Rhythm & Bruise: Gaara's StorySeries:
Main pairing: Kiba/Gaara. Other pairings from the Monoshizukanohi series make appearances.Word Count:
THIS CHAPTER: Language, angst, 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.
A thump, a wail, and the front door of Gaara's house slammed against the interior wall."Somebody shoot that son of a bitch!"
A crash, a squeak of shoe on tile, and Gaara listened to the push-shove movement of bodies.
"I don’t know where--""The wall! He's on the fucking-"
A chatter of gunfire drowned the voices, and Gaara got his feet under him. Staying low and weaving around the bed, he flung himself next to the door leading into the room. Gaara glanced at the clock on the nightstand and the distinct lack of red numerals sent cold tendrils to entwine with Gaara's insides. Unless Kiba had unplugged the clock for some reason, then Gaara suspected the electricity to the house was down. The pool safety lights still glowed, but they were solar powered and on their own circuit. Somebody would have to shoot out the individual bulbs to pitch them into total darkness.
“Where the hell is Benny?” someone yelled, and Gaara wondered if Benny was the one in charge of cutting connections. He felt his face form a madman’s grin, mind spinning with possibilities. If the enemy had tried to short the electricity, then they might have had the forethought to disable the security system. The sheer numbers and weaponry already told Gaara that these were no ordinary thugs or burglars, and the organization of the hit confirmed it. Gaara took deep, slow breaths to channel calm, jerking when he heard the sound of slate crumbling. They’re firing at the covered walkway leading between the garage and the front door.
More chaos: yelling, bullets cracking the night. “There’s nobody there!”
“Then who the bloody fuck
Gaara would love to know that, too, but it wasn’t the time to ponder the erratic kindnesses of the universe. He tried to get a feel for how long it’d been since he’d heard the first long-range shot. A minute? Maybe a minute-thirty?
Because if the security system was down, then Gaara had a couple of advantages. The house was rigged with not one but two alarms: the first for the cops and the second for Jody. A patrol car was likely on its way, standard practice if the alarm failed for any reason and no one could be reached by phone. Gaara wasn’t sure where his cell was, and it didn’t matter much, now. The threat was on the premises, and he would have to wait for help. It would take between five and ten minutes for the police to arrive, however, and Gaara knew exactly how much destruction such a window could allow.
The dull sound of impact preceded a slur of curses and more return fire. “Who the hell is this guy?”
Gaara stayed put for the moment, trying to think. If something happened to the first alarm, then a wireless signal went to a base in Jody's house, sent an alert to his cell phone, and a pager beeped in Jody's car. Sort of a pain in the ass during thunderstorms, but both men knew safety wasn’t meant to be a convenient thing. If Jody was home, which Gaara hoped to hell the man was, then Jody was on the way, if not already on scene. Last Gaara checked, Jody didn’t own any long range, large caliber rifles, but Gaara didn’t exactly keep track of Jody’s firearm purchases.
"Get inside you idiots! And don't kill the redhead. He's fucking mine
Gaara's heart slowed, nearly stopped. He knew that voice, matched it with a set of gold-capped teeth and a chop shop, and pure rage poured from his core to fill him with the screeching harpies of blood lust. He switched off the push-button safety, drew lower to the floor, and swung around the door frame. The hallway was clear, and Gaara felt a surge of triumph that he'd redone his house plan so that the path to the master suite was a choke point. The edges of his vision blurred with his thudding pulse, and he ran forward in a crouch.
"Asshole got Benny and Teege!" yelled a man in Vince's posse. “They’re dead. They’re fucking dead!”
He sounded manic, hyped up on meth or speed, as was standard Dog protocol, and somebody started bellowing and firing an automatic. At the wall, at the outdoors, at another member of Vince's group, Gaara didn't know. He was just grateful the racket covered any noise he made while moving into position.
"Cut that shit out and get down that hallway and find--" Vince began, and Gaara leaned around the corner. In a lightning strike second, he mapped the positions of the men invading his turf.
Vince stood on the stairs with another man two risers up and heading toward the second floor. A cluster of punks, two of whom Gaara recognized from their visit to the auto shop, hunkered around the front entrance. Gaara breathed in and counted five heads in the group. He held the air in his lungs and saw another man take a step backward across the front threshold, more automatic reports shattering the night. The Dog standing mostly outside was still shooting at whomever had killed the men on the lanai, and Gaara bet Vince's gang didn't know there was a second marksman on Gaara's side. No way could one person take out people by the pool and by the window to Gaara's bedroom.
"--me the goddamned redhead!" Vince finished. Gaara brought up the shotgun's nose, sighting the closest kid. He didn’t bother to announce his presence, contemplate what the two outdoor shooters were doing or who they were or even why any of this was happening. A flash of Kiba's smile flickered and faded in his mind, and he squeezed the rifle's trigger. The boom was deafening in the enclosed space. Gaara's ears rang, and he chambered another shell while a gang member in plaid pants and leather jacket exploded to coat the walls with red chunks and shredded organs. Gaara was only fifteen feet away. The buck and ball round tore completely through the first Dog and made the next one stagger and scream.
In his periphery, Gaara saw Vince make for the next floor, the other Dog ahead of the leader. Gaara heard yelling upstairs and didn't recognize Kiba's voice. Gaara's guts contracted in sheer fear that got swallowed by more adrenaline-fueled anger, and Gaara fired again. The next round took out a Dog holding two automatics. As the kid went down, bullets peppered the wall to Gaara's left, hit the ceiling, and bits of plaster fell in a rain shower across Gaara's bare shoulders. The Dog flew backward with a hole where his heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys used to be.
A chorus of cursing cries ricocheted, and Gaara retreated around the corner when he saw a Dog slip on the dead man's entrails and go down on one knee, pistol up in a two-handed grip. Holes appeared above the baseboards at the end of the hallway, and Gaara racked the shotgun.
"Boss wants him!" someone yelled, the words muted, watery, and broken to Gaara's rattled sense of hearing.
"Fuck that! Bitch is gonna kill--"
Gaara calculated, braced the twelve gauge's butt with one palm, thrust the shotgun around the corner, and fired. He tried to move with the kick, but the fingers of his right hand went numb with impact. The gun clattered to the floor, he dragged it back to him with a quick dive, and the choking, rasping sound of death cleared the fog in Gaara's ears. A piercing scream sent a surge of victory down Gaara's spine, and he risked a glance around the corner.
The kneeling, rebellious Dog's shoes and lower legs were still oddly in place, but the rest of him was in pieces that blended with the heaping pile of remains. The screamer was a kid sprawled on the stairs clutching his side, and Gaara saw the final Dog make a run for it through the door.
Gaara got up, flexed his right arm and hand and watched the bloodied fingers move. The sensation was coming back, and distantly it hurt, but Gaara ignored it. He braced the gun against his shoulder, stepped over most of the gore in his foyer, and swung the barrel to point at the panicked Dog on the steps.
"Don't--!" the boy started to yell, arms coming up to cover his head.
Gaara shot the kid point blank, sucked in a breath tainted by the smell of shit, urine, blood, and gunpowder, and whirled to the sound of a pistol firing, one-two
. He brought up the shotgun level with Jody's chest just as the big man appeared on the stoop.
"Boss," Jody said, lowering his .45's aim to the ground. A clip-fed automatic hung from a strap across his shoulders, an ammo pouch dangled from his belt, and he seemed unhurt though a wet stain shone on his t-shirt and denim-clad thighs.
"There’s a van near the tree line, driver done for. One car, driveway. Dead guy behind the wheel, shot through the windshield. Somebody's packin' a punch, and it ain't me. Two more bodies by the pool. Downed a runner on the walkway. No lights, and somethin's jammin' my phone's signal." Jody reached into the back of his pants, withdrew another .45 and handed it to Gaara.
"More upstairs," Gaara said, working the slide and throwing the safety. "Vince, one other."
"Where's--" Jody said but stopped when a howl of rage erupted from the second story and made them both flinch.
"Kiba," Gaara said and jumped over the dead Dogs. His feet mashed into something that gave with a squelch, and he nearly lost his balance. Jody grabbed his arm, Gaara steadied himself, and he stayed low to the wooden planks. The stairs opened onto the great room without cover, but Gaara couldn't manage the panic at the idea that Kiba might be hurt with the logic yelling at him to think through a plan.
Kiba was in danger. Gaara had to destroy the threat. And it was exactly that simple.
“Boss, keep your head fuckin’ down!” Jody hissed, but the words didn’t have time to register. The instant Gaara's foot slapped against the hardwood at the top of the staircase, time stopped, and he knew three things.
One: Kiba was injured. He knelt in front of Vince, and his face was bloody, his eyes were wide, and Vince stood over him with a fist in Kiba's hair. Kiba thrashed, Vince grappled with him, and Kiba's mouth moved to form Gaara's name, but Gaara didn't hear him over rushing breaths and the church bells ringing in Gaara’s ears.
Two: Gaara had miscalculated Vince's numbers. There were two other men in the room, not one, and both were off to Gaara's right. Vaguely, he registered that the balcony door was open, that off to the left there was a mess on the kitchen floor, that the freezer was open, and that all those details should add up to something important, but he dismissed it when Vince and the two Dogs all raised their weapons.
Three: These were the last few moments of Gaara’s life. The fact was a cold, calm weight that anchored and grounded him. And if Gaara was about to die, then first he would make good on his promise to annihilate the man who stole Gaara’s potential happiness. Peace and clarity steadied him, and he raised the pistol to aim at Vince's forehead. Kiba yanked away from Vince, hair ripping, and Vince spoke around a grin. Gaara would never know what the man said. A high-pitched sound like someone holding an operatic soprano note drowned out all other aural input, and Gaara squeezed the Beretta’s trigger.
Vince’s arm and the gun flung and fired at nothing, and the shot went wild. Vince rocked backward like a limp doll, and Kiba scrambled upright in staggering slow motion. A wrecking ball hit Gaara in the side, shoved him, and he flew to the left with the impact. Weird, hot, ticklish sensations blossomed throughout his body, made him want to claw at his skin. Weightlessness inspired vertigo, and he watched the floor rushing at him, knew that meant gravity was winning and that he was falling, but nothing answered his brain's cry to cushion the incoming blow.
Gaara must have blinked or blacked out or slipped through a worm hole because the next thing he knew, his head hurt with the ache of ten hangovers, and his view was skewed sideways.
A man yelled his name from across a canyon, and Gaara jerked at the sheer volume. He tried to breathe, but it hurt. A lot. And he really didn't want to do that anymore. Motes of light dazzled his vision, and he squinted, wishing they would stop.
"I got ya, baby. Can ya hear me?"
Gaara wanted to answer, to calm the terror in the other person’s voice, but he couldn't remember how to speak. His brain thought that was strange, and his body apparently didn't like the amnesia. It started to shake and thrash, trapping Gaara in the rattling cage of broken flesh, and he felt pressure like sandbags on all sides.
"Help him! Goddammit! Help him
Reason and logic woke up from their joint nap, and Gaara focused. Kiba loomed above him, and the Inuzuka's nose was broken. Distantly -- like he relived a memory of a story he once knew -- Gaara wanted to cry. He didn't like Kiba hurt at all. Not one little bit. Because Gaara loved Kiba and--
"Hey, sweetheart," Kiba said, voice tremulous. Kiba wiped his eyes, and Gaara hated
that Kiba’s cheeks were wet. Couldn't figure out the why of this reality, and all Gaara wanted was to comfort the man somehow. Gaara tried to move, but the path between intent and action was broken.
"Yer gonna be fine, baby. Just a little banged up, s'all."
Another face crowded Gaara's vision, and he knew that man, too, though it took a moment for him to find the name in his mind.
"Stay with us, Gaara," Kakashi said, calmly, and he turned to look somewhere else. "Keep the pressure, Jody. Kisuke, get me the--"
"On it," said yet another voice, and Gaara coughed. Something was seriously wrong with his insides, and above him, Kiba started to sob in earnest.
"Hey," Kiba said, word barely recognizable. He pet Gaara's cheek, and it felt nice. "Don't go nowhere, okay? Not when I finally figured out a way to get ya in my arms without a fight."
"Ki--" Gaara tried, coughed, and Kiba shook his head and made little hushing noises.
"Don't try to talk, baby. You're… it's… just…"
"It's okay," Gaara wheezed. He had
to tell Kiba… Something very, very important. And he had to do it before the motes in his eyes got any worse. Before the numbness spreading up from his feet stole what sense and feeling Gaara had left. Before it was too late.
Jody's voice drifted to cover Gaara like a soothing blanket of warmth, and Gaara swallowed copper.
"You just hang right in there for me, okay?"
"It's all right," Gaara repeated, and he lost track of himself for a little while. The cold reached his neck, and it was like Gaara could see himself thrashing around on the living room floor. Kakashi and Kisuke --What the hell is he doing…?
-- and Jody tore off Gaara’s clothing. Jody held Gaara’s side, and from the amount of force the man applied, Gaara thought it should really, really hurt. Kisuke fiddled with a red bag on the floor nearby, slipped a needle into Gaara’s arm. Gaara didn’t feel it, and he glanced down at himself. His skin was strange, paler than normal, and he was naked, but that didn’t bother him so much. He wasn’t cold at all. In fact, he felt bathed in sunshine. Surrounded by brightness and lightness and… peace. Gaara shook off the sensation, unable to reconcile feeling normal and being allowed to watch with feeling nothing and being held in Kiba’s arms.
Because the Inuzuka was there – right there. Kiba cradled Gaara’s head, stroked his hair, kissed him. Gaara tried to talk, tried to yell and scream and get attention, but the men ignored him. Anger welled, and Gaara stared at himself and willed
his two selves back together.
In a blink, the world narrowed to agony, chill, and exhaustion. It took everything Gaara had within him to fix a gaze on Kiba, to reach up to Kiba’s startled face and touch the Inuzuka’s cheek, to make his vocal cords obey despite the desperate drums beating a slower and slower rhythm that was quickly lulling Gaara to sleep.
"I think…" Gaara said. Kiba kissed him, and Gaara tasted salt and blood and the essences of the living. “I think I’m--"
"Shut up, baby," Kiba said. "I love you, but shut up. They're tryin', and the paramedics are--"
"Kiba," Gaara said clearly, meeting wide, pretty, green eyes and loving them so much it made Gaara feel weightless.
“I love you,” Gaara said, starting to drift upward. “And I finally...”
“Gaara? Sweetheart? Don’t--"
“I finally understand.”
“I know, baby. I know. I love you, too.”
And the words were but a whisper that ushered Gaara into the brilliant flash of white.~*~Song for this chapter is After the Storm by Mumford and Sons. Make sure to check out the complete soundtrack list over on the Main Story Entry. Next part coming soon. Much love and thank you for sticking with me this long. <3