Disclaimer: Naruto is owned by Masashi Kishimoto
Cover image: Cover image 'Shadows of the Future' by Ritam (Deviantart) Used with permission.
Author note: You're going to think this is cute, (If I did my job right.) but please remember that it is quite impossible for this to end happily. I do not provide free tissues with this story.
Read, enjoy, review.
I Want A Brother
"Oh come on Kankuro! We're going to be late!" Temari was practically running circles around her brother and uncle, while still trying to look grown up and respectable. Whatever that was supposed to mean. Kankuro looked at the large building where it seemed everyone in Suna was gathered. Today was the day he and his sister entered the training academy. He wasn't sure what to expect.
Yashamaru placed a hand on the young boy's shoulder, then grabbed Temari by the wrist, halting her excited circles. "Alright, you two calm down. I'm glad you're to be excited, but you have to behave yourselves."
"I always behave." Temari said, smiling at her uncle cutely. Kankuro looked down and shuffled his feet nervously. "What will the tests be like Yashamaru? Will they be hard?"
"Hard for you maybe," Temari said "But not for me!"
Kankuro glared at her. "They will not be hard! I'm just as good as you!"
"You are not. I'm older!"
"Alright you two." Yashamaru tightened his grip on them to keep the siblings from having a full out war. He knew from previous experience that the two normally got along pretty well, but the excitement and stress were making tempers short. "There's nothing to worry about." He assured them both. "Just do your best."
Temari nodded, pigtails bobbing. "Come on Kankuro!"
He walked towards her and held out a hand. She glared and shook her head. "Not now baby, we're shinobi now." She ran towards the training building.
Kankuro's brows creased as he watched her progress. "She's mean." He muttered.
"She'll grow out of it. Don't let it upset you." Yashamaru said, pushing Kankuro forward gently with a hand.
"Why'd I have to end up with a dumb sister? Why couldn't I have a brother instead?" Kankuro asked miserably.
Yashamaru paused. "You do have a brother Kankuro."
The boy's eyes widened. "I do?"
Temari had made her way impatiently back to them, grabbing her uncle's hand and pulling him forward impaitently. "Of course we have a brother silly. His name's Gaara."
Kankuro frowned. He was familiar with the name, he knew he'd heard it before. . . "But, why don't I see him then?"
"Because." Temari started, then paused. "I don't know. . .I think he used to live at home. . . " She looked up at her uncle.
Yashamaru sighed and ran a hand through his hair, scratching the back of his head. "I've been taking care of Gaara. You can't tell anyone he's your brother understand? I didn't realize you didn't remember."
"Why can't we tell?" Kankuro asked in confusion. Temari nodded in agreement.
"Because your father said so." Yashamaru replied.
Both children sighed and nodded, they knew better then go against their father.
"Come on Kankuro we need to go in." Temari said.
"Why can't we see him?" Kankuro asked, still amazed at the fact he had a brother he didn't know about and wondering how come no one had told him before this.
"Yashamaru sighed again, then smiled. "You will meet him, tonight actually."
Temari's eyes widened. "Really?"
Yashamaru nodded. "Your father has important business outside the city. He won't be back till late. You two are going to be staying at my house tonight, with me and Gaara."
Temari frowned; Father had left them at night before, but never with their uncle.
Kankuro stared. "Wahooo!" He shouted. "I have a . . ."
"Shut up Kankuro didn't you hear what Yahsimaur just said?" Temari reminded, giving him a shove. Kankuro immediately quieted, but he smiled I have a brother. Gaara. . .
Kankuro-Sama! Temari-Sama! You must hurry! We're ready to start!" Their Sensei said, running forward and ushering them quickly towords the building like a man herding sheep.
"Will you watch Uncle Yashamaru? Watch the test?" Temari asked.
"I would like to Temari, but I have to go back to the clinic. I'll be back when it's over to pick you up."
Temari nodded, frowning in disappointment. "Alright." she said, then turned and led Kankuro up the stairs to the crowded building. People yelled at one another, Other children ran around chassing their friends, and Anbu guards stood like dark shadows in the doorways watching under their cloth masks. Kankuro's hand slipped into Temari's and she tightened her fingers around his. Together the children walked through the doors of the building to begin their lives as shinobi. She was eight, and he was six.
"Temari, I want to hold it."
"No. You might drop it. Besides, it was my idea."
"No it wasn't! I was the one who said we should bring him a present!"
If you two don't stop arguing I'm taking you back home." Yashamaru said, frowning at them. Then his voice calmed. "Temari, let Kankuro carry the bear. You can give it to Gaara once we get there."
Neither child was pleased.
"Oh fine." Temari said, shoving the toy to her brother.
Kankuro straightened the brown fur and held the teddy bear in his arms tightly. "Do you think he'll like it?"
"Of course he will." Temari replied. Skipping up ahead of him and twirling. Kankuro shielded his brother's present from the shower of sand spraying under Temari's sandals.
"Here we are." Yashamaru said. He pushed past his niece and nephew to open the door for them, but before his hand reached it, they heard the latch click and it slowly opened as if by itself. . Temari and Kankuro heard a scrape, and a bump. The door wouldn't open much farther than a few short inches.
Yashamaru craned his head and tried to slide the door open wider. "Gaara? What are you doing?" Temari leaned forward and peeked round the door. She watched as a small figure appeared and scooted a kitchen chair away, then two small feet came running back, grabbed the edge of the door and pushed it open. "I was going to open the door for you but I couldn't reach." Gaara said.
Kankuro and Temari found themselves face to face with an extremely short four year old. He had messy red hair, and huge blue/green eyes, which were shadowed by dark lids. He stared back at them. Then looked down shyly.
"Hello." Kankuro and Temari both said, almost at the same time.
His head raised and a small shy smile appeared on his face. The three siblings stood in a circle inside the hallway. No one said anything for a long time. Yashamaru helped Temari and Kankuro with their cloaks and hoods, the replaced Gaara's chair in the kitchen. The children just stared at each other.
"What's on your face?" Gaara finally asked, reaching up a finger and nearly poking Kankuro in the eye.
"It's face paint." Kankuro said, rubbing his chin where the skin was irritated slightly from the light markings.
"Why?" Gaara asked.
"Because." Kankuro smiled proudly, "I'm going to be a puppet master!"
Gaara frowned slightly, then turned to Temari. Looking somber, but curious as he studied the older girl from head to toe.
"Why do you wear your hair like that?" he asked.
Temari shrugged "Cause I like it I guess."
Kankuro bounced on his feet slightly; He stuck a finger out and pointed." Your turn! Why are you eyes so funny?"
Gaara went slightly cross eyed, then raised a hand and pushed his brother's finger from his face. "I don't know." He said, with a faint glare.
Kankuro recognized it as Temari's 'Don't mess with me' glare. "I didn't mean they looked funny." He said quickly. "I meant I never saw something like you before, so I wondered."
Gaara shrugged. "I never saw you either." He said. "Uncle Yashamaru says you're my brother and sister. Do you want to play with me?"
Kankuro and Temari both nodded. And Gaara stared, first in shock, then happiness. "Alright! We can play outside!"
Yashamaru stood beside them and shook his head. "It's too dark outside Gaara, and we have a storm coming. You kids can play in here."
Gaara sighed sadly, but nodded.
"Oh Kankuro! You forgot!" Temari cried in dismay.
"What?" He asked.
She pointed to the brown teddy bear in his hands.
"Oh ya!" Kankuro smiled and quickly held the toy out to Gaara. "Here Gaara. We got this for you."
The four year old's eyes widened as he stared, then slowly reached out his hands and took the stuffed animal from his brother, looking at it carefully, mouth opened in a little 'o'.
"I picked it out." Temari put in. she touched a brown paw. "See it's soft! Like a blanket."
"It's a present for you," Kankuro said, pushing closer so that all three of them were head to head. "It's to celebrate that you're my brother."
Gaara was silent for a moment, then pulled the teddy close and squeezed it in a suffocating hug. "Thank you," he said, rocking back and forth in happiness. "No one's given me a present before."
Temari frowned. "Doesn't Uncle Yashamaru give you presents?"
"Ya." Gaara said. "But he's older so he doesn't count." He lowered the bear slightly so that they could see his face. "Oh and I have a present for you too!"
"Really?" Kankuro asked excitedly.
Gaara nodded. He looked up at their uncle, "Uncle Yashamaru can I get them now?"
Yashamaru shook his head, "After dinner."
Gaara looked down unhappily. Temari pouted.
"What is it?" Kankuro asked.
"I'll show you." Gaara said, turning and running down the hall. His new found siblings hot on his heels. When he got to the kitchen he pulled over a chair, three times as a large as he, and stood on it; opening the small freezer. He reached in and pulled down a paper wrapped stick.
Temari and Kankuro gasped. It was rare enough in Suna for someone to have a freezer, or even a fridge. But. . .
"Popsicles!" Temari cried, clasping her hands. "Oh please can we have them now? BEFORE dinner? We NEVER get Popsicles!"
Kankuro nodded, reaching upward.
Gaara stared down at him then looked at his uncle over their heads. Yashamaru stood in the doorway; it was hard to tell whether he was unhappy or simply amused. Finally he nodded, "Alright Gaara, go ahead. You spoiled our little surprise anyways. I only have three so that's all you kids get."
Gaara's face broke into a wide smile as he grabbed the other two Popsicles from the shelf and climbed down from the chair.
After dinner Temari, Kankuro, and Gaara went into the living room. Temari crawled onto a chair, lifting the curtain peeking outside "There's no storm!" She said, turning around. "But now it's too dark to play. What do you want to do?"
Gaara stood silently near Kankuro. Kankuro turned. "What do you want to do Gaara?" He asked. He had never been a big brother before this, and he wanted to make sure he did it right.
Gaara shrugged, not meeting his eyes.
"Is something wrong?"
"Do you want to play hide and seek?"
Gaara looked up. "How do you play?"
Temari jumped from the couch. "You never played hide and seek?" She asked.
Gaara shook his head.
"We'll show you. I'll help you hide first." Kankuro said.
Temari placed her hands on her hips. "I'm not seeking."
"I was seeker last time we played. It's your turn." She said. "Or Gaara can do it."
"He doesn't know how to play."
Temari paused. To keep from fighting with her brother. . . brothers. Meant that Kankuro and she had to hide. Which meant that Gaara could be seeker. "Look Gaara, it's easy. Close your eyes."
He stared at her.
"Go on." She prodded. "And put your hands over so you don't peek."
He nodded and did so, covering his face with his hands.
"Alright." Temari said. "Now count to twenty."
His hands came down. "I can't count that high."
Temari folded her arms again. "You have got to be kidding me, even Kankuro can count that high."
Kankuro nodded, in agreement, then paused, "Hey!" Temari ignored him.
Gaara shook his head. "But I can't. . . can I still play?"
Temari thought for a moment. "How high can you count?"
Gaara's face scrunched in a frown, "One. . . Two. . ." He paused, scrunching his nose. "Four. . . "
"Alright, alright." Temari said, raising her hands. "Forget that. Close your eyes, we'll hide, then call when we're ready. Then you come find us kay?"
He nodded. "Kay." He covered his eyes with his hands. "Ready yet?"
"No silly." Temari said, then ran past him and Kankuro and into the other room.
Kankuro turned, then stopped when he saw Gaara staring at him. "You're cheating Gaara." Kankuro hissed quietly so that Temari wouldn't hear, though he was a little upset about it himself.
"I don't like to close my eyes," Gaara said.
"Why?" Temari asked, coming back into the room. She had ears like a hawk,
"Because. . . " Gaara paused in thought, then shrugged. "I like to see things." He said finally. Turning away. Temari recognized this as the same sort of thing Kankuro did when he was keeping a secret. She walked up to Gaara. "What is it?"
"Nothing." Gaara said pulling away. Temari and Kankuro were both surprised at their brother's sudden coldness. Temari removed her hand from his shoulder, wiping off a tiny bit of sand that had stuck to his clothing. "Well, If you don't close your eyes, then we can't play. That's the rules." She turned as if to leave.
"Okay I'll close my eyes." Gaara said quickly. He looked at her. "Will you still play?"
"Of course." Temari said. "But you can't cheat."
He nodded slowly, then clenched his eyes shut and covered them with both his hands.
"Ready!" Temari called a few moments later.
"Ready!" Kankuro repeated, trying his best to make his voice quiet because he was still in the living room.
Gaara's eyes opened in a flash and he took a deep breath. He'd shut his eyes just like Temari told him too, but there wasn't a monster. He knew shutting your eyes was different then sleeping, but still, he'd shut his eyes for a very long time and he was just fine! He looked around the room. Now he just had to find Temari and Kankuro. . . But where would they hide? If he didn't find them would they not want to play with him? He knelt and looked under the couch, then slipped his hand through the tight space when he couldn't see, just in case. He stood and moved a cushion, then paused to listen. He turned to a faint sound. His uncle had told him that his hearing was better than other peopless because of the monster. He had never realized that that might actually be a good thing. He eyed the movement of the curtain, then walked forward and pulled it up. He came nose to nose with Kankuro who was crouched along the back of the couch next to the window.
"Ahhh.." Kankuro said in dismay, sitting up.
"What?" Gaara asked.
"You found me." Kankuro said.
"I thought. . . " Gaara frowned. "I thought I was supposed to find you. . ."
"Well ya, but I don't want you too."
Gaara's frown deepened.
Kankuro stared at him. "You really haven't played hide and seek before have you?"
Gaara shook his head. "I told you that."
"Ya, but I thought you were joking." Kankuro sighed. He reached up and moved a lock of brown hair from his face, scratching his cheek, bits of dried purple paint falling on the cushions "It's a game. You try to find us. If you do, you win. If you don't we win. The last person found gets to seek next. That means it's Temari's turn once we find her, and out of the hiders, she wins because you found her last."
Gaara paused in thought. And Kankuro wondered if the little kid understood. He was beginning to think he didn't when Gaara raised his head and asked. "So. . .If I find you last next time you get to win?"
Kankuro paused, then nodded. "Right,"
Gaara thought a little more. "Alright then. I'm sorry. Next time I will find you last kay?"
Kankuro's eyes widened. "You would do that?"
Again he nodded.
"Alright!" Kankuro slid off the back of the couch. "Let's go find Temari. Then next time you seek I can win!" He took Gaara's hand and pulled him off the couch with him. Now he realized why he had always wanted a brother.