This story has some of Masashi Kishimoto's characters from Naruto in a universe of my own devising. I do not own Naruto. I do not make any money from these writings.
Warning: This story features male/male relationships. If you are uncomfortable reading about gay male relationships do not read this story.
This story is set in a very different world to ours. In 'known space', different societies and communities are often very isolated from each other and have very different histories. There is no common shared knowledge of Earth's history; in fact all knowledge of Earth as the home of mankind is lost. There is no shared law, no shared agreement of what what is 'right' and 'wrong', no pervasive religion.
Warning: The views, standards, mores and morals of the different groups in this story, including those of 'spacers', are not those of our world. They are the product of a fictional future history. Many of the behaviours they consider acceptable we do not; some of them are wrong by my definition in that they are damaging to one or more of the individuals involved and/or suggest that one individual has more intrinsic value than another.
I would like to thank the regular readers of 'In the cold of space you find the heat of suns' who left reviews or sent emails. This a series of short stories that bridge a 'time skip' to the major new arc. Special thanks to xxShadowheartxx for reviewing tales 1, 2 and 3 and kaname-luvr for revewing tale 3.
Apologies if the characters have grown differently in their new environment.
Many thanks to 'Small Fox' for beta-ing.
You need to have read iIn the cold of space you find the heat of sun/i to fully appreciate, or possibly even follow, this fic.
If you haven't...
...Sasuke's crew live in a space station called Tarrasade when they are not travelling. Kisame is a shark-human hybrid. Itachi is no longer Uchiha. Itachi, Kisame and Haku are members of the crew. Kisame loves Itachi and may love Haku. Haku loves Kisame. Itachi loves Kisame but is too damaged to express it. Haku is working towards a solution for the three of them. He also runs one of the two crew rooms. Want to know how all this came about? Read 'In the cold of space you find the heat of suns' and find out.
In traditional spacer crews young trainees called 'cats' earn their place by being available for sex to fully fledged members of the crew.
Tale Four: Pas de trois
Chapter One: Partners in the dance.
This chapter is set around one standard year after the birth of Naruto and Sasuke's kits and babies.
Haku waited in the lobby. He watched the inner surface of the outer door of the household. Every so often his foot tapped.
He felt them coming; the vibration of the floor in response to their footfalls. Then he heard the singing before the door cycled and they tumbled through.
Haku's heart fell. They had been fighting again. He scanned them for injuries. Inoichi had a split lip. Kunugi was limping. Tatsuji's forehead showed evidence of repeated headbutts. Fu and Terai had incipient bruises and Hamaki was walking unevenly; their involvement suggested that it had been a mass brawl rather than a bar fight.
They spotted him and stopped singing. They stood there awkwardly, like naughty boys caught with their hands in the cookie tin.
Gai, Kisame and Itachi followed them in. Haku's nostrils flared. Even Gai's face was marked.
"Where were they?" he demanded.
"It is fine, princess," Kisame answered. "Itachi sorted it out."
That meant that they had been arrested again. He had guessed as much when Itachi and Kisame had suddenly discovered an urge to leave the household so late in the evening.
"I am ashamed of you," Haku told them. He turned his back on them and walked away.
"You were harsh on them," Itachi said from the doorway to Haku's room. Haku sat at his dressing table brushing out his hair. "You did not scold them. They think they have upset you."
Haku put the brush down with a little too much force. "That is because they have upset me. This is the third time in twenty days. It is becoming a bad habit rather than an occasional lapse. It would not be so bad if it were just Inoichi, but, no, he has to involve Kunugi and Tatsuji. Have you any idea how unsettled Tatsuji is after something like this?" He began plaiting his hair into a loose tail for sleeping. "There is no alternative. I will have to go back to letting Inoichi fuck me regularly. Then he will be content and this will stop."
Itachi stiffened. Haku looked at him, challenging him to say something. Instead he bowed.
"Good night, Haku-hime. Sleep well," he said and slid the door closed.
Iruka looked surprised to find Itachi waiting at the breakfast table for him with tea prepared.
"Is there a problem, Itachi-san?" he asked.
"Yes, I need your advice and assistance, Iruka-san," Itachi replied. "Tea?"
Iruka nodded. "That would be lovely, Itachi-san," he acknowledged. "How may I assist you?"
"Inoichi started another fight in a spacer bar last night," Itachi told him while pouring the tea. "It ended up involving all of them. The bar owner called security and they were locked up. Kisame and I had to go and pay for them to be released."
"Do you need recompense, Itachi-san?" Iruka asked.
Itachi shook his head. "Asuma-san has a line in the budget to cover such things. It is Inoichi. The situation has been deteriorating since Haku stopped servicing him. First he went back to Choza. Then Choza sensibly decided he preferred Kiba. The way things are going he is going to end up getting himself killed or, worse, getting Kunugi or Tatsuji killed. Haku sees that. He has decided that he will have to let Inoichi fuck him."
"And you do not want that," Iruka suggested.
Itachi sipped his tea. "I am not happy that Inoichi is forcing Haku into it by behaving badly and involving Kunugi and Tatsuji."
He looked Iruka directly in the eyes. "The truth is that we are a family and in a family individuals should fuck because they want to, not because it is their duty. This means our cats do not cat. It also means that we have a problem because we have family members who are single and lonely and incapable of forming functional sexual relationships with others," he concluded.
Iruka fingered his tea cup. "Your analysis of the situation is distressingly accurate, Itachi-san," he admitted. "Do you have a solution?"
"A temporary one," Itachi admitted. "I want to find a professional courtesan for Inoichi. It will stop the fighting and so will protect Kunugi and Tatsuji. It will take the pressure off Haku. It will be cheaper than paying the fines."
"Haku will accept his fighters going outside the crew for sex?" Iruka queried.
"If you talk to him about it he may," Itachi suggested, "If you imply that you are considering a list for Konohamaru he will."
Iruka sighed. "Hopefully that will not be necessary, Itachi-san."
Asuma called the meeting to order.
"This is a meeting of the senior members of crew who are currently single. Although I am not in that category I have been asked to chair the meeting. Haku-san and Iruka-san are here in their roles as queen and princess." He smiled at Haku's frown. "Iruka-san will explain the purpose of the meeting."
Iruka bowed slightly in Asuma's direction. "Thank you Asuma-san. New Uchiha is different in many ways to Old Uchiha. I know that, for many of those who were of Old Uchiha, one of the most important differences is that all fucking is now consensual." He smiled. "Even cats in New Uchiha are not expected to fuck unless they choose to do so.
"However, this creates a problem. Not all of us have found our special person. Some of the crew are single. They have needs. Haku-san has done a heroic job seeing to many of your needs but he is one person with many other responsibilities. There is a possibility that, in the future, he may decide that he should concentrate on his own needs rather than those of others."
Iruka took a deep breath. "We think we should find a suitable courtesan or courtesans. We think that we should contract him, her or them to be available to members of the crew who are single. We have put this possibility to Sasuke-sama and he has agreed to it in principle. However, it is you who should make the decision, not me and not Sasuke-sama," he concluded.
"Thank you, Iruka-san," Asuma acknowledged. "Are there any questions at this stage?" He took in the wide-eyed stares of the men around the table. "No, well we will move on. Itachi-san?"
"Thank you, Asuma-san. I was very impressed with the New Uchiha attitude towards the crew rooms. The question asked was 'What would be the best crew room?' so I asked a similar question, 'Who are the best courtesans?'"
He pressed the pointer in his hand and a holographic projection of a beautiful person appeared, followed by another and then eight more. "I selected ten of the best independent courtesans who are likely to be available, seven men and three women, for us to consider." He left the images cycling, one after the other, and placed the pointer on the table.
"Thank you, Itachi-san," Asuma said, his eyes going to Tatsuji, who was obviously upset. "I think we will take a break before voting whether we wish to proceed. Perhaps we should deactivate the projection."
Haku was at Tatsuji's side within moments, murmuring assurances. After a while he turned to Asuma and nodded.
"Let us resume," Asuma suggested. "We will take a vote among the single members of the crew. Tatsuji-san? How would you vote?"
They waited. Tatsuji rarely spoke when there were more than one or two people present. "I vote yes," Tatsuji said softly. "Please look for someone nice and pretty and not just pretty."
Asuma smiled. "Those are wise words, Tatsuji-san. Kunugi-san, how do you vote?"
By the end of the meeting they had decided to go ahead, that they wanted one person and that they wanted a man rather than a woman. They had, to Itachi's surprise, elected him to work with Haku to choose their courtesan.
The others left. Itachi turned to Haku and smiled. "Number three," he said.
"Number three," Haku agreed.
It was six days before the courtesan known as C could see them. This gave Shikamaru ample time to investigate his background, revealing a great deal of unexpected information, much of which increased Itachi and Haku's conviction that C was, by far, the best of their initial selections.
C's maid showed them through to a parlour. C stood to meet them. He was even more attractive in person than in the holograms, with blond hair that appeared natural and dark, expressive eyes.
"Haku-san, Itachi-san, you are welcome, please take a seat," he said, indicating two chairs.
"C-san," Itachi acknowledged and waited for Haku to take his seat before doing likewise.
The maid brought tea, which C poured and she delivered. Itachi could see the letter he had sent by courier on the small table by C's chair. Finally the tea had been served and the maid had left.
"I confess it was pleasant to be contacted by letter, Itachi-san," C began. "Such a clever way of ensuring my attention. As if being contacted by Uchiha would not be enough." He sipped his tea. "You have piqued my interest. It may be that a contract with Uchiha would suit me.
"I suggest that we arrange appointments with some of those sworn to Uchiha who are single and requiring company. If the encounters are successful, we may move forward to discuss the type of contract you envision." He smiled and looked Itachi directly in the eyes. "Perhaps you would be interested in such an appointment, Itachi-san?"
Itachi was pleased, if a little surprised, that his body did not respond. "It will not be me, C-san," he replied, looking towards Haku and finding a pair of soft brown eyes looking back at him.
"So I see," C said with a small smile that was more about the eyes than the mouth.
"That did not take long," Haku observed as they walked away from C's unit.
"Did you like him?" Itachi asked, very aware that Haku had said almost nothing.
"Yes, very much," Haku admitted, "but he made me feel very young and very crass."
Itachi stopped so that Haku would turn to face him. "You are young, Haku-kun. You could never, ever be crass." He smiled. "What would you like to do? We are this far from the compound, we should take advantage of it." He considered. "I know. We should go to a tea dance."
"A tea dance?" Haku asked.
"Informal formal dancing," Itachi told him. "We will find a communication point, look to see if one is being held today and contact Kisame to tell him where we will be."
Haku did not understand but he was content to follow Itachi's plan.
It was nice. It was a pleasant room. There was music played by real people on traditional instruments. There were enough couples dancing for it to be lively but not crowded. About a third of the couples were male-male so they did not feel out of place.
Haku soon realised that he and Itachi were not good dancers, they were excellent dancers. Even the other couples would stop occasionally and watch them. Sometimes they would applaud at the end of a dance.
When Kisame arrived he was admitted without question and Haku guessed that Itachi had warned the security staff at the door. Kisame sat on one of the delicate little chairs at one of the small tables and drank tea out of a dainty cup with flowers on it. A murmur ran through the other dancers as they connected Itachi's appearance and Kisame's presence. Haku was pleased that their reaction was not negative. They were excited; he could imagine them rushing home to tell their families that Itachi the ex-Uchiha and the legendary sharkman had turned up at their tea dance.
As they were leaving one of the other dancers approached them.
"Excuse me but have you ever considered competing?" he asked. "There is an open competition each year. The preliminary round is in twelve days time. There are details available from all communication points."
Itachi smiled his thanks, his arm possessively around Haku's waist.
Kisame bugged them about competing all the way home and had looked up details before the evening meal. He brought it up during the mealtime conversation, trumping Haku and Itachi's news about C. The others were mildly interested until he said that the bookies took bets on the outcome and that, as complete unknowns, they would be offering long odds of them even making the top fifty.
A promise to compete had been wrung out of them before they left the table.
Twelve days later they stood in the queue to register for the preliminaries. Once they had given the names under which they wished to dance there was a scan to confirm that they were purebred; hybrids were considered to have too much of an advantage.
"Everyone dances for ten minutes," the official told them when they admitted that they had not entered before. "If your number is projected at the end of the session, then you are in the next round. The next round also includes the dancers who have been successful enough in the past to be exempt from qualification. You are in the tenth batch of dancers. Your number is 678."
Kisame was delighted that they were in the tenth batch. He was convinced that the odds the bookies were offering would shorten dramatically once they started to dance. Having nine groups of dancers before them would allow the crew members to spread their bets and reduce the chances of warning the bookies how good they were.
Haku had to admit that few of the couples in the first nine batches were impressive.
They danced well; Kisame was not the only person applauding them as they left the floor.
Talking to other competitors, they learnt that there was a maximum of twenty places for couples from the preliminaries in the main competition and that it was almost unheard of for novices to qualify. Haku was glad that they had danced before finding that out; seven hundred and fifty couples would have danced by the time the fifteenth batch finished.
Many couples left before the end but they did not; it seemed rude.
Haku had convinced himself that their number would not come up but there it was; 678. Kisame crushed both of them to him and spun about in celebration.
The others were full of it when they arrived home. Kisame had been correct; the bookies odds on them had fallen within minutes of them taking to the floor and had dropped dramatically once they had qualified.
Haku hated to think how many credits the crew had on them.
He was more interested in how Inoichi had found his visit to C-san. Gai and Kunugi had already experienced appointments; Gai had described C-san as 'lovely' and Kunugi had arrived home with a happy, contented expression on his face.
He tracked Inoichi down and found him in the kitchen giving Choza a minute by minute account of his time with C-san. Haku listened from the crew room, interested to judge Choza's response and rescue him should intervention be required.
"C-san sounds very nice," Choza said after a detailed description of one of C's techniques. "Perhaps you should take him a gift next time you visit. It may make him more likely to accept the contract."
There was a short silence. "You really do prefer to be with your dog-boy than someone like C-san," Inoichi said, disbelief apparent in his voice.
"I am very happy with Kiba," Choza confirmed. "I hope that visiting C-san makes you equally happy."
Haku smiled and crept away from the door. The door to his sitting room was open. Itachi was inside, which was not surprising, but Kisame was also there, which was.
"Kisame has booked the bathroom," Itachi told him. "He is wondering if both of us could join him."
Haku's breath caught. Were they ready? It was true that he and Itachi were completely stalled. However intimate they were when they danced, they had yet to progress beyond the occasional kiss. Being naked together would be different.
"Princess?" Kisame queried.
He found himself nodding.
Kisame had obviously given the situation some thought. He brought an extra stool into the bathroom and placed it in a corner, giving Itachi somewhere to sit that was a little apart.
Haku watched Itachi slip off his robe and hang it on the hook before sitting on the stool.
He and Kisame began their usual bathing ritual. Kisame sat on the stool and Haku washed him. He was about half way through when Itachi had moved from the stool and joined them. He began washing Kisame's back, stroking the skin only in the smooth direction.
Once he was clean Haku usually gave Kisame a blowjob but he picked up from Kisame that this was unwise. Perhaps it would have been possible if Itachi had stayed in his corner as an audience but not with him involved. Instead Haku rinsed Kisame, liberally spraying Itachi in the process.
Kisame slid into the deep, warm water and sat on the ledge at the side of the bath. Haku watched Itachi's reaction. He was obviously familiar with Kisame's love of water; his lips had quirked into a small, fond smile.
He looked at Itachi. Itachi looked back. He had to think of something quickly, before the situation became too awkward. He put the small stools facing each other and indicated an imaginary line separating them.
"This is a mirror," he said. "You are my reflection." He took up a washcloth and a squeeze-bottle of cleanser and sat on the stool.
Itachi hesitated for a moment and then copied him.
It worked. Imitating Haku gave Itachi something to think about and had the added bonus of being titillating for Kisame. They washed themselves, each paying particular attention to his own hair, and then rinsed themselves. Finally they slid into the bath, intending to sit to either side of Kisame.
Only Kisame caught them and they ended up each sitting on one of his thighs with one of his arms around their respective waists. Itachi's left knee touched Haku's right.
To Haku's surprise Itachi did not object. Instead he shut his eyes and laid his head against Kisame's shoulder.
Kisame had hinted that he and Itachi sometimes cuddled but Haku had never seen it. He realised that this was it; Itachi sat in Kisame's lap or, on this occasion, on half his lap.
Haku created the mirror image against Kisame's other shoulder. He did not stop a few tears running down his cheeks, trusting the bathwater to hide them. That this should be the way that Itachi showed his love for Kisame, and that he should be allowed to share it, was overwhelming.
Kisame kissed the tops of their heads, first Itachi's and then Haku's.
"Ita-chan. Hime-chan," he whispered.
Continued in chapter 2