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’, which is about Naruto and Sasuke when they first became lovers.

I would like to thank those who have left a review. Feedback encourages me to keep writing – it makes you readers more real to me.

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.

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 who are expecting Naruto/Sasuke or Sasuke/Naruto every chapter.

Chapter five: Newcomer

Tayuya sat staring at the stranger in the tank.

Part of her wanted to follow Iruka-sensei’s example. He would look after the youngster, supporting him until he had time to heal. He would gently but firmly guide him towards fulfilling his potential.

The rest of her wanted to dump him out the airlock. True, the chance he was a danger was small but it was still there. Even if he wasn’t a spy there was no reason to believe he would be worth having as a member of the crew. He was an outsider; a stranger. Tayuya hated strangers.

Only he was crew. He was their cat. Just as she had become the crew’s cat when Iruka-sensei had challenged for her.

Then there was the way Kono-kun looked at him. It didn’t bode well.

She sighed. Ranmaru was crew and that was that.

The sound of someone descending the ladder; she was expecting Konohamaru but she could tell it was Inari.

“Kono-kun is trying to find some clothes that might fit him,” he explained as he entered. “Shall we get him out of the tank?”

It was typical of Inari to phrase an order as a question. Tayuya nodded. She had already thought the process through and covered the treatment bed with towels. They lowered the tank and moved the bed closer.

It was difficult to get a firm grip; the gel made his body so slippery. By the time they had him on the bed there was green regen gel everywhere, including over both of them. Inari stripped off his shirt and folded it dirty side inwards to prevent the mess spreading.

“I’ll go get a basket and a clean shirt for you,” he said. “You wipe the worst of it off him.”

Tayuya nodded and began rubbing the youngster’s skin with one of the towels. She found herself comparing his delicate physique with Inari’s bared chest and stopped herself. Inari was her captain, her crewmate and one of the three people she considered a friend. He was not an appropriate object of desire.

Even if he was, she would not show it. She imagined herself making puppy-dog eyes at him as Moegi did and shuddered.

He brought more towels and her green shirt, which was odd because she had expected him to grab whatever was at the front of her section of the closet and she had been sure that particular shirt was at the back.

She did not turn her back to change her shirt; she would be admitting that exposing her breasts meant something.

Finally they had the youngster cleaned up and the only green gel to be seen was in the tank. Tayuya covered him with a blanket and reset the tank while Inari vanished with the basket containing the towels and their two shirts.

Then Konohamaru arrived with a pair of sleepshorts, one of Sumaru’s sleeveless tops and a pair of Tayuya’s sandals.

“Nice shirt,” he observed. “Colour looks good on you. I thought you kept that one for best.”

Tayuya scowled at him. It was easier than admitting that Inari had picked the shirt for her to wear. She removed the blanket, relying on Ranmaru’s body to distract him.

It worked. She saw Konohamaru’s pupils dilate and his skin flush. Kono-kun might not be good looking but he looked good when he was aroused. Not that it would ever be Tayuya, or any other female, who caused it.

“We’re meant to be dressing him, Kono-kun,” she reminded him. “Not staring.”

“He’s cute,” Konohamaru admitted.

Between them they pulled on his shorts and the top. “He’ll probably have Sumaru’s sweet personality,” Tayuya suggested.

Konohamaru laughed. “Sumaru-kun is what he is. Maybe someday someone will love him for it.”

They had decided that this was the best approach; Ranmaru had gone to sleep with Tayuya and Konohamaru there so waking up in the same place with the same people would be less stressful for him. Konohamaru raised the head of the bed so that he was propped up in a seated position and Tayuya applied the hypospray.

“Further back,” she warned Konohamaru, stepping away from the bed. “Remember what he has been through.”

Long eyelashes fluttered and huge, soft brown eyes opened. Tayuya risked a quick glance at Konohamaru before the youngster managed to focus. What she saw was not encouraging; Kono-kun was already besotted.

“Ranmaru-kun?” she asked, trying to sound reassuring. “I am Tayuya and this is Konohamaru. You are on the Silver Leaf. You have been tanked for ten days. How do you feel?”

The youngster blinked. “I ache,” he admitted and then pulled himself together. “I feel much better, Tayuya-san, Thank you for asking.”

“You will feel better when you have slept off the effects of the tank,” Tayuya told him. “Our cat, Sumaru, will show you the crew room. Inari, our captain, will want to speak with you.”

She and Konohamaru sat in the galley with the door open while Sumaru showed him the crew room. It did not take long. Sumaru pointed out the bunk they had prepared for him, the head, the shower, the galley and the closet.

“Do you want me to show him the rest of the ship?” he asked.

“Not yet,” Tayuya told him. “Ranmaru-kun, come and sit here. Inari will be along soon. Sumaru-kun, make tea for five please.”

Ranmaru stood up when Inari entered. Inari gestured him to sit.

“You are our cat now, Ranmaru-kun,” he began. “You will find this ship very different from the Hellion. You will have duties but no one will fuck you unless you want it. That is because this is an Uchiha ship and we follow the Uchiha code of conduct.

“Kisame-san and Itachi-san are travelling on the ship with us as security consultants. They are more senior to us in the Uchiha organisation. You will treat them with respect. They may have occasional duties for you.

“It is ninety-five minutes until the midday meal. As this is your first day you will have no duties. Do you want to have private time in your bunk until the midday meal or do you want Sumaru-kun to show you the rest of the ship?”

Ranmaru stared at Inari with his huge, brown eyes. They waited.

“Private time please, Inari-san,” he replied, eventually.

“You may go to your bunk then,” Inari told him. Tayuya saw Inari give a small gesture that Sumaru acknowledged with the smallest of nods.

Sumaru slid the door closed behind them.

“Sumaru will keep an eye on him,” Inari said once the door closed. “Impressions?”

“Nice, polite, wary,” Tayuya volunteered.

“Konohamaru-san?” Inari asked.

Kono-kun shrugged. “I have no more to add. So far, he only speaks when he is spoken to.” He paused. “Sumaru isn’t going to get him to open up. It might have to be you, Tayu-kun. When he has to be physically closer to one of us, he chooses you. I think he is less wary of a female.”

“That makes sense,” agreed Inari. “Good luck with the Iruka-sensei impression, Tayuya-san.

Tayuya was fed up with being grown-up; she stuck her tongue out at him.

By halfway through the afternoon Tayuya was wondering how a youngster like Ranmaru had ever ended up with a crew like the Hellion's. Then again, Neji had ended up with Snuffers; that was Lady Luck for you.

He could read and write. He was polite. He even had good table manners. He seemed to have a reasonable basic knowledge of how a ship worked. He accepted the schedule she prepared for him and his list of duties as if both were perfectly normal, when she could not imagine the Hellion having either.

She could not ask. If she was to be the person he was to trust, she must accept the information he was willing to give and not push for more.

She took him to the closet to try to find him some clothes. He needed boots, the shoes he had were too tight and almost worn through. She tried him with one of her pairs and decided that they fitted him better than his own; they would do for now. Then it was a matter of finding the clothes that needed the least alterations.

“It would help if we could fit the clothes to you,” she explained.

He looked wary but did not say no.

“You would put the clothes on inside out, stand on the stool and I would pin the seams for Kono-kun to sew,” she told him.

“Konohamaru-san does the sewing?” he asked shyly.

That was interesting. “He’s not brilliant at it, but he’s by far the best of the four of us,” she admitted.

“Will you need to touch my skin?” he asked, his voice shaking very slightly.

“I will try to avoid it,” she promised.

He struggled to accept her so close and jumped whenever her fingers brushed his skin by mistake. Once or twice moving unexpectedly meant he was jabbed by a pin but he was less worried by that than by Tayuya’s fingers.

Next morning Itachi-san and Kisame-san interviewed him while the three of them watched a holoprojection from the control room. Afterwards, with Sumaru and Ranmaru busy cleaning, they reviewed the recording question by question.

“There is something odd at the start,” Konohamaru said suddenly soon after they began.

Inari ran the recording back and they studied Ranmaru’s behaviour when Itachi and Kisame first entered the room.

“It’s as if he is trying to work out what they want,” Kono-kun told them. “See, just there, he tries being seductive. It is only for a second or two. He gives up because neither of them responds.”

“So he isn’t the innocent he seems,” Inari suggested.

Tayuya’s temper flashed. “Of course he isn’t an innocent. He’d had eight grown men fucking him and from the state of his arse it was all eight of them every day. It’s probably a defence mechanism; see a scary male, offer him your body, because when he’s fucking you he isn’t doing something worse.”

Inari flushed. “Tayuya...”

She cut him off. “Run the vid, Inari,” she snapped.

Other than that, they only learnt what Ranmaru told them. He had been in an orphanage on Geeon. Once he was fourteen he had to leave and spacing had seemed better than the very limited opportunities available. He had gone to the place would-be cats hung out and a nice crew had shown an interest in him, only to be challenged for him almost immediately by the crew of the Hellion. One look at the Hellion’s champion and they had handed him over.

That had been a div before the Hellion challenged the Silver Leaf.

Everything seemed to fit. Itachi-san was satisfied. Inari coded and compressed all the information they had collected ready to be injected into the data streams for Shikamaru to find. They had changed their route, swapping two planetfalls for one in a system with multiple gates, one of which contained a relay. They would reach the system in another five days.

Three days after they took Ranmaru out of the tank something happened, Tayuya was not sure what, and Ranmaru started making puppy-dog eyes at Kono-kun.

Tayuya dragged Inari into the control room and shut the door. He looked at her in surprise.

“If you don’t do something they will fuck,” she told him.

Inari blinked at her. “Who will fuck?” he queried.

Tayuya glared at him. “Kono-kun and Ranmaru,” she answered.

Inari frowned. “Is that a bad thing?” he asked.

She resisted the urge to hit him. “He’s a stranger. He may even be a spy,” she reminded him.

“Not even Itachi-san thinks he is anything more than he seems,” Inari reminded her. “Tayu-kun, Konohamaru needs someone. There isn’t anyone for him within the family, so that person is bound to be a stranger.”

Tayuya could see the logic but she did not like it. “He needs to wait until Ranmaru is no longer a stranger. You should order him to wait until after the mission.”

Inari shook his head. “No, I won’t do that. When we decided to take Ranmaru out of the tank we accepted him as crew. Crewmates are allowed to fuck each other.”

Tayuya knew she should let it go, but she couldn’t. She was angry. If she couldn’t take it out on Ranmaru, because she was obliged to be nice to him, she needed another target. Inari was there. “You just want to be finally rid of Kono-kun,” she accused.

Inari flushed scarlet. “It’s nothing to do with that,” he insisted.

She knew she had hit a nerve. “First you push him onto C-san, now onto Ranmaru. You don’t care who as long as it doesn’t have to be you.”

For a split moment she thought he would hit her. She froze and watched him take two deep breaths.

“Go away, Tayuya-san,” he ordered in a calm but distant voice.

She left. She wanted to smash something. She no longer knew who she was angry with or why: Ranmaru for ruining their mission, Kono-kun for being ruled by his cock, Inari for being so insufferably reasonable or herself for hurting Inari when he didn’t deserve it. She didn’t dare go near the galley; the plates wouldn’t be safe. Instead she went to the gym and attacked the punch bag until her body ached and she was too exhausted to throw another punch or lash out with another kick.

Sumaru was watching her when she collapsed down onto the floor.

“What are you looking at?” she demanded.

“Tayuya,” he answered. “I was beginning to wonder where she had gone. It is nice to see her back.”

His answer surprised her. She found herself smiling.

He looked at her, waiting.

“Kono-kun is going to fuck Ranmaru,” she told him.

He considered and then shrugged. “It happens,” he answered. “Kono-kun and Inari fucked. One day you and Inari will fuck.”

She felt herself flush. “What makes you say that?” she asked.

“The way he looks at you when you are not looking at him,” Sumaru told her. “The way you try to be what he wants you to be. The only other person you are willing to change yourself for is Iruka-sensei.”

She had to admit it was nice to have confirmation that Inari liked her. She wasn’t sure about the other part.

“I will never want you to be anything other than Tayuya,” Sumaru told her. “Remember that.”

Tayuya scowled, a sharp retort on the tip of her tongue, but he was gone. What had he meant by that? Sumaru was usually so straightforward.

She checked the chronometer. Unless she moved fast, there wouldn’t be a midday meal.

She settled for telling Kono-kun what she thought. She knew it would not make any difference to the outcome but she would feel better for trying. Konohamaru did her the honour of considering what she said but then he shook his head.

“I don’t want to wait. Tayu-kun,” he told her, “and I think Ranmaru wants some good experiences to chase away the bad.”

Tayuya sighed. “At least be careful. Remember what he has been through. Take it slowly. Use what you learnt from Haku.”

Konohamaru grabbed her, spun her about and kissed her cheek. “Thanks, Tayuya,” he said. “I knew you would understand.”

Only she didn’t, she really didn’t, and the last thing she had wanted to do was to leave Kono-kun with the impression that he had her approval.

As for taking it slowly, that did not happen. That night and every night afterwards there were the sounds of two males enjoying each other’s bodies. It wasn’t as bad as Sasuke and Naruto but it was comparable in duration if not volume. At least the noises they made were more conventional than screaming, growling and howling.

Tayuya wished they were home or on the Oak, where everyone had their own room.

The planet Quaiden was ordinary in all but one way; it was in a system with four gates, one of which had a light speed communication relay. Inari talked about how far-thinking the locals had been to pay for a second pair of gates and the economic prosperity the decision had brought to their descendents. Tayuya only half listened. She was watching Ranmaru and Kono-kun, who were indulging in lingering glances and occasional touches. At least Ranmaru was over his aversion to being touched. They both seemed ridiculously happy.

Once they had landed the ship, which was exciting for Tayuya as pilot, they decided on a first trip to the large and vibrant spacer quarter. They dressed as they had when walking the Warren and Tayuya did her best to make Ranmaru look uninteresting. However, when Itachi-san looked them over his eyes stayed on Ranmaru and he shook his head.

“No way you can you disguise that,” he observed. “Even if crews have the sense not to challenge for him they might be tempted to try stealing him. Maybe this is not the best approach, Inari-san.”

Tayuya saw Inari’s mind racing. It was the first time Itachi-san had said anything that could be interpreted as criticism.

“You think we should walk the quarter as an Uchiha crew,” Inari deduced.

“I think it would be interesting as well as safer,” Itachi admitted. “This was not your first choice destination. We believe that the intelligence to be gathered here will be limited. The Silver Leaf is registered as an Uchiha craft and this is a large enough port for someone to take notice of that. Walking the spacer quarter as an Uchiha crew will ensure that the visit is useful in other ways than providing access to the data stream and buying vegetables.”

They waited.

“Very well,” Inari decided. “We will walk as an Uchiha crew. Konohamaru-san and Tayuya-san, please do your best with Ranmaru-san’s outfit until we can visit a tailor. We will walk, in uniform, after the midmeal.”

They settled for finding the largest Uchiha crest they had, which was from the back of one of Kisame-san’s kimonos, converting it to a motif and appliquéing it to the back of Ranmaru’s jacket.

The difference was amazing. They walked at their pace and no matter how dense the crowd it flowed around them. The tailor they spoke to about making Ranmaru a uniform insisted that it would be ready within forty minutes; Tayuya imagined every apprentice and journeyman working on it. They were offered the best vegetables and fruit for reasonable prices.

Even here there were some blue ribbons. Occasionally someone would call out their support for Naruto-san.

Once they had been back to the tailor’s and Ranmaru was dressed in his uniform, Inari decided they would go to a club. As it was afternoon it was only two-thirds full and the atmosphere was more about business than pleasure.

Itachi-san dug into the inside pocket of his jacket and drew out a handful of small objects that he scattered over the tabletop.

“A number of the stalls are selling these,” he told them.

Tayuya recognised the small medallions many spacers carried for luck. She picked one up. In the centre was a picture of Naruto-san. Usually the picture was of a spacer hero from one of the sagas or of one of the lovers from a famous ballad. Occasionally it was a lucky symbol or a religious icon.

Itachi-san picked one out and flicked it to her. She caught it. It was double sided; on one side was Naruto-san and on the other Sasuke-sama.

Konohamaru was examining one of the others. “I did not know they produced these with images of real, living people,” he admitted.

Itachi-san looked at him. “Neither did I,” he replied.

Author’s Note

Some readers may have noticed that I have started publishing ‘In the cold of space you find the heat of suns’ on FF dot net. I have started doing this in the hope that more people will see the story and decide to read it. Not much luck so far!

When I was thinking of ‘In the cold of space you find the heat of suns’ I started imagining what had happened between the chapters and that lead me to write ‘Silver Leaf Tales: Tying the knot’, a one-shot, which I have published on this site and intend to publish on the other.

I do send out email alerts for postings on this site. If you wish to be included, please look at my profile and (click on Mannah Pierce) and send an email to the address you will find there.

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