BY : Mannah_Pierce
Category: Naruto > Yaoi - Male/Male > Naruto/Sasuke
Dragon prints: 1191
Disclaimer: This story has some of Masashi Kishimoto's characters from Naruto in a universe of my own devising. I do not own Naruto. I do not make any money from these writings.

Iteration’ is part of the space saga that began with ‘In the cold of space you find the heat of suns’ and continues in ‘Tales in Tarrasade’. There is also a one-shot ‘Silver Leaf Tales: Tying the knot’.

Thanks to Small Fox for being my beta. For this story he has also been my muse, suggesting a number of the ideas that have evolved to create this arc.

Thank you to those readers who have written a review and particular thanks to SunaoTsuji, Dorkchic, ahmenet, richon, Midnight Essence, Dreamfool, disembodiedvoiceofthedying, blugirlami21, unneeded, sadie237, Prism0467, Moonmoore, A, YamanashiOchinashiIminashi, cynaga and ShadyDarling who left reviews after chapter 115 was posted.

It is wonderful to hear from readers. It is feedback from readers that keeps me writing this story.

Apologies if the characters have grown differently in their new environment.

This is posted in the Naruto/Sasuke section because it is part of a Naru/Sasu/Naru space saga. However, it does feature many other pairings (and a few threesomes). Apologies to those hoping for Sasuke/Naruto or Naruto/Sasuke action in every chapter.

Chapter one hundred and sixteen: Visits

Gaara both wanted and did not want to visit Tarrasade.

He missed Kiba. He was less certain about seeing Naruto while he was paralysed; it frightened him for reasons he did not understand.

So he had put off visiting; saying he could not afford to leave Kaze for so long. In the end, Sasuke had sent the Maple, reducing the journey time to twenty days each way. The Gourd had been picked up in Kaze I and deposited one jump from Tarrasade.

Gaara did not know if Sasuke had told Naruto about his intervention.

“Don’t mention Sasuke-san sending the Maple,” he said to the man standing next to him as they waited for the Uchiha private dock to pressurise.

“Remember to ask Kiba-san about the children,” Lee replied. “He loves the children and he is happy with Choza-san.”

Gaara snorted. Naruto’s choice of partner he understood. He was bonded to Sasuke and, luckily for him, Sasuke-san was gorgeous and adored him. Choza was another matter.

The indicator light changed and Lee opened the outer door of the airlock. As they stepped out onto the gangplank, Naruto appeared from one of the dock’s airlocks.

Gaara shut his eyes. It looked so wrong. He was used to seeing hybrids with deformities and wearing prostheses but they were not Naruto. Naruto had always been perfect.

Then Kiba’s scent hit him. Merely a hint of it on the air made him happier.

They strode down the gangplank. Gaara decided to broach the paralysis issue before it soured the visit.

“That’s not right,” he declared, nodding towards the buggy.

Naruto grinned. “Get used to it,” he replied.

It helped. Naruto might be paralysed, thinner and older but he was still Naruto.

“Naruto-san’s second operation has gone well,” Kiba interjected. “He should be on his feet in two divs’ time.”

Gaara hugged Kiba, who hugged back. It felt wonderful.

“Naruto-san, Kiba-san,” Lee acknowledged. “I shall seek out Gai-san and Sumaru-kun.”

Gaara’s defences were down; facing his fear about Naruto’s deformity and Kiba’s proximity was a heady combination. He found himself smiling. “Later,” he murmured.

The three of them watched Lee leave.

“Still fucking the old fat guy?” Gaara teased as soon as he was sure Lee was out of earshot.

Kiba gave a mock growl. “Choza is very well, thank you. I see you and eyebrow boy are still going at it.”

“Constantly,” Gaara replied. “And Sasuke-san?” he queried more respectfully.

“Sasuke and the children are fine,” Naruto assured him.

They went directly to the apartment set aside for Gaara’s use and lolled about in the living room. It reminded Gaara of the time when all his attention had been focused on learning how to live.

They talked, starting with what had been happening in Tarrasade.

“You have to up your security, Naruto,” Gaara scolded. “A bombing and a raid within a half-standard is completely unacceptable.”

Naruto flushed. “I know. We are working on it. Shi-chan is developing a new layer of defence for the outer skin of stations and maybe ships. We’re trying to persuade the spacers and the Committee, that’s the group of bigwigs who decide stuff for Tarrasade, to build a freighter dock and distribution centre away from the station. That will cut down traffic and make looking out for trouble easier.”

Gaara was dubious that Tarrasade could ever be made secure. “You were safer on the Oak.”

“Yes,” Naruto admitted. “But it isn’t just about being safe. It’s about building a secure future for our children and our children’s children.”

“Uchiha,” Gaara stated, trying to keep the disapproval from his voice. Half his life had been sacrificed because of duty to family. It hurt to see Naruto doing the same.

“Uchiha,” Naruto admitted and touched the plaque on the leather collar around his neck.

Gaara gave a snort but desisted. Duty was duty; at least for Naruto it was tempered by love.

“What about you?” Naruto asked, changing the subject.

“Sanctuary is doing well. We’ve got more land. We are bringing in some credit as well as spending it, although we still rely heavily on HDL support. We have purebreds other than Lee who are choosing to live with us. Many hybrids are living as family units. We have children, some born using Kotohime’s technique and many rescued from hybrid engineering labs.”

“None of your own,” Kiba observed.

“They are all mine. You of all people should understand that,” Gaara retorted sharply. He sighed; Kiba had hit a nerve. He might as well tell them now rather than suffer them wheedling it out of him. “Lee and I have talked and then we talked with Temari. She is combining my humanised chromosomes with hers and having two children, a boy and a girl. She will raise them. Lee has a claim on my chromosomes but he will wait.”

He knew that both Naruto and Kiba understood ‘wait’. If Lee chose to have Gaara’s children it would be after Gaara had died.

All too soon Naruto said that he had to get back to the children. He and Kiba stayed in the apartment for a while. Then they went to find Lee and Kiba took the two of them on a tour of the running track and the private part of the park.

“It’s almost finished,” Kiba told them, “but Shika-san wants to wait until Naruto-san is fully mobile before using it.”

There were many trees, grass and other plants. Gaara could hear birds. Even so, it was eerily unlike being on a planet. He told himself that it was more like a big conservatory than a planet, which helped.

He wondered how much it had cost. As much as a Mulligan drive? Or a space station? Or even a gate? He did not know and did not ask. It was up to Shikamaru-san what he did with his credit. Gaara was grateful that so much of it found its way into the HDL.

Before Shikamaru-san had there been a stable typed-seven genius with an entrepreneurial knack, a talent for subterfuge and a generous spirit? Gaara guessed not.

“The children will love it here,” Kiba said, which reminded Gaara that he should be asking Kiba about the children because, as Lee kept telling him, Kiba loved them very much.

Next thing Gaara knew, he had promised to give the children a talk about Sanctuary.

Tour completed, it was back to the household for a late midday meal with Choza, Kiba and Kamatari. Kamatari looked good and was doing well. He told them about being involved with developing new public section of the Uchiha compound. Gaara was not interested in Uchiha but he found the bits about hybrid workers’ rights interesting.

After the meal, Kamatari showed them projections of both that project and the initiative to provide a secure route throughout the Hub and into Sublevel C.

“Of course that isn’t an Uchiha project,” Kamatari told them. “Naruto-san went to Sublevel C and saw that children died there before they had a chance to live and that hybrids died there with no one to look after them. He spoke to Shika-san and now there is a charity running a hospice and another establishing an orphanage.”

Gaara shook his head; it was as if Naruto made wishes and Shikamaru granted them.

Moegi examined each object as she placed it into the basket. Gifts were fine while everyday supplies were not. Udon was very proud.

This would be the first time she would stay overnight in Sublevel C.

She finished packing the basket, donned her backpack and headed for the lobby.

Kisame-san was waiting for her there. Normally Kamatari would be her escort but Gaara-san had arrived that morning and he had been invited to share the midday meal with him and Lee-san.

Maybe the day would come when Sasuke-sama would consider it safe enough for her to travel between Level 1 and Sublevel C alone; she hoped so.

“Moegi-san,” Kisame-san rumbled.

She flushed slightly. She could not help it. “Kisame-san,” she acknowledged.

He offered to carry the basket but she insisted she was fine and they headed out.

They left the household, nodded to the security personnel and made their way to the door that led to the new transport system. Once inside they identified themselves by handprint, iris scan and voice analysis and were admitted to the distribution point. Around the walls were eight elevators. On a mezzanine level above there were eight hatches leading to ladders.

“Welcome Kisame-san, Moegi-san,” a voice announced. “Please specify your destination, your mode of travel and the account you are using.”

Kisame-san looked at the basket. “Sublevel C secure corridor. Elevator. Uchiha account.”

Moegi flushed again. She was sure that Kisame-san would prefer to use a ladder. She should have packed the gifts into a backpack.

“An elevator will be with you soon,” the voice told them. “Your journey will be monitored for security purposes.”

The trick with the new transport system was that you never shared a ladder or an elevator with strangers. Jizenkai Security Service allocated travellers to ladders or elevators, controlled which doors opened at which times, kept an eye on everyone and provided an escort if required.

Prime, the Residential Rings, Levels 1 and 2, Levels 3, 4, 5 and Sublevel C could be reached by ladders or by elevator. Sublevels A and B, for now, only had ladder access.

“Do you know if the new tube is still losing credit, Kisame-san?” Moegi asked. She still felt impossibly guilty that the whole system had been built because Sasuke-sama wanted her to be able to visit Udon safely.

“I believe that the fares collected from non-Jizenkai passengers now cover operating costs plus a little extra,” Kisame answered her. “More people are using it each day and I am sure many more will do so once the Centre for the Arts is opened.” He studied her. “You should not worry, Moegi-san, Shika-san’s schemes always end up generating credit. He has a knack for it.”

Moegi knew that was true. Being reminded of it made her feel a little better.

The elevator door opened into a lobby.

“Thank you for using the new Tube,” the voice said. “Please go through each door as it opens. This will take you into a Jizenkai secure corridor.”

They did as they were told and soon found themselves in a clean, busy corridor. The first people Moegi saw were two people she recognised from the medico school, an elderly hybrid and a couple of Ressie care workers. Everyone greeted her by name. As they passed the care workers one of them told the other that she was ‘Udon-san’s young lady’.

Moegi blushed.

“This is very different from the last time I was in Sublevel C,” Kisame-san observed. “I am impressed.”

“Yes, it is,” Moegi acknowledged; she was very proud of what Udon had achieved. “One of the best parts is that all this is in the abandoned sections, so the recycling side of Scavenger activities are unaffected. Udon even tries to work with them about bodies. He pays more for live people than they would get for a body and he gives them the bodies when people die.”

“Udon-san appears to know what he is doing,” Kisame-san replied with a small smile.

When they arrived at Udon’s apartment, Kisame-san pressed the announcer. Udon answered quickly, as if he had been waiting. He bowed to Kisame-san and asked him if he would like to have a cup of tea.

Kisame-san refused politely and left.

She stepped over the threshold and Udon shut the door. They were alone.

Moegi leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. He blushed, she flushed and she brandished the basket as a distraction.

“A few little gifts,” she declared, knowing that she sounded too loud and too cheerful.

He did not respond immediately. Moegi’s heart sank. Was he regretting committing to spending a whole day and night together?

“Aunt Yone will be here soon,” Udon reminded her.

Did he think she would have forgotten? Then Moegi realised that Udon was telling her why he was tense and uncomfortable. She touched his arm. “It will be fine,” she assured him.

“It won’t,” he responded bluntly, “but we will get through it.”

Udon’s living room was small and a little cluttered. From what Udon had said, Scavenger homes were crammed with nicknacks they had found or had been given; trophies from scavenging.

Moegi had dressed in a simple kimono and twisted her hair into a bun.

“Scavenger girls always leave their hair loose,” Udon told her. “Only matrons put their hair up.”

She pulled out the pins and allowed her hair to fall about her shoulders. Udon drew something long and glossy from his pocket; a dark red ribbon.

“Girls who are walking out with someone wear a ribbon in their hair.” He offered her the ribbon.

Moegi smiled and took it. “Thank you, Udon.” She tied the ribbon around her head; as well as being a present, it would serve to keep the mass of her hair away from her face. “Is there anything else I should know before your aunt arrives?”

Udon considered. “Nothing I can think of,” he decided.

Moegi knelt on the cushion at Udon’s left. It was proving difficult for her to hold her tongue. Every time the woman made another nasty, cutting remark, Moegi wanted to slap her. Udon might pretend that they had no effect on him, but Moegi knew better. So did his aunt, or she would not bother to make them.

“Of course, a Scavenger girl would have visited the young man’s family in their home,” Yone told her.

Moegi smiled inside. Being addressed directly released her to push back. “I understand that, Yone-san, but I am a member of Uchiha and, as such, we have our own tradition and our own rules to which I must adhere.” She fixed Youe with a steely gaze and smiled. “One of our traditions is to give gifts. Iruka-san, who runs Sasuke-sama’s household, selected this gift to give to you.” She turned to the side, picked up a very ordinary looking bag and slid out the large, beautifully decorated parcel. “Haku-san wrapped it.” She presented it to Yone. “Please accept it with all our regards, from the smallest baby to Uchiha-sama himself.”

Yone stared wide-eyed at the hand-painted wrapping paper, silk ribbons and silver bows. Then she pulled herself together. “I accept,” she announced. “I shall open it later,” she added.

Moegi handed her the plain cloth bag. The parcel was quickly covered and hidden.

After that, Yone seemed distracted. Certainly the sharp edge to her tongue appeared blunted. Unexpectedly soon the visit was over and Udon had left to escort her back to the Scavenger section of Sublevel C.

Moegi hummed as she washed and put away the dishes. She must remember to thank Neji-san for suggesting that the already beautiful cover was wrapped so exquisitely.

Klennethon Darrent waited in the private dining room. Shika would be late because Shika was always late unless Neji made sure he was on time. For appointments with Klennethon Darrent, Neji did not ensure promptness; it was a way of reminding him of the role Neji played in Shika’s life.

He was glad of the frank exchange with Neji that had followed his attempt at seduction. He no longer worried that Neji was an unsuitable permanent partner for Shika. He had believed Neji when he had said that he would step aside if a more suitable candidate presented himself or herself.

He hoped it would not be Sasuke Uchiha after he had lost his Naruto. Sasuke Uchiha would be suitable if he were free but he would never be so; he was tied too closely to his duty. Even if he were not, it would always be a threesome; Sasuke Uchiha, Shika and Naruto’s ghost.

He walked over to one of the few mirrors and examined his face carefully. Spending the last three days tanked had been worth it; he was determined that Shika would detect no sign that his age retard was failing. Satisfied, he turned back and saw Garner watching him.

Garner knew. Garner did not know everything but he knew more than anyone else.

Moegi smiled to see that the narrow cot in Udon’s small sleeping room had been replaced by a wider bed.

“Not that we have to sleep together,” he told her hastily. “I can sleep on the floor.”

She turned to him, reached out for his shirt and pulled him to her. “I don’t want you to sleep on the floor,” she said and kissed him gently on the lips.

“I didn’t... I haven’t... I don’t...” He went redder and redder with each aborted sentence.

She pressed a finger to his lips. “I suggest we take off our clothes, get into bed and have a cuddle.”

“Cuddle with no clothes on?” he queried.

“Cuddle with no clothes on,” she confirmed. “It will be nice.”

Gaara stared at the small, expectant faces and then at Kiba, who scowled at him.

He turned the other way. Naruto smiled encouragingly, which was even worse. Next to Naruto was Kamatari, Biwako and Lee.

This was much worse than speaking to his people in Sanctuary. It was even worse than a press conference. He could feel himself losing control.

Being knocked out by his controller in front of Naruto’s children would be bad. Gaara did not know if Naruto had even told them about berserkers.

“We are very lucky today,” Biwako began. “Gaara-san has agreed to give you a talk about Sanctuary.”

“What’s Sanctuary?” one of the kits asked. Gaara was not entirely sure which one. He was the larger one who did not have reddish hair. Yasushi; he was almost sure it was Yasushi.

“Now let Gaara-san speak,” Biwako scolded. “There will be an opportunity for questions later.”

Gaara pulled himself together. “No, questions are fine.” He activated the projector. “This is Sanctuary. It is on a planet that orbits one of the stars in the Kaze system.”

“Where’s Kaze?” another kit asked.

Gaara had not included where Kaze was in his talk.

Naruto was quick to save him. “There will be some questions that Gaara-san will answer immediately and some that he will answer at the end or you might have to find out for yourselves. Shall we write that one down to be answered at the end?”

“Thank you, Naruto-san,” Gaara acknowledged. “Where was I? Sanctuary is a place set aside for hybrids to live.”

“Why don’t they live with their families?” the red-blond kit, Kuuya, asked.

“Well, most hybrids don’t have families,” Gaara answered.

“Why not?” the cute kit, Yuki, asked.

“Because they are made in a lab by bad men,” Kazuki answered. Gaara knew which one was Kazuki. “Like we were,” he added. “But no one came to rescue them.”

There was silence.

Then Gaara had a brainwave. “Sanctuary is for hybrids who are rescued or who decide to rescue themselves when they are old enough to do so.”

“What happens to the ones that aren’t rescued?” the cub, Ryuu, asked.

It was going to be a long, long morning.

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