Chapter 1: We; Those Sick and/or Tired

Rating: PG-13 (Teen), because it's shounen ai, cussing, mentions of alcohol, drug use, etc. Rating may rise much later in the story.
Pairing: NejiGaaraNeji
Official Side Pairings:
SasuNaru, ShikaTema
Genre: Drama/Romance

This is a challenge fic from my friend, Kokuei no Onchuu. One day at our lockers, we were discussing Naruto pairings. I think I mentioned something about GaaraxNeji, so she challenged me. It's been a long time in the works, but finally, the first chapter is here.

A Later Note: It's been two years since this first chapter was written, and I'd like to drop in once more to admit mistakes. I've now had the chance to use an actual darkroom, and know the my dark room scene was rather inaccurate despite how vague I was. Also, I have Naruto call Sasuke 'Sasuke-teme', don't I? I'm horrible! 'Teme' is actually a very rude form of 'you', apparently. Very sorry for all of this (and some of my characterizations, oh lord...).

Disclaimer: Nope.

"Those unable to think themselves falling in love usually are those who fall the hardest."

A pause, and another spoke.

"That's stupid."

"It's poetry, Kankurou." Temari sighed, holding the book closer to her. The other boy glared, as they continued their trek down the sidewalk. Just the three of them.

"You should read some," she continued in a superior tone, "Then you might learn to be grateful."

"Grateful? Grateful for what? Our parents are dead; Dad's been gone a few months now if you haven't noticed, Temari. So, besides that bastard's death, what the Hell do I have to be grateful for?"

"Shut up! Gaara is here too, you know!"

"And what does that mean to me, eh?" the older boy turned to glare at he red-head trudging along behind them. "The pipsqueak don't talk, anyways."

Slowly, emerald spheres raised their direction from the pavement. Black rings outlined them against pale skin, as fires alit within. Though no words were spoken, the boy's message was clear.

Kankurou turned back around with a gulp. Temari glanced fretfully from one to the other. From her point of veiw, things couldn't be more messed up. Her parents were gone, and her siblings were crazy. Maybe she was crazy too!

"I'm sure Gaara appreciates the poetry."

"Keh. He's too young."

The boy didn't even seem to notice they were talking about him. But inside, he was listening closely. He liked hearing his siblings talk. It was better than silence. It was as if the day was just another day.

'You must be this tall to get on the ride. And have two tickets. That rules me out.'

"Try to have fun at school, Gaara," Temari mustered once they'd finally reached the junoir high school. The one spoken to didn't say anything in return. He sinply ventured off their course, and stepped through the gates. The two eldest left him then for their own school, though he wasn't any more alone than he had been with them there.

Every day at school was a blur. Go to class, eat lunch, more class, go to foster home. That was about it. He never bothered to talk to anyone, and no one talked to him. It didn't even come as a surprise no one bullied him. The teachers never called on him. He was just there. A ghost, for lack of a better word.

And when people did bother him...

They always did, once and a while...

They never did again. They usually didn't bother anyone again.

Most days after Gaara went 'home', he sat in the room he shared with Kankurou. Temari had her own, where she and her few friends would giggle away. It was both fortunate and unfortunate they'd all been placed together.

"Many hands make light work!" Their foster mother, Mariko had told them, "This way you can work together to get things back on track."

What track?

Were they on some sort of track to begin with?

Every week, each one saw their own councillor at the community center, because the cheerful, but poor Mariko couldn't afford much else. Aside from that, they tried to pretend life was normal.


It most certainly wasn't.

But that day, the day after Temari had stayed up all night reading her new poetry book, the day Kankurou heard Gaara speak for the first time in rather long time, that day...

That day, things got even weirder.


'There are a lot of messed up people in the world. Some just look insane, others you can tell it from talking to them. It's the ones that are both you have to watch out for.

'That's my category.

'Just look around you. There are a lot for messed up people than you probably realize...'

At the back of the class, Naruto was content with poking his bunsen burner with his pencil. This was one of the many reasons the school had so many fire drills. Beside him, a boy with raveny hair glanced around nervously, while lightly bobbing his head along with the death metal blaring from his headphones.

'I'm not sure what classifies being messed up. But those two are close.'

A girl resting her head on the desk looked happily up at headphone-boy, blushing. Occasionally she giggled, or flicked her hair. Once she even asked for a pencil. He gave her an eraser, but she just giggled, used it, and handed it back. Another near her fumed, and doodled in her notebook. Most of these doodles were rather violent, and involved the Flirty girl dying, whilst the Doodler kissed Headphone-boy.

'Girls aren't messed up. Most of the time, they're just being girls.'

The red-head whose broad mind contained the thoughts stared absent-mindedly out the window, watching the sky darkening with rainclouds. His eyes were wide open, reflecting a challenge no one dared accept. Fingers curved against his alabaster cheek, a dark scar decorating his forehead.

Soon he became bored with the gloomy world outside, and decided to survey the classroom. Nothing had changed for about three minutes. Rampant chaos called 'Our teacher is five minutes late'.

Across the room, another was doing the same. For a second, the boy caught Gaara's eye with his own milky ones. He nodded slowly, time fluctuating strangely. Gaara squinted at him. He'd seen the boy before. But he hadn't actually seen him before.

It was strange.

Gaara felt a loud thump, and looked away.

It came from inside of him.

He blinked a few times, feeling just a little shaken. The reason had since escaped him.

'That guy makes the list for sure.'






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