*ducks the flying objects* Yes, yes!! I know I should be working on Family of Demons part 7…but it just won't flow!! Ya know? I swear, have worked on it some!! I've got like 4 pages of it written already but Naruto's not cooperating, the blockhead.
So anyways, I figure I'd be nice and do something to placate all of you (and save my own skin). This has been on my hard drive for a while and I really was going to wait until I had finished with Family to work on it some more but Gaara's a demanding little bastard. So here is the Gaara prequel to Family of Demons. Just why the heck did he leave Hidden Sand anyways? ^^ And how did he find Naruto?
And this is where I need to thank two people specifically. Much thanks to silverstream who asked why Gaara wasn't with the sand any more and got me to thinking 'hmm…why is that I wonder'. And much much uber thanks to Gelfling. That's right. See this lady, folks? She's the one your really need to thank, if not for her and her uber awesome fic 'Attraction' (go read it. NOW.) Family of Demons never would have even been thought up. Let alone the whole freakin' universe that seems to be spawning around it in my head. O_o;;;
Beware the GaaNaru. Not so much in this part but it WILL be happening. Hell, maybe I'll get brave and write a lemon in or something. Gyaaahh…
Anyways, enjoy. And please don't kill me for updating.^^;;;;
It had come one day out of the blue, clear sky.
"Temari…I want to see him again."
There was no confusion about who 'he' was. 'He' was the one who had shown her brother there was more to life than just killing. 'He' was the one that had defeated her brother to save his important people. 'He' was the one who had actually given her a brother, and not just some killing machine to be scared of.
'He' was none other than Konoha Village's number one most hyperactive, loudest, most thickheaded ninja, Uzumaki Naruto.
Temari supposed she should have been shocked, but in truth, she had actually been waiting to hear those words. Ever since getting soundly thrashed by the little blonde Gaara had slowly been changing. It hadn't been blatantly obvious at first. Just little things; he wouldn't kill if he didn't need to or wasn't highly, highly annoyed. He attempted to be a brother to herself and Kankuro, taking an interest in what they did and their lives outside of the shinobi world. Occasionally, she caught him smiling. Not the 'I'm a raving psychotic who's about to kill you' smile, but an actual, real smile. He was still quiet, but he seemed to be developing a sense of humor, albeit a weird one, but a sense of humor nonetheless. Something which had thrown Kankuro for a loop the first time Gaara had cracked a joke.
The biggest change had happened about a year or two after his battle with Naruto. A close friend of hers who was a few years older had been sent out on a B rank mission. She had just gotten word that the mission had been a set up and none of the team survived. He had found her hugging the crumbled scroll that the news had come on close, tears trickling silently down her cheeks. She had been shocked still when she felt the warm arms close around her from behind and a quiet voice say "I'm sorry."
Gaara had learned to hug.
Temari suddenly found herself with a quiet, pale, insomniatic, extremely odd little brother. But he was a little brother and that's really all that mattered.
So when the time came that he decided he wanted to see the one responsible for all this, Temari wasn't surprised in the least. "So, go ask permission to leave the village already." She had replied with a fond smile. Lime green cat eyes looked up at her with faint surprise. "Look, you want to see him right? It's been eight years, go find him. But first let someone know were you're going. The village has enough of a shinobi shortage without you killing off all the hunter nin."
He gave her one of those rare smiles. "Thank you, Temari."
She shrugged, secretly delighted. "Hey, what are big sisters for?"
Gaara of the Desert may have changed over the years and slowly mellowed, but Gaara of the Desert was still Gaara of the Desert and a demon vessel. If Gaara of the Desert wanted something, then he damn well got it. And quickly.
Kazekage seemed to remember this little tidbit of survival info and Gaara left for Konoha Village the next day.
Konoha hadn't changed much. Buildings that had been destroyed during the failed attack so many years ago had been rebuilt, there was a new head carved into the Hokage monument, and the cemetery was a little larger. But Konoha was still basically Konoha, and Gaara had to remind himself not to kill the birds that were twittering happily in the trees.
He headed towards the administration offices and prepared himself for dealing with bureaucracy. Hmm…maybe he should have killed those birds, if only to keep from having the urge to kill the bureaucrats. After waiting half an hour, he was allowed to approach a harried looking scribe ninja.
"Gaara of the Desert"
"Purpose in Konoha?"
"I'm looking for Uzumaki Naruto."
The scribe stopped, looked up at him with wide eyes, and then attempted to speak. It took a few tries. "I…I'm afraid that's impossible..." Green eyes narrowed. "Why?" Sand swirled around his feet and around the bottom of the desk the scribe sat at.
"Well…you see…Err…that is…"
Sand rose from merely swirling around the bottom of the desk to circling tightly, and closing in with each spin, around the scribe's neck.
"Erk…Ah…if I could just get you to wait over there for a few minutes, I can let you speak to someone else about this…" The sand abruptly stopped circling and flowed back into the large gourd on the red head's back, as he walked over to the indicated spot.
The scribe scurried off.
Another fifteen minutes found him face to face with a rather well endowed blonde woman with red eyes and a diamond mark on her forehead. "Gaara of the Desert?" He nodded. "Follow me, please."
He followed her to a particularly nice office which featured the Konoha symbol on much of the décor. The woman sat behind the desk, leaned on her elbows, folded her hands, and then just looked at him for a minute. "So…you're looking for Uzumaki Naruto. May I enquire why?"
He glared. "I fought him once and I want to see him again."
"To settle an old score, then." She nodded.
"No. I just want to see him…He's…He's like me."
The woman held her breath for a moment, still studying him carefully. "Kyuubi was not the only one then…" she muttered to herself. She then spoke louder, "Uzumaki Naruto does not reside in Hidden Leaf Village anymore. Nor is he a Konoha chuunin any longer." She watched with interest as the boy's face remained perfectly calm, yet sand began to swirl excitedly around his feet. "He was exiled. Four years ago now. You will no longer find him in the village."
"I've wasted my time here then." He turned to leave; a call from behind him gave him cause to pause.
"Gaara-san? Please remember. I've said you will no longer find him in the village."
You will no longer find him in the village, but she didn't say a word about the country. Gaara smirked. He turned to face the woman again and gave a slight bow. "Aa. Thank You."
She smiled in return. "Good luck on your journey."
Good luck on your journey. Not a word said about his journey home.
Gaara smirked. Maybe he didn't need to kill those birds, after all…
Four. Bloody. Years.
That's what it took. Fire Country was not a small country, and coupled with the fact that he was frequently called back to Hidden Sand Village for missions, stretched what should have been, at most, a six months search into four years.
If this wasn't the right place then he seriously was going to kill all the occupants of the area who unfortunately happen to be in his way. There had been too many false leads and dead ends; he was tired of searching and the disappointment and pain that came with each wrong turn. Shukaku was getting more irritable than ever and he didn't know how much longer he could keep the demon at bay. Hell, after four years worth of pain he wasn't even sure if he wanted to.
Heaven help the poor souls of the surrounding area if this wasn't finally it.
He had heard of the place accidentally. Some poor country bumpkin wandering in one of Fire Country's many villages mentioned something about a young man who lived alone in the mountains and weird noises that came from the forest up there sometimes. Like a good Shinobi, Gaara had questioned the man thoroughly. He was very proud of himself that he didn't even have to use sand or red hot kunai. Apparently the 'I'm a psychopath who's about to kill you for fun and profit' grin was a torture method all unto its own.
Blonde, they said around those parts. Comes down to the village once every few months for a few items and then heads back up the mountain, never goes beyond the village borders. Although, the young man had been a little off as of late. But it was probably the solitude of the mountains that did it, they said.
Gaara didn't care if the young man was frolicking through the fields naked singing 'I'm a pretty pony'. If it wasn't his blonde idiot, someone was going to die a very gruesome death. Although admittedly, if it was Naruto he sincerely hoped the blonde wasn't actually frolicking and singing 'I'm a pretty pony'. It would just be too weird, even by his standards.
The redhead strode stoically onward, almost to the village. Just outside the border he paused for a moment, sensing something. A Chakra warding. Extending for a good distance too it looked like. Well, well, well. There was obviously something is this backwater little section of the country that someone didn't want getting out. Maybe he wouldn't have to kill anyone after all.
So more the pity.
He still wasn't exactly sure where this young man up in the mountains was located, but being the genius Sand nin that he was, it didn't take him too long to find out. Stealth and some well placed terrorization of the local kids could do wonders for helping one find directions to where one needed to go.
And so he found himself walking a barely visible mountain path through a deep forest. It was a bit annoying. Every now and again he had to stop and reach out with all of his senses to make sure he hadn't some how inadvertently gotten off the trail. Eventually it brought him up to a small cabin nestled in the crook of a mountain edge with large, deep green pines surrounding on three sides. Walking up to the door, he didn't sense any chakra but then again it was possible to mask such things and one could never really be too careful.
Sending some sand through the crack beneath the door, Gaara performed the Daisan no Me jitsu and viewed the inside of the cabin. It seemed to be rather spartan. The main room was a combined kitchen and living area, it was neat and tidy at the moment but the walls and floor had a few spots of faded dark red-brown that the redhead knew from experience was dried blood that someone hadn't managed to completely scrub away. The other two rooms where just as empty as the main and just as mysterious. Adult clothing and ninja gear was stored in the first. But the puzzling thing was along with it were smaller piece of clothing, child sized, along with crudely made toys.
Clearly a ninja was here, but it must be an exiled or hidden kunoichi, not a young man like everyone said. How else were the children's articles explained. Gaara felt the by now familiar disappointment and rage swelling up within him again but curiosity and caution made him thoroughly search through every room in the cabin. The second room was completely devoid of any furnishing or item. It could have been a storage room, but there was obviously nothing stored in it. Yet another mystery to chock up to the oddity that was the cabin.
Well, whatever it was it was empty at the moment and, more importantly, it wasn't what he was looking for. Oh he was definitely going back down to that village and doing more than just terrorizing those lying little punks that lived there this time…
He had turned and walked a small ways away from the cabin when he felt chakra near by. He was rather irritable and disappointed. Why not start the killing spree now? After all, an exiled ninja would give him more of a challenge than pathetic villagers.
Slipping into the shadows of the forest he made his way stealthily towards the source of the chakra. And then frowned…there were two…three…no, only two different chakra. There was a rustling in the underbrush ahead of him, he ducked behind an ancient tree and heard a male voice say "Go hide and then go home."
The voice sounded eerily familiar, but he couldn't place it. There was a soft whimper, probably an animal of some sort, and then more rustling as something moved away from them. A kunai flew towards him and he blocked it easily.
"Come out, I know you're there."
They hadn't said please, but how could he resist a challenge. Stepping from behind the trunk of the large pine, he saw his enemy clearly for the first time. And if he hadn't been Gaara of the Desert, he of the severe lack in facial expression, his jaw probably would have dropped. Good thing he was because it looked like he wasn't going to get to kill anyone after all.
Uzumaki Naruto had grown up. He was a little taller with lean legs encased in jeans and broad shoulders stretching out a black t shirt with the uzumaki spiral printed in red on the front, bronze arms tight with tension as he held another kunai in his hand. His face had lost its chubbiness and was more angular now. The blonde spikes Gaara remembered had grown long and wild, a mass of them held back in tail that reached to his shoulders. There was no Konoha hitae tied around the forehead. The eyes though, those blue eyes had changed. Before they had shown determination and the need to protect his most important people. Now they were hard with betrayal and the harsh pain the boy had suffered and glittered as brightly as shards of ice.
However, only one thing was running through Gaara's mind at the moment. Yummy.
Incomprehension flashed over the blonde's face, but he didn't drop his guard.
The red head smirked, folding his arms.
"Good. It is you. Now I don't have to go kill that village. Do you have any idea how hard you are to find?"