Rhythm & Bruise: Gaara's StorySeries:
Main pairing: Kiba/Gaara. Other pairings from the Monoshizukanohi series make appearances.Word Count:
THIS CHAPTER: Language, angst, mild violence. 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.
Sitting in Beast's quiet interior made Gaara itch for noise. An unopened bottle of Jack sat in the floorboards, a Sig lay on the bench seat, peering out from beneath Gaara's discarded jacket, and Gaara glowered at the shitty house at the end of Turnsmill Street as though waiting for a sign. Hands in black gloves rubbed over the steering wheel, and the cold night air seeped through the cracks around heavy metal doors and snuck up Gaara's spine in a shivery caress. Too easy.
The wide front window framed by fallen shutters showed men in a room filled with ripped lounge chairs, milk crates, and cement blocks. Vince paced to and fro in a dirty white undershirt and jeans, bottle of vodka in his hand. A figure -- male or female, Gaara didn't know or care -- stumbled to cling to Vince's side, lips and tongue meeting in a dance of dominance; a ritual of preparation. Lazy. Stupid. It'd take less than a minute.
Gaara reached for the half-empty bottle of Coke, sipping the warm liquid and hating the fizz. He screwed on the cap, tossed the container to the floor where it rolled into the whiskey, and Gaara stared at the clock on the dash that told him it was half-past the witching hour as he slid fingertips toward his weapon of choice.
A rap on the window made Gaara lunge, spin, and take aim through glass before the words, "Cop" or "Unlicensed weapon" could cut through the fog of panic. A big man in a dark hooded sweatshirt didn't flinch as Gaara lined up barrel to nose, and when Gaara recognized the kicked-puppy glare, he flicked the safety on the Sig and dropped it into his lap.
Gaara sighed. Jody rapped knuckles again, and Gaara cursed. He wrenched the door handle, and Jody stood back while Gaara climbed out into the pitch darkness of a misty sleet night.
"Boss," Jody said, hands shoved into the hoodie's pouch. Gaara saw Jody's Jeep parked half a block away; looked up to see a starless sky; turned to watch men through windows and thought of pet stores: cages and captives.
"What?" Gaara growled.
"You know what," Jody answered, coming closer and following the direction of Gaara's attention.
Gaara blinked and flinched as the branches of a tree scraped in the breeze. He felt Jody at his back, heard the low sigh, and ground his teeth together when big arms encircled Gaara and held him tight against a warm, broad body.
"You're here to stop me," Gaara complained.
"That what you think?" Jody drawled.
Laughter, faint and floating, reached Gaara's ears. It made him want to hurt something; break people into pieces. "We used to kill."
"Yeah, we surely did."
"Why not now?"
"Well…" Jody began before resting his chin on top of Gaara's head. "That was 'fore we became upstandin' citizens, boss. Now there's laws and rules and shit."
"I know, boss, I know," Jody soothed, and he squeezed Gaara's arm. "We can call 'em in on drug charges or somethin'. Where Vince goes, meth fuckin' follows."
Gaara snorted. "It's not enough. Unless it's coke or heroin, they won't get more than a slap on the fucking wrist."
"We'll think 'a somethin'." Jody rumbled an unhappy sound when Gaara shuddered. "Cold?"
Flexing in Jody's strength, Gaara sagged in defeat when the iron bars didn't waver. He didn't know what to feel about that; didn't know what to do. The smell of blood might help; but some part of Gaara whispered that salvation actually lay elsewhere.
"How 'bout that man you work with? The Hyuuga?"
"Neji," Gaara deadpanned.
"Yeah… think he could help somehow?"
"No one else will fight this battle but me, Jody. I can end this." Gaara ignored the way he breathed harder; the way his voice got higher, desperate. "I can bury bodies, Jody. Won't be the first time."
"I ain't sayin' you can't wipe 'em out," Jody said quietly. He hugged Gaara until the redhead started to struggle for air. "I'm sayin' I ain't gonna lose you to them assholes."
"I can take--"
"I know, boss," Jody interrupted. "You ain't hearin' me." Lips kissed Gaara's hair, and the shock of the affection made Gaara still. "I'm not losin' you, Gaara. Not to jail and not to bullets. Even the ones that go wild." Jody bent lower, spoke in Gaara's ear.
"And I sure as hell ain't losin' you to the bad ways that used to haunt you all the time. You don't get outta hell unscarred, boss. And I'm done seein' you head back into that fire for more."
Denial died a swift death on Jody's sword, and Gaara wanted to scream. In defiance, in terror of his own demons, in the inability to act, fix, or do; Gaara hated with everything he had and wanted to weep for the loss of the old self and for the suspicion that the new one was no better.
"You did what you had to do," Jody whispered.
"Fuck you," Gaara said.
"We both did."
"Fuck…" Gaara tried to breathe, struggled, and Jody kissed his cheek and spoke against it, body hunched around Gaara's in a forgiving cocoon.
"We got out alive 'cause you're smart and fast. We survived 'cause for you, livin' is the best revenge. And I love you for that, boss. I do."
"Shh," Jody hissed, and Gaara went taut: cable ready to snap. Big hands squeezed and stroked, petting Gaara like a feral cat until he relaxed by degrees for lack of any other option.
"All good, boss. All good." He paused to sigh. "You only killed bad people when you had to do it. But you ain't got to do this."
"That's your perception, Gaara. And I think I'm right."
"--people all the time," Gaara finished, frustrated and battling inside and out.
"No you don't."
"I stabbed Kiba." The words left on a rapid exhale, and Jody started to rock him: back and forth. Like dancing without music or sense of step.
"I bet you warned him first."
Gaara frowned, head aching, shoulders hunched, guts on fire.
"You always warn the ones you don't really want to hurt, boss."
"I think you're insane," Gaara whispered, going limp in weird exhaustion. It made no sense why Gaara was so damned tired; he hurt with it and with the need to go curl up in safe harbor and sleep. A vision of dangling fingertips, a palm over breastbone, and a rough voice in Gaara's ear made him feel weaker, wanton, and unforgivable for both.
"Oh, probably," Jody agreed. "Been called worse, though. And I kinda like insane if it gets me you, the shop, my house, and my life. I'm good with it."
Gaara shook his head. "Let go," he ordered, eyelids heavy. Jody obeyed, and Gaara paced over to Beast and leaned hard against her side. He rubbed a hand over his face. "I'm not taking the meds." The confession felt like whining, and Gaara sneered at the pavement beneath his feet. It was the height of absurdity to be so close to the crack house -- mere feet from wrecked resolution -- and instead of bullets and plans Gaara was talking about the goddamned pills.
"I know," Jody replied.
Of course Jody knew, and Gaara laced his fingers behind his neck. Everyone knew things, figured them out, intrinsically understood the way the world worked far faster, easier, and better than Gaara. Too tired to be angry, Gaara bowed his head. "I feel everything." Truth and lies, that, Gaara knew, for at the moment, he felt nothing but numb.
"Yeah…" The word was full of sympathy. Gaara looked up at his oldest friend -- this barricade that would not allow Gaara to pass -- and his mouth opened and closed. To speak of gratitude or to beg for the hell to end, Gaara didn’t know. The first felt impossible and the second felt wrong, and being so in touch with the emotions made Gaara's eyes swim. He was sick, at a loss, and Jody's presence effectively limited Gaara's abilities to the cowardly instead of the crazy. Gaara pushed off the car and yanked open the door.
"Headed home?" Jody asked, making Gaara pause to nod once, curt.
"I'll follow you."
Gaara climbed into Beast and glanced back at Jody, who smiled and shrugged. "Got your back, boss."
And the bitch of it all was that for the first time Gaara not only comprehended what that meant, but he also felt its weight. The responsibility was a tower of terror, the ground far below entirely too enticing.
Gaara cursed, slammed the door, started the car, and drove down the street without headlights, blind until Jody's beams blared to life and lit the way from behind.~*~
A/N: Sorry for short chapter bursts. But it's Jody; he needs the spotlight, yes? <3