Chapter 25: We Are Vindicated

Shul would like to thank everyone who has reviewed for
both times Vindicated was up and those who've read it silently.

I hope you have enjoyed it.

Fear is defined as a distressing emotion aroused by impending pain, danger, evil, whether imaginary or not. Fear makes a person think, feel or do things that he or she normally wouldn't. It can drive one insane. The human mind dwells on what caused the fear so much that it instinctly multiplies the danger or pain that in turn multiplies the fear and obstructs its thoughts.

Kankurou swallowed hard as the car began to turn into the driveway. His younger siblings were in there. The ones who counted on him for everything; the ones he let down. What if Temari was badly hurt? What if Gaara hated him? What would he say if they asked him why he didn't come to save them?

How could he face them?

His breath caught in his throat as he saw the front door of the main house. A small someone was sitting on the porch steps, poking little rocks on the ground. A dark green silky looking kimono was wrapped around his small frame, fitting amazingly perfect—not too big or baggy; hair was dark from being damp, perhaps a shower or bath. Kankurou looked away from his brother. Gaara looked up when the car pulled up. He didn't smile, he didn't get up. He just looked. He'd been waiting for them.

Hiashi led the way up to the dark wood door behind the unmoving boy, but stopped, turning to look back at Kankurou who was standing frozen with his police escort, hands still cuffed behind his back. The two officers that came with them saw Gaara, immediately knowing this was the younger brother, the one who was abused and, like Hiashi, knew instantly that they needed no more proof.

Kankurou couldn't move. The same fear of rejection Gaara had felt towards Neji, he now felt towards Gaara. He didn't know what to say. What could he say that would make Gaara still love and trust him? Nothing. There was no compensation. A long moment of silence between the five settled until one of the officers bit their lip and gently nudged Kankurou over to stand in front of his brother.

"….Hi," Gaara said quietly, glancing up at him with shy green eyes.

Kankurou stared at him. Why didn't he yell? Gaara never yells. Kankurou couldn't remember Gaara ever raising his voice for anything. Why didn't he accuse him? Gaara never blames anyone for anything. He couldn't be blaming himself for this could he? Please god, no! Why didn't he look afraid? ….Gaara trusted him?

"Gaara…I…I'm….I'm so sorry!" Kankurou whispered, unable to express his feelings to his brother who was looking up at him with child like trusting eyes. "I'm sorry Gaara!" He hung his head, handcuffs preventing him from hiding his pain.

He looked up when he felt a tug on his shirt and watched as Gaara used him as a balance to pull himself up to stand on shaking legs. With a small sigh of relief from his efforts, Gaara wrapped his arms around his brother's middle and buried his face in his chest then looked up at him with bright excited eyes. "Did you know there's an ice cream that has cookie dough in it?"

Kankurou blinked and nearly choked on his words. "W—what?"

"Yeah! And I ate almost entire thing of it…in the living room!" he added as if he still couldn't quite believe it himself. He had never been aloud to eat desert, let alone in the living room. His face was excited, wanting to share it with his bother, but behind the excitement Kankurou saw pain. And the pain was all he cared about. Fear obstructing his reasoning thoughts. As Gaara spoke the officers came up behind them and took off Kankurou's silver bindings, but he didn't notice.

At Gaara's carefree, childlike excitement, Kankurou bit his lip and completely lost it. He grabbed Gaara's shoulders and pulled him away from him, giving him a little shake. "How can you talk about ice cream of all things?" he cried.

"I—I just wanted to tell you," Gaara said, his smile faltering slightly.

"Why?" Kankurou demanded, not understanding Gaara's actions at all.

"C—cause I—I saved you s—some…"

"Why aren't you mad at me? Why aren't you upset?" Kankurou cried, shaking him again, as though that would bring Gaara to his senses.

"W—why would I be mad at you?" Gaara asked, staring up at him, completely confused.

"Why wouldn't you be? If I hadn't left I would have been able to…you wouldn't have…you…wouldn't…" Kankurou's words disappeared in his tears and fell to the pale concrete of the stairs. One hand still clutching Gaara's shoulder, Kankurou covered his eyes and sank to the ground. Depression weighting him down as though it was in the very air. Gaara went down with him because of the grip on his shoulder. He looked startled and worried and it sounded in his voice. One Kankurou felt he didn't deserve.


"S—shut up, Gaara!" Kankurou shouted. "I don't understand! You didn't want me to go, but I went anyway! Why can't you just say 'I told you so' and that it's all my fault?"

"…I didn't tell you so…and it's not your fault," Gaara said quietly, sitting on his knees to calm his screaming pains. "B—but if you really think i—it's your fault…I forgive you."

Kankurou stared at him, his face glistening and shook his head in disbelief. "You're so stupid," he whispered as he pulled him close and held his brother tight. Sobbing again, he couldn't belief he ever doubted that Gaara would forgive him. He never felt so relieved or undeserving in his life.

But in the end…most fear is only dreading something we feel we have no control over, but that kind of fear is only in our heads, and there is really nothing to be afraid of. If trust is present as well.

"I have called you all hear to discuss something very important that has come to my attention."

"Haku, couldn't have waited until after school? Instead of making us skip classes to come to this lunch?" Kyu asked quietly.

"No!" Haku insisted.

"What's wrong then?"

"Gaara-chan isn't in school again."

Kyu and the twins sat back in their chairs with a sigh of annoyance. "Gaara's always absent, get use to it," Sakkon said.

"Exactly! That's why I'm worried!" Haku cried. "I know you all know. What if he's really hurt? What if his dad…" he trailed off as his mind wandered in a sea of worry for a while.

"Kankurou'll take care of Birthday boy," Ukon said, nodding in his own reassurance. He leaned on the table and flicked little pieces of rolled up napkins at the next table.

"Kankurou's not in school either," Haku pointed out.

"He's probably home taking care of birthday boy!"

Haku glared at him, flipping loose hairs away from his face. "And another thing," he said.


Haku pointed towards the wall where the vending machines stood. Neji was standing there looking half dead and barely able to hold his eyes open. He seemed to think he was standing in front of a machine, not next to one, because he held up a few coins, then dropped them like he was putting money into the machines. He pressed invisible buttons, then reached down like he was picking something up and walked away, bumping into people, nearly running into a wall instead of going through a door. Nearly, because a teacher hurriedly grabbed him and steered him into the right direction.

"He's just tired and on autopilot," Ukon said with a shrug. "That's like C-7."

"That's the Snicker's Bar," Sakkon said, absentmindedly. When he noticed the three staring at him, he glared. "What? I can make funnies too!"

"Any way, I'm just worried," Haku said. "I know Kankurou can take care of Gaara-chan, but why does it seem like I'm the only one who cares that his dad is hurting him?"

"Haku, that's selfish!" Kyu snapped. "I care for Gaara too! Have you even talked to Gaara about this?"


"Well, I have," she said. "He knows what his father's doing is wrong, but Haku, this has been his life. He's scared of what life would be like without his father. Horrible as he is, he's still his father. Even Kankurou's scared of that. Part of his plan to get his siblings away is that no one knows he and Gaara were abused. We all help in little ways we can…even if it's just to smile and say good morning. Trust me…it means the world to them."

Haku stared down at the table, distress written all over his face. "Temari's not in school either," he said quietly. "She went to a party last night and some one drove her home…no one's seen her or the girl since they left."

Kyu sighed. "I'll call Kankurou, ok? Don't worry so much Haku," she said, smiling. With that she stood and walked out of the cafeteria with Ukon and Sakkon tailing her. "Hey guys?"


"I called Kankurou last night," she said, turning to face them, her mask of calmness cracking slightly. "He didn't answer his phone…I'm worried."

Hiashi cleared his throat as his phone rang and he picked it up. "Hello?"

"I'm starting to loose it, can I go home please?"

Hiashi smiled to himself at his nephew's pleading. "What time is it?"

"Eleven thirty."

"Neji you only have a few more—"

"I know! But please? Please can I go home? I don't want Gaara to be alone…" his voice trailed off.

"Gaara's with Temari and Kankurou," Hiashi told him, stopping at a red light.

"He is? Are they ok?"

"Yes, Temari only has some minor injuries, thankfully," Hiashi said. "The hospital released her to us this morning to our doctors here. She's in the recovery ward at home."

"Well, can I please go home?" Neji begged. "I'm really tired and my teachers are all sending me to the nurse cause they think I'm sick or something."

Hiashi laughed slightly. "Alright, alright, I'll call the main house and get you a ride. Maybe you can get Gaara to go to sleep as well. Your aunt says he's refusing 'in his own little way' she says."

"Ok, thanks."

None of the Hyugas knew how Gaara kept slipping past them to get outside, but it happened on a frequent occasion. Neji's aunt muttered that it was because Hiashi sent George out and he was the only person capable of successfully guarding the front door, but no matter who was there, or how many were there, Gaara kept sneaking passed them. Even though it was still morning, he wanted to go outside and wait for Neji. It wasn't like he had anything to do anyway.

Earlier that day, after Kankurou came, he spend some time with Temari, just lying next to her, collecting his own thoughts and keeping her company.

"Where's Kankurou?" Temari asked him, looking down where he was snuggling against her.

"He's getting sitchy…sich…"

"Situated?" Temari said, smiling.

"Yeah…sorry," he said quietly, apologizing for his speech automatically. "My tummy hurts…"

"Aww…" she cooed, slightly. "How come? Are you hungry?"

"N—no…I—I ate already…Mrs. Hyuga made me breakfast…and I had macaroni and cheese before I came to see you…"

"Maybe you ate too much," Temari suggested, smiling happily at the thought. "You're not use to eating so much in one day are you? You're just full…you should sleep! It'll make you feel better."

"Not tired," he lied in a mumble. He was very tired; the food had made him drowsy, but he was too scared to sleep. Afraid he'd wake up and not be anywhere he knew. Or without someone there with him. The day felt like a dream to him. He didn't want to wake and find it really was a dream. If it was, he'd stay awake forever, never letting it end. Though Temari urged him to sleep, saying she'd watch him and make sure nothing hurt him, but he refused, deciding he'd go for a walk and leave her alone, feeling he was bothering her.

He tried to visit Kankurou, but he still wasn't feeling like himself and had locked himself in the room given to him to while away with his thoughts until Mrs. Hyuga had come and told him that Temari wanted to see him. Then he had locked himself in Temari's room and still hadn't come out. Moving around was starting to hurt more because he was doing it so much. Gaara would have walked around or return to Temari's room, but he discovered his body was limiting him to the living room, kitchen and foyer. And the outside when his boredom over came his nervousness and pain.

Mrs. Hyuga stormed outside, not angry, but concerned to the end of the driveway were Gaara was sitting waiting patiently for her nephew to come home, though he wasn't due for another few hours. "Gaara! Honey, what are you doing?"

"I'm sorry!" he cried, jumping slight. He hadn't heard her come up to him. Thinking she was angry with him, he squeezed his eyes shut and cringed, waiting for some sort of punishment. "I w—was w—waiting for Neji."

"I know you were, honey, but you're not well!" she cried, kneeling down next to him. "Why don't you come inside and watch a movie or something? Neji will be home in a few hours and I don't want you out here by yourself!"

"I—I'm n—not allowed to—to watch T—TV," Gaara said quietly. "A—and I—I just want t—to wait for Neji."

"You are very much allowed to watch TV here," she told him. "I know you want to wait for Neji, but—"

"Gaara, what are you doing outside!" Both of them looked up as a car pulled into the drive way and Neji jumped out as it slowed down. Gaara's face brightened at the sight of the long haired Hyuga running over to him.

"Neji, why are you home so early?" his aunt asked, placing her hands on her hips as she stood up.

"My teachers were all sending me to the nurse cause I was sleeping in class," Neji said, yawning. "Ojisan said I could come home." He stopped in front of Gaara and knelt down in front of him. "Why are you outside?"

"I was w—waiting for you," he replied in a quiet little voice, shyly picking at the grass he was sitting on.

"But I wasn't supposed to be back for another few hours!" Neji said, blinking in surprise.

"I kn—know…" Gaara said, bending his head down so that Neji couldn't see his face, twirling a green blade in his hand.

"Come on you two!" Neji's aunt said suddenly. "Inside! You two can sit on the sofa and talk, or sleep. Sleep would be best for the two of you, but I do not want you," she said to Gaara, "catching a cold on top of everything else."

Neji nodded, then grinned, swooping Gaara up in his arms. Gaara gave a startled yelp and flung his arms around Neji to steady himself from his sudden departure from the ground. He wasn't scared. He trusted Neji, but only Kankurou had ever carried him like this before. The arms tightened as a sign that he wouldn't be dropped and Neji started towards the front door, swinging Gaara slightly as though he were dancing to unheard music with a small baby. The dark kimono making light swishing sounds at each sway.

"You were going to wait outside that whole time for me?" Neji asked, smiling. "I feel loved!" he said to no one in particular and nuzzled his nose in Gaara's slightly pink cheeks. "You smell good," he commented, taking a whiff of the redhead's hair.

"M—Mrs. Hyuga g—gave me a bubble bath," Gaara said quietly, blushing slightly, keeping his arms tight around Neji's neck.

"'Mrs. Hyuga'," Neji repeated, grinning over his shoulder at his aunt.

"I—is that wrong?" Gaara asked, looking worried.

"No, it just sounds weird," Neji told him as he carried him through the front door. "I'm use to hearing her called 'Hyuga-sama', or 'Hyuga-fujin', you know…Japanese family and all."

"Oh…I'm s—sorry…"

"It's alright, love," Neji's aunt said, walking next to them. "I've grown quite fond of your little voice saying 'Mrs. Hyuga', please don't stop."


Neji sat down on the sofa and plopped himself down sideways, causing Gaara to fall with him, giving a little squeak of surprise. Gaara peeked up at him with a tiny smile from the cushions and Neji smiled down at him. "What'd'ya say? Nap?" Neji asked.

"S—sure…i—if you w—want to…"

"Aren't you a little tired?" Neji asked, rolling them over so Gaara was in between him and the back cushions.

"Y—yeah…no! ...n—not really…I—I mean…" Gaara cast his eyes down, averting Neji's.

"You can tell me, you know you can," Neji said, resting his head on his arm as he continued to gaze at Gaara's face. He gently played with the fabric on Gaara's shoulder, letting it slip through his fingers as he let his hands pull away from the area, moving to rest on Gaara's waist. "I won't laugh at you or anything."

Gaara glanced up at him briefly then back down again. "I—I'm…scared…I'm scared t—to go to s—sleep…what if he comes back?"

Neji wrapped his arm around Gaara and yanked a pillow down for them to share. Neji waited until both their heads were resting comfortably on the pillow before answering. He didn't have to ask who 'he' was. "I'll kick his ass if he does," Neji told him, his eyes starting to droop.

"B—but what if…h—he m—might hurt you and—and I d—don't want you t—to get…" Gaara squeezed his eyes shut and bit his lip.

"Don't worry," Neji cooed. He forced his tired eyes open again and looked down at him. "You want me to stay awake with you?"

"No!" Gaara cried, suddenly seeing how tired Neji was. "N—no! You're tired! Y—you need to sleep!"

"But if you need me to stay up with you…."

"I—I'll be fine," he lied.

"Liar. You want me to stay up."

"No! No, I don't, I—OW!" Gaara had tried to sit up quickly and jarred something painful. He wrapped his arms around himself and curled up in a ball. It hurt so bad that tears came to his eyes.

Alarmed, Neji sat up and picked him up. Gaara shook in pain and didn't uncurl from his ball. Neji talked softly to him and gently pried him out to uncurl and wrapped the thin, trembling arms around himself instead. He placed a hand on the back of the shaking head and gently rubbed his side, instead of his back.

"Sh….it's ok….take a deep breath…good…it's ok…" Neji said in a soft, soothing voice.

When Gaara's whimpers had simmered down slightly, he hung his head, resting it against Neji in a defeated manner. "I—I'm sorry I'm so pathetic," he apologized quietly, feeling bad that Neji had to put up with him like this.

"What?" Neji cried, moving to try and see Gaara's face. "Gaara, you're not pathetic! You're in pain! It's alright to…to not feel well. Come here," Neji said, sitting him up. He lifted Gaara's chin up, smiling hopefully, but only getting a tiny twitch of a smile in return before it completely vanished as though it were never there. Closing his eyes, he pressed his forehead to Gaara's, letting their noses brush together. "Would you rather sleep in my room with the door closed? That way nothing can get you?"

"I—I'm okay…I'm sorry…" Gaara said, not wanting to move to a different room. His body was too tired from moving earlier to even think of such a thing. His cheeks flushed pink as he looked up at Neji's close face. Smiling as he opened his eyes, Neji laid back down and curled up with him. Gaara snuggled against his warm body and closed his eyes to humor him. The last thing he remembered was Neji's aunt coming in and covering them with a blanket.

Tuesday greeted the Hyuga house quietly. Kankurou helped Temari through the house to the kitchen so she could sit and eat. She wasn't badly injured at all, but her alcohol experience left her feeling very sick and Kankurou had talked with her for a long time about it. Not scolding her, just talking, understanding, building a bridge for her. Hanabi was already in the kitchen, sipping quietly from her cup of milk Kankurou smiled at her and placed a hand on her head, causing her to look up in shock.

"Thanks for your help," Kankurou told her, grinning. He turned and began rummaging though the cabinets, looking for cups for Temari and himself. Behind him, Hanabi's face lit up happily and she beamed at his noticing her.

"Where's Gaara?" Temari asked her.

She opened her mouth to say something that might have been over exaggerated and something Neji would probably yell at her about, but she stopped herself and stared down at her milk. "He and Neji are still sleeping on the sofa…I think their dead…" she added in. "They've been sleeping since yesterday morning."

Temari smiled at her. "I'm sure they're fine. They're both very tired."

Hiashi and his wife walked into the kitchen together and immediately began making breakfast. Hiashi got his cup of coffee and sat down next to Hanabi, smiling a good morning at her before turning to Kankurou, who was sitting next to Temari.

"It will be very hard for you," he started, addressing the oldest of the three siblings. "With the court cases you will need to go through, plus school, you cannot support your brother and sister yet. Dropping school would seem the sensible thing to do for you, but I think that will be an unwise decision. Until you are off probation, and can secure a real, legal job, I will provide you room and board. I will also provide you with your own car, as I'm sure you will need to transfer yourself around."

Kankurou's eyes widened immensely. "S-sir, you don't need to do that much! I can take a bus—"

"Think of it as an early birthday present," Hiashi said, waving it off. "You can take your pick later. But, back on this subject, Gaara will not be returning to school this year. Instead he will be tutored here while you and Temari finish school. Whether he returns for his sophomore year or not is his choice, but I think it's only fair to him that he is away from the public attention he will no doubt receive and hate."

Kankurou nodded absentmindedly, still slightly amazed at the head Hyuga's generosity. Temari smiled her thanks, grateful that her youngest brother could get away from the stress and pains of school, yet still safely get his education.

At that moment, Hinata came in, something folded up in her hands. Instead of handing it to her father, she held the morning paper out for Kankurou. Blinking in confusion, he took it and gave her a questioning look.

"Some good news I suppose," she said, quietly, sitting at her place at the table. Kankurou unfolded the paper and read the front page to himself. "Is someone going to wake up Neji and Gaara?"

"Gaara was awake when I went by," the matron Hyuga said as she placed plates, piled high with pancakes in front of each of them. "But he's pretending to be asleep. Someone must wake Neji up though, or he'll never get up for school."

"I will," Kankurou said, standing. Taking the paper Hinata had handed him, he left the room and headed towards the living room.

Neji and Gaara were cuddled together under the warmth of the blanket and each other. Neji's arms were protectively wrapped around Gaara, whose face was buried in Neji's chest, a fist full of Neji's hair unconsciously wrapped in his thin sleepy hands.

"Gaara," Kankurou said quietly. Sleepy green eyes peeked out from the nonexistent space between him and his human pillow and Kankurou greeted them with a smile. "Good morning, sleep-all-day."

"What time is it?" Gaara mumbled.

"Time for Neji to get ready for school again," Kankurou told him.

"What?" Gaara asked startled. "W—we slept all day?"

"Yeah," Kankurou said. "Wake Neji up ok? He's got to go to school." Gaara's face fell slightly and he looked away. "He'll be back at the end of the day, I promise."

Gaara nodded slightly, but didn't seem happy about. Reluctantly, he gently shook Neji and called to him in a tiny little voice that would no sooner catch the attention of the living, let alone the dead. When Neji didn't stir, Kankurou stood up straighter and brought his hand down across Neji's head.

"Ow! What the fuck…" Neji muttered releasing Gaara to hold his head with one hand. Gaara looked particularly mortified, so Neji knew it hadn't been him. Turning and seeing Kankurou standing over him, he glared. "What?"

"Get up, fool," Kankurou snapped. "You got school."

"School?" Neji cried, sitting up quickly. His neck snapped back suddenly and he fell back down. Holding the back of his head, he glanced sheepishly at Gaara. "You've got my hair," he whispered.

"Oh, I'm sorry!" Gaara cried, releasing the black strands as though they burned him. "I'm sorry!"

"It's ok," Neji said, sitting up again. He swung his legs over the side of the sofa and stretched, then laid back against the sofa, slightly squishing Gaara, smiling playfully. He reached over and brushed the red locks from Gaara's forehead, smiling wider as he leaned into the touch. "What time is it?"

"About six in the morning," Kankurou replied, silently watching the two's interaction. "You two slept all day yesterday."

"I'm starving…" Neji muttered, holding his stomach. "You hungry?"

"No! I—I'm fine…I don't n—need anything," Gaara stammered out.

Neji gave him a look then reached down and poked his nose. "We'll eat in a minute, lemme go get dressed," he said, then got up and hurried out of the living room.

Gaara sniffed slightly and slowly tried to sit up, but found he had no strength in his arms and laid back down. Kankurou sat where Neji had previously and placed a hand on his shoulder. "I—I have t—to get dressed too," Gaara said quietly. "I—I'll f—fail and I—I d—don't wanna get in t—trouble…"

"No, it's ok," Kankurou said, gently leaning back as Neji had done, using Gaara as a back cushion. "Hiashi and Neji's aunt have made arrangements for you."


"Yeah, they're going to pull you out of school for the rest of this year," Kankurou told him. Seeing his started expression, he continued. "You'll stay here and have a tutor and do school here and wait for Neji and Temari and me to come home from school. If you want to go back next year, you can, but I think it's best too. People will talk and I don't want them to bother you about it."

"N—not go to school?" Gaara asked in surprise. He seemed to think this over, then he laid his head on his arm as he stared up at his brother. "Kankurou? When are we going home?"

Kankurou opened his mouth to say something then stopped and instead, placed the news paper on the sofa next to him. "We're not going back to that house Gaara, ever."

"W—why?" Gaara asked, his eyes wide. "W—wont dad b—be mad at us f—for stay—…wont he be w—worried?" The last bit was added on, as though Gaara felt the first bit wasn't good enough. How he could still think of that man as a caring father was beyond Kankurou's reasoning.

"No," Kankurou said quietly, giving the paper a small tap. "Dad won't bother us…and he's never going to hurt you again. Dad was arrested yesterday, along with those bastards that helped him hurt you. It's in the paper."

"A—arrested?" Gaara said, looking startled and even scared. "Why?"

"For selling candy to little children!" Kankurou said sarcastically, with an expression of exasperation at Gaara's cluelessness.

"….dad sells candy to—?"

"No!...for hurting you like this," Kankurou said in a much softer tone, a hand reaching out to rest on Gaara's shoulder.

"I—I got dad in—in trouble?" Gaara asked quietly, his eyes wide in horror. "N—no! I'm sorry! I—"

"Don't say it!" Kankurou said holding up a hand as Gaara started to say something else. "Eh…!...gih!...meh! …att! …Gaara shut up," he said.

Gaara covered his mouth with his hand, then squeezed his eyes shut. "Dad really hates me now, doesn't he? I'm so bad."

"No, you are not bad," Kankurou said, he helped Gaara sit up and put his arm around his brother's shoulders. "You are not bad at all, understand?"

"Dad says I'm bad," Gaara said quietly.

"Dad told you that you were bad to hurt you, Gaara. You're not really bad, you did everything he told you to do, which was ridiculous, but still…you did it no matter what …you're not bad at all."

Gaara managed a little smile, then let Kankurou help him up and followed him into the kitchen. On the way, Kankurou told him about how he was going to get a job and then they would get a house or apartment close to the Hyuga estate so he could visit Neji every day. As they paused at the door, Gaara wrapped his arms around his older brother and buried his face in his chest. Kankurou smiled fondly at him and hugged him back.

George walked into the kitchen from the other door as Kankurou led Gaara in, a hand still around his brother's shoulders. With him was Neji, now dressed for school, and four others. The brothers stopped and stared. Kankurou swallowed and looked down at the floor, his hand on his brother's shoulder tightening slightly, more as a comfort for himself then Gaara. Neji went over to them and held his hand out for Gaara, who took it and let him lead him to the table where he sat on Neji's lap to save chairs, as the Hyugas weren't use to having this many people over in the morning.

A long silence followed, save for the quiet sounds from Neji's aunt at the stove, and the soft whispers between Neji and Gaara. Though it was her idea to come here, Kyu now found herself in the same position as Kankurou. She didn't know what to say, though she was very relieved to see that he was alright. She had feared the worse. Ukon and Sakkon exchanged glances, using their twin telepathy to figure out what was wrong. They weren't stupid, they had seen the police car parked in the driveway, and the officer—down dressed, but still and officer—standing off where he could go unnoticed, but still watching. They guessed close to the truth. Haku contained himself and softly walked over to the table and stood next to Neji and Gaara's chair, looking down at them. He nearly felt like crying at the state Gaara was in, but when Gaara smiled up at him shyly, looking through Neji's hair to look at him, Haku smiled back and reached out to gently touch his face, then his hand, the silence not to be broken by him.

"Are you ok?" Kyu's soft voice, the only one of two to be allowed to break part of the hushing stillness, sounded in Kankurou's ears, but they didn't make him feel better. Not yet. His only response was a nod, not daring to break his part. "Kankurou…?"

Kankurou bit his lip, then glanced over at his siblings, unsure of himself, but feeling odd looking to them for comfort. Wasn't he the oldest? The one they came to? Who did he have to go to? They didn't care though, Temari smiled reassuringly over her glass of juice. Gaara was resting against Neji watching his brother evenly, waiting for his movement. When dark green eyes met creamy ones, Gaara also smiled then glanced over Kankurou's shoulder suggestions given with eye contact. Sighing, Kankurou turned to Kyu and smiled nervously, motioning her to follow him into the living room, where they sat and talked for a long time, while the other sat down and ate breakfast, or a second breakfast.

With trust, one never has to fear, because you are justified by those who love you and those who care. No one needs to fear with those who care. Hard times will strike like a black plague, and it will try to drag you down into fear, making you think that everything was too hard to go on. It'd get better. Even if it seemed impossibly hard now, they had been vindicated. All that could happen now was to build up; to conquer.