Rhythm & Bruise: Gaara's StorySeries:
Main pairing: Kiba/Gaara. Other pairings from the Monoshizukanohi series make appearances.Word Count:
THIS CHAPTER: Language, mild violence, crossover w/Bleach. Overall: Dark fiction. Bloodplay, angst, violence, abuse, gangs, D/s, bondage, impact play, other.Spoilers:
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.
Gaara walked into the bar and memory invaded his nostrils, flooded his ears, and socked him in the gut. He used to spend a lot of time in Deathtoll, but that was ages of recovery ago; back when he still did lines of blow off the tanks of toilets. Tucked at the end of a bad street in a worse part of town, Deathtoll was not a place for weak wills or sensitive stomachs. The food was as likely to kill you as to feed you; the proprietor and Jody's friend, Sphinx, as likely to shoot you as to serve you.
Gaara always felt right at home.
With a low grunt, Gaara glared death at the girl in bad red vinyl who made eye contact with him, and she looked away as Gaara began to weave across the room. People crowded in on all sides, and Gaara's shoulders tightened. He hugged his leather jacket closer, felt cold comfort in the press of the side-holstered gun. Gaara caught rapid movement out of the corner of his eye and watched as a man got thrown unceremoniously over a table, plastic beer mugs bouncing and spilling contents everywhere. People jerked away in unison like scared animals, clearing a circle for the ensuing brawl.
"The fuck?" screeched the guy on the floor. Another guy with bright blue-green hair, heavily muscled bare arms, and a vicious sneer stood over the fallen man, eyes gleaming with a mania Gaara recognized and respected.
"Oh, I'll tell you what the--" Blue Hair began, fists raised to go in for the kill.
Everyone flinched as a man with a linebacker build and black t-shirt loomed over the upturned chairs and soggy puddles. He held a short barrel shotgun, and though the business end was aimed at the floor, patrons took a collective breath and another step back.
"Whatever," the fallen man muttered, getting up and swaying once before staggering toward the door. Blue Hair turned and stalked off, pushing his way through the crowd, and the bouncer watched, expression blank. Finally, he turned beady black eyes on Gaara.
"You here for Sphinx?"
Gaara shook his head once.
"Have a nice evening, then." The bouncer headed to his post, and a path cleared for him. Gaara took the opportunity to scan the bar, but didn't see the familiar bald, scarred shape of another ex-Saint. No matter, really; Gaara knew who he needed and where the man would be.
Gaara trailed after Blue Hair, scowling when the press of bodies rubbed against him as people resumed their flow from bar to table to various entertainments. There were many things about Deathtoll that Gaara enjoyed, but he had to admit that Glow's space and atmosphere made it easier to breathe.
Along the wall opposite the entrance was a long line of booths. Gaara headed to the one closest to the hallway with doors leading to the kitchen and emergency exit. The bench Gaara could see was empty, and he walked up, turned on a heel, and slid into it. He kept his hands on the table, let his jacket spread to show what he packed, and watched cool gray eyes go from deadly dull to vaguely interested.
"My, my," Urahara Kisuke said with a tilt of his head that put his face into the shadow of his hat's brim. "You look remarkably nothing like anyone I'm slated to meet tonight."
"You're the man who knows things," Gaara replied.
"And you appear to be a man interested in doing things," Kisuke answered, retrieving his teacup and taking a small sip. Gaara didn't know what was more intriguing: someone like Kisuke imbibing tea or someone like Sphinx stocking the cups in which to serve it.
"Yes," Gaara said, thinking Kisuke's assessment to be one of the truer ones in Gaara's life.
Cheap china clinked and silence swayed. Kisuke met Gaara's unflinching gaze head on, and Gaara liked the man more for it. Finally thin lips twitched into a smirk. "I confess, I'm a rather terrible telepath."
Gaara waited for Kisuke to continue, analyzing again what he knew of the man before him; recalling dark hours spent at Deathtoll's bar, observing. He thought of Neji, Kakashi, Ibiki, and Nagato; saw people and politics in a web of intrigue where players were spiders and Kisuke was a brown recluse.
Gray eyes narrowed. "I've heard you're rather the silent type, Sabaku."
Another pause. "Is your intention to make me guess your circumstances or needs?"
"No," Gaara said, shifting to lean closer. Kisuke mimicked the movement, expression aggravatingly playful, but Gaara ignored the mask. "There's a pack of wild dogs in town. They keep shitting in my yard. I'm looking for their den."
Kisuke's stare focused, and it was eerily familiar. "Goodness, that does sound like a most treacherous grievance." Gaara didn't see the need to reply. Kisuke continued to study Gaara for a long moment filled with bad rock music and grating chatter.
"Interesting that you bring such a matter to a lowly clerk like me," Kisuke said. "I rather thought that someone in your echelon and of your sudden standing would have well- equipped and more," Kisuke considered, "Humane
Gaara twitched his head in a negative. "The bitches bit a friend of mine," he revealed, the words foul on his tongue.
Kisuke's eyebrows went up and down. "Oh dear," he said with a cluck of his tongue. "True and intact friends are so difficult to come by these days." Kisuke sat back, sipped his tea, and regarded Gaara over the rim. "It's always such a shame to involve them, isn't it?"
"Yes." Gaara squinted at Kisuke, hearing something beneath the coy banter that might have been truth or might just be more artifice.
A smile split Kisuke's lips, chilly and crisp as new fallen snow. "So you come to those less valuable to you. How eternally flattering."
"There's not much that is valuable to me," Gaara admitted, wanting to wince at the honesty in that sentiment. "I love you under me and honest…"
Gaara closed his eyes on the sound of wings, and when he opened them again, Kisuke's expression was thoughtful and something else that Gaara didn't understand.
The blond took off his hat and brushed bangs back from his forehead. "I do believe I would be remiss to let an opportunity to assist someone such as yourself aid someone like me."
Nails bit into Gaara's palm. "I don't need help."
"You're here." Kisuke gestured vaguely at the bar. "This is, I do believe, you asking for favors."
"I need information," Gaara gritted, swallowing anger.
Kisuke hummed and rested his chin on a fist. "Gracious, dear boy, but it seems to me that your definitions and the lines between your laws are quite thin."
"And I don't need your goddamned opinions." Gaara struggled to hold still, to keep his hands where Kisuke could see them, to silence the cries for blood and pain that circulated through his brain. "This isn't an exchange. This is you telling me what I want to know."
Kisuke's eyes widened momentarily, and he smiled again, the edge of pity curving his lips, and Gaara grimaced as a bullet hole appeared between Kisuke's brows: a dribble of wet slipping to his nose in a delusion of insatiable greed.
"I fear you are incorrect, Sabaku. And perhaps forgetful of your old ways, as no one knows more about the price we pay for breath than you."
"Fuck you," Gaara muttered, and moved to get up.
"Sit," Kisuke spat, the word alien in its lack of polite poetry. Gaara wavered, glared, and sank down onto the cushion again.
"Good man," Kisuke said. Gaara snarled, and froze when a cold hand clasped his in a crazily gentle squeeze. He blinked down at the touch; wondered why in the hell it soothed him and got lost on the road of rationalization.
"To the brink we all strive, to the edge we see, and only the brave plant feet on soil and call havoc to the evil that won't let us be."
It wasn't a nursery rhyme, and Gaara didn't understand the whispered words, but he felt their cadence like a rhythm that coursed through his veins. He looked out into the sea of people and saw chips of jade in the eyes of a stranger who glanced his way.
"You'll tell me, then?" Gaara asked, voice dull and small.
Gaara swiveled to stare down Kisuke. "Let go."
Kisuke smiled, gentle in a field of violence: "You first."
Gaara hissed at the traitorous hand that left red marks on skin as pale as Gaara's. He unwound his clutch, Kisuke released Gaara's wrist, and then the blond started talking.
And Gaara listened.~*~