Airluwena (airluwena) wrote in yaoi_collection,
Airluwena
airluwena
yaoi_collection

Author: Shadows_Call
Anime: Naruto
Rating: This time around, it's only... hmm... R? No smut yet.
Name: Recovering Sands

^^ One of my currect projects, and something I'm proud of. If you're not a fan of odd pairings, I don't suggest you read this. ^^; I honestly thought I could keep the pairing hidden, but I guess I've made it rather obvious. ItachixGaara Also, if you're new to the series, or just follow it in Shounen Jump, be aware that there are spoilers.

After a dangerous encounter with Sasuke, Itachi is left seriously injured. The leaf knows him too well, his only choice is to travel to the hidden sand village to heal in peace. Or will the current Kazakage find the truth behind his past?






Moving slowly, Itachi clutched at his wounds, the gushing blood barely visible in the pounding rain. If he went back to the organization, the medical ninja could cure him quickly... but he was reluctant to show them that he had been beaten by his brother, who had spared him, despite the numerous times Itachi reminded his brother of what he had done. It was that Kyuubi boy who had changed Sasuke's heart, who in turn began to change Itachi. Shaking his head to clear it of those weak days he had spent with his brother, neither fighting, Itachi managed to jump into a tree whose broad leaves were some shelter from the cold rain.

The more time he spent with his little brother, the more Sasuke's revenge seemed ideal. Even after everything Itachi had done to him, Sasuke was still the kind and some what doting little brother he had grown attached to. It ate away at his conscience until he couldn't stand it anymore; guilt was not something he wished to have. That is when he found out that Sasuke had achieved the advanced sharingan, one that could see through the illusions of his own. They fought after that, twenty-four year old Sasuke more than a match for his brother. After a crippling blow, Sasuke had been offered the chance to end the life of the one who slaughtered their clan and left him alone... but he couldn't drive home the ending jab. Sasuke had give Itachi something worse than death in his eyes; pity. His little brother had staggered off; Itachi had gotten in some good shots, leaving his brother with his thoughts, bleeding on the forest floor.

A fever had set in after a day of slow travel and nothing but rain water collected in leaves to cleanse the wounds. It made the biting coldness of the rain even worse. Itachi's thoughts kept drifting to his brother and that last week no matter how hard he tried to forget them and concentrate on the path ahead of him. His fevered mind teetered in and out of consciousness; there were several times he woke up further down the path than he had last remembered being, or had fallen from the tree he had thought he was only resting his eyes in.

He didn't know how long he walked through the forest, but he was happy to see the forest thin out, hard rock and sand replacing the wet and dreary woods. Now that the desert had thankfully less showers, he assessed the grim fates that were waiting for him. He could either die from dehydration, die of hunger, die of exposure, or die from the raging infection in his wounds. None sounded appealing. He knew from experience that traveling the desert by day would quickly end his life, the blaring heat of the sun bounced back from the brilliant sand would fry him in no time. Close to the fading tree line was a rocky outcrop that provided a little shade. Being a high ranking Anbu meant he was immune to most poisons, including what ever snake or bug had also sought out the comforting shade. As he trudged from the shade of the tree into the sand, he felt the sun hit him as though it were a heavy weight, pulling down his shoulders and trying to make him stumble. In the ten minutes it took to stumble into the little bit of shade, Itachi's hair had already dried, as well as the majority of his clothes.

A snake rattled a warning and Itachi used the binding jutsu to calm it. He glanced around and saw no other obvious threats. Lying down in the sand, he used his arm as a pillow and napped while he could.









A pain in his leg jolted him out of sleep; only his training kept him from bolting upright. Opening an eye slowly he saw a large lizard crawling across his leg, digging his claws into his flesh as it would have done if Itachi were a rock or stick to rest on. The lizard was only a foot long, but its colors reminded him that its bite was poisonous. Moving slowly he reached out with his last kunai then flipped the lizard away from him. As he sat up, the annoyed lizard scuttled off into a bush. The snake was no where to be found, probably out hunting. The sun lay nestled in the golden sand on the horizon, its rays reaching up to tint the clouds a soft pink before finally pulling the cloak of darkness with it as it set. Sighing Itachi rose, the ache in his fevered wounds on his leg, arm, and chest making itself known again. Sand and leaves stuck to his back but he didn't bother to brush them off; camouflage might come in handy. The cold of the desert at night was almost as bad as the rain in the forest, aiding his fevered shivers. A part of him wanted to curl up and use the blade on himself, but he was too stubborn to give in to anything as meager as pain. It came and went in life; he wouldn't let it destroy him now.

The sand was hard to walk through, his feet sinking a little here and there, making him exert more effort than normal to pull himself free. After the third time, Itachi was thoroughly annoyed. He scanned the terrain and picked out where the sand either looked the firmest, or there was an obvious rock almost even with the sandy ground. Trudging to the nearest rock he picked his way along the firmer path, a portion of his mind keeping note which way was north.

He spent the night like that, hopping from rock to rock, until he noticed the sky lightening. His head felt as though it would burst, and his chest burned with the effort to pull in sufficient amounts of air. There was a sparsely leaved tree nearby, and a grouping of large rocks. He looked more closely at the rocks and saw that a few inches above the sand there was a pocket of air. Choosing that as his shelter for the day, he quickly made his way toward them. Hopefully there would be more space after he dug out some of the sand... or he was stuck under the tree. Itachi dropped to his knees and used his uninfected arm to scoop out the sand. By the time he had enough shelter for him to use, the sun had risen and bit at his back like furious animal. His ears had been badly burnt, but thankfully his cloak had protected him from anything worse.

Scooting under the rock Itachi lay down, watching the desert life. There were dark, threatening clouds on the horizon, which Itachi greeted happily. He hoped it would rain now, the night's efforts had left his lips chapped and his mouth as dry as the sand he laid on. Taking out his kunai, he scooted out from the rock shelter. He found a head sized rock and scooted it closer to him, then used the katon goukakyuu no jutsu to release a steady stream of fire, stopping now and then to use the butt of his kunai to sculpt a rivet into the stone. After working hard enough he had a deep dip in the stone so he set it upon the top of the rock then dove back under his shelter and slept. Thunder woke him, and then water rushed into his temporary home. He pulled himself out from under the stone, or be stuck in the ever dampening sand. The rain cooled him further and filled in his make shift bowl. Once it seemed full, he would quickly down it then set it back out again. Thankfully his thirst had been quenched and the storm's clouds hung in the sky long after it stopped raining, so he abandoned his dwelling and turned the bowl upside down to hide what he had done to it.

The rain made even the firmer sand soggy and the rocks slippery. He gave up on conserving chakra and used it to cling to the rocks or walk on the sand with out it shifting under his weight. Night fell and he rested for a moment against a rare tree, hunger now gnawing at his stomach. A snake was the closest living thing to him so he quickly disposed of it with his kunai and skinned it. Breathing a bit of fire at it to sear the meat enough for it to be safe to eat, he then devoured the snake, keeping the skin for possible use later. For what he didn't know or care, but it was light and easy to carry tucked in a pocket.

The night went by quickly, with him seeking rest more often than before. He cursed his weakness but knew he had to hurry to some town or risk losing his leg and arm to the infection, or even his life. He looked over all three gashes, the area around it hot and pulsing, the messily closed wound filled with liquid and more than likely pus. There weren't any streaks coming from any of the infected areas, so he knew the infection wasn't spreading to the rest of him... yet. The cut on his leg had opened and closed a few times during the night, it stuck painfully to his clothing as the drainage dried and clung to his thigh. As the night wound to a close he came upon a major obstacle. A cliff rose from the ground, its blood red rock a contrast to the tan of the sand. He saw his place of rest for the day, a cave whose inhabitants he planned on scaring away. The cliff he'd figure out when he had slept more.

Out of the corner of his eye something scuttled out of the cave, a large something. It was a bird whose nest it had abandoned. Itachi clutched at the walls as thankfulness surged through him. The nest had three large eggs; the bird itself came to his knee. He disposed of it, promptly striking it down with his kunai. Smugly he was noted that despite the fever and lack of his dominant hand, he had hit the bird between its eyes from behind, the head smaller than his fist. The protein from the bird and eggs were welcomed, his mouth almost watering at the thought of each item. There was still a little time before the sun would peek over the sand and rise, so he gathered sufficient supplies; dried brush and a few sticks from a tree, a flat stone and another large stone to mold and hopefully catch dew in. He worked at the large stone first; dawn would bring his best chance for water. Once finished he laid it out, inspecting the sky to see if he was too late. Stars still lit the sky, the horizon only lightening a bit. He went back inside and started the fire near the mouth of the cave, not caring if someone saw it. Even in his current state he could handle a few jounins easily. They would even provide him with information; if there were patrols, and then he was close to the hidden sand village he was aiming for. Their clothes would help him sneak back in... now that he thought of it, he welcomed a chance to encounter any ninjas from the sand.

Placing the flat stone near the edge of the fire, he waited for it to become hot enough then cracked open the first egg, sizzling as it hit the stone. As he waited he skinned the bird and gutted it. He pierced it with one of the thicker sticks and held it over the burning brush as he used another stick to prod at the cooking egg. Once it was done he scooped it off of the rock, ignoring the mild pain he got from touching the hot stone with his fingers, and ate it happily. The next two eggs were cooked at once, the bird nearly finished. He bit into the thigh, wincing a little at the toughness. It was gamey and tasted like a cross between turkey and fish, but it was food and he was hungry. He stamped out the dying fire then ate the other two eggs slowly, relishing the taste. Food would be sparse for a while, so whatever he could come by he'd enjoy. As he sat and slowly ate, he picked up a stone and carved a map of the area he roughly guess he had been when he fought Sasuke in the Fire country to where the hidden sand village was in the Wind country. Two days had passed while he had been in the forest until he had reached the mostly flat sandy area. From that, two more days had passed. Judging by how much ground he guessed he had covered every hour plus how many hours he had traveled, from dusk to dawn, he was half way to his objective. After another night of traveling, he should be wary of patrolling Anbu. The Sand were worthy adversaries, more so under the guidance of their Kazakage, Gaara, than the previous leader.

With his lucky feast settling nicely in his stomach, Itachi pushed the small pebbles and sand from the cave before he lifted up his shirt and positioned the hole in his pant leg over the pulsing gash. The stone in the cave was cool from the constant shade and it provided some relief from pain. He fell asleep, cheek pressed to the rocky floor until a howl in the distance woke him. The fever was even worse when he woke up. It made him shaky and dizzier than before, getting into a sitting position took so much energy from him that he was left panting. Itachi closed his eyes and concentrated on his goal; just two or three more nights of travel and he would be close enough to seek assistance.

Urging his body to respond, he rose to his feet. Aching with every movement, Itachi walked from the cave then cursed. Night had fallen about two hours earlier. The lost time wasn't worth being bitter over so he summoned enough chakra to his feet and hands to aid him in climbing the cliff face. At first it was easy, the hard rock had many cracks for hand and foot holds. Had he more chakra to spare, he would have easily leapt halfway up the cliff then ran up the rest... Itachi sighed and gritted his teeth, taking comfort that he was two thirds done. The lip of the cliff was a body length away, but the rock had thinned, becoming more of a mix of shale and sand than sturdy rock. The thin pieces of rock as well as sand loosened, sending sharp rocks raining onto his face, sand blinding him. He felt himself slide down a bit until the sturdy rock returned, then he brushed the sand from his face and looked up. If he used a good chunk of his chakra, he would be able to push off from the cliff and jump to the top. The chances that he would land safely past the edge of the cliff were dim the further down he was. The walls and most likely the edge were unstable. Itachi reasoned that if he jumped from where his feet were at the last of the solid rock, then he'd be able to jump well over the height of the rest of the cliff and safely past it.

Climbing slowly he made his way to the safe area to jump. Gathering his chakra to his feet he used a burst of chakra combined with his jump to hop over the cliff. He took advantage of his sudden height advantage to scan the area he noted with some relief that the hidden sand village was visible; meaning his guess at the distance until he reached it wasn't far off. The landing was less than graceful; he landed on his feet but the infected leg gave way, causing him to fall forward. Itachi lifted himself back to his feet and searched out a rocky path to use. Once picked out, he hopped from rock to rock, running when possible and ignored the jolts of pain every time he used his injured leg. Renewed hope helped bolster his spirits, giving him a little extra energy to hurry, wanting to make up for the time he lost.

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