Title: Rhythm & Bruise: Gaara's Story
Series: Monoshizukanohi//Naruto AU
Pairing: Many, many pairings. Almost everyone in the Naru-verse is here in some capacity or another.
Word Count: Ongoing
Warnings/Notes: 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.
Gaara opened his eyes and blinked in morning sunshine. The tiny apartment had two windows, and one of them was right above the damned bed. Gaara cursed and made mental note to tack up an old shirt or something over it. Gaara didn’t do mornings.
“Hey,” Jody said and Gaara rolled over and sat up in bed. The sheet fell down to his waist, and he was hot despite his bare skin. The sun beat into the room, and Gaara felt a devastating headache coming on.
“Hey,” Gaara said to Jody’s broad back. The big man sat on the edge of the bed, near the bottom corner. He wore jeans and nothing else, and a cigarette burned ash between his fingers.
“What?” Gaara asked.
Gaara fell back on the bed with the news. Not because he really cared for Paint…but because Jody did. Jody was the affection in this partnership, not Gaara. And Jody got bleak when the people he loved died.
Since the only person Gaara came close to loving was himself and maybe Jody on more sober days, he didn’t understand that on anything more than a purely intellectual level. And Gaara was more than fine with that.
“When?” Gaara asked.
“Who told you?”
Gaara sighed. They’d been in the city for three years. Sicko was long gone – who knows what happened. They dropped him off at a clinic and kept driving. Jody didn’t really like that…but it was deal with it or leave Gaara. So he dealt.
Paint stayed with them for the first year and a half…through the streets and the deals. Through Jody finding a job as a mechanic and Gaara selling body, soul, and anything in between to cover the rest. Paint gave Gaara a portrait of the three of them done in blacks and grays and then left one Wednesday morning. Jody had held the portrait and cried while Gaara watched, passing him a bottle of cheap vodka and waiting out the emotional torrent that he couldn’t understand and didn’t want to.
Gaara liked being dead inside – it made this life easier to stand.
And now there was this shitty apartment with the tiny gas stove and the two windows. It was just Jody and Gaara; everyone else they knew was dead. Most people assumed the two men were lovers, but Jody was – actually – straight. More or less. More so than Gaara who liked men more than women. Females were too soft. He liked hard lines and hands that felt like they could kill him as they held him down and fucked him raw.
Gaara knew Jody liked holding him…and thought sometimes that maybe Jody would like more. But Gaara didn’t want it. Sex was just something else one did: like eating or shitting or sleeping. And Gaara only had the vaguest of grasps on what the word “relationship” meant, and most of that knowledge read like an entry in Hell’s Dictionary. He didn’t need sex or closeness.
He didn’t really think he needed at all…nothing…no one…it was all…
“Empty,” Gaara whispered.
Jody crawled up the bed and wrapped his arms around his friend. Gaara took the cigarette from him and pulled a drag while Jody tucked his face into Gaara’s thin chest and cried silently. The sun came through the window and Gaara let the cigarette burn his skin as it went out.~*~
Darkness and screaming. Echoes of footsteps in the hallway. A man’s laugh and a woman’s indignant, “Fuck you!”
The noises mixed and swirled in Gaara’s oversensitive ears. His ribs felt like they were going to break as he dry-heaved into the metal bucket of sick next to him on the floor. Gagging, coughing, eyes wide and unseeing, Gaara fell back onto the dingy rug over blackened tile. His clothes were long gone, he was filthy and covered in a sheen of sweat and other things, and he couldn’t make the angels go away.
“We love you, Gaara,” said a voice from above.
Lying flat on his back in the tiny, grim apartment, Gaara watched a hundred small angels dangle from nooses attached to the swirling blackness of the ceiling. They were all busily swinging and tearing off their own wings in bloody, feathery, chunks. The chunks and the bright red blood that flowed from the wounds fell and hit the floor around Gaara with soft, patting sounds. It made him jump and twitch and writhe.
“We’re never going to leave.”
Gaara clutched at his head; the voices were high and sharp. Needles to his brain.
And then the angels started to sing – Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye! Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie!
- in the voice of one of Gaara’s old nannies. She used to read him rhymes and fairy tales before bed. Gaara gagged and managed to get to the bucket to throw up again.When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing! Oh wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before a king!
Gaara covered his ears and moaned. Reality kept shifting. One minute he was back home in his old twin bed with his Uncle sneaking down the hall to put a hand over Gaara’s mouth and a hard dick up Gaara’s ass. The next minute he was in a hospital with his mother’s dead eyes gazing at him, one tear on her cheek. He was in the street with a needle in his arm. He was pointing a gun at a crying man and pulling the trigger.
And through it all the damned angels watched and laughed and sang in the sweet voice of someone Gaara wanted to trust.
Hell has nothing on the dreams of dying addiction.
Gaara had no idea how long he’d been like this, but it felt like eternities. Eons of ache. Centuries of cannibalistic pain.
He wanted to die.
The queen was in the parlour, eating bread and honey. And the maid was in the garden hanging up the clothes!
An angel jerked free of its noose and flew down to Gaara on broken, blackened, wings. It looked like his father – if his father had pointed teeth and yellow eyes.
“And along came a blackbird and ate off her nose!” The angel screeched in Gaara’s face.
It took a long time for Gaara to go hoarse from screaming, and the noise mingled with the other sounds of misery in the tenement building and the city, unnoticed and unremarked.~*~
And just when death seems the only option, you wake up in a soft bed with a warm hand on your back.
“Gaara? You with me?” Jody’s voice.
Swallowing on a dry throat, Gaara slowly turned over. He felt delicate and fragile and like he might loose pieces of himself if he moved too fast. But his skin and hair were freshly scrubbed and he wore one of Jody’s old shirts. How did he…? Where?
Gaara jerked his head to look up at the ceiling and saw that it was bare of crazed angels. He sighed in relief.
“Hey, nothin’ wrong, boss. You’re okay.”
Gaara turned a sore neck to look at the big man and started to say something. Jody shook his head.
“I should kill you for doin’ this while I helped Sphinx move.”
“If you’d gotten here earlier, I would have let you,” Gaara croaked.
“I did get here earlier boss, and you did ask. Rather nicely, actually.” Jody grinned. “But you know I couldn’t go and do that…so I just got you clean and let you thrash around for a while.”
Gaara noticed then how tired Jody looked despite the easy words and the gentle smile. Guilt – a relatively new emotion, still in its infancy in Gaara’s mind – started to give a little hungry cry.
“Had to,” Gaara muttered. His head felt leaden lying against the damp pillow, and even his eyelids ached.
Jody nodded once, mouth drawn. “Somebody shoulda been here with you.”
Gaara rolled his head from side to side and choked on the bile that tried to rise as the room spun.
“Easy,” Jody said softly, one hand coming up to push on Gaara’s damp forehead. The pressure felt like it was keeping Gaara’s skull from cracking, and he was consummately grateful.
“Siren,” Gaara whispered. “Sisters singing too loud. Had to…”
Jody just nodded. “I know, boss. I know all the whys and whatevers…you just rest now. You’re alive, I’m here, and I’ve got good news.”
Gaara blinked at Jody stupidly.
“Health screenings came back. I picked ‘em up on my way in. We both gonna live to be old men. Clean bill of health, all ‘round. Even blood sugar’s good.”
Jody beamed at Gaara and all Gaara could do was close his eyes in a prelude to more sleep.
Clean…he was clean…
And honestly, who gave a shit?
But Jody was clean…and that was good.
Gaara passed out thinking about angels with Jody’s smile.~*~
Gaara got out of the shower and winced a little at the stiffness in his back. Damned sub at Haze. Gaara’d flogged until his neck was nearly broken and his shoulder nearly ripped from its socket.
Pain sluts. Gaara rolled his eyes.
He downed four aspirin, chewing the last one, and walked into the living room with a towel around his waist. The bitter taste was still dissolving on his tongue when Gaara heard a key in the four locks on the door. Jody came in a moment later, holding a very large box.
“Hey!” Jody said. “You’re up!”
“Sleep’s for the weak,” Gaara commented, thinking that coffee, however, was not.
Jody laughed. “You got in late last night, boss…thought you’d still be out cold.” Jody set the box down on the small table they used more to hold mail than to have meals and grinned at Gaara. “Happy birthday.”
Gaara’s shoulders slumped but his eyes danced for just a brief second. “It’s just a day, Jody.”
“It’s your 21st! Fuck, Gaara…We didn’t think we’d be alive
Gaara conceded the point. He still drank too much and smoked more, but ever since signing on with Haze, he’d whipped up a little peace. Gaara found the job interview process surprisingly easy: he read up on Haze, learned some vocabulary on Wikipedia, walked into the club one night, and told Pein that he was a professional with six years experience.
“A professional what?” Pein asked.
Gaara thought about saying, “whore” but didn’t think that’s what Pein was after. “Dom,” he said with a level gaze.
“Doms are subs first, here. We’ll see how professional you are.”
Gaara just shrugged and spent the next few hours under Pein’s watchful gaze and several peoples’ paddles and floggers and whatever else. Gaara insisted all implements be cleaned in front of him before applied to his body, but other than that he offered no comments. After the first few minutes of being bound and beaten, Gaara’d concluded that these people weren’t actually trying to kill him – which meant they could do whatever they wanted. If death came to Gaara these days, it would be on Gaara’s terms. It was the deal he’d struck with the boney fucker after he’d gotten semi-sober.
And despite initial irritation the pain had, actually, started to feel pretty good eventually. That surprised Gaara but he dismissed it along with most sensory information. He’d gotten off a couple of times, moaned prettily to make sure Pein was convinced, and then stood up like nothing had happened at the end of the night. His back bled and his ass ached but his eyes were clear and direct.
“Well?” Gaara asked.
“You start Saturday,” Pein replied and then paused. “Nothing touches you…it’s fascinating to watch. But be careful with the subs who come here. I don’t care if you make them bleed or scream…but nobody dies on my floor.”
“There are certain interested parties who keep watch,” Pein explained.
“I don’t need the details,” Gaara said evenly. “I just need the job.”
“Done,” Pein said with a cold and somewhat understanding smile.
And that’d been the end of it. Being a professional dom was interesting…and being a sub on occasion was intriguing. The more he did it, the closer Gaara felt to getting some sort of…understanding about humanity. That in itself was enough to keep him doing it even though he didn’t truly like being a dom or a sub, really. He still didn’t like
much of anything – but the job paid the bills and beat whoring or selling.
Jody still worked at the repair shop three blocks down, and they’d moved into a two bedroom place once the money got steady. Jody was clean and sober for three years, now, and Gaara was off the hard stuff for thirteen months. He still dropped the occasional hit or smoked a bowl and let himself lay around for a day. But Jody never said anything about such behavior. He still, as always, had Gaara’s back.
“What is it?” Gaara asked, eying the box warily.
Jody laughed. “That’s the thing ‘bout presents, boss. You gotta open ‘em to see what they are.”
Gaara’s lips twitched in his version of a smile and he went over to the box and ripped open the top. He stopped dead when he saw what was inside.
“Tecnics!” Jody said. “The turntables you been droolin’ over for the last six months. And!” Jody pulled a CD sleeve out of his coat pocket. “One pirated copy of mixing software – I’m told it’s good.”
Gaara stepped away from the box and brought one fist up to his mouth – an old nervous gesture. “Jody…”
The big man laughed and then pulled Gaara into a rough bear hug. “It’s all good, boss. I know you like ‘em. Just don’t piss off the neighbor’s too bad when you use ‘em, okay?”
Gaara smiled against the bicep next to his face and nodded once before pushing away. “You can’t afford this,” he said.
“Oh shut up,” Jody said good-naturedly. “I saved up and-“
Jody stopped speaking when a knock on the door interrupted them. “Shit,” Jody said. “You expectin’ anybody?”
Gaara shook his head and moved closer to an end table that held magazines, two books on auto mechanics, and a Sig Sauer in a drawer. Old habits died hard deaths. And were prone to resurrection.
Jody glanced through the hole in the door before shrugging. “Some suit,” he said and unlocked the bolts.
“Good morning,” said the suit with a briefcase in his hand. “Is this the residence of Sabaku Gaara?”
“Dunno,” Jody said. “Who’re you?”
“I represent his late father’s estate. We’ve been unable to reach Mr. Sabaku regarding his inheritance, and my company finally tracked him to this address through a utility bill. Could you please confirm if he resides here?”
Gaara walked over to the door, brain in a fog. Late father? Inheritance? These words didn’t mean anything to him.
“I’m Gaara. What do you want?”
The suit looked mildly startled at Gaara’s state of near-undress, but he recovered smoothly. “Nothing is required sir, although you may wish to retain my firm’s services for your finances. We handle insurance, large accounts, and investments. I’m to give you this…” The man lifted and opened the briefcase to remove a large, sealed envelope. “And have you sign showing you received said package.”
Gaara stared at the envelope like it was going to burn him, and Jody took it from the man. “Sign the papers, Gaara. I’ll make coffee…” Jody turned and went into the kitchen to do as he promised. Gaara took the suit’s pen and signed his name in a scrawl.
“My card, sir. And my thanks.” The man hesitated. “Your siblings would like to send you their love, sir, and since I did manage to track you down…” The man smiled, bowed, and left.
Gaara looked at the ivory business card and didn’t understand the world in the least.
“Gaara, for God’s sake, open this!” Jody said behind him. “I’m dyin’ here!”
Shutting the door and locking it tight, Gaara wandered over to the kitchen. Jody portrayed every bit of nervousness and anxiety that Gaara felt bubbling below his skin…Jody just did it by nearly dancing around the kitchen with a coffee filter in his hand.
“Go on…” Jody licked his lips. “Maybe somethin’ good!”
Gaara snorted but ripped into the envelope and yanked out the stack of paperwork he found inside. He read through several lines and flipped through, searching for answers.
The one he found included more zeros than Gaara wanted to count, and he carefully set the paperwork down, paler than usual. It wasn’t real. Nothing was – this was a sick dream. And at any moment, angels with broken wings were going to cackle at him from the ceiling.
Jody spun the documents around so he could see.
“Holy fuck…” Jody whispered. “You’re a fuckin…holy…is this for real?!
“My father is dead.” Gaara said the words as if trying them on for size.
Jody looked up in concern and dropped the paperwork to come around to Gaara. “Yeah…”
“And he left me…”
“Um…1.2 billion dollars it looks like,” Jody said. “And a 1923 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost that’s worth...” Jody swallowed.
“About 50 million insured,” Gaara finished. He knew his cars, and the Ghost was one of the world’s most valuable vehicles. It was his father’s response to his wife’s death to buy one at the auction of a private estate. Everyone counted him quite insane. But Gaara remembered taking naps in the Ghost’s back seat as a child of four years and too much experience.
“But…” Gaara looked up and met Jody’s gaze. “Why?”
Jody’s expression went tender, and he tried to touch Gaara, but the smaller man stepped away. His brain was on fire – like a slow burn building up to forest blaze. He didn’t understand…Father was dead? And had left him money? And a goddamned car? And his siblings were alive and well…and they sent love?
They’d not even sent Christmas cards. Or bailed Gaara out of jail that one time…but then…
Maybe they didn’t know? Maybe…?
Gaara pressed hands to the sides of his head and he heard a voice asking something, but he couldn’t stop the screams of indignant rage and confusion. They were loud. So loud.
This hurt – it all hurt - but Gaara didn’t know why. His father wanted him dead – said he did all those years ago. Said he was a mistake. Sent him to his uncle. Didn’t believe the abuse.
He was crying Gaara on the stairs holding a teddy bear telling Daddy that Uncle hurt him bad.
The fucking. The beatings.
He was angry Gaara telling a therapist that he didn’t lie and knew Daddy wanted him to shut up.
His father sent Gaara to therapy to silence his tears. Drank and ignored him. Hated him…dead mother…hospitals…
He was screaming Gaara as Daddy held him down and the man in a white coat plunged a needle in his arm. It’ll calm him down. He’s delusional, the poor dear. It’s so hard when a parent dies.
None of them had any idea.“It’s so rare…the placental abruption from the last birth was relatively minor, but her blood pressure never stabilized even with medication. We think that’s what lead to the strokes. So sorry…
Weeping siblings…eyes on him…hating him…wishing he were dead…“There’s just nothing we can do for her...”
And now…? Father sent money and a car – an angel of death bearing gifts of Christmas past to tell him there was a future.
It. Hurt. Impossible hurt. Impossible…Please...please don’t…
Gaara could see the boy’s eyes, he could see the barrel of the gun, and he could still feel the trigger under his finger.There is no God.
There was a loud noise – maybe a scream, a yell, or something in between. Gaara didn’t understand where it came from, but it filled his ears and blocked out his vision. So loud…so incredibly loud…He stumbled and fell and somebody caught him.
Gaara came back to himself on the floor surrounded by the comfort of Jody’s arms. Gaara was in a tight ball of tension and his head hurt so much he felt like throwing up.
“’sokay,” Jody said, rocking him. “I’m right here. You need the bathroom?”
Jody was all too familiar with these little episodes. They didn’t happen very often…but when Gaara “overloaded” – Jody’s word – he was there to make sure Gaara didn’t hurt himself or others.
Gaara shook his head. It was full of cotton that finally – finally – muffled the screaming.
“Okay, boss…just hang on to me.”
Jody stood up and carried Gaara into his room. Jody gently put Gaara down on cool sheets and then crawled into bed next to him, pulling him close and wrapping him up in blankets. Gaara shivered and stared at nothing, wishing he were…anything. Dead. Drunk. In pain. Something to find the ground. Something to understand that up was not down.
“It’s okay, boss…it’s okay…” Jody rubbed Gaara’s back and eventually the pain blotted out the confusion, and Gaara fell asleep with a furrowed brow and a dark heart.