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[Naruto Fic] Without

As requested by mayanara on 12.12.2011 using the prompt: GaaNaru. Maybe something about Naruto dying in the war and someone using a jutsu similar to the one used on Gaara to bring him back with Gaara giving a hand in the extra chakra needed, yes? Yes??

i have finally learned the word 'drabble' and succeeded in applying it to fic *deep sigh of relief*. apparently Brevity — finicky bastard — did not want to be my friend no matter how hard i tried to win it over before.

By: Ken
Word Count: 981
Began: 01.02.2012 | Complete: 04.22.2012
Pairing: GaaNaru, NejiNaru, (GaaNejiNaru if you squint)
Disclaimer: Naruto is a product of Kishimoto Masashi. i borrow only as the demons in my head demand.
Comments: with Many Thanks to my beta TJ Dragonblade.

Who would have thought Tobi the Nobody could die in such a spectacularly spiteful way. Naruto had defeated him and yet his death throes reached far, the damage extensive, fatigued shinobi defenseless in its wake. Gaara wasn’t worried for himself; the sand armor would take the brunt of Tobi’s wrath, but his siblings didn’t have that. He sent the sand from the gourd to protect them — it was faster so he could be certain it reached them in time; it was stronger so he knew they would be well-cocooned. He yelled for everyone else to get low; his remaining chakra was limited and a trench would be the best he could manage under such an onslaught. This sand was not enriched with his power; it was slow and cumbersome, and heavy. He wouldn’t make it in time for all of them.

He closed his eyes, panting tiredly. Just a little more . . .

Then he felt arms wrap tightly around him. His eyes flew open but all he saw was black and orange cloth. He tried to move his head, but was held immobile as the roar of destruction washed around him. He felt the gale tearing at his clothes, tugging at the edges of his hair, but it didn’t touch him.

And when it was over the arms loosened and Gaara looked up into blue eyes that were exhausted, yet satisfied, sage marks fading from his features. Arms dragged across Gaara’s back as they withdrew, warm hands stopping to cup his cheeks. “Yo . . .” The voice was shaking but Naruto was smiling at him. Naruto rested his forehead upon Gaara’s and took a shuddering breath. “I’m glad you’re alright.”

Before Gaara could say anything back a massive pyoom sounded across the valley signifying the end of a jutsu, and then the Naruto in front of him smiled one last time before he dissipated into a plume of smoke.

Gaara fell to his hands and knees without the support of the clone, his mind trying to grasp what had just happened. Naruto had already been worn out from the battle that would not end. Escaping the island he’d been confined to, coming to their rescue, fighting the former kage, freeing the Tobi-controlled tailed-beasts, challenging Tobi himself — it was too much.

Too much even for Naruto.

And now Gaara couldn’t feel a single ounce of Naruto’s chakra at all.

Gaara pushed himself to his feet, stumbled a bit in dizziness from his own over-exertion, but staunchly pushed forward. He had to find the real Naruto, his only clue a vague impression of where the battle with Tobi had gone down. It seemed to take forever to get there, but at least his memory was true. As he staggered on to the badly damaged battleground his eyes picked out an orange blot beside a pale one that had probably been white days ago. Coming closer he saw that the whitish clothing belonged to a Hyuuga; those coveted eyes were activated as the man stared at Naruto. His hands were folded on top of Naruto’s chest, the glow of his chakra visible, but this Hyuuga—Neji, Gaara thought, of course it would be Neji—didn't look like he had chakra to spare. His face was gaunt and pale, haggard half moons of dark color beneath his eyes. His long hair was free of its clasp and matted, sticking to the sweat and grime on his forehead, blood oozing from a corner of his mouth as he worked over Naruto.

Gaara collapsed on Naruto’s free side. He swallowed hard as he took in Naruto’s ashen features. His heartbeat kicked in to overdrive and it felt like the bottom had fallen out of his stomach.

What had he been fighting for?

If Naruto was gone what had he been fighting for?

Gaara didn’t want to live in a world that Naruto wasn’t a part of.

He couldn’t . . .

“Is he—?”

“He’s not!” Neji’s labored chakra flared with his vehemence. “He’s not,” he repeated quietly, sweat dribbling onto his hands and Naruto’s battered shirt.

Gaara’s eyes shifted from the droplets on the Hyuuga’s hands to study Neji’s face briefly.

That wasn’t sweat.

“What are you trying to do?”

“He’s not dead; his kyuubi is keeping him alive but just barely. He’s not breathing, and his heart only beats every now and then.” Neji glanced at Gaara, recognition of who he was talking to registering, before he bent his head back to his task. He fought for composure, released a shuddering breath before looking up again, fathomless eyes searing into and through Gaara's. "I saw how Chiyo did it for you—" his voice was full of an emotion so raw Gaara didn't have the word for it "—but I don't have enough chakra to bring him back."

Gaara’s hands settled on top of Neji’s without needing to hear anything more, channeling what was left of his chakra for the Hyuuga to use.

He couldn’t live in a world that didn’t have Naruto . . .

Gaara gasped as he shot up from his bed. The full moon was still bright in the dark sky; the Village of the Hidden Sand hummed with typical night sounds outside his window. Naruto lay beside him drooling onto their pillow, his arm loosely draped across Gaara’s lap. Gaara forced his breathing to return to normal and willed his heartbeat to calm. Even without Shuukaku’s influence the nightmares still came, and in some ways they were worse now than they had ever been before.

Gaara exhaled slowly and laid back down, carefully filtered his hand through Naruto's spiky hair; the corners of his mouth quirked momentarily upward as Naruto mumbled something about eating ramen.

The dreams were worse, his sleep as sporadic as it had always been, because now he had something he couldn’t be without.

[ ] [ ] [] [ ] [ ]

:: Omoi's Ponderous Predictions ::

*mumbles around lollipop* what the hell took so long, Ken? i mean—to be fair, i know you're not feeling well but—c'mon man, four months?

ken: *snickers* better than seven years . . .

Omoi: That's actually . . . Yeah—can't argue with you there.

ken: dude. do your job.

Omoi: Oh yeah. *sighs* Once upon a time Ken may have mentioned (and maybe posted) a ficlet insinuating GaaNaruNeji was on his mind. This is not that fic; it's just a taste. I predict that we may never get the full meal at this rate because Ken is otherwise involved (as he should be) and that he'll lose a finger every time he deviates from his other projects — and then where would we be?

:: End ::

Hopefully its what you wanted May.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 28th, 2012 03:56 pm (UTC)
This is not what I wanted. It's so so much better, and it was completely worth the wait.

*deep sigh of relief* whoo. i am so glad you think that. you are very welcome, and thank you so much for your patience.
May. 2nd, 2012 02:55 am (UTC)
Such a good read. It tugs at the heart just right, and the imagery is so very poignant. I truly look forward to that threesome if it's able to materialize down the road. ^_^
May. 3rd, 2012 05:28 pm (UTC)
thank you darlin'. you know i'm workin on thirty-thousand things, but that threesome is still in the back of mind begging for attention like a has-been actor. *sigh* we'll see if i can find it a role sooner rather than later.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )