BY : Mannah_Pierce
Category: Naruto > Yaoi - Male/Male > Naruto/Sasuke
Dragon prints: 952
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’.

I would like to thank those who have left a review. I read every one and they mean a great deal 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.

Please see the author’s note at the end.

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 nine: Stranded

Very occasionally in Inari’s life, it felt as if Lady Luck had completely deserted him. This was one of those times. They were stranded without a working drive.

It was nobody’s fault. The drive had been in perfect working order; Kotetsu had done a brilliant job of the rebuild. Strikes by space junk were one of the dangers of spacing. This piece had penetrated the engine compartment and the drive itself; Lady knew why it was travelling so fast.

They had put out a beacon and then manoeuvred well away of the shipping lane using the lateral rockets; the last thing they needed was to come to the attention of pirates. As an added precaution, the encrypted broadcast was in a pattern that would look like static without the correct decoder.

At least they had achieved the main purpose of the mission. It had been trickier than expected. The Natushiboshi system had been busier than anticipated; three days had elapsed before Inari was satisfied that no one would observe them launching the rocket.

Two jumps later and they were here, stranded, in a system with two gates, a dim star and some orbiting rocks.

Inari thought Sasuke-sama would wait ten days before dispatching the Dart.

He knew that no one would blame him for space junk but it rankled that his first command was going to end with them being rescued. Also, unless Sasuke-sama sent the Oak, which did not seem very likely, the Silver Leaf would be abandoned. It was a good ship. It deserved better than that.

It had started with him thinking he would have a look. After all, it was possible that the actually damage was slight. Perhaps replacing one or two components would solve it. He knew that Izumo insisted on every ship carrying the full range of spares and a complete set of tools.

Fifteen minutes later Inari knew that he would have to disassemble the entire drive to remove all the damage . Even if he did there was no guarantee that he had all the spares he needed to rebuild it.

But his fingers itched to try and there was nothing else useful he could be doing with his time. His grandfather had told stories about engineers who had stripped down and rebuilt drives on route, so he knew it was possible. Not that he was, by any means, a fully qualified engineer and he had barely touched a drive since leaving Wave. On the other hand, the Silver Leaf’s drive was simple; he had stripped down and rebuilt such drives numerous times in his grandfather’s yard on Wave II.

If he could get them to the next light speed relay less than ten days late he might be able to stop Sasuke-sama sending the Dart and bring the Silver Leaf home.

That gave him four days to get the drive going.

Itachi watched Kisame.

Kisame was, by nature, peaceable. Itachi knew that he had a temper because he had, on rare occasions, seen it. Each occasion had been when someone or something had threatened Itachi.

Very few other things upset Kisame.

But this was one of them. Kisame might have another phobia but, if he did, Itachi did not know of it.

Kisame was terrified of being stranded in space in a ship that did not work.

Like they were now.

Words and logic would not help; it was a phobia.

Itachi decided to try to distract him.

Talking about Haku and Mai had not worked. If anything it had made matters worse. Instead of spending all the time thinking about them dying slowly in a stranded ship, Kisame was thinking of a grieving Haku and them dying slowly in a stranded ship. Itachi needed to think of something different.

Lying in wait for Kisame in his bunk certainly qualified as different. Itachi had thought about it for most of a day. He had decided that it was not that different than sitting in Kisame’s lap; he chose to do that and he could choose to do this. He had, of course, slept in the same bed as Kisame but that had been only when he had taken a relaxant and with Haku there to tell them what to do.

He could not take the relaxant. He wished he could, but he could not. They were stranded in space. There was the constant threat of pirates. Sasuke had trusted him with Uchiha’s treasured youngsters.

He was wearing the dark red pyjama pants that Haku had given him. At first he had been determined to be naked but then, when it had come to it, he had changed his mind.

He could hear Kisame’s footsteps. He had been to use the shower in the crew room. There was the sound of a large man using a small head and then the whisper of cloth moving over scaled skin.

Kisame’s head appeared over the edge of the bunk. His eye blinked once. Then it vanished.

Itachi’s heart was beating very hard. There were the sounds of a person looking for something.

The head reappeared, followed by the rest of Kisame’s body. He was wearing his grey silk pyjama pants.

They said nothing; Kisame lay on this side facing Itachi. Itachi turned to face the wall but snuggled back against Kisame’s body. There was the familiar feeling of Kisame’s skin in an unfamiliar place as his back came into contact with Kisame’s chest.

A protective arm snaked about his waist but was careful not to pull him closer. Itachi looked down at the arm. He could feel Kisame nuzzling his hair.

He relaxed slightly. It was nice.

Kisame had a massive will and phenomenal self control.

He needed both not to have an erection when Itachi snuggled back against him.

He had waited seventeen standards for this moment. He would not ruin it.

He felt Itachi relax and slowly drift into sleep.

Kisame had no intention of sleeping. He was determined to commit every iota of what he was experiencing to memory; the smell of Itachi’s hair, the feel of his skin and, above all, that firm bottom pressed against his groin.

Maybe Haku was right. Perhaps Itachi was ready to take a few baby steps on his own without the drugs and without Haku there to hold his hand.

Maybe Haku was wrong and Itachi would look at Kisame but see Fugaku. Kisame could not live with that. He would do anything to avoid it.

He shut his eye and recalled what Haku had said to him. He needed to avoid situations that reminded Itachi of encounters with his father. On the banned list were any type of penetration or violence, removing Itachi’s clothes, bending him over, looming above him or being behind him without some reminder that it was Kisame, which was the reason Kisame had risked putting his arm around Itachi’s waist.

Not looming was the one that worried Kisame the most. How did a person as large as him not loom over someone the size of Itachi?

He sat down a lot.

On the possible list was sharing a shower, given that the bathroom was their best venue at home, and being very still if Itachi chose to touch him.

He wondered, briefly, what was on Itachi’s possible list.

It was an unwise thought; he had to remind himself that they were stranded in space to abort the erection that resulted.

Sumaru lay in his bunk.

Giving his mother to Natushiboshi had been the proudest moment of his life so far. He had monitored the coffin’s path into the star. He had visualised each symbol vaporising and the prayer it contained being released.

If they died here he would have achieved something worthwhile.

Two things; he had recruited Lee to the Chosen.

Next on his list was killing Kimimaro. It was possible he was dead; Lee did not know if he had killed him or not.

If he was not dead, and if Lee did not get to him first, Sumaru would kill him.

When Naruto-san weakened, Sumaru would be Sasuke-sama’s bodyguard. He had, perhaps, thirteen standards until he was needed for that duty more than occasionally.

He would do his duty to Uchiha. He would behave as one of the Chosen. He would kill Kimimaro.

What else?

He would recruit others to the way of the Chosen.

He thought deeply about what he would have to do. He considered fetching a tablet or a pen and paper. He decided against it; it was good discipline to keep an orderly mind.

He began reciting the Book of the Chosen. He had not taught the whole book to Lee. There was too much of it that was only relevant to Hoshigakure. Some of it, Sumaru admitted secretly, included sentiments that may have repelled a man like Lee.

There was the part about not questioning a Master no matter what he did, and the references to slaying the innocent whom fate had abandoned in your path, and the chunks about good and evil being outmoded concepts as compared to order and chaos.

If you only read those bits, you could understand why the people decided that they would be better off without their Masters.

Sumaru had an interesting thought. At one time, in the past, the Book of the Chosen must have been as admirable as the Way of the Knife. There must have been a man posing as a Master who corrupted it.

If he meditated and prayed, the original Book of the Chosen would be revealed.

He would rediscover the original Book of the Chosen.

Then he would recruit others to the Way.

And, perhaps, pirates would be stupid enough to board the ship while they were stranded. Then he and Kisame-san could kill them all and they could use the pirates’ ship to get home.

Konohamaru had given up trying to persuade Inari that attempting to mend a drive while actually spacing was a pointless waste of time. Sasuke would send the Dart to find them, or possibly the Oak. Konohamaru was hoping for the Oak.

He smiled at Ranmaru, who responded by sitting in Konohamaru’s lap. Other than the two of them, the crew room was empty. Inari was in the engine room, Sumaru was in the gym and Tayuya was probably in the Control Room. It was the perfect time for some canoodling on the couch.

Konohamaru particularly liked petting and kissing. He enjoyed them whether or not they resulted in fucking. With Inari they had flipped between friendly and fucking so quickly that there was never any time for more than a grope. With Haku it had been like some complex dance during which Konohamaru was appearing to lead but Haku was actually in control. When with C-san Konohamaru was studying sex and C-san was the best of teachers.

With Ranmaru it was fun. Ranmaru squirmed and giggled but his shining eyes and flushed cheeks said that Konohamaru’s games were more than welcome. They even played chase with Konohamaru holding back so that Ranmaru could tease him.

“Did you get to play much at the orphanage?” Konohamaru asked after Ranmaru had been captured, borne back to the couch and given a thorough kissing.

Confusion drifted across Ranmaru’s face and Konohamaru wished he had not asked the question.

“Sometimes,” Ranmaru answered, but he did not seem very sure. Konohamaru could see him deciding to ask a question so that he did not have to answer another of Konohamaru’s. “Did you play when you were a child?”

“Yes. I went to school. There were other boys there and we played as well as studied. When I was at home I played alone because Sasuke was three standards older than me and...” He hesitated. “Well, Sasuke never played. He probably did before, but never afterwards.”

“After his family was killed,” Ranmaru said softly.

Konohamaru nodded. Ranmaru did not ask another question; he always seemed to know when to speak and when to be silent. He cuddled close to Konohamaru’s chest. Konohamaru stroked his hair. Ranmaru was so easy to talk to and so happy to listen.

“He was so broken when they brought him to Grandfather’s and, afterwards, well, he didn’t really mend. You’d get flashes of what he could have been, like when he was playing his lute. The rest of the time he was broken inside but he covered it with this thick layer that no one could get through. He was like an automaton. All he seemed to care about was doing everything correctly, of doing his duty as the last Uchiha.

“Then he went away to cat and when I saw him again it was three standards later and he was mended. Naruto did it, or knowing Naruto did it, or maybe loving Naruto did it. Naruto is amazing and, because of Naruto, Sasuke is too. I can’t wait for you to meet them.”

“I want to meet them,” Ranmaru replied and this time he sounded sure.

Konohamaru hugged him.

Part of Ranmaru hoped that Inari would not mend the drive and they would never be rescued. If that happened he could die in Konohamaru’s arms after the happiest time in his life. He was sure that Konohamaru would hold him until the end came.

And he would not have let Konan-san down because he would have died on a mission, still doing what she had asked him to do.

Konohamaru loved him. Ranmaru did not know how, or why, but being an empath meant that he knew it was true.

Ranmaru could not remember being loved. He was almost sure that his mother had loved him but he could barely remember her and, when he was being honest, he was not certain that he had not imagined her.

Konan-san was fond of him but she did not love him. Ranmaru did not expect love. She was not his mother. She was a wonderful person who had been asked to take care of him.

Did he love Konohamaru? Ranmaru knew that the answer was no. He loved Konan-san. He could not love both Konohamaru and Konan-san. It was one or the other.

But Konohamaru made him so happy. Ranmaru enjoyed every game, every cuddle and every kiss. He liked sleeping close to another person. He even looked forward to the fucking because it was so different than when the crew of the Hellion had fucked him. Konohamaru took pride in making Ranmaru climax so often that he was reduced to a boneless mess of sensuality; Ranmaru knew Konohamaru preferred it even to his own orgasm.

Ranmaru did his best to repay Konohamaru in kind.

When Konohamaru was not with him Ranmaru felt cold and dirty. He knew why. It was guilt. He had picked Konohamaru out as the easiest mark. He had used his talent to make Konohamaru love him. Konohamaru believed in love and the power of love to change people; he was a romantic. Ranmaru had used that against him.

Once he found out that Ranmaru was a spy he would be heartbroken.

And Ranmaru did not know what they intended to do to Konohamaru and the others. Maybe the damage to the drive was planned. Maybe it wasn’t Sasuke Uchiha who was coming, or pirates, but the men who had trained him. Maybe they would torture Konohamaru because he would refuse to betray Sasuke Uchiha and his Naruto.

Perhaps, if Ranmaru was lucky, no one would ever come and Konohamaru would die ignorant that Ranmaru had betrayed him, still believing in love.

Tayuya sighed. Inari had not come to the midday meal. She had sent Sumaru and he had returned saying that Inari could not stop what he was doing.

Once they had finished eating she found food that could be cut into small chunks and two bottles with flip lids. She packed a small basket while Sumaru and Ranmaru cleared and cleaned the galley. Then she made her way to the engine room.

He was stripped to the waist and grimy in a way that spacers rarely were. There were cleaner streaks were the rivulets of sweat had run. Unlike last time she had visited, the drive looked complete. Even so, various components were in groups across the floor. Tayuya did not know if they were from the drive or spares. She did not ask.

“I brought you food and a drink and some water,” she told him. “I’ll put it here where you can reach it easily.

He jumped and she realised he had not heard her enter. It was an indication of how exhausted he was.

She bit her lip. “Inari, there are other things to worry about than trying to mend the drive,” she reminded him.

He smiled at her, which was completely unexpected. She found herself smiling back.

“Not really, Tayuya-kun,” he answered. “If pirates attack I will hand command over to Itachi-san. It would be the best decision; the one Sasuke-sama would expect me to make.”

He reached out and took a chunk of bread with cheese on it. She watched it vanish into his mouth.

“That’s good,” he admitted, washing it down with some water. “Thank you.”

“I will leave you to get on,” she told him.

“You don’t have to,” he replied. “I’m going to run a test in about ten minutes. You could stay and see what happens.”

Tayuya thought that she understood. He was going to be disappointed when it did not work. It would be better if there was someone there to support him. She found a place where she could sit and not be in the way.

He demolished half the food she had brought him and emptied the bottle of fruit juice. Then he went back to doing whatever he was doing to the drive.

“I used to think I would spend my life doing this,” he told her. “Not in space, but in my grandfather’s yard.”

Tayuya had known that but it was different thinking about it while watching him work. “Like Izumo and Kotetsu,” she observed.

“Like Izumo-san,” Inari agreed. “Kotetsu is different. He is the Shikamaru of drives. My grandfather trained them.”

She suddenly realised that Inari was good at this. “Like he trained you,” she suggested.

“As he trained me,” Inari agreed. “I suppose I was at the level of a senior apprentice when I stopped.”

She didn’t ask why he had stopped because she knew. Inari wanted to be one of new Uchiha’s captains. It was one of the reasons he did not want this first mission to end badly.

“We achieved the main mission objective,” she reminded him. “We also acquired useful intelligence at two locations. No one will blame you for falling foul of some space junk.”

He flashed her a quick smile. “I know. I am just stubborn. You, of all people, should understand that.”

Tayuya did not think of herself as stubborn, merely difficult and hot tempered. She had not thought of Inari as stubborn either; he was determined.

Sumaru was stubborn.

“You wouldn’t be trying if you didn’t think you could get it to work,” she told him before realising what she was saying; Inari believed he could mend the drive, or he wouldn’t be investing the time and effort.

He finished tightening a nut, sat back and took another swig of water. “Let’s see,” he replied.

It worked.

She and Inari were hugging each other and jumping about like little kids.

Then he kissed her and they were suddenly two young adults. He pulled away.

“I am sorry,” he muttered.

“I’m not,” she admitted, “but not now and not here,” she suggested, “and maybe not soon,” she added.

He gave her a shy, little-boy smile and nodded.

All the other tests went well. Inari had stripped down the entire drive, replaced the damaged components from the spares that Izumo insisted all Uchiha ships carried and rebuilt it.

They jumped into a system with a light speed relay nine days later than planned.

Author's note

I have added this author's note late to the last chapter so I am adding it here as well. Apologies to those who end up reading it twice.

In this fic I have the hybrids being characters from the anime that are either Jinchûriki (like Naruto and Gaara) or who have some other characteristic that suggested them for the hybrid role like Kiba's close association with Akamaru or Kisame, who was already a sharkman. So far I have also used Roshi and Yugito.

I think I can use any of the Jinchûriki who have a vertebrate (mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian or fish) as their tailed beast, so that would be Yagura, Killer Bee and Han. I am less sure about the ones that have a slug or a beetle.

Does anyone know any characters from the series that they would think would make good hybrids? Connection to a vertebrate would be useful.

Also, is August a quiet time on the site or have I just lost readers as I moved from 'In the cold of space' to 'Tales in Tarrasade' and then to 'Iteration'? Feedback would be very much appreciated.

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