The sky was blue. A very general, well-known statement, but nevertheless, it was blue. There was a wisp of cirrus on the horizon, but beyond that, it was blue. It had been blue all year, and so it had been even drier in the desert than usual, though this didn't seem to phase the two figures that were perched on a yellow dune. The haze of desert sand lazily surrounded them, an effect created by the light breeze that stirred.

"I'm leaving," Gaara said in an edged tone as he stepped away from his older sister.

"Gaara, we just got back. You don't have to-" Temari began, reaching an arm out as if to touch him. She pulled it back quickly, though. He had always been far away, too far away to touch. Even if she tried to come after him, he would just block her out. Like he always had. Temari sighed and turned so their backs faced each other.

"Just take care of yourself, ne, Gaara?" she added in a subdued tone. She stepped away from him, and began to walk. Temari didn't look back. If she did, she would stop walking. She broke into a run, back to the relative safety of Hidden Sand Village, away from the desert. Away from Gaara.

Temari disappeared into the afternoon haze of sun and sand. Gaara didn't even watch her go.

Gaara glanced over his shoulder in the direction that Temari had taken, eyes narrowed. She would tell everyone that he ran away, wouldn't she? And they'd be glad. They'd be positively overflowing with joy that the demon was gone, glad it was no longer their problem.

He hated them all.

Gaara's fist had begun to unconsciously clench, and he felt the sand in his gourd stirring along with his wrath. It had been several days since his last kill, he would soon have to again. His body began to tingle at the mere thought, the ecstasy of watching their terrified, pained faces before their end lightly brushing his mind. Gaara shook his head to clear the memories - they would only slow him down now, and the desert was unmerciful to the weak. He started a slow paced walk that took him up the side of the dune, where he surveyed the territory. His territory.

The desert was brutally hot in the day, and below zero at night. It was devoid of almost every living organism and water was scarce. Gaara could relate.

A sudden movement caught his eye, and he whipped out a senbon into the offending organism. It turned out to be a small black beetle, one that was now writhing in agony. Gaara sat back on his haunches, his slitted eyes of ice glaring at it. He watched it slowly bake in the sun for a few minutes before deciding that it was not worth his time. Gaara left as quickly as he'd come.

Therefore, he did not see the beetle scuttle off, the senbon still lodged in its back.