What Dreams May Come
The day seemed long as the demons could do nothing but wait until nightfall. Although Kyuubi and Shukaku both got vague feelings from their hosts, it didn't tell them what was going on.
That night it was Gaara, surprisingly, who appeared first. His dream was not so dark this time, Kyuubi was somewhat relieved. The demons entered cautiously.
Gaara's dream setting was a rocky half dessert area filled with scrub brush and random cacti. The whole place was permeated with a grey fog. Wildlife could be heard faintly, buzzing insects and hissing snakes like those normally found in such places, the desert was full of life.
Searching around the area for a little while they found Gaara sitting on a boulder beside a cactus in bloom. His head was bowed and his arms wrapped around his body. Kyuubi crouched down in front of him trying to look at his face without crowding too close. Shukaku watched curiously too, but kept his distance.
A faint sniffle was heard and Gaara slowly looked up, "Kyuubi. Thank you," he whispered with a wane smile.
Kyuubi sat up in pleased surprise. "For what?" she asked gently.
Gaara sniffed again. "'Cause you brought us together. Naruto an' me," He looked down smiling to himself now. "And he wouldn't give up on me. He never does, does he?" Gaara chuckled, talking mostly to himself. He looked up at the fox. "I know you're the one who made it happen, so thank you."
Kyuubi smiled kindly, laying down in front of the small boy while wrapping a tail around him. "You are most welcome my, dear," she said comfortingly. "How are you feeling now? I know it must have been a very difficult ordeal. But remember, you do have friends and people who do truly love you. Do not doubt that. Ever." She spoke gently, firmly, honestly.
Gaara curled up and started crying in earnest. Kyuubi feared she had said the wrong thing until Gaara murmured "Thank you. I won't." He looked up again. "Where is Naruto? I have to tell him I'm sorry," he looked around for the blond.
"He has yet to fall asleep, my dear," Kyuubi said.
"An' my sister?" he asked while wiping his nose on his sleeve.
"I am not sure. Let us see if we can find her," Kyuubi gestured to the doorway with the tattered cloth nearby.
Gaara sat up carefully, wiping his eyes dry. He walked over to the door and studied it for a time in silence.
"Do you remember?" Kyuubi asked him.
Gaara glanced at her and nodded before he stepped forward and his dream faded away into a starry expanse. He looked around only briefly, "She's not asleep yet," he said, a little sadly.
"How do you know that?" Shukaku had to ask.
Gaara turned to him a stared. He shrugged. "I just know."
Kyuubi tilted her head curiously. A thought occurred to her. "Naruto should arrive shortly. I would like to try a little something, if you are willing. I would like to know if you can tell when he is here, and where. I will move away some distance and wait with him once he arrives."
Gaara and Shukaku agreed to wait. Kyuubi turned and loped into the dark turning a circuitous route once she was some distance away. As she moved she thought about the child and demon behind her and thought she could detect something in their direction. She couldn't see, hear, nor smell them, yet there was a definite something pointing that way. It was just a knowing that couldn't be explained properly.
Naruto appeared a short while later. He smiled but he was still worried. Kyuubi smiled at him fondly.
"Good night, little one," she greeted warmly. "I have a question for you," she added.
Naruto tilted his head curiously. "What is it?"
"Yesternight, you said you knew I was real. Why are you so certain?"
Naruto smiled again, leaning back and putting his hands behind his head. "Oh that. When I walk down the street and I use that trick you showed me, where I use the wind to listen to people farther away, you know? I hear them say things like," he dropped his voice to a stage whisper, "There's the Kyuubi brat, he is a demon spawn...," he paused a moment. "Ne, Kyuubi, what's a spawn?"
Kyuubi chuckled, "It means you are a child of mine," Kyuubi told him with another warm smile.
"Oh, I thought it was something bad," Naruto said with a relieved sigh. Kyuubi laughed.
Just then, Gaara came around from some snining dreams, Shukaku in his wake. "Naruto," he called out.
Naruto gasped and ran over to him. "Gaara! Are you... I mean are you... uh," he stammered out.
"I'm ok now," Gaara reassured the nervous boy. "And Naruto? Thanks. I'm glad were friends."
"Best friends!" and Naruto hugged Gaara tight. Shukaku rolled his eyes and Kyuubi smiled.
"You found us Gaara."
"Yeah," Gaara anwered once Naruto let him loose. "I don't know what it is. I just knew it." He stopped and appeared to be listeneing to something. "And there's Temari now," he pointed off to the right.
Everyone looked that way. "Hey yeah, I think I... feel something." Naruto squinted, unsure.
"Let's go visit her," Kyuubi suggested. Gaara nodded and led the way to his sister's dream.
Temari was sitting in front of her home, her large fan across her knees when Gaara and Naruto found her. She stood to welcome them but Naruto hugged her first mumbling thank you over and over. She squeeked with surprise. "Um?"
Gaara snickered. "He does that," he shrugged. Temari patted Naruto awkwardly.
Kyuubi and Shukaku approached, emerging from the darkness. As Temari caught sight of the demon tanuki she froze. Shukaku favoured her with a wide toothy grin. Kyuubi was about to whap him and tell him to knock it off but Temari moved first. She stepped between the demons and Gaara, brandishing her over-sized fan.
"Y-you stay away from my little brother!" she yelled at the pair, her voice trembling but her stance firm. Everyone stared at her in wide eyed surprise.
Shukaku was the first to move. "Huh," he huffed turning to Kyuubi. "Threatened by a nine year old with a fan. Now I've seen everything."
Kyuubi whapped him then.