Legal Note: I don't own Naruto.

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After the invasion of Konoha, the Sand ninja regrouped and later learned of Kazekage's assassination. To erase proof of Orochimaru's link to Sand leader's assassination, Kabuto secretly tampered with the evidence and redirected the blame to the Sand Team that was stationed in Konoha's region, and particularly on Gaara. With the plan of invasion ruined and the death of their leader, the council of the Sand was furious but even more eager to find a scapegoat. In the end, all fingers were pointed at Gaara, although his team was nowhere near the Kazekage at the time of his murder. To add further weight to this accusation, the council used the well-known fact that Gaara deeply resented his father in order to sway public opinion towards their favor. With their leader dead and their military power greatly deteriorated, the stain on Sand's reputation swelled. It was easier to smother the fire by placing all of the blame for Sand's downfall on someone who was dispensable.

A second motive for placing the responsibility of Kazekage's death on Gaara's shoulders was their fear of Gaara himself. The council of Sand had their own nightmares of Shukaku leveling Sand village. In their eyes, they were simply killing two birds with one stone. So when it became clear of the council's intention to dispose Gaara, he did the logical and immediately took off, running away from his home.

Temari followed his trail and she too left Sand village's borders.

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The wind was blowing harshly today; the sand dust was at the mercy of the wind. All the wildlife had scampered off into their own homes for shelter. In the middle of the desert stood a female shinobi with an oversized fan strapped to her back. She glanced at the sun, which was setting towards the western sky. Temari knew it would be dark soon. Only hours earlier, Kankuro, Gaara, and she had finished enduring their long journey back home from Leaf Village. They came home weary and worn-out only to be chased out of the village by their own people by some flimsy and unsupported accusations. Temari was just simply astounded at the council's backstabbing decision to execute Gaara for a crime he didn't even commit.

The applied pressure from the force of the wind increased and pushed Temari forward. It was as if the wind was trying to push her farther away from Sand village. With her right arm in front of her face, she shielded the howling wind as well as the sand particles, which were riding the air currents. It was difficult to get a good look of the terrain. Tracking Gaara would be challenging with the wind in such a frenzied state. But that alone wasn't reason enough to stop her chase. Gaara's sudden getaway from Sand village would mean a possibility of never seeing him again. She wasn't quite sure what she would do when she eventually caught up with him.... Or if she'd even find him at all.

Thankfully, Lady Luck smiled upon her. Temari caught a glimpse of Gaara's bright red hair in the distance.

"GAARA!"

Temari strained her legs to get herself in front of Gaara to block his path. When Gaara halted to face Temari, he showed no sign of surprise or relief to see his sister again. Instead, he gave her the same indiscriminate cold eyes he gave everyone else.

Temari marveled in his stoic attitude. "As if he isn't neck-deep in shit already," she thought to herself.

"I'm not wanted in Sand anymore," Gaara stated flatly, his arms crossed.

Now that she had caught up to him, she wasn't quite sure what to do next, except catch her breath. The Sand shinobi would find him eventually and kill Gaara. She quickly scampered for ideas in her head. Where could they retreat? How much time did they have before the assassins would catch up? The desert stretched for miles and miles and the only well-known roadways to near civilization would soon be surveillanced by shinobi from the village. To make matters worse, they had run out of Sand village wholly unprepared for the brutal treatment of the barren desert land. How far could they go without water, without food or shelter? It looked pretty grim to proceed to a fate where they could possibly die from thirst, starvation, or heat exposure ... there was nowhere for those two to go to for safe refuge.

By now, Gaara was irritated. His sister's expressions of worry looked unnatural on her face. The flurry of emotions replaced her calm and tactful attitude. Gaara dropped the eye contact with Temari since he didn't like looking at her in such a piteous state. Time was not a luxury he had at the moment either. With his back turned, Gaara faced a destination that would bring some more distance between himself and his oncoming assailants.

"Wait!" Yelled Temari.

Ignoring her plead, he gathered the chakra into his feet and continued his retreat, leaving Temari behind in his dust.

"After all, Kankuro and Temari weren't the council's goal," Gaara thought bitterly to himself.

Temari stood there dumbfounded, watching his retreating form. He'd be gone from sight soon. She looked down and shut her eyes. Temari began to remember the countless days when she would always present herself with a situation of ifs... What would life be like if she didn't have to deal with a homicidal maniac? What would her life be like if Gaara weren't her brother, if he had just never existed? From all the years of being with him, she always fantasized about the easy and happy life. As much as it shamed her to dream of a life like that, it was a freedom she craved. She recalled the nights where she had cried herself to sleep because her so-called friends abandoned her when they discovered that Gaara the monster was her brother. She could smell the stench of blood that always lingered around the house. She thought of every villager who gave her the cold shoulder. It really seemed that nothing good came out of her blood tie to Gaara.

Each time she replayed her painful memories, her teeth gritted and her hands would clench even tighter.

She wanted to make that image of Gaara's retreat into the last memory she would ever have of him.

"Yes! This would be her last memory of him!"

It seemed like a dream come true. No more violent carnage and everyday killings that always clinged to her brother. Death would no longer stagnate around her home. Gaara was leaving. This was finally her slight chance of normalcy, albeit slim, but it wasn't zero. The sleepless nights would cease, no more keeping guard, worrying if he'd freak out into a killing spree from Shukaku's blood thirst.

All gone.

"No more...No more of this unfair shit to put up with," The thought of it was enough to make Temari chuckle in relief. Temari focused on that last memory: His small figure fading off into the distance. No more of having to look at those crazed eyes. No more transformations into the Sand demon. No more (very real) death threats. Gaara was that one factor that had completely topsy-turveyed her life. But it would all be fixed, now that he was no longer in her life.

Right?

Temari tasted blood on her lips. She hadn't realized that she was biting her bottom lip the entire time. The moment she broke the surface somehow coincided with the moment of her own coming to truth.

She was just bullshitting herself.

She was smarter than that, knowing her problems wouldn't just go away so easily. But in the panicked state she was in, she tried to believe it were true. She was hoping for once, that his absence would be a gift. She was hoping it would be that simple. And the harder the girl tried to latch on to that final memory and convince herself that Gaara's leave was for the best, the more her heart forced her to fixate on another memory. Involuntarily, Temari began to remember something that Gaara had whispered to herself and Kankuro back in Leaf Village after his fight with Uzumaki had ended.

"Thank you."

In her mind, she replayed Gaara's words or gratitude like a broken record. And soon, her chuckles of relief diminished into a quiet sniffling.

Temari finally broke out of her emotional state to open her eyes and look up. He had disappeared completely from her sight. With the wind the only thing that was her company now, she was utterly alone.

Gaara was gone.

She absorbed that fact. And the more the reality of it dawned upon her, the more she sensed something withering up inside her.

No! Where was her relief she was relishing just a few moments ago? She WANTED him to disappear and she WANTED to forget him! Wasn't this what she had genuinely dreamt of? Her problems would disappear alongside him.

Yet as hard as she tried to think of things that way, the more she felt that wilting feeling...which she was slowly began to realize the source of it: her heart.

"Let him go! Let him go! Let him go!" In her mind, she screamed those three words over and over again. She was divided inside, and trying to fight herself.

Hoping to drown out the hurt, she opened her mouth to scream. "LET HIM GO!"

"Away! Just leave! Go! Just go on! JUST HURRY UP AND GO!!!!"

And so her legs complied with her shouts and obeyed her commands. Her legs refused to stay still. She went forward, farther away from Sand Village and closer to her brother.

You could say it was her motherly instinct to stay by his side, or out of sisterly duty. But at that moment, Temari's strongest motive was the thought of her younger brother continuing to live his solitary life, having to fend himself against assassins and mercenaries everyday as well as dealing with a rampaging sand demon in himself. He was on the brink of insanity only a few days ago.

What would be the point to survive physically, if he would eventually break from sheer loneliness?

Suddenly, her anger turned towards herself as she realized that her own misery was just a fraction of Gaara's own monumental agonsy.

What she could do to help him was an answer she didn't know... but surely, she still wanted to protect him. To do that, she would have to forsake her home and now consider them the enemy.

It was a sickening feeling. Whichever direction she chose, whether it was to follow Gaara or return to Sand, she'd be parted from one of her brothers. It was a lose-lose situation. The only thing she was certain of was that her ache and her newly born self-hatred were fading away. For every inch she got closer to him, she gained back that precious feeling of relief, and for a fleeting moment she felt at the bottom of her soul an inkling of hope.

"Kankuro...be well," Temari secretly wished to herself.

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Temari had passed the point of no return and was unofficially branded a missing-nin. A family of kangaroo rats watched as the second human passed by their burrow and charged off into the distance. They couldn't comprehend why any living being would want to follow the faint trail of blood's scent left behind by the first human who had passed by several minutes ago. After they lost interest, they retreated back into their cozy home and left the desert's surface to its howling winds.

The only sign of life in the desert were two pairs of footprints engraved in the sand laying side by side, pointing in the same direction.

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Hello! Gaara is one of my favorite characters from Naruto so I decided to write a story about him.

This is my very first fan-fiction so excuse my writing skills. I tend to write discombulantly sometimes ^_^;;; Please enjoy the story!