Disclaimer: Naruto is owned by Masashi Kishimoto
Cover image: 'Shadows of the Future' by Ritam (Deviantart) Used with permission.
I Want a Brother
When the Wind Blows
"This is boring." Temari said, after Kankuro had won twice since Gaara started finding him last. Kankuro thought it served her right for making Gaara seek more than his fair turn, but the redheaded kid didn't seem to mind, or even notice that they weren't playing completely by the rules. Temari walked into the living room and plopped down on the couch. "I'm bored," she said, cupping her chin in her hands, "Kankuro your paint is a mess. You should wash it off."
Kankuro realized the truth to this, and sighed heavily wishing he could redo the paint job so that he looked like a real ninja.
"How come they let you paint on your face?" Gaara asked, "Yashamaru says never to paint on your skin."
"This is war paint." Kankuro replied, straightening and raising his head so his brother could see better. Gaara just stared. Temari laughed, pretending not to see Kankuro's glare, then she paused. "Wait. You have paint Gaara?"
He nodded, then walked over to a shelf and pulled out a stack of old paper and a few small bottles of colored ink.
"Great! let's do that!" Temari said, jumping from the couch and onto the floor. "Grab some of those books Gaara so that we have something hard to draw on."
A few minutes later, with big, heavy, hard covered books underneath the paper to keep the paints from soaking through to the carpet, Temari and her brothers were busy painting pictures. Gaara only had one brush, so Temari talked him into letting her borrow it while Kankuro used his hands. Ignoring his uncle's rules about paints, (or using his medical books as easels for that matter) Gaara dabbed his finger into the paint and began to draw a picture of Temari and Kankuro. Kankuro was busy drawing a picture of a huge monster size puppet, and Temari painted her paper and folded it into, first a fan, then a flower.
"Look." Temari said, stuffing the flower into Gaara's face.
"What is it?" He asked.
"A cactus flower silly."
Kankuro held up his as well. "Look!"
Gaara backed up slightly, eying the reds and yellows of a vicious looking . . . Something.
"It's a puppet." Kankuro said. "Someday I'm going to use one just like this."
"Well to fight and protect the village of course."
Gaara stared at the picture. "Oh."
"What did you draw Gaara?" Temari asked, leaning over his arm to see. "Oh! It's. . .us! You're really good!"
Gaara looked down at his picture, smiling at the praise. He couldn't believe they recognized it, but then again, painting was his favorite thing to do – that is after Hide and Seek, and playing with his siblings.
Kankuro took Gaara's picture, giving it a little pull to get it unstuck from the book. "Ya, not bad." he said.
"Dad doesn't like us to paint." said Temari. "He says it's a waste of time."
"I like to paint. I have lots of pictures." Garra told her.
"Really? Can we see?"
Gaara nodded, then walked to the kitchen. Temari and Kankuro followed, holding their drawings.
Gaara stood in the center of the kitchen and pointed to the far wall, where dozens of pictures were hung with small pieces of tape. There were so many Temari lost count twice, and gave up soon after. The red-headed four year old walked up to her and took the paper flower she had, then he stood on tiptoe and pulled open a cabinet drawer, feeling around until he pulled out a thin roll of tape. He taped the flower on the wall by the stem and Kankuro handed the other two pictures to him and he taped those up as well. All three stood back and admired the new additions to Gaara's art gallery.
"Let's make more!" Temari cried, turning, and running smack into her uncle.
"It's about bedtime you two." he said, setting down a box of medical supplies on the table, "Go clean up, than get your pajamas on."
"Oh but. . ."
"Temari, you and Kankuro both have training tomorrow. You're academy students now and you need your rest. If you clean up quickly I'll give you a few extra minutes before bed, fair?"
Temari, Kankuro and Gaara walked back into the living room. Gaara washed off his paintbrushes like Yashamaru had taught him, while Kankuro and Temari stacked all the sticky books back on the shelf. Luckily, none of them where the picture kind, these were just the big boring ones. Then they gathered the papers in a pile and Temari straightened the blankets on the couch.
Gaara ran back in the room "All done!"
Kankuro jumped onto the couch, messing up the blanket that Temari had just folded.
Temari eyed the blanket that he had messed up, then grabbed it and threw it over his head. "Tickle attack!"
"AH!" Kankuro cried. "Temari!"
He struggled to stand, looking like a striped ghost and jumped at her, dragging her to the ground. They laughed. And Gaara stared. Then he pulled a pillow from the chair and smacked Temari lightly across the head. Temari looked up in surprise. "No fair!" She grinned. After all, even if they did gang up on her, two brothers only meant more people to pick on. She grabbed the only other pillow and swung at Gaara.
"Hold it! Hold it!" Yashamaru grabbed the seam of the pillow case. Temari stared as a stream of sand fell from the pillow and ran down her arm onto her shirt. "Your pillows are full of sand?"
"Sorry." Gaara whispered quietly. Temari tried to see him past Uncle Yashamaru. "Huh?"
"No pillow fights," Yashamaru said. "It's time for bed now."
They all groaned.
Yashamaru gathered the blankets. "One of you gets the spare bed; the other one gets the couch."
"BED!" Temari jumped up.
"No fair!" Kankuro grabbed her by a ponytail.
"Ouch! Let go!"
Yashamaru took one wrist each and pulled them upward until they giggled, swinging in the air. He set them down, smiling. "No arguing. First one in their pajamas gets the bed."
Temari and Kankuro stared at the him, wondering why adults could be so mean sometimes, then they ran screaming to the bed room to grab their stuff and see who would dress first.
Yashamaru chuckled, then turned to his youngest nephew. "You did very well Gaara."
Gaara looked up shyly, then smiled, "they're not scared."
Yashamaru nodded. "Go change into your nighttime clothes. I'll read you guys a story."
"Night clothes? But I don't have any."
Yashamaru pretended to be shocked. "Oh, I didn't tell you?" He almost felt guilty at the hurt look on the boy's face, so he continued quickly. "I bought you some the other day."
Gaara's eyes widened. "You. . .you did?"
Yashamaru nodded, laughing softly. "They're on the chair in the kitchen. Go change, then you can all be in your pajamas."
Gaara nodded and hurried to the other room.
Kankuro laid in bed and grinned at the ceiling. He'd never beaten Temari at anything before. This had been the best day of his life. Wind rustled the window outside, and Kankuro crouched deeper into his covers. The windowpane rattled. Kankuro thought he heard something and he quickly sat up. "Gaara?"
His little brother stood in the doorway, holding the teddy bear by an arm.
"'You're supposed to be in bed." Kankuro stated
Gaara shook his head.
Kankuro frowned. That didn't seem fair.
The wind blew desert sand outside, it scratched against the window like an angry demon.
"That's it! Move over!" Temari came marching in from the living room, clutching a blanket and her pillow in her hands. She nearly tripped over Gaara in the darkness.
"What are you doing Temari?" Kankuro asked in shock and dismay as she flung his covers back, shoved him over, and crawled into bed next to him.
"The couch is uncomfortable."
"You're scared of the storm!" Kankuro accused.
"I am not!" she replied. "Now stay on your side of the bed, and don't breathe on me or I'll punch you!"
Kankuro scooted over, turning away from her only to find himself eye level to Gaara's face. His little brother looked up at him tentatively. Kankuro sighed, then grabbed the kid by the wrist and helped him climb onto the bed. "You're heavy." he grunted, pulling on Gaara's pajama leg until the four year old rolled over his legs and to the center of the bed.
"You dropped my bear!" Gaara cried. Kankuro leaned over (almost falling out of bed,) and pulled the stuffed toy upsetting it beside him. By the time he was comfortable again Temari had taken more than her fair third of the bed, the pillows, and the covers. Kankuro scooted over to get under the blankets and Gaara was squished between them, holding his bear up and making it's legs and arms move.
"You smell like sand." Temari commented, moving Gaara's hair from her face. "And don't expect to get any sleep now, because Kankuro snores."
"I do not!"
"I don't sleep." Gaara said quietly.
"Uh?" Temari and Kankuro both looked at him.
Gaara sighed. "Yashamaru says we should always tell the truth." he statedm then he took a deep breath. "I can't sleep because if I do, the monster comes out, and I have bad dreams."
"I have bad dreams too." Temari said quietly.
Gaara looked at her in shock.
"Ya, me too." Kankuro said, scooting closer to avoid falling off the bed . "They're really scary."
Gaara turned to him. "What do you do when you have bad dreams?"
Temari and Kankuro looked at each other, then decided to be honest like Gaara.
"Well we sort of do this. Like we are now." Temari said, scooting closer to Gaara.
"Or when it storms." Kankuro added. "Temari's scared of the wind."
"I am not!"
Gaara scooted deeper under the covers as his siblings yelled over his head.
"Anyhow. You have to sleep sometimes." Temari said.
"Gaara shook his head. "No, not ever."
"Have you tried?" Kankuro asked.
Gaara shook his head again. "Yashamaru says "never go to sleep"."
"Oh. . . " Kankuro was confused. "Well. . . I guess he's a medic so he should know."
"Don't be silly Kankuro." Temari said. "Everyone needs to sleep sometimes."
"I'm not silly."
"I don't know how to sleep." Gaara said "I never try."
Temari sighed, moving her hair from her face and setting her hands under her chin. "You two are hopeless. . ." She smiled. "What do you want to do tomorrow?"
"We should play ninja." Kankuro said.
"Hide and seek." said Gaara.
"I want to draw more." Temari said, then yawned.
"We can play soccer." Kankuro said, also yawing.
"What's soccer?" Gaara asked.
"Really, you don't know any games at all Gaara." Temari chided.
"But that's okay." she said, "We'll teach you."
Kankuro turned, tugging the covers towards himself. "Soccer's a game you play with a ball. You have to be fast."
"We'll need more people." Temari said, "We'll go to the park."
"People don't like playing with me." Gaara whispered.
"They don't? Well why not?" Temari sat up part way.
"Temari!" Kankuro felt the covers slide off him.
"Sorry. Don't whine." She lay back down. "Look, we'll find people to play and you can be on our team."
Gaara nodded quickly, holding his bear to his side.
Temari yawned again. "Well, I'm going to sleep now. Night. And don't you breathe on me either. You may be cute, but you're still a little brother." She rolled over so her back was towards them. Then quickly fell asleep.
Kankuro shut his eyes and sighed. "Gaara, try not to move please."
Gaara set his bear down. "Sorry." He whispered. Kankuro rolled over, almost poking his fist in Gaara's face. "Good night." he mumbled
"Good night." Gaara replied.
It took a whole of five minutes for Temari and Kankuro to both fall fast asleep. Gaara watched with fascination, watching the way Temari's bangs rocked back and forth when she breathed, and the way Kankuro had stolen the teddy bear's right leg for a pillow. Gaara listened to the sand storm outside and scooted deeper into the covers. He knew Yashamaru was asleep too, that or out in the city doing Ninja work like he sometimes did. Gaara had never felt so warm and comfortable, not ever, he wasn't afraid of the storm at all. He yawned tiredly. He put one hand next to Kankuro's on the bear, then snuggled closer to Temari. They said he smelt like sand, well they smelt funny too. But it was a very nice, sleepy, comforting sort of smell. Slowly, Gaara shut his eyes. Kankuro and Temari had bad dreams too sometimes and when they did, they all scrunched together like this and they were safe. And he already had practice sleeping when he shut his eyes for so long while playing hide and seek. Gaara tried to breathe like they were, and shut his eyes tighter, opening them once to make sure he was doing it right, then shut his eyes again, and slowly fell asleep.
Temari screamed. Kankuro jerked awake, stumbling and landing on hard sand. At first he wasn't sure what he saw, wasn't sure if he was dreaming. The wind blew, and hot, red chakra flared. "Temari?" He screamed, squinting as sand stung his face like a million daggers. He thought he saw Temari, he could just make out part of her face, and her blond hair, buried in sand. "Temari!" He ran towards her, tripping. The whole room was destroyed; above them was nothing but dark sky, the smell of death. He ran to his sister, slipping as sand caved in around him. He turned back, only seeing a pair of huge, glowing eyes. He didn't have to be told. This was a demon, and it wasn't a dream. He felt hot pain in his leg as sand curled around him. "Help!" He screamed, struggling against the pull. The demon laughed; its voice echoing. Kankuro was going to die.
A wave of something heavy swept past his face, he saw the golden glint as the metallic gold swirled around the monster. The white robed figure stood in the sky, floating on a disk of orange gold materiel
"Father!" Kankuro cried, struggling to stand, trying to reach him.
Harsh hands grab him from behind and pulled him upward. The demon screamed, bloodthirsty and inhuman. Kankuro turned and grabbed his uncle's shirt as the man pulled him away to safety.
"Wait! Temari! She's hurt!" Kankuro cried. "And Gaara. . ." He turned, forcing himself to look at the murderous demon. "Get Gaara!"
Yashamaru set him down, turning and running back for Temari. "This is Gaara Kankuro." He said, then ran headfirst into the sand.
Kankuro watched in horror as the sand and gold fought each other. His own father couldn't even defeat such power. His father, the Kazekage, was the most powerful man in Suna, perhaps in all the Shinobi nations, with his own secret kekkei genkai. Yet, the demon rose, swiping a giant claw. Kankuro cried, clutching his right leg which stung in pain. He cried harder as he watched his uncle struggle against the hardened sand wrapped around Temari until finally pulling her limp body from the sand. Sand chased him as he ran back to Kankuro. He picked the boy up in his other arm and they flew through the night. The demon;s cries only seemed to get louder.
When they were still to close in Kankuro's mind, Yashamaru set them both down, laying Temari on her back and feeling for breath
Kankuro stared at her, her face was pale, her lips had turned a funny blue color. "Yashamaru!" he cried in panic.
"Shh! Kankuro." Yashamaru placed his hands on Temari, letting green chakra flow into her body. It semeend like an eternity before she coughed and gasped for breath.
"Temari!" Kankuro threw himself at his sister, hardly aware that the night had become suddenly quiet. She coughed and sputtered."Kankuro. . .Where's Gaara?" Kankuro looked back to where the very sky had become red and threatening. People were on the street, crying about their homes, their lives, saying things about Shukaku, the Sand Spirit. Kankuro shuddered. He never thought he'd meet a demon, not a real one.
Temari struggled to stand. "Where's Gaara?" She screamed.
Yashamaru grabbed her, arms wrapped firmly around her trembling body. "It's alright Temari, it's alright." He whispered in her hair, holding her close and still.
Kankuro felt a chill as a thin sheet of sand rose up. Temari cried out in panic, until they saw the white robed figure standing before them. The Kazekage stepped off his disk of floating gold, his robes were torn, and a large bloodied gash ran down his shoulder. No one had hurt their father before.
"There is no Gaara." He said, voice h coarse; hard as metal, and heavy like the gold he wielded.
Temari broke down in tears, collapsing into her uncle's arms. Kankuro sat, trying to hide his tears from his father. The Kazekage looked at them, then at Yashamaru. "We tried your plan brother." he said in a condemning sneer. "From now on; you do exactly as I say and do not try to change my mind."
"Yes my lord. . ." Yashamaru gasped, his voice dry and cracking.
"The lives of my children were almost destroyed tonight." The Kazekage said. He took Temari in one arm and Kankuro in the other, somehow still raising a finger into a jutsu that swept them all away, not looking back.
"Don't cry Kankuro." His father commanded
Kankuro continued his shaking gulps. "Is Temari okay?"
"I'm okay." she whispered, clinging to her father's torn robes. "What happened to Gaara? " She asked, eyes wide in fear. "We have to go back for Gaara."
The Kazekage set Kankuro down in a chair in Temari's room and carried Temari to her bed. "Listen." He commanded, taking off his Kazekage's clothing and healing his own injuries with a thin amount of chakra. "I don't know what Yashamaru told you. But you have no other brother understand?" He turned to Kankuro. "You did well to try and save Temari, but you must never go near Gaara again. He is the one that hurt her."
"But. . ."
"No buts Kankuro!" His father yelled, then turned away quickly, glancing out the window once at the city's destruction, then throwing the curtains closed. "There is no brother, there is no son. There is a demon that killed your mother and took over your brother's body. Do you understand?"
Temari was crying in bed. The Kazekage looked at his two oldest children, and seeing the fear in their eyes, he was satisfied. He called for the medics to help them, then marched out of the room and down the stairs, slamming his office door shut for no one to enter.
Late that night, Kankuro limped into Temari's room and climbed onto the bed, putting a shaking arm around her. "I'm glad he didn't kill you Temari." He said quietly, voice hollow.
She gulped and tried to sit up, but was too worn out to do so. "I'm glad you're alright too Kankuro." She sniffled. "I. . .I thought . . " She didn't finish. Kankuro shut his eyes, images of Shukaku forever burned into his mind. He couldn't forget. He started crying softly.
"Don't be scared." Temari whispered, squeezing his hand.
"I'm not," he choked. "But I. . .I wanted a brother!"
Temari turned slowly and faced him. "You. . . have me."
Kankuro wiped his eyes angrily and curled up in ball next to her, clutching his stomach. "I know." he said quietly. "It just feels like . . ." his voice died off.
"I know," Temari said, "me too."
They spent the rest of the night, sitting together quietly, unable to sleep for fear that the demon would return, both of them too frightened to ever truly trust anyone but each other again.
And in a small house, hidden away in the city, a little redheaded boy sat in a chair in a dark corner, clutching a brown teddy bear, unsure of exactly what he'd done, but knowing that he was all alone as well.
Author note: Since this is only a two part story it is hard to tell who has actually read the whole thing and whether they liked it or not. I wish to improve my writing, so if you have the time please review, even if it's short. I love to hear about what you liked and about what you think I could have done better. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.
P.S. If you like Gaara stories, I went and re-edited my short Gaara one shot "Hate". Thanks to comments from Mod Soul and others, it's much better now.