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.

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. Special thanks to xxShadowheartxx for reviewing tales 1-8, kaname-luvr for reviewing tale 3 and Sable Scribe for reviewing tale 8.

Apologies if the characters have grown differently in their new environment.

Many thanks to 'Small Fox' for beta-ing.

You need to have read In the cold of space you find the heat of sun to fully appreciate this fic.

If you haven't...

...Sasuke's crew live in a space station called Tarrasade when they are not travelling. Sumaru comes from a planet where elite warriors are infected with a symbiote that greatly enhances their performance. Lee and Kimimaro were ring fighters on the planet Jewel when they were kidnapped by Kabuto who infected them with the symbiote, almost killing them in the process. Rin saved their lives but while Lee stayed with Sasuke's crew as a guest, Kimimaro, who hates hybrids, is thought to have returned to Kabuto. Want to know more? Read 'In the cold of space you find the heat of suns'.

You really, really need to have read Knives, which is Tales in Tarrasade 2.

Tales in Tarrasade 9 - Homeward bound

This tale begins during Tales in Tarrasade 8 - Patron (Chapter 1 - Entreaty), after Gaara has decided to return to Kaze in order to obtain Temari's permission to work on behalf of the HDL.

Izumo had finished his assessment of the Gourd. He walked to where Gaara waited in the docking bay.

"She is really too small to be comfortable for more than one occupant, Gaara-san, and to make her as close as possible to what you want means stripping her right down and starting again. It would be a lot easier and quicker to build a new one. I am sure Uchiha would buy the parts you did not reuse.

Gaara considered. It did not feel right. The Gourd had been his home for so much of his life. "Is the engine sound?" he asked.

Izumo nodded. "And Kotetsu can make it better than that," he assured him.

"I need it to be the same shell and the same engine. I need the controls and the weapons to have three modes: me, Lee without symbiote and Lee with symbiote. I need to be able to control the ship and the weapon either simultaneously or separately by either of us. I need it to be possible to have me and Lee together in the control room and to have another room for us to feed ourselves and relax. We need a place for each of us to sleep."

Izumo considered the revised specs. "Could you and Lee-san sleep in cubicles?" he asked.

Gaara thought that he could manage in a cubicle. Lee was not fussy about anything. "Yes," he answered.

"It will be close living," Izumo warned, "But we can do it."

Lee was glad that Izumo had thought to relay a warning to him via Gai-sensei. He looked in dismay over the half-finished ship.

"I thought you ought to get a chance to look at it," Izumo told him. "Gaara-san lived on this ship for most of his life. He is used to it. You aren't even a spacer. I was brought up on a planet like you were. I can appreciate how small it is."

Lee imagined being trapped in the tiny space for divs with Gaara. How would he hide his feelings?

"You should tell him you won't be able to cope," Izumo advised.

Lee shook his head. "I couldn't. This was his home but it was also his prison. It is a big step for him to get it remodelled and an even bigger one for him to travel with another person." He took a deep breath. "Tell me how it works. Where will we sleep? Is there any privacy at all?"

Izumo began telling him where everything fit. Halfway through the explanation he grabbed a tablet and promised that he would try to fit in two showers and two heads as well as the two sleeping cubicles.

"Go and talk to Shikamaru-san and Shino-san about a virtual reality system," he said when he observed Lee's reaction to the dimensions of the sleeping cubicle. "And make sure you ask Rin-san about a full range of seds."

Shikamaru was whistling as he laid out the various user interfaces in preparation for Lee's second visit. Shino tried again.

"Are you sure...?" he began.

Shikamaru cut him off. "Yes, I am sure. The man is so obviously besotted that the least we can do is try to stop him shattering the friendship that means so much to him."

Shino shook his head. "You get the job of explaining it to him. I am not going to do it."

Lee stared at the various devices. Goggles, earpieces and gloves he could understand but what his mind was whispering about the others was distinctly disturbing.

Shikamaru, being Shikamaru, went directly to the point. "This goes over your prick and balls. These discs go on your nipples. This goes up your arse. Don't worry, this part stops it going in too far. This..." He pointed to what looked like a disorganised pile of mesh. " a whole body suit for when you decide to get serious."

"You don't have to use it, Lee-san," Shino reminded him.

Shikamaru was looking at him with frank, brown eyes. "Being stuck in a tiny ship with someone as gorgeous as Gaara-san might lead to problems. This will stop the problems getting out of hand."

"You think Gaara-san is gorgeous?" Lee asked, faintly.

"Beautiful and lethal," Shikamaru answered. "It's a heady combination. Add in that you are the one person in known space that he trusts utterly, stick the two of you together for divs in a ship smaller than Haku's clothes closet and, if you ask me, you have a recipe for a friendship-destroying disaster. This is your equivalent of a cat or a floozy. It'll stop you doing something really, really stupid."

Lee wished he was less embarrassed. If he had been less embarrassed he might have had the capacity to be grateful.

Naruto and Kiba had to look over the finished ship while Gaara waited in the docking bay; there wasn't room for three.

They stepped from the airlock on a small landing; it was just big enough for two. Set into the floor was the hatch to the engine room. In front of them was a ladder to the upper levels, running up the centre of the ship. Storage lockers filled the rest of the level. One of them bore a medic symbol. Naruto opened it. Inside were two vertical tanks. Naruto had not known they made vertical tanks.

"They must pump the gel in when you've closed and sealed the door," Kiba observed. "Neat."

Naruto shut the door and started up the ladder with Kiba following. They passed four closed hatches, two a level, labelled 'emergency use only' and emerged in the control room. There were banks of controls and two battle chairs. The walls of the rooms tapered in towards the ceiling, confirming that they were in the very nose of the ship.

"Not much between them and nothingness," Kiba noted.

Naruto suppressed a shiver. "Izumo has layers of anti-meteorite and anti-radiation high tech shielding between the inner and the outer skin. That's on top of the usual insulation and cooling circuits."

They edged around the chairs and slid down a short ladder at the side of the ship. The next level down was the only sizeable space and it was done out very nicely as the shared area of a crew room. There was a small galley and a seating area. On one side of the galley there was a hatch down labelled 'Gaara' and on the other one marked 'Lee'.

"I like the idea of properly private areas," Kiba observed.

To Naruto it was a little strange. That was not the way spacers were. Then again, Lee wasn't a spacer. "Gaara said we could check out his part," Naruto reminded Kiba and slid down the ladder.

Kiba looked down after him. "Is there room for two?"

Naruto considered. "I'll stand in the shower," he decided.

The sleeping cubicle was a man's height long and wide. Half of it was taken up by a bed big enough for one and half of the remainder by a closet. Where Naruto was standing was a combined shower and head.

"You could have a shower while taking a dump," Naruto observed.

Kiba smiled. It was rare to see Naruto in adolescent mode; usually he was too busy being a good parent or thinking about the HDL.

"What do you think?" Gaara asked as they emerged from the airlock.

"Izumo and Kotetsu have done an awesome job," Naruto declared. "She's a gem, isn't she, Kiba?"

Kiba agreed entirely. The ship was exactly like a gem; costly, beautiful and very, very small.

Lee and Sumaru sat, each a mirror image of the other, their hands weaving the familiar patterns in time to their chanting. The last movement left their hands resting on their knees. Heads bowed in eleven minutes of prayer.

They then walked together towards the point at which their paths diverged; Sumaru would make his way to the crew room and Lee towards the guest quarters.

"You will continue when we are apart, Lee-san?" Sumaru asked.

Lee smiled at him. "Of course, Sumaru-san. A trainee Knife must practice."

Sumaru slowed. "I can never thank you enough, Lee-san," he acknowledged. "Without you I would have no prospect of Sasuke-sama allowing me to operate as one of the Chosen."

"You are welcome, Sumaru-san. Is Rin-san satisfied that the nanobots are resolving the damage in your system?"

"There is measurable progress," Sumaru assured him. "We have set criteria. Once I have reached them, Sasuke-sama will give his permission for me to try activating my symbiote using the hormone." He considered. "Having seen you train with Gai-san, I have decided that I shall ask him to be my sensei."

Lee was pleased; Gai-sensei would be delighted.

It was a long journey to Kaze without a Mulligan drive or an improver. Gaara wore even less around the ship than he had around the apartment; Lee had not realised how much he had relied on exercise to keep his libido under control. Despite all the planning he and Gai-sensei had invested, there was a limit to the amount of training he could do using the main ladder and the small space in front of the airlock.

He persisted with the rituals that Sumaru had taught him but, even when performed three times, they only took up two hundred and twenty-five minutes out of a one thousand four hundred and forty minute ship's day.

The software had been a surprise; Lee assumed that Shikamaru had installed it for him. Once he had realised what it could do he had resolved not to use it. Within a handful of days the temptation had been too great; Lee was now relieved that it had only been a resolution and not a vow.

Customising the holos allowed him to externalise his fantasies. Already the girl he had created had Gaara's hair and skin and eyes. Her breasts were unusually small and her voice suspiciously low.

Then he made the error of thinking that the mesh body suit would be less involving than the more overtly sexual interfaces; once he felt the fantasy girl's fingertips brush his cheek he was lost.

Stopping at Petersville had seemed an excellent idea and, at first, it was. They chose a quiet time and toured one of the markets. It reminded Lee of Tarrasade; the same combination of corridors and open spaces where many corridors joined. Lee enjoyed selecting and buying a memento with some of the credit he had built up from the compensation Gaara paid him to cover his 'expenses'.

Then Gaara said that he had seen Kimimaro.

Lee's heart fell. He had believed Gaara was finished with that particular obsession; the final traces had been swept away by C-san, who had suggested to Gaara that he fancied blonds because of a subconscious incestuous desire for his sister.

Then, astonishingly, Kimimaro was there, standing in front of them. He had others with him. On his left was a dark-haired man with three pairs of arms. Lee found himself wondering why Kimimaro was fine with a purebred with extra limbs when he was so revolted by a perfect hybrid like Gaara. On Kimimaro's right was a beautiful young man with blue-white hair and violet eyes.

"How wonderful to run into you, Gaara-san," Kimimaro said. "And Lee too."

And Lee knew, he just knew. He had seen Kimimaro fight too often not to know.

"Run, Gaara," he hissed. He clenched the specific combination of muscles that released the hormone and activated his symbiote.

Gaara's head turned slowly towards him. "Run?" he queried.

"Turn off your controller or run," Lee clarified.

It was too late. The man with six arms had attacked, Gaara had responded and his controller had felled him.

Lee did not hesitate. He kicked Kimimaro in the head. His other two opponents were not shocked at his super-human speed, confirming that Kimimaro was using his symbiote and validating Lee's choice of first target.

The violet-eyed youth sprang to defend his leader while Lee turned his attention to the many armed man. He was picking Gaara up. Lee could not have that. His foot caught the man under his chin. He sailed backwards, away from Gaara, in a bizarrely elegant arc. Lee grabbed Gaara, slung him across his shoulder and ran.

His mind raced as he ran. There could be others waiting at the ship but if he delayed the violet-eyed man might catch up with him. It was even possible that Kimimaro was not unconscious; it would depend if he had activated his symbiote before Lee had kicked him.

Kimimaro obviously wanted Gaara. Lee was not sure why; all the explanations he could think of were bad. He remembered Naruto mentioning that Kimimaro had met with Kabuto.

There was a slight groan from Gaara; Lee had to make a decision. If Gaara regained consciousness while Lee was carrying him he would immediately panic, lose control and be rendered unconscious again by his controller.

He ducked into a side corridor, put Gaara down and drew back to the required distance. Eyelids fluttered revealing turquoise eyes. Lee waited.

"Where are we?" Gaara asked after what was only a few moments but what had felt like an eternity.

"Two-thirds of the way back to the ship," Lee told him.

"And them?" Gaara queried.

Lee shook his head. "No idea. We have to assume some of them are between us and the ship."

Gaara nodded. He stood. His fingers went to his collar to change the setting. He hesitated. "You have your activator?" he demanded.

Lee glanced at his belt and nodded.

"And you promise to fell me if I turn on you?" Gaara checked.

Lee tried to get away with a nod. If it meant the difference between Gaara escaping and being captured, Lee would prefer to die.

"Your promise, Lee," Gaara insisted.

"I promise," Lee said, reluctantly.

"Good, we go," Gaara declared.

They ran. Lee matched his speed to Gaara's. He could feel his reserves being eaten away by the demands of the symbiote. He just hoped he had enough left if he had to fight.

They were waiting at the spur to their mooring. There were two of them, twins. Lee felt very briefly sorry for them in the few seconds between them coming into view and Gaara attacking.

Their only hope of survival would have been to be very, very still. Instead they attacked.

Lee saw and heard their necks snap.

Gaara turned towards him. Lee did not wait. He could not afford to wait and, anyway, he had promised. He pressed the button as Gaara leapt.

He was bowled over by Gaara's unconscious body landing on him.

Then there was the worst of sounds, running footsteps that were too high frequency to be fully human. Lee detangled himself from Gaara and prepared to spring.

He hit Kimimaro as he rounded the corner to the spur. This time Kimimaro was ready. Lee was sent sideways by a parry. He recovered and landed well.

At least there was no sign of Kimimaro's violet-eyed companion. Lee had to end it and end it quickly, before reinforcements arrived.

"You have improved, Lee," Kimimaro acknowledged.

Kimimaro had always been a talker during fights. Lee knew better than to listen.

"Are you his whore, Lee? What's it like? Does his animal side come out? Does he growl and bite as he fucks you?"

Lee knew that he was a superior fighter to Kimimaro. He had to be. He had trained with Gai-sensei for two standards.

Move, feint, move, primary attack, dodge, a feint that morphed into the secondary attack, contact, follow up and the heel of Lee's hand thudded into Kimimaro's chest. Kimimaro staggered back, a surprised expression on his face. Lee followed up with a kick.

He could not spare the time to check if Kimimaro was unconscious or dead. He picked Gaara up and sprinted for the Gourd.

Lee sealed the airlock. His limbs felt sluggish, confirming that his reserves were almost gone. Next would come the pain as his body demanded rest.

He made sure Gaara was secure and climbed the ladder. It was tricky with a body across his shoulder and only one free hand but he managed it. He dropped Gaara into his chair and settled into his own. They were, temporarily, safe. If one ship attacked another when it was docked it would be destroyed immediately by the station's gunners. However, the longer they delayed, the less chance there was of getting to a jump point before their foes; Kimimaro and the six-armed man could still be alive, there was the violet-eyed youth and, for all Lee knew, there could be other members of their crew or other ships.

The pain was starting.

Gaara stirred. Lee's hand hovered over the button on his belt. He resolved to ask Gaara how to change the setting on his controller; having him wake berserk was not a good option.

Turquoise eyes looked at him. Lee held his breath. Gaara's fingers went to his collar. Lee assumed he was changing the setting.

"You should rest now," Gaara told him.

Pain was rolling over him in waves. He leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. He could hear Gaara moving but it was unimportant. Only the pain mattered.

There was the cool touch of a hypospray against his neck followed by a welcome surge of analgesic. Exhaustion laced with euphoria replaced the pain.

Lee knew he must be hallucinating; what else could explain the sensation of fingertips against his cheek and the whispered "Lee-chan"?

Gaara found himself strangely content to be in the presence of his siblings. They both looked good. Temari looked magnificent; ruling a system obviously suited her. Kankuro looked happy, although disturbed by Gaara's presence.

"How are you, little brother?" Temari asked.

Gaara considered. "Progress has been very slow," he admitted. "Before there was only my duty and the challenge of not killing those who did not deserve to die. Now life is complicated and I am poorly equipped for most of it. Naruto is my friend, my mentor and my role model. Finding Kiba was wonderful."

"I remember Kiba," Temari admitted. "You were devastated when he left with Amachi."

Gaara had not remembered; he had been too young.

"Why are you back?" Kankuro asked bluntly.

Gaara studied him. "I am not competition for you," he replied. "With my controller on I am vulnerable and weak. I rely on Lee to protect me."

Temari smiled. "Lee-san is very loyal to you," she observed.

"He is my friend," Gaara acknowledged.

"You did not answer my question," Kankuro persisted.

"I need to withdraw my offer to be your champion, Temari-sama," Gaara responded. "I am not fit for the role. I also seek your permission to work on behalf of the HDL."

"Naruto-san's charity," Temari acknowledged. "His appeal hit a chord here. Many of our people remember what you did for them. There is much wearing of blue ribbons here in Suna and in the other cities where hybrids are found."

"Blue ribbons?" Gaara asked. Thinking about it, he knew that the programme would have been broadcast while they were travelling between Petersville and Kaze I.

"Supporters of the HDL wear them," Kankuro clarified. He seemed to have relaxed now that it was clear that Gaara did not want his job as warlord.

Gaara decided to ask outright. "I would like to start a hybrid sanctuary on Kaze V. There are so many job opportunities there, some of which would suit hybrids. We could start by building the sanctuary."

Temari smiled. "I shall talk about it to my team of advisors," he promised him.

"Have you seen the appeal?" Kankuro asked. "You are in it."

Gaara remembered giving his permission. "No," he admitted.

"You are walking with Kiba in a market," Kankuro told him. "You look happy," he added.

The suite that Temari-sama had given them was large. After divs on the Gourd it seemed enormous. Gaara stood on the balcony and looked out across the desert. Lee studied him from the relative cool of one of the many rooms.

Yesterday they had watched Naruto-san's programme together. Lee had seen that Gaara did not understand it. For Gaara it had been just Naruto talking. Lee, in contrast, had been swept along on the emotional journey. Today, thinking back on how he had felt, he found himself wondering how angry Kimimaro and people like him would be when they saw it.

Gaara looked incredible standing on the balcony, buffeted by the desert wind. He was dressed in white linen and the long open shirt fluttered behind him like a flag, exposing his lean, muscled chest.

Lee sighed. He had never thought that he would be in love with a man. Only Gaara wasn't any man, he was Gaara; unique, beautiful and terrible.

Temari-sama had known immediately. Lee wondered if everyone other than Gaara could tell, as if it was tattooed across Lee's forehead in ink that only a tanuki-human hybrid could not see.

He thought back to what she had said to him.

"He has come a long way, Lee-san, but inside he is still little more than a child. You have done so much for him; he already loves you, even if it is not the type of love for which you yearn. If you can bear it, keep your distance. He is not ready. Maybe one day, but not yet."

Lee had flushed and bowed. He had not thanked her, which was rude of him because he was grateful that she had chosen to express her approval and understanding.

His eyes went back to Gaara. He was looking out over the desert into the sunset.

At least Lee had moments like these.

The End


The complete series

This is the order of the stories in this series

In the cold of space you find the heat of suns chapters 1-16

Can his spacer crew keep Sasuke alive and his identity secret so he survives to lead a new Uchiha? Will the fox-boy they acquire affect Kakashi's carefully laid plans?

Silver Leaf Tales: Tying the knot

Naruto and Sasuke were friends & rivals but now they are lovers. What does it mean to each of them? Will their differences stand between them?

In the cold of space you find the heat of suns chapters 17-91

Tales in Tarrasade 1 – The Cook and the Nursemaid

Can Choza break the bad habit of a lifetime and find someone who appreciates him?

Tales in Tarrasade 2 - Knives

Can Lee make himself extraordinary enough to counter Gaara's obsession with beautiful blonds?

Tales in Tarrasade 3 - Vacation

Shikamaru decides that Naruto needs cheering up.

Tales in Tarrasade 4 – Pas de Trois - Chapter 1 Partners in the dance

Can Haku circumvent all their problems and achieve his aim of melding him, Kisame and Itachi into a threesome?

Tales in Tarrasade 5 - Kiba's day off

Iruka persuades Kiba to have a day off while Sasuke and Naruto are away. Surely they can cope looking after Naruto's litter for a single day?

Tales in Tarrasade 6 - Friendship

Sometimes being friends is more important than being lovers. That's what Inari thinks but will Konohamaru agree?

Tales in Tarrasade 4 - Pas de Trois - Chapter 2 Kisame's miracle

Tales in Tarrasade 7 - Honour your parents

Shikamaru receives a message that sends him into a funk. Can the crew help him out?

Tales in Tarrasade 8 – Patron [2 chapters]

His relationship with The Last Uchiha has made Naruto the most famous hybrid in known space. Can he use his fame to help other hybrid?

Tales in Tarrasade 9 - Homeward bound

Gaara has decided to return to Kaze and Lee, of course, will go with him.

Tales in Tarrasade 10 - Opening the cage

Kakashi realises Iruka is depressed, but why?

Iteration Chapters 1-13

Continuing the space saga about Sasuke, Naruto, their children and their family. Enemies emerge as Uchiha thrives & Naruto champions other hybrids - a testing time for New Uchiha.

Tales in Tarrasade 4 – Pas de Trois - Chapter 3 First steps

Iteration Chapters 14-16

Tales in Tarrasade 11 - Medico

Rin through someone else's eyes.

Iteration Chapters 17-43

Tales in Tarrasade 4 – Pas de Trois – Chapter 4 Needing

Iteration Chapters 44-104

Tales in Tarrasade 4 – Pas de Trois - Chapter 5 Princess

Iteration Chapters 105 – 119

Real [11 chapters]

Set in Sasuke & Naruto's extended family. What makes someone real? Haru struggles with this and other issues as he begins to grow up.

Leader [107 chapters]

Follow Sasuke & Naruto's extended family. With Uchiha expanding, will opposition come from outside or within?