Title: Rhythm & Bruise: Gaara's Story
Series: Monoshizukanohi//Naruto AU
Pairing: Main pairing: Kiba/Gaara. But almost everyone in the Naru-verse is here in some capacity or another.
Word Count: Ongoing
Warnings/Notes: THIS CHAPTER: References to violence, boys kissing. Overall: Dark fiction. Bloodplay, angst, violence, abuse, gangs, D/s, bondage, impact play, other.
Spoilers: None whatsoever.
Summary: The streets of Monoshizukanohi are not kind to youth, and Gaara is no exception. After running away from an abusive home, Gaara struggles to find meaning in life through violence, drugs, and anything he can manage to survive. Join him as Gaara and his ever-present friend Jody struggle from the streets to the top of the social strata. It's rags to riches, despair to hope, and everything in between.
“Somebody here to see you, boss,” Jody said as he peered around the doorframe into Gaara’s office.
Looking up from a crossword puzzle, Gaara stared at Jody with an expression that came as close to abject terror as Gaara ever managed.
“Boss?” Jody asked, concerned.
Shutting his eyes briefly, Gaara could almost feel hands on his body in rough caresses, and his heart was in his gut as he scowled. “Who is it?” he barked, glowering.
“Some woman, boss. Said she knows you from the club.” Jody paused and stepped into the office. “You want me to tell her to move along?”
Gaara’s shoulders slumped in both relief and disappointment. And he felt like shooting something because of the first and hiding under his desk because of the second. In the two days since Kiba jacked him off in the DJ booth at Bliss, Gaara had managed to feel everything in his limited emotional range and a few new things besides. The anxiety that made his mouth go dry and his heart flutter was definitely new.
And so was the primal urge to palm his own cock every time he thought about Kiba.
Gaara resisted the temptation. Mostly.
“Which club?” Gaara asked, leaning forward, elbows banging down on the desk and head falling forward into his hands.
“Break, I think, though she didn’t really say.”
Jody trailed off and Gaara racked his brain trying to think of a woman at Break who would seek him out at his shop to speak to him for some reason.
“You don’t look so good, boss. Maybe I should –“
“I’m fine.” Gaara’s hands clutched his hair and he spoke down to the desk. He tried not to see the gouged hole in the wood from violence so recently inflicted.
“…right.” Even Gaara didn’t miss the several notes of disbelief in Jody’s tone.
“Send her in.”
“…okay.” Jody obediently left, and Gaara focused on the next clue on the crossword.Contrary to all reason.
The word was ten letters long and started with “Imp” and ended with “able.”
Gaara truly thought that just about summed it up.
A polite cough made Gaara look and blink at the figure in his doorway; a figure which Gaara immediately identified as male, not female, but only because he’d seen said figure naked or nearly nude more than once at Break.
“Haku.” Gaara managed to keep a civil tongue, and he swallowed surprise as the lovely young man stepped into the office. He wore a deep blue, silky-looking shirt that was off one slender, pale shoulder. The shirt was long and tunic-like, and he’d secured a black belt wrapped twice around his narrow hips over the fabric. Snug jeans with strategically placed rips covered his long legs, and he wore open-toed, flat sandals with straps that covered most of his feet. His toenails were black, Gaara noted, as were his nails, and his long, thick hair – shades darker than Neji’s – swung loosely down his back to his waist.
Haku nodded his head slightly with a little smile and then turned to push the door nearly closed, looking over his bare shoulder as though asking silent permission to complete the act. Gaara’s hands clasped in front of his face and braced his chin, and he jerked his head once to indicate privacy was fine with him. Gaara didn’t really know Haku, but the facts that assimilated in his brain did not, in any way, scream “threat.”
Instead, they whispered, “Prey” and at least one reminded Gaara that he’d not had lunch.
“Master Gaara,” Haku said in his light voice. “I’m sorry to bother you at your place of business.” Dark eyes that spoke of fathomless calm studied Gaara, and the redhead tilted his head in acknowledgment of the words. He didn’t bother to correct Haku on his terminology; Gaara suspected that Haku would call Gaara “master” up to the point Gaara decided to beat such bad habits out of the boy.
Which would, in effect, only support the argument that the terminology was somewhat correct, Gaara mused, happy as the anxiety over the possibility of another Kiba visit faded. He didn’t bother to sort that out or even categorize it. The Inuzuka Problem was now so large and so extreme that Gaara didn’t know what to do except try to breathe beneath the weight of it.
“May I approach you?” Haku asked after a long moment of silence.
“Yes,” Gaara answered, eyes curious as Haku glided over to sit in a becoming fashion on the edge of the chair across from Gaara.
“I’m here on errand,” Haku explained, and Gaara liked how softly he spoke and the way his eyes dropped Gaara’s gaze now that Haku was seated. Liking those things sent flickers of confusion through Gaara as a husky voice snarled in his memory, demanded things of both Gaara and his body, and made him want to tremble.
“Yes?” Gaara inquired, silencing the memories that now bordered on fantasy. And last he checked, Gaara didn’t really do
fantasies; it was just one more new thing since Saturday. Or since Kiba, really. Gaara once again tried to shove the irritating Inuzuka from his mind and focus on the man across his desk.
“On behalf of Master Kiba,” said Haku.
Gaara stiffened in his chair with enough of a jerk to make the metal creak. Haku smiled down at the floor, one small hand coming up to cover his mouth.
“Forgive my impertinence, Master Gaara,” Haku murmured. “It’s just that he said you would respond in such a manner.”
“Did he,” Gaara said, making the words dull and rhetorical. It didn’t surprise him that Kiba could guess such things: the man was obviously becoming an expert on Gaara, much to the redhead’s eternal snarling malice. He thought about telling Haku to go away, to go back and tell Kiba he could go play in chemical waste; considered telling the lovely Haku that Gaara wanted nothing to do with the damned Inuzuka’s errand.
But all those things felt old and false, even in Gaara’s confusion, and instead he found himself leaning forward slightly as curiosity flared in his mind and his cock stirred in his jeans. Gaara grimaced in discomfort at his body’s reaction, and he shifted in the chair trying not to think of all the ways he wanted to ease that particular itch. “What is it?” he asked.
Haku shifted sideways and, with a gesture that was a little stunningly male for such a feminine individual, he reached into his back pocket and withdrew a small, white envelope. Carefully he placed it on the desk and slid it towards Gaara with one finger, removing the digit when his arm reached full extension.
“He asked me to give you this and explain his actions.”
Saying nothing, Gaara looked at the envelope like it might self-destruct at any moment.
“Master Kiba wishes to communicate with you, but doesn’t want to risk making you or the gentleman that led me back to your office angry,” Haku said reasonably, obviously taking Gaara’s silence as an indicator that he could move forward with Kiba’s plan.
“And he didn’t want to wait until schedules aligned at Break or bother you when you were spinning. So…” Haku smiled, eyes focused somewhere near Gaara’s shoulder. “He wrote you a note and asked me to deliver it.”
“Job done, then,” Gaara said. He hesitated in a moment of social ineptitude: should he thank the pretty boy for delivering the message? Or tell him to relay to Kiba that he could take his notes and shove them up his ass? Maybe both?
But even as Gaara thought about sending back a snide remark, his fingers nearly burned in their desire to touch the piece of paper on the desk; pick it up, open it, and see what came next.…what do I want?
Such a simple question without a simple answer, and once again, Gaara found himself at a loss. He felt like hands pressed down on his shoulders, and the weight made him tired.
“Not quite, Master Gaara,” Haku said softly.
Blue-green eyes snapped up to look at Haku and met the boy’s startled gaze. Gaara had nearly forgotten the guy was in the room. “What else?” Gaara demanded.
“I’m to take back a reply.”
“No,” Gaara said immediately, and anxiety washed through him.
“A written reply,” Haku said as though he didn’t hear Gaara.
“No,” Gaara repeated, eyes narrowing.
Haku looked mildly distressed and crossed his legs, fingers lacing together over one knee. “I’m sorry. I can’t leave until I have one.”
“This is my place of business,” Gaara said, trying for calm and mostly succeeding. “I can have you thrown out.”
“Yes,” Haku agreed amiably, head tilting up and eyes considering. “But then I’d wait in the parking lot. Or at the gate of your home. Just up the hill, isn’t it?” he asked politely.
Gaara blinked. “Why?”
“Because Master Kiba promised to help me with a personal matter. And I agreed to this in exchange.” Haku looked hard at Gaara, meeting his eyes, and the redhead saw a bottomless well of determination. He recognized the look as it was something he’d seen in his own mirror.
“And I do not break my promises nor go back on my word. No matter what sort of discomfort it might cause me.” Haku sniffed once and made it sound delicate.
Gaara looked at Haku for a long moment, and neither man wavered. Then he looked down at the note, sighed, and snatched it off the desk. He tried to organize his thoughts as he reached for his letter opener, paused, and remembered it was no longer on the desk after its last and bloody use. The memory made Gaara’s hands shake, eyes glancing again at the desk as he tried not to think about himself pressed against a wall…or a metal bar… and he fidgeted with the envelope to hide the reactions.
Gaara hated Kiba. He wanted Kiba. Gaara hated that he gave in to Kiba at the club, and he had to close his eyes as heat lanced through him at the memory of what the Inuzuka had done to him in Gaara’s booth. He didn’t know why giving in or not giving in was so complicated. A hissing voice told him it was only physical, and such things couldn’t touch Gaara. Another voice – this one male, low, and with a drawl that dragged over every vowel - told him he knew better than that.
Everything was shades of confusion, heat, fear, and curiosity, but he tilted his head and looked down at Kiba’s note and thought that adding one more shade of shadow to the mix truly couldn’t make things any worse.
Smiling bitterly at those famous last words, Gaara ripped open the envelope and removed an evenly-folded piece of legal paper. Gaara opened the page, entirely too aware of Haku’s eyes on him, and Gaara had to read the words twice before they registered.Is this okay?
Gaara turned the paper over to make sure there was nothing on the back – there wasn’t. All this fuss over three words? Three extremely ambiguous words, at that. He frowned.
“Should I wait outside while you write?” Haku asked.
“I don’t care,” Gaara said absently, mulling over the note and shocking himself as he began to formulate an answer. He grabbed a pen, clicked it useable, and stared as the tip hovered over the page. A swell of emotion – mostly anger and confusion – threatened to suck Gaara under, and to fight it off, he started to scribble on the paper, not caring if what he wrote was legible or well-formulated.Nothing is okay. You won’t leave me alone. I can’t stop thinking about you. I don’t know what to do about that. I don’t know if I should do something about that. What you do to me is not okay. You’re confusing.
Gaara stopped writing and found that his breathing was quicker than it should be. He stared at the honesty on the wrinkled page in front of him and inhaled slowly.But if you mean is writing okay, I cannot kill you if you’re not here.
Rejecting the idea of adding, “But I can find out where you live” to the bottom of the note on the grounds that it should be obvious, Gaara refolded the note and bent to yank open a desk drawer. He grabbed a plain envelope, shoved the paper inside, and sealed it shut with his tongue.
“Take it and go,” Gaara ordered as he slid the envelope to Haku, who caught it deftly.
“Thank you, Master Gaara.” Haku stood and quietly took his leave, and Gaara’s head thudded against the back of his chair while his hands gripped the armrests.
The next day Haku returned, and Gaara looked up from the counter as the bell on the front door jangled. Jody stood next to the shelves at the front of the shop helping a customer, and his eyebrows nearly met his hairline as he looked at Gaara even while still explaining the wonders of a cleaning product to the Mercedes owner.
Haku crossed to the counter, set down another envelope, and then turned to take a seat near the front window. Today he wore a long skirt, loose shirt, and brown boots, and he picked up a magazine to read while one foot swung in a jerky rhythm. Gaara looked at Jody and the big man nodded as Gaara grabbed the note and went back to his office, shutting the door. Jody would staff the counter while Gaara read Kiba’s note…
…and Gaara tried not to notice how he shook slightly all over as he tore into the new envelope and quickly unfolded the pages covered in black ink that he found inside.
The first two words were “Thank You,” and Gaara put the letter flat on the desk when it trembled too much to read easily.You are the first person or thing I’ve ever really wanted.
Gaara stopped breathing. In thirteen words Kiba managed to annihilate any and all expectations Gaara had of the note, (and Gaara didn’t know until that very moment that he had expectations in the first place). It wasn’t playful or aggravating or ambiguous at all. Instead, as Gaara scanned through the letter once, he found it to be serious, well-written, and to the point. Gaara closed his eyes, breathed deeply, and then read the note a second time with wide eyes and parted lips.
My parents started a bunch of vet clinics. Stuff for Paws – the big pet store chain – signed them up to put a shop in all their stores. They wanted me to be a vet, like them, but I can’t stand it when the animals hurt and can’t tell me what’s wrong. And I hate it when they die. So they wanted me to be a businessman, but I don’t like money. Too much of it makes people worry all the damned time. Too little is harder, but the decisions are simpler.
My parents always worried about me. I got into trouble a lot as a kid. Got into fights, broke hearts and didn’t care. I joked around all the time. Had fun but didn’t want anything or anybody too close cause I really didn’t think anything mattered. Including me.
In high school I picked a fight with a kid named Naruto. Prep kid from private school. He kicked my ass, but then he introduced me to his friends. I met Neji, Shikamaru, Sasuke, Hinata, Shino…all of the Academy kids. Ended up transferring for the last two years of high school. Things got better, I stopped fighting so much, but nothing fit for me. I wasn’t brilliant. I wasn’t the best at much of anything except making people laugh and talking a good game. My parents didn’t like that I wasn’t heading anywhere they wanted me to go. And they didn’t like that I didn’t really care.
Then came radio. I always liked kinky shit. I always liked sex and shocking people. I did some theater at the Academy and met your brother. He hooked me up with a friend of his at a radio station, and I did an internship there one summer. I loved it. I got my own equipment and did short wave casts. Eventually that led to me getting my own show, getting thrown out of the studio and then called back, but that’s not really important.
Cause even when I cared about radio and making my show, I never saw it as life changing. I watched Neji work with his uncle, and that shit was deep. That shit mattered, but it wasn’t for me. But Neji was the one who hooked me up with some friends of his to do some research for my show…they taught me a lot. So did Neji. So did Naruto. And your brother. We had a good nest for freakdom, and we had Neji and his mentors to give us direction.
But even when Break opened, it didn’t…get me. Nothing ever really has. It’s all been the thing of the moment; whatever works is great. When it stops working, move on.
I’ve watched you for a long time. I’ve talked to people about you. The more I saw and the more I heard the more I wanted. It’s not easy for me through probably not like it’s hard on you. But I worry that you mean it when you say you want me to fuck off. But then I look at you and see something in your eyes that makes me think I should stay. I meant it when I said you’re worth dying over. You’re the only thing that’s mattered enough to me to stick it out. Ever. In my life.
And I’m not going anywhere. I don’t care if you stab me with a damned broadsword next time.
Now tell me something real about you.
Gaara gingerly removed his fingertips from the pages and leaned back in his chair, eyes wide and gaze unfocused. The desk and office grew blurry as Gaara merely sat, unsure and uncertain and unwilling to deny the impact of Kiba’s words though they still bewildered him.
Time passed and Gaara jerked hard when a knock came at the door. He didn’t answer, and kept his dry eyes on the desk and on pages full of surprisingly neat handwriting.
Gaara didn’t look up to acknowledge Jody, but he heard the big man take a few steps into the room and shut the door. He followed Jody’s footfall pattern as the blond walked around the desk, and Gaara saw Jody kneel next to his chair out of the corner of his eye.
“Gaara?” Jody said softly, resting one hand on Gaara’s forearm with a light touch. “What is it?”
“Read,” Gaara said, mouth dry.
“Okay,” Jody agreed, and he stood up to rest one hand on the back of Gaara’s chair as he reached to turn the first page of the letter over so he could do as Gaara asked. Moments full of Jody’s slow, steady breathing passed, and Gaara found himself syncing his breath to his friend’s.
When Jody finished the last page, he sighed and stepped to crouch again beside Gaara’s chair. “Maybe I shouldn’t ‘a thrown him so hard outta the shop,” Jody drawled, considering. “Rattled somethin’ loose, I suspect.”
“You want me to get rid of the letter, boss?”
Gaara frowned, a tiny ridge forming between his brows.
“Okay, then.” Jody put his hand back on Gaara’s arm and squeezed. Gaara’s eyes darted to the side to analyze the gentle grip and think about the same five digits wrapped around necks or lead pipes or Gaara’s dick.
“It sounds like he’s bein’ pretty sincere,” Jody said cautiously, and Gaara could feel Jody’s eyes scanning his face, but Gaara just couldn’t meet the other man’s gaze. He felt…caught. Sometimes when Gaara was so tired from a bout of insomnia, he could just stare into space for hours. It started out as merely something easy to do with eyes that would not shut and ended up feeling like a trance.
Kiba’s letter made him feel just like that: it was a train-wreck of a trance and Gaara didn’t know if he wanted to look away or dive onto the tracks.
“That pretty girl’s out front waitin’ on an answer, boss. You want me to tell her none’s comin’ for a while, yet?”
“I don’t know what to say,” Gaara whispered, and finally his eyes snapped to lock onto Jody’s. Whatever the larger man saw there made Jody’s expressive face crumple in sympathy and concern, and he moved closer to Gaara, kneeling. For once Gaara didn’t tell him to stop it or to move away. He felt like his edges were cracking and blistering from an outside source of unyielding heat, and Jody looked like a mirrored shield.
“You wanna write him back?” Jody asked, and Gaara’s mouth went small and thin at the incredulous and tender notes in Jody’s words. He jerked his head away and scowled at the desk.
“It’s not a bad thing to want that, boss,” Jody said. “He may be a cocky little man, but…he sure writes pretty stuff that makes me think he might actually feel things for you. And that ain’t bad, neither.”
Gaara shut his eyes.
“I don’t. Know what. To say.”
“Tell him something that’s easy, then.”
Gaara’s hands flexed on the chair arms. “Nothing’s easy.”
“I’m easy, ain’t I?” Jody asked and Gaara looked at him. The hazel eyes were kind and the corners were wrinkled in amusement. “Tell him why you ain’t killed me yet and how I got your back.” Jody’s smile faded slightly, and his look grew cunning and echoed expressions from their childhood. “If nothin’ else, it’ll remind the bastard that if he messes with you, there be hell on this earth and in the next waitin’ for him.”
Gaara looked at Jody and thought about the man next to him digging in a trash can for food. He thought about the night Jody met Leon, the lead Son of the Saints, and how Jody didn’t even bat a pretty eye when he was told the right of this particular passage involved a gun and close-range carnage. Gaara remembered…
“Did who I gotta hurt bother boss?”
“Gaara. He’s my boss, sir, none you mind. I respect you and all but it’s his back I got. And if his means yours, then I’m okay with this Almighty cause a’ yours.”
“Oh he bothered your boss. And me.”
“Sir. I think you’re lyin’.”
“And I don’t think you care.”
“He speakin’ true?”
In front of Leon and a roomful of Saints, Gaara told the millionth lie of his life: “Yes.”
Jody turned and shot a member of the Devil Dogs in the head without another word or thought. Gaara felt calm spread through him while the blood blanketed the concrete, and Jody handed back the gun to Leon and smiled at Gaara.
“I’m your man, boss…”
“Jody.” Gaara said the name in the quiet of his office like he’d never said it before, and the big man blinked at him.
It was the letter. It was the fact that Gaara’d skipped his pills that morning. It was Kiba, his persistence, the memory of his wounded hand. It was Haku’s gentle voice telling Gaara he would wait. It was thinking that to someone – a man whom Gaara didn’t understand and who surprised and worried him – Gaara apparently mattered. He was worth something to both the insane Inuzkua and to the man on his knees next to the redhead. Worth different kinds of something; and the differences accounted for varying levels of want or need.
But Gaara felt something twinge and flex inside him as he observed Jody looking at him like he always did: like Jody would do anything to make sure Gaara was okay.
Anything at all.
Gaara reached and put both his hands on either side of Jody’s face and bent to kiss him softly on the lips. Jody, for his part, didn’t pull away or laugh or do much of anything except let Gaara kiss him before he let Jody go to lean back in the chair. Jody blinked several times, quick lids over bright eyes, and then the hazel color started to shine and swim.
“Don’t start that shit,” Gaara said quietly, but the words went tender across his tongue.
“Can’t help it, boss. You done shocked me stupid.”
Gaara considered that. “Not stupid. Sentimental.”
“That, too.” Jody shook his head once and gave Gaara a small smile. “Feels like it did back when you tol’ me we was gonna open the shop.” Jody shook his head and grinned. “So this mean you gonna tell him about me?”
“Yes.” Gaara nodded. “But not because you’re easy. You’re not. You’re one of the hardest things in my life.” Gaara paused and mulled over his words, thinking that Jody was difficult in different ways than Kiba, but the parallels were intriguing. But whereas Jody was a protector, Kiba was a pursuer. Which is why he’s in my head and Jody isn’t.
The realization made Gaara slowly blink before he continued. “The hard things are the ones that matter. You’re difficult and…” Gaara looked at the letter with a neutral expression as understanding began to sink and settle. “And this…”
“Ain’t easy, either.”
“Okay,” Jody said, getting up with a sniff. “You write the man back. I think…” Jody sighed, and Gaara thought it sounded a little resigned. “I think it’s good that you write Mr. Inuzuka. And I’ll go tell the girl to wait.”
“Jody?” Gaara said, lips quirking.
“That’s not a girl.”~*~A/N: Song for this chapter is, "Like a Stone" by Audioslave. Check main story entry for references, notes, music list, fan art, and other goodies. Many thanks to all. <3 More coming as I can.