on my lips. Molten azure eyes filled with rage, not the kind that I'd felt every day throughout my life, but one that really didn't bother me as much. I fed off the anger, it was something he'd directed only at me, each flicker in his eyes were there solely for me.
It was almost masochistic, this thirst. I didn't want him to look away from me. "Why would you let down your defenses like that! What if it wasn't me? huh!" Did he assume that I had guessed it was him? Did he think that's why I bared myself to him? "What if I wanted to kill you, what then?" What then? My sand, had it reacted at Naruto's attack? I couldn't remember. Even now with the blonde seething in anger above me, I felt no threat, my sand remained deathly calm. "Naruto." I hadn't addressed him since he rose me from the dead not yet a year ago.
Everything had been so hectic between our villages, I never got to see the one who plagued my thoughts. He had few but obvious changes. His face seemed less childlike, and his voice had become richer. Though what changed the most had to have been his eyes; they seemed to have aged far beyond his years. Likely to have seen violent battles and spilled the blood of many. Despite his obvious dislike of such violence in our previous meetings, I knew the life of a ninja could not be one unstained with the blood of the enemy. His rage dissipated and he just sat there on my stomach, staring down, his chest heaving from his earlier yelling.
"Why are you here?" I wanted to thank him for arriving when I willed him to, but as usual, the only thing I could find the will to say was that which involved business and business alone. "I am here… well, don't change the subject! You better explain your actions before I kill you myself!" the threat was so light and empty, I wanted to smile, but my lips felt heavy. I vaguely wondered if it was just me or did he sound defensive? As if he himself was directing the conversation away from himself and back to me.
It was becoming a game, deflecting the attention from one to another. A ridiculous child's play. "I don't recall approving your passage entry into Suna." I wanted to take it back, it didn't sound so harsh in my mind. "Yeah, well I don't recall," he drawled sarcastically, "permitting you to commit practical suicide." Practical suicide? There was a term for what I had been considering? But, I still wasn't sure if my lack of defenses occurred before or after I recognized my attacker as Uzumaki Naruto. Arms wide open, welcoming him into my world beyond the looking glass. "Since when have I needed your permission for anything?" Sitting up, Naruto settled back on my legs, but strangely enough didn't get off of me.
I continued to stare at him, waiting for him to disappear. But he never did, instead my legs began to lose feeling as he just sat there, glaring. "What happened to you? I thought everything was fine when I left." His eyes softened as his voice turned into a whisper, gracing my ear gently. You left… I wanted to say. I wanted to say a lot of things, now my thoughts were getting repetitive. "It's not something to concern yourself over. I just felt, tired is all. More importantly, why are you here without my jurisdiction?"
My blonde friend scowled, his hands warmer than the desert heat on my stomach. "I am here because Konoha is… tiresome." He used the same word to describe it as I had, and I feel it was no coincidence. "That doesn't explain as to why you've been following me." Naruto rolled his eyes up to the sky. "Am I not allowed to check in on an old friend?" It panged my heart to hear him speak of me in an almost past tense. But he was here now, in my lap, practically offering himself to me. I felt warm inside, in the empty spot in my chest that was usually so cold.
"I am not that old." It was a stupid statement, it made no sense. But it was hard to express these bottled up thoughts. As if that thin line separating us split and dissipated… Uzumaki began laughing. It was the sound of bells ringing on the cold Christmas night. I knew his reasons for being here were blatant lies, but I could not find it in myself to distrust my blonde… friend. "I missed you Gaara." With that my heart swelled in joy, it was as if my disappointments in life dispersed. A weight lifted from my abdomen as Naruto stood, stretching out his arms.
I myself stood, watching him carefully. "What is it you want from me?" I asked, scanning up along Naruto's back. "I want nothing from you." There was no hint of dishonesty in his voice, but from my years of experience, I had learned that it's not always recognizable. And everyone is dishonest, even the one whom I admire so much. I myself, was lying… I could not tell Naruto how I felt about him, which, I wasn't even sure of what it was.
The silence was just as horrid as an outright lie. "Why don't you like living?" The question caught me off guard, my eyes widened as those blue gems turned back to stare me down, the gaze pinned me in my spot and I knew it would be hard to redirect our conversation again.
I opened my mouth but knew no answer. Like a flash, as quick as he came, he was gone. I stood dumbfounded, staring at the two footprints set firmly in the ground where he once stood. "Gaara? Are you okay?" I turned to face my brother, he was looking around suspiciously. "Temari's worried about you, there's some business that you need to take care of." I nodded once, never wavering my gaze. "Were you just… talking to someone?" I turned and stared at the black clad Kankuro, a somewhat foreign look of concern in his eyes. "Nobody."
When I returned home that evening, Temari stood at my office door, obviously waiting for me. "Where've you been?" She asked nonchalantly, following me with her eyes as I sat down in my chair. "I went for a walk." It was true, for the most part. She didn't need to know about my thoughts, those were my own to contemplate on… even if she is my family, and this time around not just by blood anymore. It was a new feeling, seeing the care reflecting in her green eyes. "You've been doing that a lot lately." It is also more recently, that she had been asking more questions than I was used to.
Like another blonde who always came to mind as far as asking questions goes… not caring about personal boundaries in the least. A loudmouth who barrels his way into something when he's not even sure what awaits him on the inside. "So I have." I didn't want to encourage her anymore, because I knew she would ask me things I would be unable to answer, even to myself. "Is something wrong Gaara?"
And it had begun. I flipped through papers with ease, sparing her a glance. "I do not know." I wanted to be more honest with her, and I really didn't know if these thoughts of 'practical suicide' were something to be considered wrong or not. And to like living… was that a privilege that Shinobi could actually possess? To hold precious a life that you knew could easily be stripped away from you for doing that which you were bred to do?
Enjoying life was for people like food vendors and blacksmiths, who didn't close their eyes at night to the consideration that this may be their last sleep. "If there's anything you're confused about or need help with…" She trailed off, getting nervous. It must be awkward for her as well, after all these years together where I've depended only on myself.
"Or you just wanna talk, I'm here for you." I felt a familiar chakra presence, only this time I recognized it immediately. It was far too faint for Temari to notice, but I did… And I knew, he was out there again, watching me, staring as I went on with my life. I wanted to know why he stayed out there when he knew all he had to do was knock on my door, and I would shelter and feed him without hesitation.
So why did he sit just beyond my windowsill? It aggravated me to no end. I cared not about my stalker last night, but now… upon discovering her, or rather, his identity, I could not shake the feeling of… What? What was this hot feeling burning beneath my skin? How was I supposed to feel about my single friend acting so oddly? Even though he knew that I was aware of him, he stayed distant, eyes peeking out from behind that woman's turban.
"Temari." My voice must have caught her off guard, cause she jumped slightly. "Yes, what is it Gaara?" Awkward, stiff shoulders. I vaguely wondered how honest her concern was. Resting my chin on my hand, I twirled a lock of my hair. "Is it okay… for a ninja to enjoy living?" It was the best that I could express it, yet the words still seemed misplaced, gawky and unsure. I didn't need her thinking I needed some strange philosophy she had to offer, I just wanted a yes or no answer. Unfortunately, the blondes around me never seemed to understand that concept.
"How can you even ask me that?" Soft… a voice of pity, she looked at me with sullen eyes and I knew where her thoughts led her. She must have thought I was a sad excuse for a human. But I did not feel sad. Empty and quite tired yes, but sorrow was the dimmest of all these feelings. Her look of awe sent bristles down my spine. "Of course it is! Life is something all of us were blessed with, and we should never be willing to take it for granted!"
Remembering the dark, empty vastness of death… It was painful, like a thousand knives piercing my non-existent heart. I'd crumpled into all the misery inside, until he came to me, touched me, and led me back into the light…"Wasn't it just last year you spoke so passionately about that blonde kid? Told Kankuro and I how much you wanted to be more like him?"
Yes… I closed my eyes, I did recall that time. When a flame of hope ignited in my chest, driving me on to become the Kazekage and to be respected, not loathed. When had that sweetness escaped me? "What changed Gaara?" I wondered myself. One would think I would treasure the life the one I looked up to so highly graced me with... But there was nothing special about this life returned to me…
Rather me or the homeless girl on the street, Naruto would have acted the same, fought just as hard and sacrificed just as much. There was nothing personal to him about what he did for me that day. But there was for me… If anyone else had saved me, it would have been a fleeting gratefulness, in fact, I probably would not have even had the will to be saved. But that gracious smile, those tender eyes. I would follow that warm hand anywhere.
"I don't really… understand it anymore. It's become so… blurry." My eyes drifted open to see that same expression plastered in her eyes. Her hands felt cold as she rested them on my shoulders, smiling. "I know you've missed out on a lot of things growing up, you still have a lot to learn about life. I just don't think I'm the right person to teach you."
I tilted my head. "Learn?" Was there something I was unaware of? The reason to like life that everyone else seemed to understand except for me? That cool hand lifted to cup my cheek, I managed to withhold the urge to pull back but could not resist the flinch. I was trying so hard to trust my siblings, I wanted them to be a part of my life and feel comfortable as one. "If you want… I can hunt down that Uzumaki kid and lock him up here so he can knock some more sense into you." It was a joke, she hadn't the faintest idea of how close he really was. I wondered vaguely if he could hear us, hear her talk about him in such a respectable light.
The slight upturn of my lips could not be helped at the thought. Albeit, another selfish one, the thought of keeping Uzumaki to myself, not sharing him with anyone... I felt like that would be a life I could learn to like.. And if he would want me back, willingly stay by my side without my having to force him… that was a life…
A life I could learn to love.
"I still have a lot to learn about life… don't I?"
My heavy eyes shot open as I was startled out of my reverie; jumping to my feet from my position sitting on a well on the outskirts of town. Hardly any rest for the last few days left me in quite a simple minded state. I rubbed my tired eyes, staring at the redhead who had somehow managed to sneak up on me. Despite that I was supposed to be the one following him, he had managed to catch me off guard. "What're you talking about Gaara?"
With a yawn, I quickly realized the conversation was quite important, his green pupil free eyes were laced in complete seriousness, making me almost nervous at being roped into this somehow. "I still have a lot to learn about life." He repeated, tilting his head a bit. It bothered me that despite how much I had grown, he was still just a bit taller than me. "And why are you telling me this?"
I was curious, I knew Gaara had a lot of things on his mind. After struggling so much with life already, I was more than willing to help him out with anything he could think of to ask me. I really wanted to know why he chose me in the first place, I'm sure his siblings were more than ready to help him. If that tenderness Temari had shown to him the night before had accounted for anything, I couldn't see why he needed me. Or maybe even, wanted me.
It was a nice thought, that he preferred me over everybody else, but I had to think logically. Gaara always seemed like the type to do what was most convenient for him at the time, which in the case, was to put my friendship to some good use; even if these sweltering feelings were a bit more than just that, and growing constantly.
"You're the only one who's ever been able to truly make me understand these kind of things before." My heart swelled with pride and something else, (which could have easily been that strange meat I ate this morning), but so strongly now I wanted to help him. To assist his every need and to share with him my joy for living.
The realization of him putting so much trust and devotion in me, only for me to be here spying on him… it made me feel like the scum of the earth… or even lower. I couldn't stand it! How could Tsunade have given this mission to me knowing that I held personal bonds with the one she wanted me to watch? I felt like screaming in frustration, I wanted to. But in order to avoid startling Gaara away, I swallowed the yell, and instead grabbed his hand.
His eyes seemed startled at the contact but surprisingly didn't even flinch as I pressed his fingertips into a bucket of water that I had been drinking from that sat on the edge of the well. "You feel that?" I asked, staring into his eyes. They were swarmed with confusion, most likely at my actions. "Its water." I rolled my eyes. "Of course it's water, now, tell me something else about it." He just kept staring at it, my hand still clutching his as his fingers twirled aimlessly in the bucket.
"It's cold," he finally spoke, mouth stretching into a scowl. "And wet." I snickered, earning me a glare from the redhead. "How does it feel?" I knew Gaara, I knew he didn't like to be asked a lot of questions, especially pointless ones. But how could I show him how wonderful life was without exploiting all the pointless little things we always took advantage of?
Green eyes softened, I took notice of his glistening lips as he murmured. "It feels nice." I chuckled again, rubbing small circles in his soft hand. I knew if I let go, he'd keep his hand submerged, but it seemed I… Just didn't want to quite yet. "Everyone seems to forget that everything strives off water, without water we can't survive." Now he was getting it, I smiled and nodded in agreement, pitching "The rain… its how the worlds keeps on going."
As if I said something wrong, Gaara removed his hand from the bucket, also withdrawing from my grasp. He turned away, staring out at the desert. "It hasn't rained here in years." His voice was laced in regret, regret that his country never got rain, even though it wasn't his fault. Somehow I got the impression he thought it was. He always blamed himself for every little problem. Even when Deidara of the Akatsuki took him away, he blamed himself for not being stronger.
"I want you to meet me here tomorrow, and I'll show you more things about life you may have… missed." Truthfully I wanted to stay by his side, and I think he and I both already knew that tonight I'd be watching him through the window again… And again and again… "Naruto?" I refocused my attention to see him staring at me. My skin felt hot, maybe though it was just the sun. His hand reached out and grasped mine again, he lifted and examined it. My face felt like it was burning with embarrassment. I finally realized he was staring at my sunburned knuckles, caressing them gently.
"When you get any type of burn, even a sunburn… the heat traps itself beneath the skin and keeps on burning for days." I wasn't aware that was how sunburns worked, I never usually was exposed to enough sun to actually get burned, tanned yes. Burned, rarely. His hands ignited with chakra, startling me but I stayed put as my burns began to dissipate. "I didn't know you could heal." I whispered, looking away shyly. His skin felt so cool on mine, like a refreshing stream of water. "It's a very unpolished but necessary skill I have acquired." "ah."
When he finished, my skin was like new. The burns that had been bothering me for days were finally gone. This time I knew to keep my knuckles covered when in direct contact with the sun. "Thank you." It was a simple favor, but I hoped that my most sincere gratitude would reach his heart.
"I will be here tomorrow." I nodded but my hand still remained in his.
It felt almost right there.
That night, the strangest feeling overwhelmed me. Despite the cooler temperature, my skin burned vigorously, my stomach tightening into a not. I clenched my legs and pressed my head into my desk, but the strange tickling sensations kept surging through my legs. My whole body shuddered, my breathing shallow as I sat there wiggling in my chair, debating whether or not this may be a medical emergency. It didn't help that he was there again, watching me. I could feel him, and every time his chakra caught my attention, I pointed it out to myself. Uzumaki Naruto was watching me…
Watching as I writhed in my chair, overwhelmed by this foreign feeling. His eyes staring at me… I gasped as My hips bucked against my desk, the friction in my pants felt painfully good. Pressing my cheek to the oak table, I realized how slick my skin was with sweat. Was there nothing that could sate this feeling? My crotch kept getting tighter and tighter, until the urge to remove my pants became very strong. It was humiliating, being seen acting so weakly by the one I respected most. Could he tell there was something wrong? Was this feeling something normal for people or was there seriously something wrong with me?
How could my own body start making me feel so needy and good? Come to think of it, I'd heard of this before, Kankuro had teasingly mentioned it once. Sexual pleasure… now what was I supposed to do? Sit here through the night, panting and wriggling until what? I don't know how long I lay face down on that desk, shoulders heaving before the pleasant ache finally began to fade, and with it came the morning.
Another sleepless night… come and gone.
When I met Naruto at the well, he had a far off look in his eyes, staring down into the dark water. He seemed so untouchable right there, the summer blaze leaving his skin glistening gold. I had a faint urge similar to last nights but willed it away quickly, I would not turn into that sniveling weak person that I was then here in front of him, especially not knowing why.
"Gee, stop scaring me like that."
I snapped out of my reverie only to be blinded by a smile that pierced right through me. "Hey Gaara." His voice, so deep and sultry. A simple greeting, it made me feel so sick to my stomach. "Hello Naruto." how long had we been on a first name basis? Well, he'd always referred to me by my first name, but it has only been since he saved me that I've referred to him other than Uzumaki.
A brisk wind caught his hair and drove it wild, those golden locks framing his caramel face. We stood there not speaking, just staring at one another. I couldn't resist the urge to slide my eyes up and down him, he seemed too beautiful in the brilliant sun. It was intoxicating, staring like this, I didn't even bother trying to hide it. He was so precious to me, how could I ever obtain something so truly wonderful?
"Lets go," I didn't even ask where we were going, I didn't have to. I'd probably follow my blonde to the end of the earth. My blonde… when had I dropped the 'friend' part? No matter, instead, we walked out deeper into the sand dunes, before finding the same oasis we'd met at a few days back. We stood at the edge of the pond, watching the water so perfectly diamond like.
Without another word, Naruto abandoned his robes, revealing his bright orange jumpsuit pants and a black wife beater. Orange was such a ridiculous color, yet I couldn't picture him not wearing the obnoxious shade. As if he heard my thoughts and decided to help me out, he pulled his shirt off, revealing his glistening sweaty stomach. I temporarily lost my ability to breathe, do nothing but stare.
The most beautiful shade of skin, what I had always believed to be a tan seemed to cover his entire, body. Every inch of his skin seemed painted, like a masterpiece long forgotten with time. If there was a god on this earth, he had to be an artist to have painted such a beautiful man. From his soft shoulders, down his supple back, to wear his hips dipped into his pants… I followed a bead of sweat as it traveled down that path I so wished to feel for myself.
"The water looks nice!" He exclaimed, but I didn't acknowledge him for he had turned around, and if I couldn't breath before, I must have already been in some sort of heaven like state. Everywhere… I wanted to touch him everywhere. Skin so lovely, it was a wonder. I had seen many males without their shirts on, but my heart had never thudded so hard in my ribcage. My skin felt really hot just from watching him stand there, gracing me with a smile from the gods.
"Are you coming or what!" He laughed, leaping into the air. As if it wasn't bad enough with him just standing there, time slowed down as he leapt, landing in the water with a loud splash. When he surfaced, that skin was slick with water. I felt myself start to feel that way again, the way I had last night. "Get in! it's boring by myself!" I nodded softly, hands shaking as I removed my cloak. It was harder unbuttoning my jacket, I just couldn't calm myself enough. After watching me struggle for a few minutes, Naruto dragged himself out of the water.
"Here let me help." Could he feel it? My heart thudding painfully in my chest as his wet hands unbuttoned my jacket for me? My own fingers still shook as his now wet pants clung devilishly to his legs. I wondered why he was staring up at me like that, then I realized he had already finished unbuttoning my jacket. I made a move to take it off, but he beat me to it, clutching it and sliding it off my shoulders. The material dropped to the ground where I completely discarded it, skin burning where his knuckles brushed.
"Come on Gaaraaaaaaaaaa." he drawled my name out. As I watched those pink lips do so, I became very lightheaded. "Yeah." I slipped off my undershirt and let Naruto lead me by the hand into the water. It was surprisingly cool on my skin, shudders wracked my body as I took a moment to adjust. Already Naruto was laughing and swimming around, looking as if he was having the time of his life. The water wasn't too deep, standing up it went to my shoulders at the deepest spot, and it was certainly relaxing. It'd been a while since I'd been submerged in water, usually just bathing with a bucket and a cloth.
As if right out of the sky he came launching at me, his warm skin slammed into my own as he took me down under the water. I was startled at the attack, but when we surfaced he was laughing almost manically. "Got you! Who else gets to say they dunked the Kazekage?" He gloated. I panted while he still held onto me, arms wrapped carelessly around my shoulders, face mere inches from my own. The size of his smile seemed impossible, but yet there it was, warming my cold heart and cause my cheeks to burn.
His eyes bore into my soul, hand reaching up and brushing a stand of hair from my face, I held my breath again. How much more of this torture could I take? His fingertips stayed there on the side of my forehead, I couldn't stand it anymore. "You're touching me." I stated, never breaking his gaze. He didn't seem to falter as he removed his hand, "Sorry." Our eyes stayed locked, the world around us fading away into a blissful nothing.
"I didn't hate it." It was a soft, faded whisper, but I think it conveyed my feelings well enough. I wanted to stay like this forever, and I figured, maybe, just maybe… a life with Naruto in it was one worth holding onto. If only I could get him to stay.
I felt that carnal urge rear it's head again.
In my hand I clutched a flower, a beautiful, desert bloom. As white as the winters snow. I held it up in the light, exposing it and all it had to offer. It's been a few days since we've started this little thing of ours, where Gaara seeks me out and I talk about mindless things until it grew time for him to depart. Which didn't make much sense since I always followed him home anyway. As it would turn out, I'd seen a lot of stuff I'd never expected to.
For one, how solitary my redhead was. All he ever did was sit at his desk and work, once in a while he would briefly speak to one of his siblings, but it had been a while since they'd actually held a conversation that consisted of more than a few sentences. And yet, another thing that had caught me well off guard…
"What do you see?"
Was Gaara's sexual urges. At first I was confused, I didn't know why he would randomly curl up at his desk, grinding his teeth, whole body quivering. I was alarmed, I wondered if something was wrong and was ready to launch through the window and come to his rescue. But it didn't take long of watching his facial expressions change before I knew what was going on.
Gaara was getting horny a lot lately. Even though he was a teenage guy, I just never pictured him to be the type to go jerk himself off in the shower; which, apparently, he wasn't. I practically waited for him to touch himself, to give in to the guilty pleasures. Just the thought of him clenching his eyes shut and moaning in ecstasy sent heat to the base of my spine. But surprisingly enough, he did nothing, just sat and let the problem fix itself.
It made me wonder, was Gaara familiar with masturbating at all? It wasn't something I could blatantly ask him, but I was curious to know. Had he been going on like this for quite some time now? Or did he just recently start having these problems? It would explain why he wouldn't know what to do with himself. How could I possibly approach him on that subject?
"It's a flower."
The red head sitting in front of me was dazzling, his pale skin had an almost iridescent glow in the light. He was in many ways attractive, so despite him being a Jinchuuriki, how was it possible that he had gone on this long without getting sexually involved with anyone? I mean I wasn't one to talk, my first and only kiss was with Sasuke and I didn't have any other experience sexually outside of Jaraiya's novels. But I wasn't blessed with Gaara's sharp, stunning beauty.
"What's it's purpose?"
It was almost a shame. To think that there was not a single person who lay claim to Subaku no Gaara, was both tragic and somewhat a relief. I couldn't imagine sharing this moment with anyone else. Was I really so selfish to want to claim Gaara as my own and keep him away from everybody else? Talking about flowers and generally just enjoying each others company… It was a precious moment that I could have shared with no one else.
His answer was what I expected it to be. He was after all, the Kazekage, and to him everything was about industry and promoting his village. Clutching the delicate stem, I held it closer to his face, to which he pulled back slightly. "Wrong. I'm not very educated in this field, but a friend of mine back in Konoha owns a flower shop. She's always telling me how every flower has a different meaning." Gaara's eyes grew wide with interest as I kept my hand out, waiting for him to take the flower.
"Some symbolize friendship, others loss, sickness, health…" that cool hand grazed my own as it accepted the flower, cradling it gently between nimble fingers. "Or even as a token of love." Maybe it was the heat but I could have sworn Gaara's cheeks turned just the faintest of pinks as he gazed down at the delicate snow petals. "She's a real fighter," I chuckled, sprawling onto my back and stretching out the days weary bones.
"She pushed her way through, despite the heat and lack of water." I watched as Gaara was lost deep in thought, not replying for a few minutes. "And why do you think that is?" I shrugged, rolling onto my stomach, propping up on my elbows to look into Gaara's eyes. "She wanted to be born… after all, haven't you heard?" Slowly, he shook his head, causing me to erupt in laughter.
"It's a wonderful life!"
Before Gaara left that night, I dragged him into the market place, buying him a flowerpot and a bag of seeds. He'd seemed confused at the gesture, but I explained to him that one could not truly appreciate life, until they have watched one flourish before their own eyes. I wondered if he would listen to me and plant the seeds? It was a funny thought, Gaara catering to a plant.
I scowled though as I walked on through the streets of Suna alone. I would know soon enough anyway, I would see first hand what he did, gazing through his window as I did every day. These double standards were really taking a toll on me, and a shroud of misery was already forming in the pit of my stomach. Yet, at the same time, I was excited. I got to stare at Gaara all night again.
Somehow, I never could get bored doing that…
I felt stupid… sitting there at my desk, ignoring my paperwork to stare at a pot of soil. I'd taken very careful instruction from the vender when I planted the tiny seed, but after doing so, it just seemed to get quiet. Had I really amused the ridiculous thought that it would just burst to life after watering it? Perhaps I had, and now it appeared that all I had was a stupid pot of dirt on my desk.
A stupid pot… Naruto had confiscated it after its purchase and wrote in sloppy ink on the side. 'Gaara is a daddy!'. I had turned that side facing me, so no one else who came into my office could see it. But in turn, that meant that I had to see it, and those sloppy letters were very distracting when trying to fill out important paperwork. Almost subconsciously, I pulled out that same blank sheet of paper from a week back, staring at it, the smell of Naruto stronger than ever now that I had become painfully familiar with it.
Who was he trying to fool? I frowned, sliding my thumb up the paper. I wasn't father material. I had no father there to teach me how to be a good one, nor mother. Me becoming a parent would be an obvious mistake. I almost pitied the plant seed that got taken home by me, it wouldn't stand a chance.
"I'm sorry for your misfortune." The words came out before I could stop them. Naruto had mentioned that talking to plants helped them grow, but it was likely just an old fable. "If you have to blame anyone, blame that Uzumaki kid." I don't know what compelled me to keep speaking to it, but soon enough, I was able to talk comfortably to the pot. "Although, he did pick you, so you must be special."
At this moment, he was there, watching me again. Watching as I talked to a pot about him, I still wondered if he could hear me, but I had long ago given up worrying over it. I had nothing to hide from him, except this selfishness in my heart… but I would never voice that. Another presence became clear, that of my siblings. They stood just outside my door, they must have heard me talking. I wondered if I should stop now, call them in and scold them for eavesdropping. But something about the messy script on the pot urged me to go on.
"After all, Naruto changed my life. I used to be so hateful and full of malice. I wanted to just kill everybody." As I kept talking, the weight on my heart grew considerably lighter, as if these bottled up thoughts I was releasing freed me from some unknown cage. "But seeing him, I wondered. Could I love life like that? Could I make friends and protect precious people? Could I be something a bit… more than just a monster?" I wanted them to hear me, I realized. And so I kept talking to the little unbroken seed.
"Then after changing my life, he saved it. I was dead, into a place that no one here could imagine… And he broke into that dark, empty valley, took my by the hand, and dragged me back into the world of the living." I chuckled, remembering it. I was a real mess back then, crying into my knees, my inside child completely broken and forgotten… I wondered if that's still what I was inside… that child.
"What can I say? Without him, I'd be lost." My eyes slid closed, basking in the night. After a few moments of relishing in relief at the weight off my chest, I stood and walked over to my window, opening it wide. I knew he was out there, watching me. It didn't bother me as much as it should. In fact, deep down I hoped that he would find his way through my window, and grace me with his company once again.
My heart swelled as I watched Gaara's expression grow blissful. Oh what I would have given to hear what he was saying, to know what it was that made his eyes light up in such joy. Instead I took pleasure in watching him, I was really surprised as he opened the window. He usually didn't leave it open while he worked, but nonetheless I couldn't complain. Now there was nothing blocking or hindering my view of the redhead.
For the first time ever, as I watched Gaara work… he slowly slipped into sleep. It took me by surprise because he just looked as if he had shut his eyes to rest them a moment. After about half an hour, I realized he hadn't opened them or moved once. He must have been exhausted, going his whole life unable to sleep and still even with the Shukkaku gone from him, suffering from those old insomniac habits.
I myself hadn't gotten much sleep these past few days. Watching Gaara through the night, usually sleeping in that small gap between sunrise and the time when he and I had arranged our meetings. I considered taking this opportunity to snag some shut-eye myself, but instead decided to take this rare opportunity to watch what I'm sure not many have witnessed.
A sleeping Gaara.
The stars were far brighter out here than in Konoha, probably because once the sun slept most of the village did too, unlike Konoha which stayed lit throughout the night. Time went by and just as I myself was about to drift off, the redhead stirred. I thought he was waking up at first, but I noticed his eyes stayed closed as his body continuously shifted in his chair. I felt hypnotized, watching his pale lips part as he murmured something in his sleep.
It was torture. His pink tongue kept darting out and slowly moistening those puffy lips. My stomach clenched as I watched the scene unfold, eyes locking on a thin trail of sweat that formed on his forehead, trailing down his cheek and neck… disappearing into his robes. I swallowed a lump that formed in my throat. Pale cheeks turned pink as he shifted again, running a hand up his stomach.
I was shocked, of all the times he's been sexually frustrated while working, he did nothing. But right now, in his sleep… I watched his body act on his own, head leaning back, exposing his porcelain neck to the sky as his hand rubbed lower and lower and… My heart thudded and face flushed. Watching him like this, I felt so dirty. His nose curled and my breathing grew shallow.
There he went again, mouthing words that I so painfully wanted to hear. And then… those green orbs slid open, dazed… confused. But he didn't stop his ministrations, in fact, he looked very excited as he slowly rubbed his crotch through his pants, biting that quivering lip. I licked my lips and before I knew it, I myself was becoming very aroused. It was sick of me to watch him in this state, experimenting with himself for what looked to be the first time.
His jaw slackened as he tucked a thumb into his pant line, obviously debating with himself on what to do. I wondered if he remembered that I was out here? Watching him... It was no secret that I had been for quite some time now, but would he really keep stroking himself like that if he was aware of my presence? Perhaps he was in too dazed of a state to remember, he did just wake up from probably his first sleep in a while. Not only that, but he woke up to being so obviously horny.
I couldn't take my eyes off the scene unfolding, I watched through the window as if through a television screen, each movement so clear, so sensual. My lower regions pulsated with desire. I knew what I wanted to do, but I couldn't bring myself to do it, especially while watching Gaara touch himself so innocently.
Rubbing… sliding, fingers twitched. I felt my mouth fall open as those fingers cupped around his bulge, giving it an experimental squeeze. With a burst of my own chakra, I strengthened my seal, masking myself completely. It was too much of an exertion to keep this up, but for now, I didn't want him to recognize my presence and stop. No… I wanted to…
I wanted to watch this all the way through till the end.
Lip tight between his teeth, that hand dipped into his pants, burying itself completely. "Oh God…" I whispered, leaning forward as I stared wide eyed. Somehow, my own hand made it's way to my crotch, thumb running up along the material teasingly. I felt so filthy, watching and touching myself like this. My fingers stroked in small circles, gliding along the tip, the rough cloth causing almost painful friction.
My redhead stretched out, readjusting in his chair and unzipping himself. I swallowed again, licking my lips as his erect dick fell out of his pants. "Fuck…" I knew I'd felt things like this for Sasuke before, but that was years ago when I was barely dipping into the world of sex. It had never felt this strong, those shallow nights with porno magazines didn't do much to satisfy me. It was nothing like how I was already feeling just watching Gaara grip himself.
Now his words must have grown louder, his mouth opened wider as he spoke to no one, saying unreadable things. "Gaara…" It was almost difficult both moving closer to the window and unzipping my pants, reaching in and grabbing my own semi-erect member, hissing as it was exposed to the night air. I slid my thumb across the top, moaning softly. I was helpless to the pleasure, I had to concentrate to focus my eyes on Gaara, his own hand sliding up and down his shaft, slick with pre-cum.
I was dripping all over my hand, the wetness making it easier to slowly jerk myself off. It went on like that for a while… Gaara tossing his head back, panting and stroking while I watched and stroked myself in tune. I don't know how it happened, but I got really close to the window, now I could even hear his babbling groans, words coming out but none coherent.
It took all my will to keep myself silent, panting and stroking, hips thrusting at nothing. "Ga…Gaara…" I whispered. Somehow, he had blossomed into something much more than a friend over the years… but it had taken until tonight for me to realize exactly what light I thought of him in.
I thought he was beautiful.
"Naaa…" I moaned at his voice, "Naru… Na…" My legs shivered and I came close to my finish, barely able to hold my head up enough to watch. Eyelids lulled, mouth hung open… just the thinnest string of drool dripping down his jaw. He was an angel… His eyes clenched shut and his face twisted in ecstasy. And then his body went up like a flame, arching his back and baring himself to the sky, he came, spilling his load onto his desk… With his orgasm, came a wail, one that embedded itself in my memories and I could still get horny just thinking back to it.
With the shout I came into my hand, groaning as a realization dawned on me. "Gaaraaaaaaaaaaa." I drawled, riding the orgasm out. While I was masturbating to him, he was masturbating to me… or the thought of me… It was going to be hard at this rate… to face him tomorrow. But I wanted to, in fact, the thought of him sharing some of these feelings I had warmed my heart.
And I began to anticipate it, because I knew what he had been doing, who he was doing it over… and with that knowledge I felt almost invincible to his emotionless mask. I wondered what would happen if I were to touch him again? Would that lustful glint return to his eyes?
Tempting… very tempting…
My feet dangled freely in the air, we sat together on a cliff side, staring out at the empty desert. That was all there was, sand and sun. Blazing, merciless, sun. Beside me Naruto stared, more silent than I ever remember him having been. "Why are we here?" I murmured, staring at his skin glowing in the sunlight. Still he said nothing, just watching as the sun went from high in the sky, until it slowly began to set.
It was a comfortable silence, so I didn't complain. In fact, he went so far as to lean against me, letting me borrow his comfortable scent and keep it for my own. We watched the bright blue turn orange, then fade into a pleasant pink… illuminating the sand dunes in the most mystical way.
"It's amazing isn't it?"
I had to agree with him on that, nodding slowly. I'd never seen the effects the sunset had on the desert from this view before, I'd always been too busy or too ignorant to even spare it a thought. But now, I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. Last night, last year… those days of being a jinchuuriki, my childhood… it all faded into nothing as Naruto curled into the crook of my neck.
"As amazing as this scene is… Did you even stop to appreciate your eyes?" The statement caught me off guard. Had I once ever considered that? "It's your eyes that allow you to see things, without them, this wonderful world would go on unappreciated." His own blue orbs sparkled as he glanced up at me, nosing my shoulder. "God must be a painter…" My shoulders tensed.
There could be no denying that we were somehow connected. Hadn't I just compared Naruto himself to a painting by God just a few days ago? We were so in tune together, it was like something that had been in the working for far longer than either of us could have noticed. If I ever believed in fate it was now, here with Naruto by my side. I felt ready to take on the world.
I was startled from my thoughts by a yell, not of pain nor pleasure… just a pure, uncensored yell, echoing out across the emptiness. I stared in surprise at the laughing Uzumaki, who had (to my displeasure) pulled away. "What was that about?" He just grinned at me, kicking his feet that hung off the ledge. "The freedom to talk, to express every thought we could just by willing it, just by opening our mouths!" He was louder, even more so than usual. But his voice rang off the rocks almost like music.
"I just love this life!" laughing, all smiles, he turned to me, clutching my shoulders. "You have to also." I rose a non-existent eyebrow, "Excuse me?" Those hands tightened, shaking me slightly. "You have to yell, you can't know your satisfied with your feelings until you can shout them out to the world."
I just stared at him. Was he being… serious? "I'm not a yelling type." I admitted, placing one of my hands over his. Naruto pouted, sending chills down my spine as those lips wavered. "I really can't do it." He didn't even say anything and I was already loosing the argument.
I opened my mouth, but what came out was more of a dull pathetic howl than a yell. The blonde broke out into laughter at the failed attempt. My cheeks flushed in embarrassment as I huffed. I tried again, but my voice gave out halfway and faded into a whisper. It was worth the try, because finally Naruto collapsed from the exertion of laughing too hard, burying himself into my arms. So we sat there, my legs dangling with him sitting on my lap facing me, arms wrapped around my waist.
I was content with life.
"You're still hiding something... Aren't you?" I could feel his breath on my chest, even as it grew darker and it was harder to see him, I knew he was there, safely tucked in my arms. "That's why you can't yell yet, because you haven't come to terms with all of your emotions…" I hadn't? I was quite aware of a lot, much more than before Naruto came crashing into my life (literally). "There's something you aren't ready to accept… maybe your afraid of it…?"
I listened to him go on, and even though it grew later, I didn't want to let go. I knew I had to, but still…
I didn't want to let go.
That night when I got home, I stared in wonder at the tiniest green vine that grew from the flowerpot. As I watered it, I couldn't believe how quickly it had begun to grow. Without me even noticing… in just a day it appeared out of nowhere. Just like this feeling in my heart. One minute I wasn't even sure I had a heart… and now. I clutched my chest and pictured Naruto's hot body pressed against mine again…
At this point I already new that tonight I'd end up touching myself…
Its been two weeks since I'd gotten here, a spy amongst friends… Somehow I'd ended up right back where I started, sitting on a creaky swing in that same park, only this time Gaara sat beside me and I felt not so alone.
Surrounding us the children played, screaming and laughing in joy as they tossed a ball back and forth. "As a child… I never got to indulge in that pleasure, the company of other children… The belonging, the acceptance." He stared on with blank eyes, breaking my heart just a bit. "Neither did I." I loved it when the redhead opened up to me, I loved it when he did a lot of things, but confiding in me, trusting me… it made me feel so special, so worthy. He was like me… only better.
"Ya know… it's incredible how people are able to communicate together, to channel our emotions and thoughts and be able to understand others… to decode their messages and deliver a reply, all without having to even think about it." I chuckled, brushing knuckles with him. "If no one could communicate, everything would be chaos." It may have been an accident, but his knuckle returned my graze.
"Communication causes war."
"Bad communication causes war."
I corrected, gazing at his apple red hair… it contrasted like fresh blood to his diamond skin. It really was incredible how handsome he was. Once again our hands brushed, but instead of just pulling back he reached out and clutched my hand in his. Even though his fingers were so thin and slender, his hand still consumed mine. I was surprised but not at all disappointed.
His cool thumb rubbed little circles in my skin, the tingling sensation made me shudder. "Your skin feels nice." He whispered, eyes staring at me with such intensity. "Touching is nice, to know whether the things you see are real or not…" I gazed longingly at his hand embracing mine. "If you ever doubt your eyes, your hands can prove them right."
"Touching things like this… it's only a recent thing for me. It was hard to feel much of anything past all that sand." The two of us stood, walking back to our sanctuary, hands still tightly gripping to one another. People might have stared, if so I paid them no heed. We were just two boys walking along the streets of Suna, our being hosts to demons didn't matter, our different homelands didn't matter… Our same genders…
None of it really mattered.
When we arrived at the oasis, I could already feel it growing between us, these emotions swelled and I wanted to just keep holding onto that hand. "But what if something is too good to be true?" I listened to the tiny desert birds, singing in the trees. "Can you touch it?" That hand squeezed mine, not seeming to get as close as it wanted to. My redhead nodded, face turning pink.
"Can you smell it?" Again he nodded, lifting my hand and rubbing my knuckles against his cheek, I could feel his hot breath on my skin. I swallowed, staring up at Gaara's lips. "Can you taste it?" My voice dropped to a whisper, breath growing shallow. "I've never tried." He pressed my knuckles to his mouth, slipping them just beyond his lips; his flickering tongue almost made me moan at the sensation of it brushing my skin.
The water glowed from the reflection of the sun setting, but it's beauty went lost to us as we buried ourselves into each others eyes. Finally so much crumbled between us, and our lips crashed together. He was cold but oh so consuming, it was as if his mouth was swallowing me up. I moaned into the kiss, mouth opening as his warm tongue buried itself into me. His hands clutched the back of my neck, pulling my face even closer (if that was possible) to his.
It kept getting darker and the two of us just kept on kissing, bodies pressed impossibly close and hearts pounding madly.
At this moment, I finally put a word to the way my heart began to clench at the mere thought of Gaara…
I smiled softly down at the single tiny leaf sprouting from the thin green stem. It was amazing, every day I'd return home to see that the plant, my plant, had grown in the small time I was out. I never noticed as I sat and stared at it, it only seemed to grow when I wasn't around. I brushed the leaf gently with my fingertips.
I laughed, a soft one but a laugh none the less. "I love you." I didn't know if that was what I could have called my feelings for the plant, but I think I felt this rumored feeling for something. Or more specifically, someone. If anything it was practice, but It didn't feel right, and so I tried again.
"I love you."
Still not right. They were true feelings but they lacked the intensity that they deserved, Naruto was simply worth much more than a mediocre confession. I read the sprawled script over and over, frowning at my lack of ability to spice anything up. "I love you." I slammed my forehead onto the desk, growling and digging my nails into the wood.
"It's not good enough." I complained, actually getting frustrated with myself. "Come in." She had been there for a while. I always noticed when she was there, pressing her nose to the door. It creaked open slowly, my sister peeking in. "Gaara?" She whispered, closing the door behind her as she approached my desk. I watched her, a hand still placed on that pot.
"I heard…" She trailed off, twirling a strand of hair in her fingers. "Now that I look back on it… I think deep inside, I really didn't want to… but…" It was hard to be honest with her, but I felt like I had to. "I just… I love life." Her eyes sparkled in awe as she stared, I think I was even blushing under her gaze. I didn't think too much of it, but then the tears started falling, catching me off guard.
I'd never seen Temari cry before, so I didn't really know what to do. Instead I just stared at her. She didn't look sad, in fact, I'd never seen her look so happy. Had Naruto really changed me that much in so little time? So subtly, that I hadn't even noticed? Just as the plant had?
Telling my plant… and telling Temari… I finally felt I was ready to say it.
I just needed to think of a more creative way to express this love.
My sister breached my desk and wrapped her arms around me, sniffling and clutching me tightly. "I don't know how it happened, but I've never seen you express yourself so easily…" She whispered, patting my back.
I think I knew then what I had to do.
This was it. I'd had enough! What kind of love was this? One where I was constantly hiding the truth from him, the real reason I had come to Konoha. What would he think of it? Would he be angry with me? Would things between us change…? Just imagining it horrified me, even after such a short time it was hard to imagine not being with Gaara like this. It was time to tell him, I knew it could all go wrong, I knew he could lose his trust in me…
But I had to, it was betraying my country and risking my relationship to the redhead, but I couldn't go on knowing that we were building ourselves up on lies. And so I decided, I would confess two things today.
And my love.
Breaching protocol… delivering information into the potential enemies hands… When Gaara arrived, my heart was racing so quickly, his stony face and tensed up shoulders did nothing to ease my nerves. "Hello Gaara." It felt too formal, almost awkward in my tongue. "Uzumaki." When had we gotten so impersonal? I needed to tell him, and I felt like he needed to tell me something as well. We had to stop this speech barrier, if we were ever going to get anywhere in this strange relationship.
"I've been lying to you." I've always been known as a blunt person, but even the redhead seemed caught off guard at my confession. "The reason I am here, isn't personal. It's business." I waited to judge his reaction, but it was hard to read anything past those eyes when he didn't want you to. "I was sent to observe you, to see if there was any... change, in Suna's relationship and feelings towards Konoha." My fingers shook in anticipation, lips dry.
"You mean you wanted to know if you could trust me?"
It stung like a slap. It was easy to shove the truth away into the back of your mind but it always came back, always resurfaced and wrapped it's suffocating fingers around your throat. "Be angry with me if you want." I argued, the distance between us closing as he strode over. "But please don't take this out on Konoha, don't let this jeopardize the alliance between our countries. This is between you and me." I swallowed hard when I was backed into a tree, pressed tightly into the bark. "That's funny..." he whispered, pressing his nose to my ear and inhaling deeply.
I shuddered under his simplest touch, nibbling my bottom lip. "Cause I don't really want anything to be between us..." He pressed himself so close to me, sandwiching me into the tree. "Honestly is that all?" The breath I had been holding let out as Gaara pulled his head back to stare at me. "What?" I stuttered, trying to catch my breath. "Do you really think any of that bothers me? As far as I was concerned, relations with Konoha are better than ever, and therefore, are the last things on my mind." I waited for the anger, for the result of betrayal, of being lied to... It never came, instead Gaara's lips did.
The kiss was gentle, his lips lovingly cushioning my own. I purred into his hot mouth, wrapping my arms up and around his neck. He pulled away enough to whisper, "I'm not afraid of my feelings anymore." He panted, those dazzling jade eyes engulfing me.
"I'm ready to yell now… Naruto."
Again we stood at the top of the drop off cliffs, watching the desert sand create such wondrous shapes as it twisted in the wind. Surprisingly enough, a dense blanket of grey clouds swept over the skies, in my heart I knew there could be no rain, but even so a string of hope flickered deep inside me. My chest felt tight, nervousness pulsating through my body. It took a lot of thought and courage to even force myself to come here. I felt as if this was the start of something new in my life, and I wasn't willing to risk letting it go.
"Go ahead then." The blonde encouraged, his arms crossed and a lanky smile adorning his face. I nodded, swallowing the lump in my throat and lifting my head. With a deep inhale I let it out, a yell that I couldn't believe came from me, a deep wail that rang down to the whole world.
"I am in love with Uzumaki Naruto!"
I just stared down, the following silence deafening. Sand covered everything and I vaguely wondered where my confession had gone. Looking any and everywhere, just not at Naruto. Too afraid to face his response, I gazed on at nothing and yet everything, breath coming out broken and short. Beside me I heard a deep inhale.
"I am in love with Subaku no Gaara!"
A slamming pain in my chest, sort of like that time, but different. It hurt so much better. I gaped at Naruto, to which he kept on grinning. The two of us, two vessels, two products of hatred. Standing side by side, separated by nothing as we stared down on a world that shunned and condemned us. But now here we were, brought together by the world that while pushing us away, somehow pushed us right into each others arms.
We both just broke out into laughter, filling the silence with our joy.
It was hard, crushing the both of us through Gaara's tiny open window. It would have been easier (and more intelligent) to take turns sneaking into the Kazekage's office, but neither of us were willing to part our lips (or hands) from the other. Gaara gripping my shirt and my fingers tangled relentlessly in his hair. My back slammed into the floor, my redhead hovering above me. Both of our legs still stuck out of window, probably providing amusement to any onlookers below.
Finally we wriggled ourselves through, bodies dropping to the floor with a thud. I hissed, pushing Gaara off and over, crawling on top of him. "Shhhhh." I placed a finger to his lips, sliding it down slowing, scraping my nail down his throat and dipping it into his jacket. It was exhilarating, my hands undoing Gaara's jacket and practically ripping it off him. I could hardly contain myself anymore, trying to shrug off my own clothing while tearing at his (he could always get new clothes, I'd only brought so much with me on the trip so I had to be careful with my own).
"Up." Gaara chuckled at my command, getting to his feet only for me to push him backwards, shoving him into his Kazekage chair. "Down." I felt so demanding, but it was such a satisfying feeling. As I went to unbutton my pants, those cool hands grabbed my own. "Let me." I shuddered at his sensual voice, giving into his demands. He worked slowly, antagonizing me with his knuckles as they brushed none too subtly against my growing arousal.
His hands slid down my pants, brushing them sexually across my legs. "Ahhhhh…" I gasped, drooping my eyes as I was wracked with tremors. Moving back up, those long slender arms wrapped around my neck, dragging me down to meet wet lips. I slid onto his lap, straddling him completely bare. "My turn." I purred, reaching down and rubbing the cloth covering the redheads erection. Gaara gasped, mouth opening slightly as I bucked against him, sliding my cock along his stomach.
I fumbled around with his pants before getting them open, hands shaky from excitement. I frowned as I slid his member out of his pants, seeing it up close… "What's wrong?" His breath was short, blatantly nervous. "It's bigger than mine…" I complained, whining playfully as I grounded against him. The friction was amazing, our sweaty bodies sliding together pressed close almost as if they were designed by god to fit together like this.
He slid his hands up my back, digging his fingertips into my skin. "Gaara…" I mewled, squirming on his lap as my dick pulsated in desire. "I want you so bad." he drawled, taking my nipple into his mouth. He sucked on it, running his tongue along it and generally torturing me with that hot mouth. "Ahhh, then take me!" He kept biting, dragging his teethe across my skin. His fingers buried into my hips, guiding them to rub my member against his. My whole face felt hot, blood rushing to my cheeks… "Gaara! Nyaaaaaa," I was unable to form words as he gripped both of our cocks into his large hand, pumping them together.
He caught on quickly, his thumb rubbing me with delicious precision. "Gaara.. We can do it… like, men and women would." He nodded slowly, I figured he must have had a general understanding of sex to accept it so quickly, even if he had only little experience with masturbation. "I want you to do it to me Gaara." I pressed my pointer to his lip, working my way into his mouth. He sucked my finger diligently, causing my stomach to flip as he sucked in another digit. "Do you know what your doing?" he released my fingers and I lifted myself off of Gaara, just enough so that my knees still supported me on the chair. "I know enough."
It was embarrassing, him watching me as I spread my legs. Arm twisted around as I slowly inserted my middle finger into myself. It was a strange feeling, invasive… Stretching my arm further, I inserted my pointer, scissoring myself slowly. My mouth hung open, eyes focused on Gaara who stared at my actions with wonder. I wanted this to be special to us, and so far I already knew I would never forget this night. My redhead panted softly as he watched me prepare myself, squirming. "Naruto… you're so beautiful."
I gasped as I removed my finger, feeling myself ready enough. "Funny, I was thinking the exact same thing about you." I positioned myself on Gaara, placing his head against my entrance. "It's gonna hurt you." he whispered, brushing a hair from my sweaty forehead. I nodded, swallowing and placing my hands on Gaara's shoulders for balance. "Please, I've fought off the leader of the Akatsuki, I think I can handle sex." It was a light hearted joke, but I wasn't afraid.
Slowly, I lowered myself down on him, gasping as I felt how hot and big it was as I sheathed him. "Oh god…" I shuddered, fingernails digging into his flesh as his dick disappeared inside of me. "It's so tight…" Gaara moaned, clutching my waist tightly. I rose up, dropping myself back down onto the redhead. "Nyaaa! Gaara!" I gasped, starting to pick up an even pace as I rode my lover, nails drawing his blood. "Naruto, you feel so good." He groaned, bucking and thrusting his hips up to meet me.
The sense of pain that engulfed my lower back slowly faded, leaving nothing but tremor after tremor of intense pleasure. I had never felt something so amazing in my life. As I slammed myself down on Gaara, my toes curled desperately, burying my nose into the crook of his neck. His thrusts became almost frantic, striking a sweet spot deep inside of me. I wasn't expecting the surge that ran through me, unable to hold It back, I let out a scream. "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh God Gaara do it again!"
I felt him nod against me, pulling me down that same way as he struck it again. And again. And again. I had always held high expectations from sex but this was nothing like I could imagine, it was better than I could have ever hoped it would be.
A loud slam rang out, and my heart almost stopped when I heard the voice of Temari. "What's going on in here-… oh my God." Gaara halted in his actions, turning to assumedly stare at his sister. "God don't stop!" I moaned, sliding my nails down his back. As if forgetting she was there, the redhead continued… slamming me again into that amazing spot. "Oh it feels so good Gaara…" I gasped, chest heaving as I tried to maintain the energy now to keep up with him. "Naurto…" He moaned.
"So that's why he loves life so much."
It was Kankuro's voice, and I could have laughed if I was able to get enough breath to. Temari yelled something, slamming the door as I assumed we were alone again, and we kept on as if nothing had happened. We could always face the consequences later… We could always go on… just like this, not caring what anybody thought. I pictured a future that was so brilliant that, along with Gaara driving into my prostate repeatedly, drove me over the edge.
I spilled my load all over his stomach, feeling myself close up around him. "Ga… Gaara…" I gasped, riding out the orgasm and forcing Gaara into his own. "Naruto…" He exhaled, filling me up completely. I wiggled at the strange feeling, but sat there in Gaara's lap, not taking him out of me. "Naruto." He whispered, I silenced him with a gentle kiss.
"What now, Gaara?" I purred, licking his earlobe. "We never leave this place." He already knew what he had wanted, it seemed he was just waiting for me to ask. "We can't do that." It was a sad reality, but we did come from two different worlds, even if they aren't that different. "I can't love a life that doesn't have you in it." His confession twisted at my heart and I knew, I would work hard from this day to make sure I was always a part of his life, forever.
When Gaara tried to pull himself out of me, I wrapped my legs around him and tightened them. "No, let's just stay like this a bit longer." I felt something cool on my skin, almost like… "Rain." The whisper was Gaara's, and sure enough… Outside his open window was the faintest drizzle of rain. I watched as Gaara's eyes became childlike, reaching out his hand to the water. "It's amazing." He whispered.
I smiled and pressed closely to him, together we watched as the drizzle became a soft shower, and the shower became a stunning downpour. I'd never seen Gaara so happy before, and even though my ass had gone completely numb, I too, couldn't think of a moment when I was ever happier than this. I would have given a lot to see Gaara satisfied with life, the fact that in order for that to happen I had to be in it…
Well, that was just icing on the cake.
Mnnn, Cake… I wonder if Gaara likes cake?
"Tsunade-sama… I had been meaning to ask you…"
"What is it Shizune?"
"Why did you assign Naruto to that mission? I mean, you know as well as I do we're perfectly at peace with Suna."
"Of course I am aware of that."
"So why did you do it?"
"Someone needs to kick start that thing he has going on with the Kazekage, I figured I would have to be the one to do it."
Seriously, it's over now.
A/N: I hope you all enjoyed this fanfic *bows* It really took a lot out of me, I am surprised I even got it finished in time for the fan fiction contest for GaaNaru day! But I did, which goes to show I need to stop being so damn lazy and finish the other things I'm working on.
Thanks for your comments, critiques, and support. If you are a GaaNaru fan and you enjoyed this story, try checking out my other fic "CRAVINGS", you may also enjoy it.
Thank You All.