Sorry it's been such a long time since I posted the last chapter. Life just got in the way. Forgive me.
Hope you enjoy!
Gaara sat in the corner watching as Tsunade tended to Naruto. Shizune was cleaning off and bandaging Gaara's own wounds, as much as the redhead would allow her to. Gaara had refused to go to a different room to get treatment. Gaara would rather not have Naruto leave his site for the moment. Shizune had at first protested, but when sand had begun to swirl around her she resigned to let Gaara stay. Tsunade wiped her hands on her apron and walked over to where Gaara was sitting.
"We managed to stop the bleeding and sew him up as best we could. The rest is up to him. He is still not out of the woods yet. The poison from that collar is still running its course and his healing ability has yet to kick in. Until then he may experience some tremors from that awful contraption we found. Give it another 24 hours and he should be free of those."
"He developed a fever and he will need to be kept a close eye throughout the night. Will you be alright till we get back in the morning? Shizune and I are needed at a Guardian meeting presently." Tsunade gather up her things back into her bag. Gaara's eyes had long ago receded from their demonic black and gold but the green eyes still held some gold in them.
Gaara nodded. "I'll be fine. It is not like I haven't done this before."
Tsunade smiled. "You got a point. I left some medicine packets on the table that will help with the pain and fever. Every four hours just mix a packet with some water and carefully have him drink it. There is a bathroom through that door should you need it." Gaara eyed the door Tsunade was pointing to.
Tsunade handed off her bag to Shizune. "I'll be back as soon as I can." Tsunade looked at the blonde on the bed one more time before exiting the room.
Gaara stood and walked over to his sleeping mate. Naruto's torso was bandaged and was lying down chest down to avoid further injuring his back. They didn't want to risk further pain with clothing so they covered is waist with a thin sheet. His hand was placed carefully on a pillow and his leg was elevated as best as they could to relieve pressure from it. Gaara walked to the other side of the bed and laid down next to Naruto, mindful of the injured tail. Gaara eyes wandered to Naruto's blonde hair to his serene face and landed on the kitsune's lips. They were red and swollen from where Naruto had bitten though them.
Gaara's finger ghosted over Naruto's abused lips, with a guilty expression. Gaara was angry at himself for letting Naruto come to harm. Naruto's ears twitched and eye movement could be seen behind the eyelids. Gaara ran his hands Naruto's hair to sooth him. Naruto's eyes opened a sliver.
"Gaa…ra…" Naruto opened his eyes just a sliver and tried to touch the redhead but his muscles refused to move.
"I'm here." Gaara placed his hand to Naruto's cheek, who leaned into it. "Tsunade found us and has taken us to a safe place. I have no idea where we are but we are in one of the many rooms of a huge mansion. Did you know-"
Naruto listened absently as Gaara spoke, he wasn't really listening to what was being said. Gaara's voice was soothing and he forgot the pain and just let himself drift back into the tranquil darkness.
- 000- -
"You disobeyed our orders, Guardian Tsunade." Tsunade looked up at the stands where the Guardian Elite sat. The one speaking at the moment was Moriri, a silver haired Inu Yokai. Her hair was in a bob style making her face look sharper as she stared at Tsunade disapprovingly.
"I did" Tsunade stared at the Inu.
"We told you to wait till the rest of the Guardians were gathered, did we not?" Moriri spoke in a sharp tone, making Tsunade almost regret her plan of action.
"You did." Tsunade shuffled.
"Since there was no miscommunication, why is it that you had gathered a small group of soldiers and proceeded anyway?"
Tsunade took a deep breath.
"Uzumaki, Naruto was captured by Orochimaru and action was necessary. I had reason to believe that if Orochimaru laid his hands on the prince once more then the results would be more than unpleasant."
The others including Moriri were now looking at Tsunade in curiosity.
"Orochimaru has had Naruto captive for years, but yet had kept him alive till he matured. That man had wanted to obtain the entirety of the Uzumaki's chakra. This was no simple kidnapping for revenge." Tsunade continued her explanation.
"But to the only way to extract chakra in anyway would result in-" Moriri's sharp voice wavered.
"- death." Tsunade finished the other's sentence. Whispers were heard amongst the small audience behind Tsunade. The council members themselves had become antsy.
Moriri had begun to whisper to those that sat next to her. To Tsunade it looked like a game of 'Telephone'.
"This news is extremely troubling. All those horrid objects were destroyed ages ago and for Orochimaru to have such a thing...did you obtain the object?"
"Yes we did, along with Orochimaru's corpse. However, when the object was found it was in bits and pieces." Tsunade motioned Shizune forward. Shizune held in her hands a wrapped package which she handed to one of the assistants of the Council.
"Very peculiar… these objects are supposed to be almost indestructible. It would have needed someone of powerful chakra to do such a thing." Moriri leaned in as one of the council members whispered in her ear. After a long moment Moriri nodded, agreeing with the unheard words.
"In light of this new information, The Royal Council has decided to not pass a punishment to you for this insubordination." Tsunade breathed out in relief. "There is something that troubles me. You had brought another person with you after the rescue. Who is this person and why did you bring him here?"
"Gaara is one of the workers at my shelter. He volunteered to take care of Naruto while I was indisposed. He was captured with Naruto and as a result they were both injured upon rescue."
"You trusted a human to take care of the Last of the Uzumaki's?" One of the other elders asked in disbelief.
"Yes and he did an exceptional job even after finding out the truth of his charge." Tsunade stood confident amongst the Council. Tsunade purposely had left out about what Gaara had become.
"We will need to give Uzumaki, Naruto new accommodations when he has recovered. The Council will need to speak with him to discuss his options. When do you think he will be capable of leaving his current quarters?" Moriri asked Tsunade.
"The poison he was injected with still needs to run its course before Naruto's healing abilities kick in. He should be able to move around in one week."
"Very well, we will meet again in one week." Moriri struck the gavel to officially end the meeting.
The members had left leaving Tsunade and Shizune alone in the room.
"Tsunade what about- " Tsunade brought her hand up to silence Shizune. Tsunade looked around, you never know when unwanted ears cold be listening in.
"No one needs to know anything yet. I do not know how they will react to that particular news. Let's bring some food up for the guys. It's already day break. " Tsunade dragged the worried looking Shizune out the door.
Gaara attention snapped to the door as he heard the knob turning.
"Good Morning, Gaara. How is Naruto?" Tsunade and Shizune each brought a tray in and set them on the desk of the room. Gaara noted at the dark circles underneath both women eyes.
"His fever has yet to break, but the medicine has been doing its job of keeping the fever down. He was awake briefly but went back to sleep." Tsunade nodded.
"We brought breakfast. Normal eggs and bacon for you and for Naruto I made him some soup." Tsunade arranged the silverware on the trays.
"What is going on?"Gaara flat out asked. Shizune and Tsunade shared a look.
"The Guardian Elite want to move Naruto to a more permanent residence. Once he is better they will discuss his options with him."
"Can't Naruto say he wants to stay with me?" Gaara questioned.
"It's not that simple. He is the last of his kind and he must be protected in a secure location."
"Then I'll go with him."
"Again, not that simple. I am sure they would have contemplated to letting you stay with Naruto, but in your case…" Tsunade eyes darted around nervously as she heard the 'hissing' of sand around her.
"Is this about my demonic powers?"
"Yes." Tsunade gulped.
"Did you tell these 'Elite' about me?" Gaara simply asked. Gaara gently placed a hand on the wounded tail that was now on the redhead's waist. Even unconscious the blonde could sense the red heads distress.
"No. One step at a time, but I bought you a week's worth of time. Convincing them won't be easy. I want to Naruto at his full strength when he handles this new information."
"What do you think the 'Elite' will do when they find out about me?"
Tsunade sighed sounding every bit as tired as she felt. "I honestly have no idea. We will just hope for the best. Now eat your breakfast and see if Naruto will have something as well. I'll be back at noon time and I'll bring some fresh clothes then. If Naruto wants to wash up before I change his bandages, you can give him a sponge bath. " With that last note Tsunade and Shizune walked out. Gaara carefully detached himself from the fox's tail and rose from the bed to inspect the food.
Gaara ran his fingers through the blonde's hair. "Naruto, breakfast is here." The blonde stirred but didn't wake. "It's chicken noodle. I'm sure you will like it." Gaara brought the bowl near Naruto's nose. The red head let out a small smile when he saw the blonde' nose twitch.
"Does it have lots of noodles in it?" Naruto whispered.
"They are on the bottom. You can pretend its ramen."Gaara placed the bowl back on the night table. He helped Naruto sit up carefully on the bed, adjusting the pillows so they would support Naruto's back.
Naruto leaned his head back closing his eyes in exhaustion, a slight tremor going through him. "I don't think I have enough strength to hold a spoon."
"That's fine, I'll feed you. Just open your mouth and I'll do the rest." Naruto didn't protest as Gaara brought a spoon to his mouth. It showed how out of it the fox was and it reminded himself a similar predicament he had gotten in to a while back. Not that anyone could blame him. Breakfast went by quickly and soon Naruto was dozing again. Gaara curled up next to Naruto and took a quick cat nap.
Tsunade checked in for both lunch and dinner. By nighttime everyone was relieved when Naruto's fever broke.
"He hasn't had any tremors in a while?" Tsunade asked as she put her supplies away.
"Not since breakfast." Gaara took the sheets and adjusted them to cover the sleeping blonde. Naruto had fallen right back to sleep after eating.
"He might be drowsy for the next day or so. I can already see his wounds closing so he should be completely healed within the next two days as well. If he wants, he can take a bath tomorrow, with some assistance, of course. Don't leave him alone in there."
Gaara rolled his eyes and gave her a 'duh' look.
"Yeah, yeah, anyway, I won't be here in the morning but Shizune will be by with breakfast for you guys. I should be back by lunchtime. If Naruto wants to take a bath, have him do it before then so we can put some fresh bandages on." Tsunade fingers combed through the Naruto's hair causing him to stir a bit. "I'll leave you guys to sleep. Good night!"
Gaara watched the women go before settling down next to Naruto for the night. Sure he may not sleep but he could close his eyes and listen to Naruto breathe. It was soothing.
The next morning was the same as the last but Naruto actually had some energy to feed himself for a bit, before he became tired and Gaara took over. As Naruto dozed back to sleep Gaara decided he could do a cat nap. It was actually a couple hours later that Gaara woke and he deemed it late enough to try to get Naruto in the bath. Gaara nuzzled Naruto awake.
"Naruto, Tsunade is going to come by at noon to change your bandages she gave the all clear for a bath if you wanted one." Naruto opened his eyes a smidge and looked into Gaara's golden green ones. Naruto was still half asleep but he smiled.
"I'd like a nice hot bath. I reek." The red head chuckled but said nothing as he gently removed the bandages, inspecting at how well the fox demon was healing.
"Your healing abilities appear to be coming back. I'll get the bath started, be right back." Gaara came back, quickly, and gathered up Naruto in his arms. The red head carefully lowered Naruto into the warm water.
"Come in with me?" Naruto tugged on Gaara's arm. Gaara relented and stripped, Naruto smirked slightly at the 'show' he was getting. Gaara noticed that Naruto was eying him and turned to face the blonde as he continued to remove his clothes.
"Tease. If I had the strength I would jump you right now."
Gaara placed the wash cloth and soap on the toilet seat for easy reach. Leaning down he gave Naruto a chaste kiss. "We will have plenty of time when you recover." Naruto had to stop a whine from coming forth.
Gaara eased himself carefully behind Naruto, minding his tail. Gaara soaped up a towel and did his best to clean the blonde's body without causing too much pain. As he began to massage the scalp, the red head smiled when he heard Naruto purring. He quickly rinsed them both off and they soaked in the tub for a while. Fifteen minutes later, he sat Naruto on the closed toilet seat and patted Naruto dry.
"You're wet too." The sleepy Naruto stated.
Gaara carried the blonde into the bedroom, uncaring that he was dripping wet and naked. "It's alright. Let's get you settled in first."
Gaara stopped and glanced to the other presence in the room. Tsunade and Shizune stood in the doorway, Shizune was holding two trays in her hands and Tsunade had a pile of neatly folded clothes in hers. Both women were frozen where they stood. Gaara ignored the gaping women and proceeded in getting Naruto comfortably sitting up in bed.
"How's that? I can help you turn if it's too painful." Gaara tucked the sheet snugly on Naruto's lower half.
Naruto relaxed into the pillows. "It's fine. The medicine is doing its job." Naruto looked over to where the women were standing. I think you may have damaged Tsunade and Shizune. You may want to put on some pants." Gaara nuzzled Naruto before turning to the frozen women and walked up to them.
"Clothes." Immediately, Tsunade's arms extended and Gaara grabbed the pile and walked back into the direction of the bathroom, shutting the door behind him.
Tsunade began tugging at her clothes to relieve some of the heat she felt. "He's a red head alright."
Shizune, still dazed, carefully put the trays at the bedside table. "The way the water was dripping down…"
"There was one droplet that slid down his abs and as it went lower I couldn't help follow it…" Tsunade turned red.
"And did you guys see that firm ass?" Naruto interrupted. Both Tsunade and Shizune jumped, they had forgotten the silent fox was in here.
Naruto cut of Shizune. "It's alright. If a wet, sexy, naked guy was walking by me I would have the same reaction."
Tsunade coughed, the redness of her face reduced greatly but she pink on her cheeks.
"How are you feeling?"
"The medicine is keeping the pain at bay. Gaara says I look better but I still feel tired."
"You certainly look better," Tsunade examined Naruto and wrapped him in the bandages though it looked like his injures have almost disappeared completely. "I think tomorrow you should try walking around for a bit, maybe you can head to the gardens and get some fresh air."
Naruto's ears perked up. "Yes I would like that!"
"Sounds like a good idea. Where is the garden?" Gaara walked in, now fully clothed and was drying off his red hair.
"Take a right out the door and it's down the hall to your left. I'll try to locate a wheelchair and drop it off later."
"Thanks, Tsunade." Naruto yawns.
"We best get going. Tsunade we do have the other meeting in ten minutes. We best hurry" Shizune placed the two trays on the night table and Tsunade was already glancing down at her watch.
"Crap. Gotta go. I'll see you all later." Tsunade and Shizune waved goodbye as they rushed out the door.
" Ahh… this feels nice" Naruto lifted his face to meet the sun. Naruto got comfortable on the bench he was transferred to. Gaara had moved the wheelchair off to the side and took a seat next Naruto. Naruto was happy to see something that was not a blank wall for a while. Naruto admired the blooming flora around him and rested his head on Gaara shoulders. Naruto began to hum a song that remembered hearing as a child.
Gaara's tense shoulders were slowly relaxing as well. The area was nice and quiet and it appeared that no one was in vicinity.
Gaara and Naruto sat on the bench for a while chatting about mindless things, neither of them minding the time as it got later.
"It's almost time for dinner." Gaara spoke.
"Aww, okay." Naruto pouted but gave no resistance as Gaara placed him back in his wheelchair. During the walk back Naruto was already nodding off. Gaara settled Naruto back on the bed, tucking the sheets around him and kissing his forehead.
There was a knock at the door and Shizune peeked her head in.
" How's he feeling?" asked Shizune.
Gaara joined her by the door. " He hardly complained about the pain, still feels exhausted though."
"Understandable. His body is still healing. Mind if I talk to you outside?"
Gaara closed the door quietly and turned his back to the door.
"What's going on?" Gaara asked once he noticed the worried look on Shizune's face.
"The Council wants to speak with Naruto tomorrow."
" I thought they wanted to wait a week before speaking with him."
" That's what was agreed, but there was a change of leadership and the new head is demanding it be tomorrow. He is not seeing reason. He wont even speak with us on the matter." Shizune rubbed her face in frustration. Gaara put his hand on her shoulder for reassurance.
"It will be fine. I'll let Naruto know."
"It's not Naruto we are worried about. It's you." Shizune sighed.
"I'll be on my best behavior, promise. Now go join Tsunade and we will see you guys later alright?" Shizune nodded and walked off leaving Gaara standing there.
These people can't know we are half demon or they will take Naruto away. Other Gaara spoke for the first time since they escaped.
Well, hello to you, too.
However, if they try to separate us from our mate, there will be Hell to pay.
Tsunade and Shizune won't let that happen.
They will fight for us, but, when it comes down to it, they are not the ones who decide around here.
Gaara spoke no more to the 'Other', but silently agreed as he walked back into Naruto's room.