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.
The church tolled the hour of seven on a Sunday night with clarion bell and the call of birds dislodged from perch. The good citizens of Monoshizukanohi stood up from pews and shook hands with ministers and neighbors, children already running down the aisles toward the exits and doors. Dinner and Xbox were on their minds – not necessarily in that order.
One such kid – the same one who was prone to bang on the hoods of taxis and curse like a sailor with Mother out of earshot – dashed across the street just as a red, vintage Cadillac drew near. Gaara’s expression didn’t change as he slowed for the pedestrian traffic coming out of Saint Mary’s. He did it because there were cops patrolling the streets and because he didn’t want ticket or trouble.
In truth, Gaara obeyed the law less because he had some sort of moral problem with running people over and more because it would play hell on the Caddy’s grill. And he’d just given Beast a bath.
It was these sorts of thoughts that, when voiced, made Brian the Shrink blink nervously and talk of upping medication.
Music pulsed inside the car and Gaara held one pale hand in front of a vent, warming it up. He needed his hands and fingers nimble to spin tonight at Club Break, but he hated to drive while wearing gloves. There was something tactilely pleasing about bare hands on the wheel. The Caddy didn’t do so well on A/C – didn’t have it at all, actually. But it could warm up like a mobile furnace in the winter. That suited Gaara; he liked warmth.
After finally clearing the traffic stall around the church, Gaara made a series of turns that led him up the side of a plateau toward another type of cathedral: Club Bliss. The massive, gothic building sat with buttress and gargoyles at the ready atop a flattened mountain. The club easily held about a thousand individuals without issue or crowding. Two-storey stained-glass windows looked out over the lights of the city, and spires rose into the night sky. Parking lots dug into the plateau in tiers, VIP and staff parking on the top near the building. There was a large garden surrounded by a stone wall to one side of the cathedral-designed dance club; a place for smoking and fucking under the stars. The flattened land ran into a larger mountain and woods well beyond the commercial zoning site, the parking lots well-lit with safety lights.
Gaara understood it took a small fortune to build the place; but small fortunes were easy to come by in this city. He had to look no further than himself as an example.
The parking lots were mostly empty tonight because Bliss wasn’t open. The windows were dark, the fountains were turned off, and the safety lights illuminated the front of the building. Teeth and fang and stone eyes gleamed in the stark white light, making for a rather terrifying illusion if one wasn’t accustomed to the sight.
Gaara paid no attention to looming statuary as he bypassed all the parking tiers and drove through the service parking on the top level. He passed the VIP section –
(VIP Parking Only: All Others Will Burn
read the signs)
- and wove around to a smaller lot near the tree line. Later there would be cars here: limos, BMWs, Mercedes, Ferraris, a Honda or two, and exactly one Caddy. The lot was hidden from view unless one drove around the building, which was the entire point. Park enough shiny, expensive hunks of metal in a parking lot off of a closed club often enough and eventually people would wonder if there were rich people rituals going on in the woods.
Which, Gaara thought as he grabbed his leather jacket from the passenger seat, wasn’t too damned off the mark. He opened the glove box and grabbed a cigarette case. The case was stainless steel and there was a beautifully etched rose on the front. The petals were black stone, inlaid into the metal itself, and Gaara shoved the thing into the pocket of his jacket as he climbed out of Beast. He thrust his hands into his pockets and half-trotted toward the tree line with his head down. A brisk breeze blew by and ruffled his hair, and Gaara shivered with a scowl.
To get into Club Break, you needed two things: an invite from a current club member and a passkey. First timers went with the person who invited them, and – if everything worked out and background checks cleared – the newcomer would receive his or her passkey in due time. Naruto took care of ordering the keys, which were nothing more than a microchip embedded somehow into an object. Said object could be just about anything, and most peoples’ passkeys were both decorative and functional.
Once someone had a passkey, there were two ways to access Club Break: through the offices in Club Bliss or through the more hidden back entrance near the tree line. The offices in Bliss were just off the main entryway, and once inside the office it was rather easy to spot the entrance to the club below. The door was heavy oak, and you needed the passkey to work the locks. The door opened onto stone steps that led down into what were referred to as the Catacombs. The main entrance to Club Break was at the bottom of those stairs: along with coat – and other items – check.
The entrance through Bliss was only accessible in limited capacity when Bliss was open – usually by VIP members only – and when the club was open for “private function.” Meaning, of course, that Break was open to the people who received invites. On those nights, Bliss ran as well as Break, the upper club acting as a resting area or quieter place for business deals. Neji and Naruto both were prone to throw parties for the upper crust of the city – inviting people to come and experience the underground for a single night. The Annual Fetish Ball which happened every December was such an event, and they hosted similar parties around Valentine’s and other holidays.
On event nights, Gaara had to divide his time between what he thought of his Bot Self and the Real Deal. He started up a digital set at one DJ station – usually at Bliss – and ran the actual music from the other station. Periodically throughout the night he would wander back and forth as he deemed appropriate, spinning live for a while before plugging the Bot back in. It was a challenge and often tedious and required much attention to detail.
So Gaara enjoyed event nights: less because of the so-called entertainment going on and more because he got to do two sets of his music at once. He liked setting moods and being good at reading the crowd’s energy. He worked hard at the latter. One-on-one, Gaara might have problems with people. But frenzied, lustful, half-insane crowds?
Those Gaara understood.
But tonight was just the usual Sunday at Break. Bliss was closed, and so Gaara trudged to the other entrance to Break with solid determination. The multiple entrances were necessary to meet fire codes: something that had driven Tenzou nearly nuts when he was in the planning stages. Gaara heard him speak of it once after-hours when he first started to spin for the clubs.
Shivering, Gaara reached the small, stone building in short order, and he nodded to the two bodyguards at the entrance. They flanked a set of double doors – both heavy oak. The guards were not visible to people approaching from the parking lot. The doors were on the far side of the building – a bit of planning Gaara found admirable. On nights when Break was closed, this building would just look like a stone storage shed. And tonight when it was open, you had to be on the right side of the building to see that it was guarded.
“Sabaku,” one of the guards said with a nod as Gaara approached. “Welcome.”
Gaara pulled the cigarette case out of his pocket and stepped to the doors. He waved it over the small black panel over the door pulls and heard a small beep. He stepped back and just waited, not responding to the guards. He didn’t know their names, and they didn’t bother to frisk him anymore. Neji put a stop to that when Gaara calmly explained that he would sooner slit his own throat than go without the knives he carried in his boots. Neji said that as long as the knives never came out without provocation or invitation, he would allow them, and the Hyuga rose in Gaara’s estimation by a fraction or two.
Hulk Number One opened the door for Gaara, and the DJ went inside the tomb without pause. The interior was lit with lamps made to look like they ran on oil, but that was illusion. Everything ran on electricity so far as Gaara knew. Inside the tomb was a set of stone stairs leading down into the ground in a spiral. Gaara’s boots made dull sounds on the pavers as he made his way below the earth into the Catacombs.
At the bottom of the steps was another set of double oak doors. These were open and unguarded, and Gaara stepped into the Catacombs with a sigh. It was warm down here, thank the gods, and he took a moment to scan the hallways.
The design for Break was simple: box within a box. The innermost box was the club itself, and it was accessible by two doors: the one diagonal and across from Gaara, now, and the one near the Bliss entrance.
Both sets of entrance doors and the access doors into Club Break opened onto a long hallway running from the stone steps leading up to Bliss all the way around the rectangle. The hallway stopped on the other side of the stone wall behind the coat check in a dead end. The walls were dark gray stone, lit by the fake-oil lamps, and there were tables holding various pieces of gothic art interspersed here and there for atmosphere. There was also a long, continuous line of chain attached to the interior wall with heavy hooks that bit into the rock face. Shackles hung down from the chain at regular intervals, each pair matching up to a heavy door on the other side of the hallway.
Beyond the doors that opened off the Catacombs were small, private rooms. Some were larger than others, and all came equipped with beds and various pieces of furniture. One such room near the Bliss entrance was kept solely for storage. And the four rooms along the back hallway – the one furthest away from both entrance doors - were kept for the four owners of the club.
Gaara rather liked Break – a much better setup than Haze, in his opinion. It looked professional, eerie without being overdone, and he’d seen subs literally wet themselves when led down into the ‘Combs on an event night. With the right décor and soundtrack, the place was a dungeon out of the worst medieval nightmare. The owners weren’t above using real blood to spice up the place, after all.
Tonight, however, the ‘Combs were just stone hallways. A young woman was shackled across from a door three down from where Gaara stood. She was blindfolded, dressed in a simple black dress, and apparently calm: waiting on her Master or Mistress, no doubt.
Gaara noted the girl’s presence, and then walked diagonally across the wide hallway and waved his passkey again over the door leading into Break proper. The beeping noise sounded again, and Gaara stepped into the interior gloom of Club Break.“Shit!”
Blinking at the emphatic curse, Gaara paused next to the entrance counter beside the door and tried to understand what he saw. Kimimaro sat on the ground, legs akimbo and head in hands, and he was surrounded by what looked like a hundred tiny fans.
Gaara let the door fall shut behind him, and upon further inspection he saw that the fans were miniature replicas of the Uchiha family crest. Carefully he bent down and picked one up.
“Keychain,” Gaara said softly, turning the little fan over in his hands.
Kimimaro looked positively stricken and then his face fell back into its usual neutral mask.
“Apologies, Master Gaara. I wasn’t aware anyone else was here.” Kimimaro scooped the little fan bobbles back to himself, putting them carefully back into the box from which they’d apparently spilled.
“There’s a woman chained in the hallway,” Gaara said helpfully, thinking Kimimaro should know that someone else was in the building.
Kimimaro paused. “She must have come in after I arrived. Chained herself in, most likely.” He sighed. “Thank you for telling me, Master Gaara. I’ll make sure she’s stable in a minute.”
“I’m not your Master,” Gaara said simply, kneeling down to help.
“Don’t.” Kimimaro looked upset again, and Gaara paused with his hand frozen above the box.
“Why?” Gaara asked.
“This was my task, and you shouldn’t…” Kimimaro bit his lip – an impressive feat considering most of his lower lip was studded with metal. “You just shouldn’t.”
Gaara looked at Kimimaro for a second before resuming his assistance. For whatever reason, the man was always leery around Gaara. Well…more so than most people, anyway.
“I disagree,” Gaara said, and Kimimaro gave up the fight with a sigh. The two men got all the little fans back in the box, and then both stood in synchronized grace. Gaara saw that Kimi had his hair dyed pink at the moment, and he wore his usual red liner under his pale eyes. His clothing was far more casual than Gaara was accustomed to, however: just jeans and a black t-shirt. In point of fact, it was rather unusual to see Kimimaro wearing
clothing, now that Gaara thought about it.
“Thank you,” Kimi said, picking up the box. “I’ve got to get these attached to the mini floggers and on the tables before nine, and I just got here.”
“Is it Sasuke’s birthday?” Gaara asked.
Kimi shook his head with a little smile. “No. I’m not sure if he’ll be here tonight. His brother is making his first appearance here at Break.”
Gaara cocked a pale brow and crossed his arms. “Itachi? Doesn’t he usually play over at Haze?”
Kimi nodded. “With Pein, yes. But apparently Master Naruto had dinner with both brothers Uchiha and invited the elder to visit.”
Gaara always found Kimimaro’s way of speaking rather soothing: reverent and other-worldly. “I see,” Gaara said. So perhaps it wasn’t just going to be another Sunday night at Break after all. He frowned as he thought of changing up his set to fit the occasion.
“Were you not told of this?”
Gaara shook his head.
Kimimaro blew out a puff of air. “Well, that makes me feel a bit better. I wasn’t supposed to go on at all tonight, but Kakashi called me this afternoon to say we were expecting an important newcomer.”
“And we give important newcomers mini floggers and fans?” Gaara asked, head tilting to one side.
Kimimaro smiled a little. “It appears we do. I suspect Master Naruto is behind it. He knows Sasuke hates that kind of thing – finds it gauche.”
Gaara nodded, agreeing. Naruto did all sorts of things to annoy his lover. “I’m early,” Gaara said. “I’ll help.”
“You don’t have to –“
“I said I would help,” Gaara calmly repeated. He walked across the room toward the DJ booth. He passed the bar on his right, stopped at the end of it to open the little service gate, and then climbed up into his area. This one was much smaller than the booth he had upstairs, but it was entirely black, with a rounded front carved with the BDSM triskelion.
Gaara shrugged out of his leather coat and turned on his equipment, booting up the turntables and the Mac. The entire system could run on its timers – the sound and lights in Break were wired to a main control panel which Gaara could manage from his booth.
However, Gaara kept his music backed up on Break’s server, and the Mac also had the program to run the Bot. Not to mention some rather nice editing software that let him cut songs on the fly if he felt like it.
“If you want to take this side of the catwalk, I can manage the other,” Kimimaro said. Gaara looked up and saw the man had two smaller boxes in his arms: one held fans, one held mini floggers. “They just go on the tables. The little handles go toward the middle, tails out, and the keychains go to the sides.”
Gaara thought that was overly complicated but he followed along without issue. “Okay,” he said, climbing back down to take the boxes. He set them down on a nearby table and sighed. There were hundreds of the damned things.
“Thank you, Master Gaara,” Kimimaro said quietly.
Gaara scowled. “We’ve been over this.”
Kimimaro shifted his weight from one foot to the other. “I don’t know how to address you…my employers are Masters even if they are subs. You are not an employer, you are not a sub, nor a Master. You might be a switch, but you don’t play. And we work together.”
“And I suppose just ‘Gaara’ doesn’t fit in your paradigm?” Gaara said wryly.
Kimimaro looked away. He looked tired and anxious: things Gaara could identify easily enough in other people.
Gaara sighed. “Fine. Just call me Red, then.” It wasn’t his favorite moniker, but it would serve the purpose.
“Thank you, Red,” Kimimaro said. He turned and headed toward the far side of the club and Gaara’s mouth twisted up in a near-snarl. People were complicated enough…people deep in the BDSM culture seemed to delight in over-thinking.
Gaara moved the box off the table and grabbed four floggers and four fans and began to decorate. There were tons of tables…this was going to take a while.
From above, Club Break was a rectangle. The doors into the room were at the ends of a diagonal from upper left to lower right. The single bar ran along the far left wall, and in the lower left corner was Gaara’s DJ booth. Along the back wall of the club was a long, black, stage. Stairs led up to it from either side, and jutting out into the middle of the room was a catwalk complete with stripper poles. There were two types of poles: ones with strategically placed metal rings and ones without.
Walking down the stairs at the end of the catwalk, one faced the other long wall of the club which was the main lounge area. There were spanking benches, stocks, an assortment of tables, machines, and fine leather chairs and couches. Leather pads ran along the back wall in clear view of all the seating, and chains hung down from the ten-foot ceiling at semi-regular intervals.
In addition to the main lounge area, there were four other play areas: one on either side of the catwalk and two more along the back wall on either side of the stage. The equipment in those areas changed rather often, most of it on wheels with locking mechanisms. Each play area was marked off by a soft, red rug. The floors otherwise were polished stone. The lights were on timers, and usually the air was a gray-red. There were also spot lights mounted on the far wall to highlight the stage or the cages that hung at irregular intervals through the club. All the lights were controlled by the master panel in Gaara’s booth and were programmable.
And there were black, shiny tables bloody everywhere, Gaara thought darkly. There were low tables in the lounge area with a little racks underneath that held cleaning solution, first aid kits, small trash bins, and fire extinguishers. There were tall tables for leaning and watching around the catwalk and the stage. There were long, heavy tables in the play areas that were both decorative and occasionally served as display for subs or for punishment or fucking or all of the above.
As Gaara set out floggers and chains, he thought it amazing that more people didn’t run into the damned tables in the dim gloom of the club. Everything was extremely tasteful – Neji’s touch, no doubt – but the colors were two-tone: black and red.
Well, and silver, Gaara thought, noting the mirrors that ran along walls everywhere it made sense. And the chains…there was enough chain in the place to sink an entire fleet of ships.
“Got the far side done,” Kimimaro said, walking over to the table where Gaara carefully set out four floggers. He nodded once to show he heard the man and finished positioning tails and keychains.
“Looks very good,” Kimi said, looking around. “I cannot thank you enough for your help.”
Gaara just shrugged. He didn’t mind staying busy, and the music was ready to go – though he’d probably have to make some minor tweaks depending on how the night went. He knew nothing about Sasuke’s brother other than the two were recently reconciled after being estranged for years. Naruto was his only source of information about people in the club. The enthusiastic and complicated blond man was also the closest thing Gaara had to a friend aside from Jody, and Gaara tolerated Naruto’s tendency to talk about his lover and all things Sasuke with quiet grace.
“I’m going to go check on the girl. People should start arriving soon enough, and we don’t need hysterics in the hallways for a VIP guest night.”
Gaara made no comment, just moved on to the last table as Kimimaro walked out into the Catacombs. Gaara rather thought the girl would be fine, seeing as she put herself in the shackles in the first place.
As he arranged the final trinket, the door opened and Gaara looked up to see Neji walk into the club. The Hyuga wore a skin tight, black leather bodysuit that zipped from crotch to neck in front. He left most of the top undone, showing ample amount of pale skin beneath the leather. He wore a high metal collar that elongated his neck even more than usual and somehow managed to match the gunmetal gray of his eyes. His hair was pulled back and into a long braid that fell down his back, and his boots came up to his knees and added three inches to his height.
Next to Neji, Gaara felt slightly underdressed in his dark skinny jeans and black t-shirt. But then, the man always looked good; the Hyuga managed to make dom wear look understated and elegant. Gaara let himself admire Neji as he approached.
“Gaara,” Neji said, stopping a few feet away and arching a brow at the table covered in floggers.
“Didn’t know you were on the decorating committee,” Neji gently teased.
“Kimimaro,” Gaara said by way of explanation.
“Ah,” Neji said. “Kakashi told me that he spoke to Kimi. And that Naruto was insisting on the damned favors.” Neji rolled his eyes. “It’s rather irritating when Uzumaki’s efforts to annoy his sub mean extra work for the rest of us.”
“VIP night?” Gaara asked, picking up the empty box with one hand.
Neji nodded. “Apparently, Naruto managed to convince Uchiha Itachi to pay us a visit. I apologize for not telling you sooner, but it just came to my attention this afternoon.”
Gaara didn’t respond except to begin walking over to the host stand next to the back entrance. He set the box down, not sure where it needed to go, and Neji followed along after him, hands behind his back.
“Itachi’s a switch,” Neji said. “And we’re not sure if he’ll play tonight or just observe. I imagine a lot depends on his brother. I’d like to request that you keep the music volume slightly lower than normal – there will be a fair amount of pleasantries to exchange before the shows start.”
“Fine,” Gaara said, nodding amiably.
“Spotlights on the stage and play areas, please. We’ll illuminate our finer points, hide that stain on the back carpet. Need to get that cleaned. Kimi’s show will start at ten, and I expect the usual cast of characters. We shut down at one, so do the usual wrap up starting around midnight. I don’t want a late night, Itachi or no.”
Gaara made note of the instructions, mentally agreeing.
“That should do it.” Neji smiled. “Everything good for you?”
“Yes,” Gaara said simply
“Excellent. If you’ll excuse me, I need to go tend to a few things. I leave it in your capable hands.”
Gaara nodded respectfully and then turned to go start the warm-up music. He liked Neji’s cool professionalism; there was no need for small talk or preamble with the Hyuga. Just business, thank you kindly, as Jody would say.
Shutting the service gate behind him, Gaara climbed into his booth and slid on his headset. Vaguely he registered that Kimi returned with one of the hosts for the evening – one half of a pair of extremely androgynous twins that usually manned the coat check and host stand. Gaara flicked switches, set up lights, and a steady beat began to come from the sound system.
And with practiced ease, Gaara submerged into the music and waited for the night to begin.~*~