You know how...you have an idea when you're half asleep. Half-dreaming, half not? And when you wake up, the first thing you want to do is write it down? That's what this was. I emphasize was. This is the general gist of my dream by the time the computer booted up, I couldn't hardly remember a thing!
And you know when you have a totally awesome idea but you finally get it down you're like..."Dude, this sucks"? Well, yeah...
When Naruto dreams go wrong PART ONE!
Sweet Gaara in bathtub...sighs sadly, then visualizes sweet Gaara in abathtub and feels better.
The moon was full over Sunagakure no Sato and it illuminated everything beneath its cool white light like a distant candle. The village of Sand lived a two-faced life. During the day the heat was blazing and the sun unforgiving but when the moon ruled the celestial skies it was cold enough to see breath on the wind. Because of this awkward duality that was desert life, the people usually milled about during the early morning and the dying hours of the day.
However, some did not mind the extreme temperatures and hit the streets whenever the mood hit them. Tonight, the streets were only slightly busier than usual and one of the travelers of the night was Sabakuno Kankurou and his lady friend. He was relaxed. No black jumpsuit, no purple make-up, and no puppets were his concern as he walked hand in hand with a girl he just started dating. He's thin eyes and wild brown hair made him look like a bulkier version of his father but no matter what your opinion of the former Kazekage or his family affairs, the Sabakunos were a handsome family.
A chilly breeze cut across their skin and Kankurou pulled his date in close as they laughed a little. They idle conversation stopped as they approached their usual bench in the park, only to find that it was taken as were the only other two.
"It's a little warmer tonight than usual," Kankurou commented as they searched for a new place to flirt.
"All of the lovers are out, too. What are we going to do, Kan-kun?" Sumi pouted playfully.
He looked down at her protruding lips and bent down to kiss her. Her warm lips were a welcome from the cold. "We have to find some place private. You know, where we can be alone..." He scanned around as they walked but nothing seemed inviting or unoccupied. " I know a place but its a little bit of a walk. If you don't mind-"
She grimaced. "How much is 'a little bit of a walk'? I'm not a ninja you know." She was a waitress at a restaurant near the Kazekage's. She knew all to well when ninja boys said 'a little bit of a walk' that they usually meant 'if you're a ninja'.
"I was thinking the Iwayubi forest," he answered with no conviction at all. Sumi pulled her hand away and crossed her arms with an audible sigh of contention. "What?"
"All the way over there, Kankurou?" The Iwayubi Forest was not a forest of trees but one of tall rock projections. From above it looked like giant ants had tunneled through a large rock plateau. It was in view of Suna on a clear day and indeed to any trained ninja it was more like a stroll than any kind of journey but to the common folk it was unnecessary travel. The Iwayubi forest was indeed lifeless and the perfect place for a moonlit rendezvous.
Kankurou gripped his date by the waist and flashed his best smile. "Come on. If you want, I'll carry you. We'll be alone there and we can you know..." He kissed her forehead. When he pulled back to see her face, the smirk she was trying to conceal meant that he had won her over.
"Manipulative bastard. You better treat me like gold after this," she weakly threatened. She was perfectly disarmed.
"Yeah, yeah. I always do, don't I?" He knelt down so that she could climb on his back. He pretended to struggle as he stood up but she smacked him on the head. Kankurou simply laughed and headed for Iwayubi.
The jagged rock pathways practically whistled in the wind. Sumi gripped Kankurou's shoulder tighter. He put her down and took her hand, searching for a suitable place to sit. "This place is creepy. What if there's bandits here?"
"I'll kill them," Kankurou answered as though she had asked about flies. As they passed the stone pillars and walls, the moon rose hire in the sky, deepening the shadows but still it illuminated much.
Just when they thought they had finally found the perfect spot- an opening in the rocks the gave them a clear view of their surroundings, the clear sky and moon- they were dismayed to find it occupied. Kankurou was about to curse aloud when he recognized one of the figures. It was his father. Ninja instincts activated, he pulled Sumi behind a rock and motioned for her to be quiet. He's narrow eyes narrowed more as he examined the situation.
It was something he would later regret.
Standing before his father was a smaller figure that seemed to be touching his face. He wore something large on his back, a sack or a bedroll, Kankurou first thought. But the smaller body stepped away from the former Kazekage, Kankurou could clearly see the black markings and the distinctive shape of a gourd. The tension in his body relaxed some but the question now in his mind was what Gaara was doing with the Kazekage and why?
Kankurou turned to Sumi, her face was full of terror. He leaned in closer to her ear and whispered, "You better go. I'll talk to you later but I have to find out what's going on."
"But what about you?" He put a finger to her his lips and jerked his head in a motion for her to get away. She nodded and tried to quietly find her way back to Suna.
Assured that his date was gone, Kankurou stealthily moved to a closer rock, just a few yards away from Gaara. He could now clearly see and hear what was going on. To his amazement, the bearer of the Shuukaku demon had constructed life-like models of not only the Kazekage but also of their mother and her brother. She was seated on the ground and seemed to looking at her son and husband.
Gaara stepped back again to view his handy work. The sand clone was bent over so that his son could reach his unfinished face. Kankurou nodded to himself. The cold expression on the Kazekage's face was dead on and if it wasn't for the monochromatic qualities of the Sand he would have thought it was his father risen from the dead. Yet, Gaara move back in to shape the face.
"It's not right," he muttered. "Don't look at me like that. A father should have a kind face. You shouldn't glare." He changed the eyes. "And you shouldn't frown." He made him smile. "Yes, just like that..." The sand Kazekage straightened his back and stood up.
The wind blew a sorrowful tune between the rocks. The cold air made Kankurou shiver. He contemplated leaving his brother to his wierd hobbies and going to seek refuge in the arms of a pretty girl but morbid curiousity held him captive. He didn't want to disturb Gaara, firstly because the little brat would likely flip out on him. The second reason was that he wanted to know what Gaara's opinion of their late parents was. If he was going through all of the trouble of making models of them in the middle of no where then he must have some kind of ultimate purpose.
Gaara soon revealed it. He approached the stiff figure and hugged it. The sand arms of the Kazekage rose and embraced Gaara. Kankurou put his hand over his mouth to keep from laughing. The cute little baby wanted a hug, he thought mockingly. However, he quickly stopped when heard the unmistakeable sound of crying. The shadows were too deep, he could not see Gaara's face, but he could see his thin arms tightening around the sand figure seeking comfort. But as Gaara squeezed his arms sunk into the sand until finally the entire sand clone collapsed into a pile at his feet. The sand mother and Yashamaru he had fashioned also broke and the wind swept in to carry away their painful memories.
The cursed boy sank to his knees and gripped his head, shoulder and body shaking as his pitiful cries burned Kankurou's ears. Now the older Sand child's paralysis was not of curiousity but of uncertainty. He didn't know whether he should go or stay. He could not help nor could he leave such a sad scene to itself.
At first, the quiet crying was only interrupted by coughs and sharp intakes of breath. "Mama. Papa. Why?" Gaara hugged his waist and curled into a ball. "Why did you do this to me! " he screamed. "Why did you leave me to suffer like this? What did I do to deserve this loneliness!" His hand returned to his head as he let out a hellish scream like a tortured man. Several times he cried out and each time Kankurou felt a stabbing pain in his chest that he could not ignore.
The crying slowed and he only shuddered occasionally until he fell completely silent. Kankurou wondered if he hadn't cried himself to sleep but then Gaara rose and stared down at the piles. "I hate you," came a chilly voice. "I hate what you made me become! I'm a monster!" The sand rose with his fury and swirled around him like a tornado. The moon revealed his face. It was angry, furious, cold, and murderous. It was the Gaara the Kankurou feared. It was the face that Kankurou was familiar with.
A growl came from his small brother like an animal and it turned into a roar. Suddenly, the dust devil of anger became a tempest. Kankurou covered his head and hunkered behind the rock as sand blasted past him. He cursed audibly but the roar of the wind hid his voice. The wind shifted and raged violently until Gaara stopped screaming. Though the sandstorm subsided, Kankurou could still hear his brother growling and the sand moving like a cobra waiting to strike. Kankurou didn't bother to look, he just wanted to escape the insanity. Stealthily, he made his escape, never looking back.
Once he hit the door he locked it and shuffled to his room. He collapsed on his bed and stared up at the ceiling unsure of what he had just seen. Try as he might to push the event of the night from his mind he couldn't stop hearing the sound of crying. It was too familiar. They way Gaara curled up, the way he cried. It was too familiar. Kankurou sat up and hugged his pillow. "Mama. Papa... Why?" he repeated. His eyes began to burn and it became difficult to swallow around the lump in his throat- the unmistakeable suffocation of tears. "Dammit. I don't do this. I don't cry!" He tossed the covers aside and climbed into bed, conveniently turning his sorrow into anger.
The next day, he avoided Sumi and tried to hang with his friends. No amount of rough-housing, joking, or bullying of the lower genin could lift his mood. His mind was elsewhere. He had his grandparents take a look at his puppets. He trained, though only with half his heart. He went home when it became too dark to see the field. Gaara was already working on his TV tan, empty green eyes fixated on the moving pictures. Kankurou grumbled with annoyance. It was his fault he felt this way. Because the little baby missed his mommy and daddy, now he felt bad too.
"Why don't you go outside sometimes?" He snapped from the stairs. Gaara didn't register that he spoke and continued to unblinkingly watch the television. Canned laughter filled the empty space between the two and Kankurou simply stalked up the stairs. He blasted his heavy rock music from behind his closed door. When Temari returned home from hanging out with her friends, she found nothing unusual. Like was her habit, she fixed a quick meal, picked up, and pounded on her brother's door to telling him to turn his stupid music down- which resulted in an increase of the volume. Soon her door shut, too.
At some point Kankurou turned off his music to go to bed only to find that he couldn't. He stared at the wall and nothing. When he tried to close his eyes painful pictures from the past tried to reemerge from the sealed part of his memory. He rolled off of the bed and tossed on some cloths. He would take a walk, he decided. By the time he returned, he'd be too exhausted not to sleep. He grabbed his headphones and cd-player, inserted a gloomy and dark CD, turned the volume to full blast and headed outdoors.
Kankurou listened to music so loud, passers-by could clearly hear it through his headphones. He walked for hours, head down, eyes on his rhythmically moving feet, hands pocketed. He kept moving listening to the words of the music until the CD stopped, batteries dead. He took the headphones off and looked at the blank LCD screen. He growled and looked around. The moon was eagerly approaching its zenith. The roads were empty and in front of a quiet row of houses was the cemetary. The rows of grey, white and black stone of various shapes and sizes stood silent. Somewhere in a distant row one particular monument called his name.
So he answered by walking towards it.
The call would not be ignore and inside he didn't want to ignore it. Inside he figured it was high time to say hello. He hadn't done that in years. He ignored the pillars, statues, family plots, and dying flowers and headed to a little spot in a corner, tucked away, hidden, forgotten under a wysteria.
He knelt down and slid the CD player and headphones on the ground. He shoved his hands in his pockets and looked at the flat tombstone. "Hey, mom." Kankurou looked around to see if anyone was looking. Sand was covering the stone and grass and weeds were calling the edges home. "I uh...I...um..." He swallowed hard and his eyes stung. "I... just dropped by." Kankurou sniffed and started to brushed the stand away from the face of the tombstone. "Geez, doesn't anyone care anymore. Look at this, grass and stuff just all over the place. People just... just don't care."
He looked at the simple inscription "Sabakuno". He traced his fingers inside the lettering to push out the sand. "I uh...I'm doing good. Temari's good too...Gaara's..." He paused and decided the weeds were more important. "Gaara's not so good..." Kankurou put his hands back in his pockets. He felt like an ingrate. Their father made Kankurou and Temari came to the gravesite when they were young kids and only on holidays dedicated to the dead. But as soon as they were old enough to hang with their friends, they abandoned their mother's memorial and never looked back.
"Mom why'd you die? Why didn't you tell dad to shove that kettle where it counted?" He felt the tears escape and didn't care. He had a right to cry. "I know. I know you wouldn't have done that but you know it's not fair either. We missed you so much and things just got bad after you died. Dad just... well you know how he was! So why'd you go?"
He sniffed and pulled more weeds. He watched how his tears wet the ground like rain. The harder he tried to stop, the less able he was to stop it. "I'm so weak!...I'm just like him. Like Gaara. I'm crying like a little baby and... and... and it's all your fault!" He held his head and curled over so far his head hit the cool stone. Kankurou didn't even try to hold back. He just let it happen. If Gaara was allowed then so was he. He was entitled to this moment and he let it happen. "Tell me what to do, Mom... Tell me what should I do. You left without telling me what to do. You just smiled and acted like nothing was wrong!" His voice failed him and all he could do was cry.
A stray cat zipped by breaking him from his mourning. He rubbed his eyes and nose with his sleeve. His stomach felt like it had be tied into knots. His chest hurt, his throat hurt. He has succeeded in making himself sick, and tired. What his walk did not accomplish his sorrow had. He stood again turned his sorrow into anger and spat on the ground. "I'm going. I don't care that you're dead. I don't ever remember what you look like," he lied. Instantly he felt guilty but left without apology.
As Kankurou walked home, he heard a woman's voice from around the block. "You should never do anything to hurt your little brother. You're the man of the house now and there is no one that he looks up to more." He stopped at a corner and saw two boys, the littlest one on the ground crying and holding his knees. Their mother stood above them and scolded. "It breaks my heart when you fight. Now, apologize."
The boy looked thoroughly chastized. "Sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you." He helped the boy to stand and they went inside together.
Kankurou waited for a moment. He could see the mother from inside as she cleaned up the house. Past her was their personal shrine. He could just make out the picture of a man. He was a Sand Ninja, who must be the father and late husband, he figured. The woman however, looked so tired, so weary, but somehow, she kept smiling for her children. He shook his head and went home.
Temari was up eating a late night snack when the door opened. She figured it was Gaara back from one of his long meditations but was surprised when Kankurou's heavy weight hit the couch. She looked at him, cheeks puffed full of popcorn. "Where've you... been? Kankurou?" She chewed quickly and swallowed. His eyes were red and his face was wet like someone who had been crying but Kankurou didn't cry. He hand't cried since their mother passed away. He stared at the TV.
"What?" He said finally.
She shifted in her seat to get a better look. There was no denying it. "Your eyes are red."
"So?" he snapped incredulously.
Temari blinked as a tear fell down his cheek and reflected what was in the TV. "You're crying."
"Yeah, I am. What do you want me to do about it?"
"Because I can, dammit!" He wiped the tear away and grabbed the remote to switch the channels. "Because I can and you can shut up about it."
Temari sighed. "I can't help you if you don't tell me what's wrong." There was a touch of annoyance in her voice.
Kankurou settled on a channel he wouldn't normally watch and thought. For a few seconds he just collected himself. "You how Gaara goes out every now and then and doesn't come back for a while."
"Well, I found out where he goes. He goes to the Iwayubi and-" The door opened and Gaara stepped in. Kankurou stood up suddenly. "I'm going to bed. I'm exhausted." He headed up the stairs and Gaara took his place on the couch, leaving Temari confused and concerned.
When the morning came, Kankurou was already out of the door. He was sitting by the grave. He didn't know why he came. The blooms of the wysteria scented the hair. Whenever an errant petal or leave landed on the headstone, he brushed it away. He didn't even bother with his purple make-up. He put on the clothes from the day before, replaced the batteries in his CD player, and sat down.
All day he stayed until those batteries died and he was left with silence. "I'm sorry, I said that yesterday," he said after some time. "I...I was mad. At you and at Gaara. Why is he like that anyway? Why does he always act like he's so freaking lonely all the time? Doesn't he have Temari and me? He's such a stupid brat. If he wasn't born, you'd still be here, no one would hate us, and life would be better."
A firefly landed on the grave, illuminating the last two letters of their name. He stared at it until it flew away. He sighed and rose to his feet wearily. "I'll see you later."
And the next few nights were sleepless. He moped and was shorter of temper than usual. He and Gaara got into a heated moment but Temari dispelled it. Gaara ended up leaving in a huff. Kankurou went back to his room. He reached into his bottom drawer of his nightstand and pulled up the board, revealing a secret compartment. He shuffled around until his fingers felt something cool and smooth. He grabbed it and pulled out a picture frame of his mother, smiling and giving a V sign to the camera. She was underneath an umbrella and in mid laugh. He didn't know who took that picture, only that he rescued it from his father's trash can.
He set the picture on the nightstand and looked at it. Kankurou let his mind go numb but found no escape from sadness. Something told him that his mother was just as lonely as he was and that she missed them as much as he missed her. He rolled out of bed and crossed the hall into Temari's room. He sat on her bed and shook he shoulder. "Hey, wake up..."
She grumbled and rolled over. "Are we being attacked?"
"Then go away."
"No, we gotta go somewhere," he urged.
"It's..." She sat up and checked the clock beside her bed. "2... As is in...too early to be awake. Go to bed." She flopped back down.
Kankurou pulled her sheets back and tugged her sleeve. "Temari, come on, I need you to go with me. Just this one time." She rolled over to give him a filthy look. His green eyes were sad and wet. She sighed and got out of bed.
She slipped on her yukata and tied it loosely."All right. I'm ready." He nodded and headed outside. Temari crossed her arms as the walked in the cold night air. She thought nothing of them entering the cemetary, completely unsure of what he was going to show her, though her mind was racing. When they stopped, she half expected to see a dead puppy.
Kankurou knelt down and took a deep breath. "Mom, I brought her just like you asked." Temari was about to yell at him for joking until she realized that he wasn't. The reality of the situation hit her like a cold shower. "She uh...she's gotten really big huh? I mean not fat but like...grown up and stuff. Yeah, I know but I think she looks like you...a little bit."
"Kankurou, is this ...this why you've been so mopey? Mom's been dead for a long time..."
"No one's taking care of her," he intercepted. "She misses you too, Mom. She takes care of us now. I mean...I give her hard time and stuff but she's the only one that cared after you died." Kankurou looked up. "What are you doing? Say hi, stupid. She's our mom."
Temari swallowed and knelt down beside Kankurou. "Uh...Hi...Mom." It felt awkward. "How are...things?" Kankurou gave her look. "Well, what am I supposed to say?"
"Talk her like a normal person, cow!"
"You see how he talks to people!" She snapped. "I try so hard to keep this family together and no one even cares! Oh mom..." She stopped and stood up. She looked at Kankurou who looked back. "It's late. Let's go home. Mom, it's good talking to you."
Kankurou rubbed his head. "Is that all you want to say?" She nodded. He stood up and walked away, shoulders hunched. Temari lingered.
"You know how much I hate crying. If I cry, then he'll cry the we'll both be crying and who will be there to make us stop?" Temari asked wryly. "I know, I know. I'll make sure he's all right. Good bye, mother." She smiled a little and ran to catch up with Kankurou.
They walked together in silence for while. Temari felt something warm around her hand looked down. Kankurou's big hand was around hers. "Shut up."
"I didn't say anything."
"Your were going to. I don't know why, I just want to so shut up." Temari sighed and leaned into his arm. "Temari?"
"I have to do something, so you go on ahead." He let go of her hand.
His sister frowned. "You're not going back there are you? Hanging out in cemetaries is gloomy and depressing."
He shrugged. "I was just going for a walk. There's someone I want to talk to."
Temari tried to read his intentions but his eyes revealed nothing. She hugged him tightly. "Don't do anything stupid."
"I won't. Go on." She let go and their ways parted.
Kankurou walked to the graves of the former Kazekages. Their father was the fifth. Their tall pillars were testament to their greatness. When he stopped at his fathers he was shocked to see someone was there. "Hey, Grandma."
"Hello, Kankurou. What brings you here?"
"I wanted to talk to dad." She nodded and began to light incense. "Did Father love Mom?"
She took a long time to answer as she lit another stick of scent and carefully placed it at the base of the monument. "At first. Though I think she loved him more than he loved her."
"Did he love Temari and I?"
Again she took her time, as though carefully choosing her words. "More than anything until he began to lust for power and then he stopped loving completely."
"...Did he ever love Gaara?"
"Not enough." And this she said without hesitation.
"So what should I do?"
"That I cannot answer. But though I loved my son, he made terrible mistakes and so have I. For that we must atone." She clapped her hands together and with that she began to chant in prayer. He waited for a few minutes with her but he knew she wouldn't be ready to talk again for a long time.
The next day of the full moon, Temari and Kankurou prepared to care for their mother's gravesite properly. Temari went around to the flower shops for fresh flowers and to look for suitable vases. Kankurou followed in general silence. They had stopped for a bite to eat and were sitting on a bench. They watched the world pass by as their hot crepes cooled and were slowly consumed. A cry alerted them. Kankurou noticed it was the same two boys from the first night he began to visit his mother. The younger boy had let his balloon go and it was drifting away on the breeze. Kankurou sat up and quickly attached a string of chakra to the string of the balloon and pulled it in. He knelt down as the little boy and his brother approached.
"Give me your wrist," he ordered calmly. The boy fearfully did as he was told. "If you got a balloon and you don't want it to fly away then you have to-"
"Tie it around your wrist and you can take it off when you get home and it can't fly away," the older boy finished.
Kankurou smiled and nodded. "Yeah. Hey, this is your kid brother right?" He nodded 'yes'. "Well, you gotta tell them everything you know because kid brothers don't know anything."
Kankurou stood up and walked away sitting beside Temari again. The boys ran off skipping over puddles as a florist watered his merchandise. She chewed and swallowed. "Stop making yourself depressed. It doesn't suit you."
He shook his head. "Whatever. Let's go." He stuffed the rest of his food in his mouth.
Gaara was sitting on a rock watching the night sky when Kankurou found him. He heard the sound of feet behind him but didn't turn. "What?"
"Come on, brat. We gotta go," Kankurou's voice answered. Gaara turned around. His brother was dressed in all black but it wasn't his normal habit. It was a nice black shirt, slacks, and his sandals.
He stood from his perch and gave his brother a look up and down. "Where are we going?"
"I can't tell you. Just go home and get cleaned up," Kankurou answered, jerking his thumb back towards the village. Gaara simply walked past him and jumped to the ground.
Temari was in the living room, humming and arranging flowers in a white vase. "Bath waters already run. Hurry up." She didn't even look up as she talked. She was in a black kimono.
"Where are we going?" He asked again. Temari didn't answer. She just snipped the end of a carnation and slipped it in between a nest of Baby's Breath. Gaara ascended the stairs, slightly annoyed that he wasn't being informed of anything.
After a quick bath, he put on his normal outfit sans gourd. Temari and Kankurou waited patiently downstairs. He stood between them as he slipped his feet into his sandals. "I want to know where we're going before we go."
"Family trip. Trust me you'll like it," Kankurou replied gruffly. He slid open the door and walked. Temari winked and followed leaving Gaara last.
Once they arrived, Gaara still did not know what was going on. Kankurou grabbed his hand and dragged him forward. "And baby makes three. Here he is, Mom. Our Gaara. He looks just like dad doesn't he?" Kankurou conveniently ignored that he did just as much. "So say hi Gaara."
"Because it's mom. Say hi, she missed you."
Gaara started at the grave quietly. Was it supposed to be a joke? Was really he supposed to feel some kind of deep love for this polished granite slab? Or were they patronizing him?
"That's not my mom. I don't have a mother, or a father. Maybe this all means something to you but to me... it's just a rock."
Kankurou grabbed him by the shirt. "Don't be that way! Mom died for you! You should be grateful enough to at least say thank you!"
Gaara snatched his shirt away. " 'Thank you'? Why the hell would I thank her! I didn't want to be born! Do you think I wanted her to die? That I wanted anyone to die!" He clenched his fists tight. "I have done nothing but suffered ever since I was born. You don't care about me. Stop using me to clear you conscious!"
"You were supposed to be different! What about that fight with Naruto?" Kankurou took a step foward. "Didn't you learn anything! Stop being a selfish brat!"
"Learn? I learned that I'm alone. No friends. No family." Gaara looked hurt. "I've seen the way that you look at me and I'm sorry that I've been so cold... But you have always had each other. What about me? I have only been betrayed by everyone... Face it, this family is one big mistake!" A loud crash made them look at Temari. She had dropped the vase and was picking up the pieces.
"Temari?" Kankurou looked at her.
She didn't try to explain herself. "I shouldn't have come," Gaara whispered. "I don't belong." He turned his back and walked away. Kankurou looked back at Temari waiting for her to say something. She did not. She simply collected the shattered pieces one-by-one.
When she was done she walked passed him, pausing only to say, "I'll get another vase." She could feel his sad eyes boring into his back. She bit her lip to keep the pain from within from consuming her.
Gaara was sitting at the table, lying on it. In his outstretched hand was another white vase. She placed the flowers down and threw the broken glass in the trash. Without complaint she reassembled the arrangement in the new vase.
"Why?" Gaara began. "Why is he doing all of this so suddenly?"
"Because," she began. "He saw something that you did, that upset him."
"What? What did I do?" Gaara asked angrily. "He's always blaming me for things."
Temari picked up another flower. "He saw you and the clones of our parents... He saw how lonely you were and he saw how much you hurt. It reminded him of himself when mom died. So he began to mourn."
Gaara blinked. "Mourn?"
"Yes. We never mourned her death. We just moved on. Kankurou swallowed his pain. At first he wanted to hate you but you are the last thing our mother left us so he couldn't. He loves you. So he turns his sorrow into anger, and he directs it at you because you're just like him."
"Kankurou is sad... and lonely?" Temari nodded silently. "But he has you."
"And you have me. But you still feel lonely don't you?" She put the final flower in place. "I just do my best to keep you both from self-destructing." Her expression was serious. "I don't mourn for my mother...I mourn for my family."
Kankurou stood before the his father's monument, head bowed, his fist shaking. His eyes were smoldering flames of anger and hatred. "This is all of your fault. Don't you even care?" Blood poured down the face of the stone, running in the grooves of the new form cracks. "Mom, Gaara, the attack on Konoha. You must have thought you were some kind of genius but Grandma was right. You didn't care about anything but power." He leaned against a tree, breathing hard. "I wish I was punching you instead of your grave."
He shoved off of the tree and headed back to the cemetary. He sat down under the wisteria. His bloody knuckles dripped blood and throbbed. "When will it stop hurting?"
"Stop punching walls would be a good start." Gaara sat beside him and took his hands. "You're leaving a blood trail."
"You weren't there when it happened. You feel alone but you've never lost anything. Mom, Temari, me and even Dad used to go around the village together. He'd give me rides on his shoulders. Everyone said we were a perfect family...Until Dad decided you would be the village's ultimate weapon. I heard you were a terrible monster and the you killed mom. Geez, I didn't even realize you were human until Yashamaru died. Then... when I saw you... " He sighed. "You weren't a monster. You were me. I hated you for that. Everytime I look at you-"
"Shut up." Gaara took a small gourd from his hip and poured water over Kankurou's knuckles. "You're just depressing yourself," he remarked coolly He began to bandage his hands. "
Kankurou watched him lace the cloth around his knuckles and hands. "Well...it runs in the family."
By the time Gaara finished, Temari was approaching with the new vase. "Still here? What happened to you hands!" She shoved the flowers at Gaara, then took his hands investigating the damage.
"I gave Dad a piece of my mind. " She smacked him across the skull. "Ow. I guess I deserved that." He rubbed his head. "Let's get this over with." He pulled the frame from his inside shirt pocket. "I'm ready."
Gaara set the flowers down beside the stone, bowing as he stood. Temari lit the incense and place it in the ground on the opposite side. Kankurou looked at the picture of his mother he had kept close to his bed at all times. Her smiling face was reassuring but leaving it here meant that she was really gone, so he hesitated.
"Hey, what's that you have in there?" Temari asked pointing at the frame. Kankurou blinked and look around the picture. Sticking out the back was a small piece of paper. He tugget at it gently but it didn't move. He pulled the backing off and small folded note fell to the ground. Gaara bent over and picked it up. He unfolded it and looked it over. His eyes grew wide and his hand shook.
"What is it?" Kankurou asked, snatching it away. Temari stood on her tiptoes to so that she could read it as well. "No way..."
"It's... It's from Mom... To us." He could hardly believe the words as he said them.
"Well, what does it say, stupid?" Temari then snatched it from him. She cleared her throat and began to read it aloud so that they could all hear. "It says:
I'm not going to survive, I know. I'm so sorry but one day I hope that you find this and know that I love you so much. Though I won't be there to help you through the tough times in your life, know that I will always be watching over you and that my love should give you the strength you need to go on.
Temari. You're such a strong and sweet girl. It's your job to take care of you brothers. Behave and teach them how to responsible ninja of this village. They won't have a mother so teach them to be gentle-"
Kankurou scoffed but Gaara nudged him harsly in his ribs. He cleared his throat and apologized.
"Kankurou. You'll probably forget me but your job is very important. I want you to take care of the baby and teach him how to be a kind and loving as I know you are. I know I can put my faith in you. You're my handsome boy so be strong and don't give your sister any trouble."
Temari gave him a severe look. Kankurou shrugged as though he had no idea why she would think that he would ever give anyone trouble.
"Gaara. I think that name will suit you well. It will be so very hard for you and I blame myself for not being strong enough to save you. Be a good boy, be strong, and never forget that we all love you so very much, no matter how hard it becomes. If you ever feel like giving up, just look inside yourself for the strength and my love to help you move on.
Goodby all my children. I'll miss you so much when I go but don't miss me one bit. I'll always be with you, closer than you'll ever know.
Temari wiped a tear from her eye as she folded up the note. Kankurou took a finall look at the picture and set it down by her name. "Bye, Mom. Thanks...for everything. Let's go." They nodded and silently left, both relieved and sad that for sure, it was over.
After a few minutes had passed, Kankurou stopped in the middle of the road and looked up at the moon. Suddenly it seemed so beautiful and everything was clear. Temari noticed that he had stopped and paused as well, Gaara soon after. They both turned in time to see Kankurou start laughing.
"What's so funny all of a sudden?" She asked with a slight smile herself.
The middle child sighed and pointed to Temari. "Even though I'm younger than you and weaker than him," he said pointing at Gaara. "I'm still taller than you both can ever hope to be!" He raised his hands in the air triumphantly, still laughing. "I'm a giant amongst midgets! Haha!"
Temari and Gaara gave each other a look. "Looks like the old Kankurou is back." Temari began walking over to Kankurou.
"And he's not being very nice." Gaara approached his other side. Kankurou slowly put his arms down and looked at them warily, unsure what they were planning.
"What do you think we should do?" Temari looked up at her brother angrily for being teased.
Kankurou looked at Gaara who was giving him the same look, arms crossed. The younger boy looked around Kankurou to Temari. "I think we should tell Mom."
"Let's." The two started walking back to the cemetary.
"Okay, okay. I was just joking. You're not midgets." They stopped and looked back at him. "... ... You're more like gnomes." They looked at each other and then him taking a large step towards the cemetary. "Dwarfs?" Another step. "Fine...'Little people'." And they started walking backwards, Kankurou following. "What you're short! It's not my fault I got the good genes!"
"So, Temari, think we should tell mom about how Kankurou drinks out of the carton and puts it back in the fridge?" Gaara threatened, hands behind his head as he strolled back first.
Temari rolled her eyes. "Or should we tell him about he leaves the toilet seat down when he's using the bathroom."
"Come on, guys. Leave Mom out of this! Hello? Have you heard the phrase 'Rest in Peace'?" Kankurou kept pace with them, hands in pockets.
"Or should we tell her about how he broke that vase at the Kazekage's and blamed it on Grandma?" Gaara seemed contemplative as he recalled all of the dirt he could on his brother.
"HEY! When she bowed her big butt hit the stand! I just tapped it." Kankurou defended himself.
However it was Temari that struck blackmail gold. "Oooo, or should we tell her about how Kankurou got arrested by the cops for underaged drinking and had to be escorted home?"
Kankurou stopped dead. Temari and Gaara smirked. "Okay, okay, okay." He held up his hands. "You got me. I accept defeat gracefully. I won't tease you anymore about being short. So can we call it a truce?"
Gaara and Temari began walking forward. Kankurou relaxed and turned around as well. They walked a few feet forward before Kankurou heard running behind him. He turned around to see Temari and Gaara already at the cemetary gates in a dead heat to get to their mother's grave.
"OH VERY MATURE, YOU GUYS!" Kankurou crossed his arms. "I'm sure she wants to hear you tattle!... She's not going to believe you!... I'm not chasing you!..." He watched them turn on a path heading towards the grave. He smiled and walked a few steps towards home. He paused and looked back curiously."...They're really gonna tell her!" He jumped the fence and ran as fast as he could to intercept them.