Author's note: I've gone off the deep end... No really XD I got from the single most wildly unpopular yaoi coupling to a worse one! Hooray for gratuitous incest! Yes! INCEST! Slight incest Gaara/Kankurou incest, of the fluffy kind! That said um... Naruto dun belong to me (DAMN!) Nor do Gaara and Kankurou though dammit they SHOULD! Enjoy and revieeeeew! I enjoy hearing how twisted I am! D

Mercy Killing

The room was dark; almost pitch black with the curtains drawn against the deep red of the fading desert sun on the horizon, the only light illuminating it a deep golden hue falling over the deathly still chamber. It crept in a thick dusty orange blanket over the figure tucked tightly into the bed, lips drawn in a silent scowl, chest rising and falling steadily and keeping the time of the hours as they crept slowly by. His short brown hair stuck messily and unwashed around his head as did the fresh white bandages wrapped tightly over parts of his body. The wrapping over his eyes was particularly neat, making any sight impossible, which was what the small red-headed boy peering into the room had counted on.

Gaara stared silently and evenly at his brother lying prostrate in the bed with blackened pale blue eyes, the sight of his tended wounds stirring his heart only slightly, knowing none of them were fatal and not caring in the slightest. He resisted taking a step in, despite the gentle but stern encouragement from Temari still lingering in his mind to visit and make amends, hovering in the darkness of the hall and scowling. The older boy had fallen a few days earlier in a training exercise at his hands in a moment of weakness over the bloodthirsty demon lurking in his soul, enduring a particularly virulent torrent of sand to defend his sister. He had tried his hardest to shield himself against it, but Kankurou had ended the day buried within a pile of crushing sand, scraped and cut and bruised. The worst blow had been to his face, Gaara remembered, for it had been the final furious blow that stripped him of consciousness and rendered him helpless, blinded by the sand in his eyes already and too weak to fight back any longer. In the aftermath the doctors had assured all three of them the damage done was all temporary and he would be fine within a few weeks, but until then he was confined to bed, blind and wounded and at the mercy of his siblings.

The young shinobi watched him pensively, almost afraid he would leap from the bed and attack him in vengeance, clutching the door and narrowing his eyes, about to turn and leave until a soft groan stopped him in his tracks.

"I heard someone open the door…" Kankurou muttered distastefully, "Temari…?"

Gaara remained silent, wrinkling his nose and waiting for a moment as the older boy sighed in an aggravated huff.

"Silence… Must be Gaara then…" he continued bitterly.

Gaara snorted, slightly impressed Kankurou had the mental ability to deduce it was him and not their sister, finally stepping into the room slightly.

"Temari forced me…" he quipped in a soft voice.

"Ugh… Figures… Of course…" his older brother growled, "Well I know you didn't want to come so you can go ahead and just leave…"

After a silence, Kankurou sighed and rolled over in bed, wincing slightly as he shifted his weight onto the fresh wounds, grumbling and fidgeting until he finally found a comfortable position, sighing one last time and attempting begrudgingly to go back to sleep. Gaara continued to just watch him, every uncomfortable painful sound coming from him striking a chord in his heart, and he looked down as his eyes flickered slightly with emotion, striding silently to the bedside and taking the chair.

He gazed down at the wounded boy before him, his face oddly pale and sickly, especially without the brilliant purple markings that had become a habit, and Gaara could not help but blink and reach slowly down in almost wonder. His fingers touched down on Kankurou's warm cheek softly, staying there for a single moment like flower petals clinging stubbornly to his skin before he started from his peace, gasping and sitting up, holding up his arms and shielding himself.

"Damn it! Who's there?" Kankurou demanded furiously, searching the room despite his bandaged eyes.

"It's… Just me…" Gaara replied quietly, "Calm down…"

Kankurou seemed to relax at the familiar voice, putting a hand to his thundering chest and lying back down into the soft bed with a sigh of relief.

"Oh… Shit you scared the hell out of me…" he groused.

Gaara merely shrugged, remaining perched delicately by his bedside and watching his every move intently. Kankurou waited for any kind of response from his visitor, sighing when he got only the usual silence, rolling back over to where he had heard his voice and curling up as he grimaced and adjusted himself carefully.

"Not going to say anything…?" he ventured quietly, waiting a few moments and answered only by a blank stare, "Hah… Thought not… It's just as well… You were told to apologize but you're not sorry! So why should you waste your breath right?"

Gaara blinked slightly, glaring where he should have been able to see the purple lined eyes glaring back at him with the usual hint of fear behind them, instead seeing nothing, just a sickly crumpled form and whiteness obscuring any window into his thoughts.

"Of course not… No one's ever sorry when they mean it right…?" Kankurou continued almost to himself, "If you want to hurt someone… And you do it… It's a victory… Watching the suffering afterward… It must be fun… It must be a laugh and a half seeing someone suffer… Otherwise why would anyone hurt anyone?"

Gaara cast a hawk like glance at his brother, raising a hairless brow slightly, but he never bothered to respond, simply waited for Kankurou to continue.

"It's the ultimate indignity… To be at the mercy of others, knowing they might strike at any moment, never knowing who's around you, not being able to judge if they're friendly or not…" Kankurou's voice became quiet and reverent as he spoke, and he tilted his head upward slightly to where he thought Gaara must be, "Is… That how you felt…?"

Gaara's eyes widened furiously as he drew away slightly, baring his teeth and glaring murderously at Kankurou, almost ready to strike him again.

"You don't have to say anything… Don't take it the wrong way… I have no clue how badly you must have felt and have no right to say I do, but… I don't know, I thought… Maybe this was something like it…" he added meekly as he sighed and turned over a bit, "And it would have helped to have at least someone you could trust…"

Kankurou pursed his lips in thought, knowing full well all his life it should have been him and Temari to stand as the pillars of strength for their wounded little brother and they had not. He had not once thought of it until he had been injured, every last touch causing him to jump, every hand feeling like the sand that had struck him so mercilessly, and constantly worrying someone had snuck unseen and unheard into his room. He felt as if he were sinking into the bottom of a pit, with no one who would care enough to reach a hand down and save him, and one night, has he had laid awake in his bed, too on edge to sleep, he wondered if he had finally had a taste of the anguish borne by his younger sibling.

Gaara sat in utter silence, too stunned to speak and utterly confused by the words that seemed completely out of character for the usually flippant and sarcastic puppeteer, and he finally softened, looking away and sighing. The change in him and his attitude was utterly disturbing and Gaara stood to leave him alone to his thoughts, until he spotted the small jar of purple face paint sitting unused for days on his dresser and stopped suddenly. He glanced at Kankurou once more and only had to see his miserable expression for a few moments before he picked up the jar and opened it carefully, sticking a finger in and gently putting it on his brother's chin.

Kankurou gasped in fear, jerking away and holding up his hands to defend himself, glowering dangerously into space.

"What the hell? Gaara is that still you?" he demanded fiercely.

"Yes… Just hold still…" Gaara muttered back as he carefully traced the triangular shape on his chin.

Kankurou relaxed into bed, but his brow furrowed when he recognized the familiar smooth coolness of the face paint and Gaara's slender nimble fingers tracing memorable patterns on his face. Gaara drew them from memory, he filled in the triangle on his chin and put a matching one on his forehead, continuing the lines over his brow until he reached the bandage, coiling the hooks underneath his eyes and finishing the cheeks moving on to his lips. He paused there, hesitating to complete the pattern but finally mustering his reserve, he carefully laid his finger just above Kankurou's lips and traced the neat line around them.

The older shinobi lay there patiently, lips parting slightly as he felt Gaara's soft fingertip circle them and finding himself missing his touch when it suddenly vanished.

"There…" Gaara whispered, "Now you don't look so pathetic…"

Kankurou managed a small smile and envisioned for himself what he looked like with his make-up on, the knowledge somehow cheering him and making lying in bed seem less utterly pitiable.

"Thank you, I suppose…" he chortled in response.

Gaara simply nodded, despite the fact that he knew Kankurou would never see it, putting his hands in his lap and sitting quietly beside him as another silence settled over the duo. It was broken by Kankurou, opening his mouth for a moment and clearing his throat before he looked slightly away and spoke again.

"Gaara… Why are you still here?" he asked in a hushed voice.

The boy started, looking at Kankurou in utter disbelief and letting his jaw fall open slightly.

"How did you know I was still here?" Gaara inquired suspiciously.

"Heh, that was easy… If you were still here, you would have answered, like you did… And if you weren't well then there was no one to hear so no one would ever know I asked right? I had nothing to lose!" Kankurou laughed, "But… You still didn't answer my question…"

Gaara sneered at him dismissively and remained silent, irked and not willing to dignify him with a response.

"Okay okay fine... Be silent… Not like I was expecting to be kept company by anyone…" Kankurou spat acrimoniously, "Ugh, someone should just kill me now and put me out of my misery…"

"You'll be able to see again soon, shut up," Gaara replied in an even and cool tone.

"Yes, but how long? I could be waiting weeks! I could get an infection and lose sight in both eyes, it could spread and I'd get sick and-" the bed-ridden youth began, only to be swiftly interrupted.

"No matter how much it hurts…" the red-head interjected, "To die is the end… It's giving up, failing and losing… There is no such thing as a mercy killing…"

Kankurou fell utterly silent at the most words he had heard come from Gaara's mouth the entire time he was by his side, closing his own mouth and biting the inside of his lip gently. Gaara looked away and stood, starting to turn to leave the room before out of the corner of his eye, he saw Kankurou raise a hand and grope blindly for his. He sat back down upon the cushioned chair and tentatively reached out for it, bringing his own hand back several times before finally weakly taking it.

A weak smile curled over Kankurou's lips as he entwined his fingers with Gaara's and squeezed his hand, laying it on his chest and breathing in deeply.

"Gaara…" Kankurou sighed, "I'm… Sorry…"

Gaara's fierce blue eyes widened in shock at his words, and he let loose a gasp as Kankurou let go of his hand, running it up his arm slowly and his fingertips brushing just over his skin as he guided his way to his cheek. He caressed it slightly, marveling at just how soft it was, and groaned in pain as he lifted himself from the bed slightly, propping himself up and smiling gently.

"Perhaps killing in mercy doesn't exist… But mercy does…" whispered Kankurou almost breathlessly.

Gaara stared hard at the face of the brown-haired young man before him, his heart skipping faintly at his tender touch and leaning forward slightly. His lips hovered a mere few inches away from Kankurou's, he felt his gentle breath against his mouth, his strong arm wrap around his waist, the other run through his short fine hair to bring him close, and for just a moment, Gaara forgot everything else. He leaned forward, letting his eyes slide shut for just a moment, and pressed his lips carefully to Kankurou's, kissing him slowly and carefully. The kiss was returned ardently, nimble fingers running deftly over his neck, the arm wrapped around his waist secure and comforting as Gaara put down his defenses and exposed himself for a single moment to his brother.

Kankurou pulled away slightly after a moment time itself seemed to freeze for them, smiling and collapsing gracefully back down into bed, his fingers brushing one last time against Gaara's skin as he fell.

"There…" he said mutedly, "See? No need to be killed to accept mercy or give it… No need to… Feel like there would be no one in the world who would give it to you… Or like you shouldn't give it…"

Gaara looked away again, blinking a few times and staring hard at the ground as he mustered the strength to speak again.

"Rest…" he barked calmly and simply.

Kankurou smirked to himself and nodded, pulling the covers back over himself only to find a small lissome hand aiding him, sighing one last time as he sank gratefully into bed and drifted back to sleep easily. He thought, however, that as he slipped into a quiet blissful unconsciousness that he had heard the soft subdued velvet voice of Gaara beside him as he whispered, "Kankurou… I'm sorry too…"

He would be surprised later that night when he awoke with a start to find something in the bed beside him, clutching the unexpected tiny form curled against him and gasping.

"Gaara?" he inquired worriedly.

The silence and slight grunt of irritation told him exactly who it was, and Kankurou smiled, relaxing again and wrapping his arms around the boy in bed beside him tightly and protectively as he snapped at him one last time.

"Shut up and go back to sleep…"

Kankurou happily obliged him.