In Full Bloom
Rating: K / PG-13? For mentions of death and general unpleasantness.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, or any of the placesor characters mentioned in that series and this piece of fanfiction. No profit is being made, I write for free.
Notes: Kankurou-, Temari- and Gaara-centric. Set pre-series; no spoilers unless you know absolutely nothing about the Hidden Village of Sand. As always, feedback will earn you a small piece of my heart. :D
Kankurou never thought that he would have cause to doubt his purpose. As a child, as a shinobi in training, he had had his pride, fierce determination innate through generations of slaughter and sacrifice. He had had his father, sister, little brother -- "Guard Gaara with your life." -- and not much else. Kankurou was quite content to exist for them alone.
He had received his first marionettes at the age of four, a late gift from his late mother. Those puppets were treated like toys until he slipped and put himself in the hospital, retching up bile over a porcelain bowl imprinted with the mark of the Sand.
Now, Kankurou sits, and Kankurou thinks. Gaara's sand hisses and rattles from the next room, and a six year old Kankurou doubts whether his baby brother will ever really need him at all. He feels tired. All grown up.
Temari only has grace when she concentrates -- hands rough with grit, fan held loosely before her face with a smile that burns like desert heat. She slings out her hips when she weaves through a cluttered room; something gets knocked down, and Temari scowls and mops up any spills with the ends of her sleeves.
Needless to say, Temari is a distinctly average cook and can't focus on dusting long past her first few sneezes. It all seems so pointless, sweeping out sand when Gaara just drags more in with him, and there's no way she or Kankurou will ever dare to make it an issue. Her greatest strength is sewing; Temari has quick fingers, can patch up rips and tears until they're barely there anymore. It sometimes feels like the only thing she will ever have the chance to create.
Temari's apathy at home is nothing like school: she has a fierce competitive streak. A need to prove that she isn't the weakest of the Kazekage's offspring. The other children trip her and laugh, and she sends a shower of kunai at their throats like a sandstorm. The first time Temari hits her mark she is five, and sent swiftly home to receive punishment.
"Here you go, sweetheart," her father murmurs, smiling. The fan he gives to her is just as tall as she is, pure white dotted three times with red. "Congratulations."
Gaara watches Kankurou tweak his marionettes, clattering away strangely in the corner, eyebrows creased with discontent. He watches Temari clean the spine of her fan with a rag, gentle movements that hide the slow decay of blood on its delicate frame. He watches his father through hazy eyes, wits dulled by the heat, and the veiled distaste on that face makes him feel untouchable.
Gaara never doubts his purpose anymore; Gaara no longer makes clumsy mistakes. He used to wonder when he would be given the gift of death, weeks and months ago, but not now.
Gaara knows that his gift will never be given: it has been a part of him since the beginning.