Disclaimer: Neither of us have any claim on Naruto nor any characters or locations thereof. Neither of the authors obtains any money or goods from writing this. It is strictly for our own amusement.
Warning: Vampires, mild slap in the face violence, verbal abuse, and strong language.
AN- This story is a collab between Trulywicked and myself, half this story is hers; it's only posted here because we don't have a joined account on this site. Trulywicked is amazing and make sure to check out her work if you haven't.
Here we are again, with the third installment of the M-series. We just find it hard to stay away from this universe.
This is just the prologue, a set up for things to come. Please if you have the time, drop us a few lines and tell us what you think.
Gaara - appears 28 but is over 500 years old
Itachi - appears in his late 20s but is about one thousand years old
Sasuke - appears in his mid twenties but is 900 years old
Naruto - In his 20s I forget precisely where
Nagato - Same as Naruto
Gaara brooded into his cup and sent a glare in the direction of his boss. He hated these shit detail jobs he was put on and all because he accepted the challenge posed to him by the city's master vampire's mate. Not that he didn't understand, in the vampire world you attack a vampire's mate, regardless of who issued the challenge, and the mated vampire made you pay for it. It was just tedious and irritating and did absolutely nothing for Gaara's less than positive personality. Especially tonight's 'assignment' to watch the crowd for disturbances. There had been some strange things going on in the blood clubs lately.
Mated vampires getting slapped by their human counterparts, denounced as monsters in blood clubs, and demanding that their mate get the hell out of their life only to forget it happening and becoming distraught as soon as they returned home to find their mate moved out. Up until now it hadn't been much of a concern beyond a usual investigation, which of course Gaara had been left out of, but a few weeks ago after one such incident with a newly mated pair that was just beginning to bond and trust each other, the human mate had killed herself thinking that her mate had finally abandoned her. That had left them with a feral vampire on their hands, one which Sasuke had had his hands full exterminating.
The incident had hit the vampire community hard and made other mated couples nervous about going to blood clubs, which cut down the clubs' revenue, which in turn made it harder for vampires who couldn't feed from a bag to find a safe place to eat 'off the hoof' as it were. It was a tense situation especially for newly mated couples. But of course Itachi was still holding his grudge from three years ago so Gaara didn't get assigned to actively investigate, no he was stuck watching the crowd for a human slapping their vampire mate so they could put said human and vampire on a close watch to prevent any further tragedies.
No it was Sasuke and Itachi themselves who were investigating along with their mates, which in Gaara's opinion was foolhardy. It was obviously mated couples who were being targeted by whatever was causing the incidents and two of the highest ranked mated couples doing the investigation? It was like painting a big target on their back in neon orange and screaming to the hunter 'Here I am come get me!'
A waving hand caught Gaara's eye. 'Speaking of neon orange.' There was his boss's mate grinning in his usual friendly manner. Gaara raised his own hand in a short, perfunctory wave in return. He had to admit, he liked Naruto, for all that the blond was a reckless, hyperactive, crazy ball of energy he was also warm, friendly, and had a non-linear intelligence that few could follow but that always brought the blond out on top. Despite the fact that he and Naruto had kicked the shit out of each other during that challenge, the blond was determined to befriend him much to Itachi's disapproval. So Gaara, irritated with his crappy assignments, was happy to yank on the dragon's tail and respond to the friendly overtures. It was always rewarding too, when he saw the tick in Itachi's jaw it caused. Much like the one that was throbbing now.
Itachi sent Gaara a less than pleased look then slid his gaze back to his mate. "You two nearly killed each other. Why are you so set on being his friend?"
Naruto looked away from the broody redhead towards his mate. "I like him and I get him. Besides, I challenged him and I delivered the first blow. None of us did die...isn't time to let him out of the doghouse soon?" Naruto smiled at his mate and ran the back of his knuckles over Itachi's tense jaw. "I only love you, only want you. I don't see why I can't be his friend." He looked up and gave Gaara a big smile.
Itachi's brow twitched. "You say that like you think I'm jealous. I'm not jealous. I'm irritated that he accepted your challenge. And I think I'll leave him in the doghouse a while longer."
Chuckling Naruto leaned over and kissed Itachi, running his fingers through his long ponytail. "You're such a stubborn bastard...You're lucky I love you." He released his mate and walked towards the bar to order himself a beer. "You want something?" He called to Itachi over his shoulder.
Itachi shook his head and purred. "Just you."
Shaking his head in amusement Naruto placed his order and waited for his beer. He tapped his finger on the worn wood when a flood of anger and resentment rushed through him. Who the hell did Itachi think he was, tying him down like this, keeping him like some sort of slave? Someone to be there when Itachi wanted him...Blue eyes turned icy cold and Naruto left the bar, beer forgotten and made his way back to Itachi. He grabbed the smaller man's shoulder, turned him around and planted his fist right in the vampire's face. "Do you have any idea how much I loathe you? How my skin crawls every time you touch me. I don't want you and I don't want anything to do with you ever again!"
Itachi cursed as his head snapped back and a flood of pain came from both his nose and his heart at what had just happened. He knew that it hadn't really been Naruto talking but it still hurt to hear those words coming out of his mate's mouth and to see the blond starting to walk away from him.
Up on the second level both Gaara and Sasuke let out vile curses at the sight and rushed down with Nagato to check on Itachi and see if they could stop Naruto. Gaara reached his boss and pulled out a red handkerchief to stem the flow of blood coming from the master vampire's nose. As much as he'd have enjoyed seeing Itachi take a fist to the face under other conditions this wasn't a good thing. "You just never listen to me."
"Hey I did warn you."
A growl was the only answer he got.
Sasuke ran a hand down Nagato's arm. "Kæreste go with Naruto please? We need to keep an eye on him."
Nagato nodded and hurried after Naruto who was on his way out of the club.
The blond was just about to exit the club when a blinding pain went through his head. Feelings warred inside him, he was still incredibly angry and confused but he also remembered the love and devotion he felt for Itachi. Cold sweat broke out on his skin and his insides spasmed as he tried to fight through the red fog that was covering his mind. He pressed against it mentally until it finally shattered and disappeared. Naruto almost went down on his knees from the sheer exhaustion he felt, only Nagato's arms under his elbow kept him upright.
"Are you alright?" Nagato asked and looked him over with worried gray eyes.
Naruto shook his head, he wasn't alright. He couldn't believe how he had acted, the horrible things he'd said to his love.
He turned around and hurried back to Itachi with Nagato hot on his heels. Naruto made his way past Sasuke and Gaara and threw his arms around his mate holding him close. "I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry. I didn't mean it." He whispered frantically into Itachi's hair.
Itachi closed his eyes, wrapped his arms around Naruto, and murmured, "I know baby. It's okay. No harm done."
Sasuke reached out and drew Nagato to him, a cold fist in his belly at what had just happened. If whatever it was that was messing with the human mates had gotten to Naruto, the king of stubbornness, then it could happen to anyone, even his mate. He breathed in Nagato's scent and looked at Naruto's distressed expression. "Naruto what happened?"
"I don't really know." Naruto rubbed his temple, trying to dispel the throbbing headache he had. "I was just getting my beer when this...anger flooded through me. Everything seemed tinted in red and I couldn't control myself." He held on to Itachi tighter, needing to know that his mate was there. "My feelings weren't my own anymore. I don't know how to explain it better."
Nagato stepped closer to Sasuke, feeling fear spread through him. He couldn't imagine turning against his mate but Naruto had proved that no one was immune.
Itachi reached up and stroked the mark on Naruto's neck. "Tinted in red?"
The familiar touch calmed him down like nothing else could and Naruto leaned into Itachi's caress. "Yeah, red. The edges of my vision and even my thoughts had a red fog over it sort of pressing against my mind, altering it." Naruto closed his eyes for a second. "When I pressed back it bent to eventually shatter and then I was myself again."
Itachi cut a look towards Gaara, who narrowed his eyes and nodded. "Sounds like someone cast a spell on you Naruto."
"A spell? You mean like magic? How is that even possible?" Naruto looked at Itachi and Gaara in confusion.
Itachi rubbed his chin on Naruto's shoulder. "Well there are wizards and witches in the world too baby. Though for the most part they move about more in the mortal world than ours."
Gaara nodded. "Occasionally they'll work out a business deal with either the vampires or the weres but that's usually the extent of it. However it appears that some witch or wizard has decided to start messing with the vampire mate bond."
Sasuke's jaw clenched. "A strong one too. It would take quite a bit of power to manipulate you Naruto."
"I don't know of that is a compliment or an insult coming from you Sasuke-bastard but I'll take it the good way for now." Naruto replied.
"Why would a wizard or a witch go after vampires and their mates this way...It seems like so much hatred." He wrapped his arms around himself. "I don't like it at all, how are we supposed to protect us against this when we don't even really know what it is?"
Itachi met Gaara's eyes again. "We find the person who's casting the spell. Sabaku you're off probation, at least temporarily. Find the bastard who's fucking with the mates. From now on Sasuke and I will stay clear of it."
Gaara nodded sharply. "Understood."
Sasuke made a noise in the back of his throat and held Nagato possessively close. "Fine then. Aniki I say we go to our homes and let Gaara do his job."
Nagato laced his fingers with Sasuke's as his mate pulled him across the floor and towards the exit. He wanted to go home, get in bed and wrap himself tightly around his mate for the rest of the night.
Naruto and Itachi got ready to leave too, Naruto still felt a bit out of it and he was glad they were going home. "Good luck Gaara, find this son of a bitch okay?" He told the redhead as they left.
Gaara nodded. "I will, you have my word." With that Gaara went to have a 'chat' with the club owner about viewing their security tapes. Although Club Crimson wasn't the only club these incidents had taken place at, it had more than a few of them racked up so Gaara was going to first view their security tapes on the nights when a mate went ballistic then move on to the next clubs and see if anyone was there each time.
AN – So what do you think about the prologue? Why would someone from the wizarding world target the mates of vampires? Who is powerful enough to do it? Will Gaara find something or someone on the tapes? What do you think?