Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, and I make no profit out of this.

Warning: Yaoi. Hints of smut in the very end. Wants to kill everyone Gaara in the beginning – bloodthirsty thoughts courtesy of Shukaku. And…slightly depressive themes, kind of. Please do not read should this bother you.

Summary: Sabaku no Gaara was a lonely child, even at the age of five. Uzumaki Naruto was no better. But when Gaara notices a little blond following him one day as he visits Konoha with his father and decides to keep him, how will this affect their destinies? One-shot. GaaNaru – not at first (five years old). Yaoi.

-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-

A Slice of Heaven

-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-

"Welcome to Konoha," the Sandaime Hokage, Sarutobi Hiruzen, finished. A group of two – though there were the standard ANBU agents situated outside the door of the Hokage's office – was currently gathered in front of Konohagakure's leader.

His welcoming speech was directed towards the Kazekage of Suna, and his redhead son. Sarutobi knew that the little boy that had bags under his eyes was the container of the one-tailed Shukaku, and he had heard rumors about murders that the poor child had committed because of a faulty seal and his uncaring father. And yet he was powerless to do anything about it, lest he want to engage Konoha in a war. After all, even if little Sabaku no Gaara wasn't treated properly – in the eyes of Hiruzen – he was the Kazekage's son.

The Sandaime finished his welcome rituals for the Kage of a different village with an inaudible sigh. The Kazekage was here for a meeting, a peace treaty actually, and it was the Hokage's duty to do this sort of welcoming ceremony.

"Thank you for your wonderful hospitality and kind regards," the Kazekage replied. After a few more words of exchange, carefully watched by jade green eyes, Suna's leader retired, bringing his son with him.

When they were out of the Hokage's building, the Kazekage turned to his son, coldly tossing him a key. "Falling Leaves Hotel, Room 28. Don't kill anyone. We leave in two weeks." With that, he stalked away, his official robes trailing around him and a few of Suna's ninja tailing him.

Little Sabaku no Gaara, five years old, stared solemnly after his father. He held the key in his little palm, and headed off. He would find the hotel sooner or later. The not killing thing would be difficult for Mother, but not impossible. After all, he knew protocol. Killing the residents of Suna was one thing, but that of a neighboring village was another, and even Shukaku knew that.

-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-

The child is following you, a voice hissed in his head. Gaara knew that. After all, the boy with the shocking head of blond hair had been obviously tailing him for the better part of the day. He didn't know why, most children ran way at the mere sight of him. The redhead wasn't sure what to do.

Kill him, Mother offered. Gaara contemplated it, but he sighed. As beautiful as the sight of crimson red blood staining the ground would be, his father would have him executed, not for the care of a citizen of Konoha but rather for the image he had to uphold. It would be bad for his reputation if his village's citizen killed a civilian and was left unscathed.

With the decision that he couldn't kill – maim him? – Gaara walked purposefully into an alley. When the naïve blond followed him right into the trap, Gaara turned around and confronted him. "Why are you following me?"

The lithe blond squeaked, cerulean blue eyes wide and watery. "I'm sorry!" he whispered, shrinking away as if the redhead would use his hands to strike him. Gaara raised an eyebrow stoically. "I'll leave now."

"Tell me why you have been following me around. Now." His voice held no emotion, but the little blond child trembled in fear anyways. This Gaara found odd, since his sand coffin wasn't swallowing the child just yet.

"I sorry," the child whimpered. "Please don't hurt me."

Gaara found that odd. He knew that he was oddly mature for a child, jaded by the sights around him, the people he had killed, the voice that spoke constantly of blood and death in his head.

Strange. The voice was silent. Kyuubi-sama. Run. Bad. Hide.

Gaara found that odd too. But there were a lot of things odd about his life, and for some reason he found Mother's absence slightly comforting for once.

"Where are your parents?" Gaara sighed, just the slightest bit exasperated. For some reason, his emotions intensified when Mother was absent. He could not even feel the demon's aura.

"Haven' got any," the blond sniffled pitifully. "I sorry. I'll leave."

Gaara's hand reached out for the easily snap-able wrist without his permission. "Falling Leaves Hotel. Where is it?"

The blond brightened immediately, something that Gaara found odd. Then again, his personality and mental stability wasn't exactly unflawed, so he didn't have much to say about it. "Come with me!"

Gaara felt…weird. There was an unnamed feeling bubbling up in his…stomach? Still, his mental state hadn't deteriorated at all, and he noticed the scathing glares that were directed towards him.

'Strange. I haven't killed anyone. Yet. Why are they staring?'

The blond's hand tugged insistently at his wrist. "My name is Naruto. What's yours?"

"Gaara."

"You don't talk much."

"Hn."

The blond – Naruto – smiled anyways, and kept walking. Gaara noticed that he kept his head held high despite the angry, accusing, frightened gazes directed towards them. He wondered if the child was obliviously stupid or just naïve. It wasn't that hard to see that the glares were directed towards the companion that he was dragging along with him, was it?

Apparently the blond – Naruto – was more perceptive that he had previously anticipated, for he noticed Gaara's green glares returning the civilians'. "Don't mind them," he murmured. "They won't do any harm. It's the ones further into the alleys that you have to watch."

Gaara felt his eyebrows rise. Though he felt less oppressed with Mother absent, it was uncharacteristic for him to show such emotion. However, the child – as if he wasn't one himself – interested him. "What do you mean?" Why would Naruto be the one reassuring, instead of being reassured, when Gaara was used to the dirty looks and it was foreign to Naruto?

"Ha? Oh! Nothing," the – Naruto turned, beaming up cheerfully at him. The warmth in his stomach returned again. He never had anyone smile at him like that. Perhaps his uncle, but his smiles always seemed a bit forced.

Upon reaching a high-class building – his father might not "love" him, but it was necessary that he was housed in such a structure for appearances – Naruto stopped.

"Gaara-san, I have to stay here. Bye, it was nice to meet you."

The redhead noticed the antagonizing glare that the doorman had directed at him. 'It appears that my reputation has preceded me, Mother. For these people obviously know of my…triumphs.'

"There is no need for you to leave." Gaara had no idea what had come over him.

"But I really have to go." Even the emotionally inept Gaara could tell that the little blond's bright smile was painfully forced. "Bye."

When Naruto moved to scamper off, Gaara caught his wrist again. "I insist. Stay." Really. Why in the world was he doing this?

Perhaps it was because of the absence of the corrupting voice in his head. Perhaps it was for the first person that he knew that didn't stare fearfully at him, that met his green gaze head on. Perhaps it was the innocence that radiated from Naruto, only interrupted briefly by the flashes of dark understanding when glares were cast upon Gaara. Perhaps it was because, for all his big words and jaded understanding, he was a six year old child that had never met affection in his short life.

Whatever reason it was, it was his turn to tug insistently at Naruto's wrist, ignoring the glaring staff members. They could glare all they wanted. He was a paid guest at this establishment, and he had every right to be here.

Gaara could tell that Naruto's blue eyes were taking in every detail with the enthusiasm of a long starving man offered bread. Perhaps he was a street rat. Still, from what he had seen, Konoha seemed to be against this sort of a thing. The kindly old Hokage wouldn't abandon children to the streets like other village leaders, especially with the abundance of money that Konoha seemed to boast with every shiny building and polished street.

'An orphan,' Gaara decided. Naruto didn't seem like one to run away, and the conviction he held when he announced he had no parents wasn't one of boastfulness but rather sadness.

He walked the blond to the shower, Naruto's wrist still firmly held in his hand. After all, he wouldn't want the child to bolt at the unfamiliar environment and hostile glares. "Take a shower, a bath, get clean," Gaara directed Naruto towards the bathroom after opening the door to his room.

Really. Taking in strays, especially ones that caused him to feel ill at the stomach at the mere sight of his kind, beaming smile. The fuzzily warm feeling was back again, and Gaara frowned.

"Are you okay?" Naruto asked, aforementioned smile falling from his face. "I sorry."

"I am sorry," Gaara corrected. "You have nothing to be sorry for."

Wide eyes stared at him, not understanding.

"Take your shower."

Naruto fidgeted in a dirty black shirt and ugly orange pants. "I so-"

Gaara had closed the door behind him.

-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-

Naruto stared in awe at the shiny white tiles of the clean bathroom that Gaara-san had brought him to. He had never seen something like this before, and he couldn't believe that the boy that looked just a bit older than him could be living in such a magical place. Sure, it was a hotel, and Gaara-san seemed alone, but the boy was so much more mature.

The blond wasn't as naïve as those around him usually perceived. After all, he had to deal with scathing glares on a day to day basis. But Gaara-san seemed truly kind, if a bit cold. And as he quickly took off his clothes and stood into the stream of warm water – warm water! – he sighed happily.

And then began crying.

Uzumaki Naruto had been suffering through a bad day when he met Sabaku no Gaara. He wasn't sure why he followed the redhead, but he did, his body moving automatically after him. Perhaps it was the way that the boy seemed all alone too – for no one left their five-year old children anywhere near the proximity of the demon child – and he didn't run away or glare at him hatefully.

But the nice older boy had took care of him, shielded him from the angry glares of these hotel workers. Perhaps he didn't realize it yet, that Naruto was such a bad, bad child. But still, it was nice while it was lasting. And Gaara-san just seemed so kind

Tears blending with the water that cascaded down his body, Naruto slumped onto the pristinely cleaned bathtub floor. Curling into fetal position, with the heavenly feel of warm water around him, the blond child sobbed. It wasn't fair. No one wanted him, and he knew that. Sure, ojii-san cared for him, in the old man's own kindly way. But it was his job as Hokage to take care of the village. He didn't really need Naruto.

And as much as Naruto tried to take a positive outlook on his life, he found himself unable to at the moment. The world seemed so unreal, and he was half convinced that he would find himself in his cold, damp apartment when he opened his eyes again. After all, whenever he dreamed of nice things, like a redheaded woman that smiled and held him, or a blond man that looked kind of like him that hugged him, tight and secure, or a nice warm home, he woke up again.

And so when Gaara came into the bathroom half an hour later, slightly, slightly worried, he found the child naked, curled around himself and sobbing, thin shoulders shaking.

Naruto didn't notice the raised eyebrows and jade green eyes trained on him. He didn't notice anything but the harsh yet comforting rush of water, and his own anguish. At least, until warm, careful arms wrapped themselves around him.

The blond jerked, blue eyes rising quickly to watch the other boy, body tensing in anticipation of pain that was sure to come. To his great surprise – and Gaara's as well, though Naruto didn't know that at the moment – he was wrapped up into a hug. Well, a partial hug, as the unyielding porcelain of the bathtub separated them.

Upon realizing their position, Naruto blushed heavily, especially upon realizing his own state of undress. But the other child didn't seem to care in the least – and Gaara didn't, for there was nothing but comforting affection between them at the moment.

Stroking Naruto's soft but tangled locks of blond hair, Gaara reached for the shampoo that the hotel provided. If this would get the job done – "And calm him," his mind whispered – then Gaara would perform this action. Turning the heat of the water up, he squeezed a small portion of the material into his palm – awkwardly, for the child in his arms prevented much movement – and lathered it into the dirty locks.

Naruto sighed and leaned into the gentle touch. It was rare that anyone was willing to touch him, and gentle contact was a dream that was previously unobtainable. After all, no one wanted to touch the dirty demon child. Even beatings were cruelly administered with no skin on skin contact.

Speaking of which, Naruto winced when Gaara-san's softly kneading fingers touched a particularly sensitive part of his scalp. It was a vicious cut, from when a broken glass bottle had grazed him even when he ducked at the incoming object. Naruto had washed out most of the blood in a nearby drinking fountain, but had no way of treating it.

Gaara frowned when he noticed his … what was Naruto? …charge? friend? … Naruto's discomfort. He carefully avoided the cut, and glared when he noticed other similar ones that littered the lithe body. Bruises of varying size and color, cuts shallow and deep, and an all-around dirtiness bothered the redhead. Naruto didn't seem like one to get into gangs or fights, and for the love of all that's good, he was five!

Okay, perhaps Gaara was too, but he knew that he was a bit of an odd one. Mother had said that it was of no consequence, but…and speaking of Mother, the voice that was always there seemed to be absent. In fact, it had disappeared around the same time as Naruto's arrival, Gaara observed.

He gently rinsed out the soap lathered into the blond hair, knowing the odd picture they made. After all, Gaara was but less than a year older than the little blond he was bathing, not that he knew it yet. It was normally an adult that took on the responsibility of such duties, but it was clear to Gaara that Naruto had about as much adult assistance as he had.

Speaking of which, Gaara wondered idly where his wounds came from. Without the corrupting presence that was usually normally always at the forefront of his mind, Gaara could think a lot clearer, and he oddly didn't feel like bathing the ground in anyone's blood at the moment. Well, perhaps those that injured the little blond, and his father, and the villagers that cast evil glances at him…but that was a different story.

Still, the redhead wasn't sure why someone would want to hurt someone as innocent as Naruto. Sure he looked little and vulnerable, and Gaara would've probably been the first to kill him had he found the blond in another situation, but now that the kill him, kill him! voice of Mother was gone, he felt a lot lighter and was able to see that Naruto wasn't at fault.

"Abusive orphanage caretaker?"

"Ha?" Naruto turned from his previous position – sitting on the bathtub floor with his arms around his knees, relishing in the gentle touch – and looked at Gaara.

"Where did you get these injuries?" Gaara's tone of voice made it clear that though the statement was phrased like a question, it was definitely not up to Naruto whether he wanted to answer or not.

He didn't expect Naruto to flinch away from him immediately. He briefly wondered if his soap covered hands had touched a cut, but from the fear in Naruto's cerulean blue eyes he knew that wasn't it. Though the usually bloodthirsty redhead loved the look of fear on his victims' faces, seeing the identical fear in Naruto's eyes was disturbing, and oddly painful.

Sabaku no Gaara didn't like pain.

"Well?" he demanded harshly.

Naruto flinched again, edging slowly but surely away from the redhead. "They don't like me very much. Are you going to hurt me too?"

Gaara's vision turned a haze of crimson, blood red. Naruto recognized the look of bloodlust and anger in the previously emotionless jade green eyes, and he threw himself away from Gaara, accidentally hitting his head on the knob of the bathtub instead, He winced, but quickly moved into fetal position, making himself as small of a target as possible.

'Stupid!' he berated himself. 'Why would you think that someone would like you? Now it's going to hurt, and it's all because you were stupid enough to follow someone with nice eyes all alone!'

When small murmurs of "I'm sorry," and "Don't hurt me," reached his ears, it snapped Gaara out of his bloodlust and anger for long enough that rational mind returned to him. This was odd as well, because usually he was bathed in blood when he reverted back to his 'usual' self. It seemed that this Naruto confused everything he knew and hated.

Frowning at his own losing of control that caused Naruto's blatant, terrified horror, he gently reached for the blond, stepping over the ledge and into the bathtub. He ignored the fact that he was instantly soaked and rather reached towards Naruto. He also paid no attention to the fact that Naruto defensively edged away from him, curling back into himself, or the way that the blond winced when he saw the pale hand coming.

The mumbling protests became louder, and Gaara sighed mentally. He reached out again, and when he met no resistance – beyond terrified murmurs – he awkwardly held the boy to his chest, patting the soaked blond locks. "It'll…be all right," Gaara mumbled, clearly not used to comforting anyone. "I won't hurt you. You're safe."

Gaara blanched when Naruto sobbed harder. "Stop crying!" When the blond managed to sob even harder, he panicked. Naruto, finally noticing the older boy's distress, managed to suppress his sniffles.

"Thank you."

"…hn."

"I'll tell you what's going on, if you want to know. Why all those people are giving me dirty looks."

"Don't speak right now."

But Naruto recognized the soft warmth behind those words, and he nodded, wiping away his tears and grinning. "Okay!" He received no response, but Gaara frowned in distaste at his wet clothes, taking them off. It appeared that he would have to take a shower as well…

-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-

The redhead and the blond were spread out over the huge bed – it was big for adults, but for their little five year old bodies the bed was just huge – after Naruto finished his story.

Gaara stared in amazement at the little blond. "You're Konoha's demon container?"

Naruto winced at the way it was phrased, but he nodded. "The Yondaime Hokage sealed the Kyuubi in me. That's why the villagers hate me, and that's why they were glaring at us before. I'm not supposed to know, ojii-san – err, that's the Hokage – made this law thingy that said so. But someone beating me up said so. And then the ANBU person took him away, but I knew. I'm sorry. I don't mind if you throw me out. You were really nice, and I liked the bubble bath."

If Gaara was normal, he would've laughed at the irony. But he didn't laugh, unless it was over his enemies' bleeding bodies. "I house the one-tailed beast, Shukaku. My Mother."

Wide blue eyes stared up at him. "That's silly."

Surprisingly, Gaara's vision didn't immediately shade red like it usually did when someone said something bad about his Mother. But Gaara had come to realize that Naruto was special.

"All the bijuu are male. I dunno why, but I asked ojii-san, and he said so. Or rather, something about app…apw…looks, and how they chose to look male." Naruto shrugged. "I dun really get it, but…"

Gaara looked a bit surprised himself. 'Mother?'

He received no reply, and part of him was relieved. It seemed that Naruto's presence chased away the angry, bloodthirsty voice of his Mother.

He was broken out of his thoughts again as Naruto sighed, curling up against Gaara's side. "This bed is really soft. But are you going to throw me out now?"

"I am a container as well. I have no grudge against you."

Naruto brightened, looking up into Gaara's jade green eyes. "Rw-Really? You don't want to kick me? Or throw things at me?"

"Should someone do that to you, feel free to let me know. I will kill them."

Naruto blinked, but smiled. "Okay!" Though he didn't know that Gaara meant it literally…

Gaara was also shocked, though he didn't show it. This was the first time that someone hadn't immediately flinched away when he spoke of death and killing so casually. But as he had come to realize, Naruto was different. (And even though Gaara and Naruto were thinking from various perspectives, Naruto wouldn't have shied away from Gaara for anything he did.)

Naruto reached for Gaara, and the redhead hesitantly opened his arms to the young blond. He watched Gaara's reactions carefully, but snuggled into the warm embrace when he noticed that the redhead was just 'shy'.

They lay in companionable silence for a bit, with Naruto yawning sleepily every few minutes. Gaara finally looked down at the blond in his arms and asked, "You are not sleepy?"

"Kinda," Naruto admitted. "But I wanna fall asleep with you."

"I don't sleep."

"Ever?" Naruto asked, looking up with wide eyes.

"Mother will consume my mind should I lose consciousness."

"WHA? I dun want Gaara to be eaten!"

And Naruto began sobbing again.

-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-

"I am taking him with me."

The entire room – though it currently only had four people in it – was staring at him.

"Rw-Really?" Naruto squealed, and tackled his friend into a hug. The meeting that the Hokage and Kazekage were participating in had been extended due to various reasons from unknown sources – ninjas and civilians alike disappearing in a flash of sand, but found perfectly fine days later, terrorized civilians, particularly around Uzumaki Naruto's apartment, and supermarkets threatened into giving up huge amounts of ramen…

Given the signs left behind, the Sandaime Hokage had good reason to think that Sabaku no Gaara had something to do with this – though Sarutobi couldn't help but be glad that no one had died during these fiascos. Either way, the meeting had been delayed and delayed and delayed until a good two months had passed. Sarutobi found Naruto sitting in the corner of his office sniffling less and less, and the ANBU situated to keep things from escalating out of control had reported that young Naruto had befriended Gaara, following the redhead anywhere and everywhere.

Still, the meeting was now over and a tentative peace treaty with Sunagakure tentatively drafted and finalized. The Yondaime Kazekage was ready to go home to Suna, and Gaara would obviously accompany him. The issue that presented itself with Gaara's second to last day in Konoha was what would happen to Naruto.

The Yondaime Kazekage knew that separating his son from the little blond may prove quite fatal to all involved. From the steely look in Gaara's jade green eyes he knew that anyone who dared to think about prying Naruto from him would end up dead in a pool of fresh blood. Even he did not know how to stop his son's infamous sand coffin, simply because it was unconscious defense, not a chakra driven, purposeful one.

"Yes. I will be taking you home with me. You can live in my house." And Gaara lived alone, for his siblings, relations, and father all feared him. Baki showed up from time to time, but now that Gaara had been showered with real affection from a darling source, he was suspicious of Baki's 'love'.

Sarutobi Hiruzen raised an eyebrow at Gaara's convinced state. It wasn't often that he met such a serious five year old. Then again, Uchiha Itachi was like this too a few years back…and Hatake Kakashi…and even little Hyuuga Neji was serious beyond belief, the few times that Sarutobi had seen him. Still, the conviction that Gaara held in his own words and the way that Naruto believed him immediately and was willing to leave Konoha was unnerving for the old man. How deeply their friendship had formed in just two months was amazing to the old Hokage, though he understood that Naruto's situation was unique, and Gaara was probably the one to best understand him.

Especially now that his "Mother" had been sealed off by his student, Jiraiya. Two months ago Naruto had burst into his office crying about his only friend being eaten by a raccoon, and wouldn't calm down until everything was 'fixed' and he was sure that Gaara wouldn't be consumed with ramen toppings and soup…

Nonetheless, Sarutobi Hiruzen couldn't let the redhead take Naruto, as both the Third Hokage of the Village Hidden in the Leaves and as Namikaze Minato's friend. As much as he wanted Naruto's happiness, he couldn't just let the son of Suna's leader take his friend's child and his own 'grandchild' away from his home forever.

"Naruto," Sarutobi began, thinking that it was probably better for him to appeal directly to the matter at hand. Apparently his tone of voice roused something in the children, for Naruto immediately tucked himself away from Sarutobi – something the Hokage couldn't help but feel a little hurt at – and towards Gaara. Likewise, the redhead repositioned the blond behind him, shielding him from the adults in the room. Sarutobi could almost feel Gaara's defenses rise at Naruto was held securely in his arms.

Sarutobi found it odd that Naruto allowed himself to be so vulnerable near Gaara. He had never allowed himself to do any 'real' crying in front of even the Hokage, and Sarutobi found the little child's complacency in Gaara's arms both endearing and unnerving.

The trust between the pair was tangible.

"You will not attempt to separate us. Should you go beyond thinking of this, I will personally bring you down."

Sarutobi Hiruzen was sure that was a promise. And it was then he knew that no matter how many lives were lost in the process, Gaara would protect Naruto and keep him safe even if it cost him his own. Not that Naruto would have allowed such a thing…and Sarutobi couldn't be sure how secure the seals placed on the two containers would be, even if the Yondaime and his own student, a Sannin, created them. Especially with such headstrong, determined, needy children as the containers.

Not to mention that he wanted Naruto happy. If being in Konoha made him so upset that he was willing to leave it all…still, Sarutobi couldn't just allow the son of Konoha's Yondaime Hokage and Yellow Flash to be taken away, especially at such a young age that the decision might be regretted later on.

"Naruto…"

"Like I have said, please direct all comments regarding this issue towards me. Do not appeal to Uzumaki's soft side in order to retain us," Gaara said coldly. Sarutobi couldn't help but be impressed at the killing intent that simply radiated from Gaara. And the fact that Naruto wasn't the least bit afraid, despite being tucked neatly in the older boy's arms.

Partly Sarutobi thought that he should have felt offended. Even if Gaara was the Kazekage's son, Sarutobi was the Hokage himself. Not to mention about a billion years the redhead's elder…

But he couldn't bring himself to be, when he saw the level of trust that simply radiated from Naruto. 'Did he ever trust me that much?' Sarutobi thought, sad. It was pitiful that a kage couldn't defend a mere child from the whims of his village. A village that he was supposed to protect with everything he had, a village that showed more prejudiced and hate-ridden than anyone could have previously thought.

Sarutobi sighed. The Sandaime Hokage of Konohagakure was against this. The kage of a hidden village was against this. The Konoha ninja and citizen was against this.

But Sarutobi Hiruzen couldn't find himself adverse to the idea that his self-proclaimed 'grandson' would be happy with the redhead. And "ojii-san" found it impossible to reject the watery blue eyes that were begging him. And the glaring jade green ones that promised certain death should he decide otherwise. And the Kazekage's, that begged him as well, though more subtly. Mass destruction was a good treaty breaker.

"Be sure to write, and visit as much as you can, Naruto. Please take care of him, Gaara-kun."

-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-

Uzumaki Naruto stumbled into the Kazekage's office, looking for all like he had just crossed the desert. Twice. Carrying an elephant. Perhaps that wasn't what he really did, but the Kazekage's seventeen year old boyfriend, and the commander of Suna's 'special' squadron, came home to his redhead looking like he was dying of dehydration and exhaustion. And the gaping wound still leaking blood.

"Naruto!" Gaara, who had been sitting at his desk and emotionless signing paperwork jumped…over his desk, and caught the shorter teen as he swayed.

"Hehe. Gaara. Err, I mean," Naruto corrected, straightening despite Gaara's fluttering hands and worried gaze, "RAMEN Squadron One Leader reporting in. Mission success."

Gaara would have sighed in exasperation at the name his "ANBU" team decided to take when they were officially founded – three guesses where that name originated from… - but he was too frantic at the moment to care.

The image of crimson blood flowing now only appealed to him when it was that of enemies. "Why aren't you in the hospital?" Gaara's voice was cool but each word was sharply said. "Stop bleeding on my office floor and get yourself to a medic, Fox."

Naruto smirked, something that he had picked up from Gaara over the twelve years that he had lived with the redhead. "Got it, Kazekage-sama." He winked, before heading towards the door.

And collapsing from blood loss.

Gaara let out an undignified noise that the Kazekage shouldn't have been heard making, before whisking his (still petite and lithe and shorter than him, despite nourishment and the stuffing of food into his mouth…) lover into his arms and disappearing in a cloud of sand.

He would have to clean that up later – Naruto hated it when he just left sand on the floor after using that jutsu, and always made him clean it up – but the precious bundle In his arms was much more important for the moment.

Four hassled nurses, a terrified doctor, and two blood transfusions later – "What do you mean that I can't give my blood to him…," emphasized with a death glare. "Kazekage-sama, Naruto-sama has blood type B! Your AB blood will kill him!" Second death glare. – Gaara was safely at home with a sleeping Naruto tucked into his arms as they sat on the sofa. Well, a towel on the sofa. They were dirty, and Gaara was waiting until Naruto woke to take a bath.

When Naruto's eyes fluttered open and Gaara saw that he was indeed unharmed, his injury healed, the redhead heaved a silent sigh of relief. "How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine," Naruto brushed off his concerns with a smile. "I was being careless," he sighed. "But the mission was a success and I ended up all right. I feel sort of dirty though…caked with sand and blood and all that."

Gaara sighed, this time audibly, and shifted Naruto off his lap. "Let's take a bath. The medic healed up your side, and you should be fine as long as you take it easy for a day or two. Or five."

Naruto smiled softly up at his friend. "I missed you."

"Shower first."

"Take one with me?"

"I have paperwork to do. And sand to clean up," Gaara said in a completely deadpan voice.

Naruto scowled. "Please?"

"…"

"Pretty please?"

"Get in the shower."

Naruto cheered, and gingerly picked himself up. Upon seeing his slight wince of discomfort, Gaara picked him up bridal-style, ignoring the squeak of protest that Naruto could walk perfectly fine.

The redhead undressed Naruto in the bathroom, ignoring the look that he was being given. "You are supposed to be bathing. You shall rest after this."

"Please?"

"No."

"Please?"

"…Take your shower first."

"Yay~!" Naruto smiled in victory, and Gaara sent him an exasperated look. If Suna's citizens saw the way that their precious Kazekage was being looped around their baby blond's finger, he would probably never be able to live it down.

Gaara took off his own clothes, relatively unabashed, and followed his lover into the bathtub. Seating himself on the floor of it – it was large, especially since Gaara had it redesigned especially for the purpose of their shared baths – he motioned for Naruto to sit down in front of him.

Naruto grinned and did so, edging himself carefully into the bathtub. Gaara turned on the water, and reached for the shampoo bottle, carefully running his fingers through Naruto's blond hair.

It had been twelve years, more than a decade since their first shared bath in the Falling Leaves hotel room so long ago. Gaara had gone through everything from assassination attempts from his father – something that very near broke him at the age of six, if it wasn't for his reassuring blond – to his inauguration as the Kazekage and his acceptance by the citizens of Suna, to figuring out that his friendship with Naruto wasn't exactly a friendship in normal society's eyes.

Not that they knew. The two five year old children had been brought together as little beings desperate for love, and found just what they needed, and wanted. The twelve years that they had spent together were the best of their previously miserable lives, and despite a few rough turns here and there both teens knew that they would never be able to imagine a life without the other.

Naruto sighed as he leaned into the soothing fingers that were carefully rubbing out sand that had caked itself into his blond hair. He had changed from the whimpering child that cried in his best friend and lover's embrace all those years ago.

He was more hardened and jaded now, yet still retained the innocent qualities that Gaara marveled in twelve years ago. He was more capable now, the captain of Suna's prized ninja squadron. He was taller, older, and more experienced, but he was also happier, and shined brighter than ever before at Gaara's side.

And he wasn't the only one that changed. Gaara never did lose his stoicism, and was still a bit too fond of blood flowing out of his rare opponents, but he was also kinder, friendlier, and less … insane. He had found his stabilizer in Naruto, and they had gone through many ordeals together. He had a better relationship with Suna's villagers now that he didn't go around killing them, and his siblings were at the very least civil with him.

And he had the beautiful blond, and was completely enamored with him.

It wasn't a perfectly happy ending, nor was it picture perfect. But it was a good one. Two love-starved children had met each other early on in life, and they were happy, whether as best friends, as companions, as confidants, or as –

"Gaara," Naruto moaned, somehow aroused by the fingers stroking his hair. "Please."

There was a spark in his jade green eyes as Gaara nodded. "Here? You should rest."

"I should," Naruto murmured, out of breath. The passionate kiss that he placed to Gaara's pink lips proved otherwise. The blond pressed himself up to his lover. "Gaara, please. I'll be fine; you said the medic healed me anyways."

Dazed by the taste of sheer Naruto, Gaara nodded. He kissed his blond again, and turned up the water's heat. Perhaps they really should start showering apart…

But the arousing moan that he got when he placed a leg between Naruto's own slim ones was more than enough to convince him otherwise. And the pecking kisses. And, oh, that tongue, and what it was doing…

Naruto had closed his eyes, and pulled away for a moment.

"I love you."

Gaara panted, before moving a hand lower down Naruto's lithe body, and pushing a finger in carefully and gently.

"I love you too, Naruto."

Things weren't perfect. They weren't, and they probably never would be. But both Sabaku no Gaara and Uzumaki Naruto wouldn't have it any other way.

This was, after all, their very own slice of heaven.

-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-*-.-

This is a one-shot, and finished. Mostly. I can never be sure. I might do a sequel, I might not. I would like to know what you think of this.

This was actually supposed to be a NejiTen drabble in my alphabet drabble series for my friend that doesn't like yaoi, to make up for the yaoi in the previous one…see how my writing gets away from me?

But I had fun writing this. Chibi-Gaara was darling and fun and a bit bloodthirsty, and Chibi-Naruto was just to die for. I hope you had fun reading it.

I'd love to know any comments that you might have, on both the story and the possibility of perhaps continuing.

Thank you very much for reading this.

EDIT as of 1/29/12:

This one-shot is being continued. I have a two-shot sequel of sorts up, and this universe will live on!

I can't believe the response I've had on this story – 26 reviews and a whopping 117 favorites! Thanks to all my readers for the support – I hope you'll all enjoy the continuation.