Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Naruto.
Summary: Gaara did not cry the first time he murdered a man. He wonders if this makes him human or not. This story explores the emotions and relationship between siblings, which is a very poignant bond. Anyone with siblings understands this.
Spoilers: For most of the Japanese Anime. If you watch the CN American version, you'll be very lost and thoroughly spoiled.
Gaara did not believe he was human because the first time he killed someone, he did not cry. It shocked him, but it wasn't his fault. He couldn't control the sand. But he never felt remorseful about it. It just never bothered him. The second time he had killed a man, it had been his uncle. Gaara did cry then, but he promised he would never cry over another's death again.
Gaara eventually came to the conclusion: people died. It was what they did. You were born, you lived a short while, and if you happened to be a shinobi you lived even shorter, and eventually you died. So for him it was a natural evolution of life: kill or be killed. He thought everyone felt the same way.
That was until he saw Temari cry. They were young. It was before they helped Sound invade Leaf village and they were on a mission. The man was sneaking up on Kankuro and Temari saw him. As if on instinct, she pulled out a kunai and stabbed the man in his jugular. Gaara found it odd that she didn't use her fan, but realized it would have taken longer to pull it out and build up the proper amount of charka to perform a decent Sickle Winds. It would have taken too long and Kankuro would have been dead.
In Gaara's eyes, she did the logical thing. Kill the man or allow her teammate and brother to be killed. But it bothered her. He could smell the regret and remorse. There was numbness to her movements as they made their way back to Sand Village. Temari moved without thought, her clothes spattered with blood and her face blank. She answered questions softly and gave their report in the same mechanical manner.
When they made it back to their house, she locked herself in her room. Kankuro would stare at the door every so often. Gaara did nothing. Women were complicated creatures and he didn't have the patience to try to sort it out. Besides, being close to Temari wouldn't be wise, he could still smell the blood, which meant she hadn't changed. The demon was getting excited by the smell. So Gaara left.
When he came back Kankuro was no where in sight and he could hear the sounds of a wounded animal coming from Temari's room. He pushed the door open silently and was so shocked he was numb.
Temari was crying.
No, she was sobbing.
She was covered in a large towel with her head cradled in Kankuro's lap. Her skin had the color of someone, who had scrubbed too hard and stayed too long under scorching water. Kankuro was stroking her hair, in an effort to comfort. He was speaking softly and Gaara couldn't make out the words.
"She's going to throw up," Gaara found himself stating. He had cried like that once, so he knew the symptoms.
He watched with dead eyes as Kankuro carried Temari like a baby pass him and moved towards the bathroom.
Gaara watched the door close.
Gaara was disturbed.
Temari didn't cry.
There were rumors around the village that she hadn't cried when their mother had been buried, so Gaara didn't understand why she would cry over a stranger's death.
It was unsettling to watch her mope around the house in the following days and to watch Kankuro play nursemaid to her needs. It didn't seem right. Gaara didn't understand.
A week afterwards, Temari re-enrolled herself in emotional training classes. Once the classes were over, Gaara never saw Temari cry again.
Gaara thought Temari was weak. That she cried because she was a female. Girls cried. That was the only way he could explain her lapse. This was until he saw Kankuro cry.
It was before the Sound invasion of Leaf and they were on another mission. This time it was Temari's back that needed watching. At the time to Gaara, she had proved herself weak in his eyes, so she wasn't worthy of him protecting her, but obviously Kankuro didn't feel the same. While Temari was in the middle of performing a Sickle Wind, an enemy shinobi was about to perform a jutsu at her back. Kankuro used Karasu to slice him in pieces. The puppet was covered with blood.
This time Gaara thought what Kankuro had did was more humane than logical. Temari was his sister, so Kankuro protected her. For some reason, though it bothered Kankuro a great deal. Gaara could see the lines of tension in Kankuro's body as they returned to Sand Village. Kankuro acted completely normal, but his voice was louder than usual. Once back at their house, Kankuro cleaned his puppet meticulously. He washed the blood away and greased the gears. But he did it for hours, growing more feverish and feverish as he cleaned, as if no amount of cleaning would remove the stains of blood.
Eventually, Temari stopped him by placing a hand over Kankuro's and pulled him into a hug. Gaara watched with confused fascination as Kankuro's shoulders slowly became lax. He was even more confused when Kankuro gripped Temari as she was a life-line and buried his face in her shoulder.
Kankuro began to cry.
It wasn't loud or as painful as Temari's sobbing, but more quiet and heartbreaking. It was as if Kankuro was holding back, that he was ashamed to cry. Temari simply held him, rubbing his back, telling him it was okay.
It made Gaara's chest ache. Something was wrong here. Either Temari and Kankuro were both weak for crying or he was inhuman for not crying. Gaara didn't understand it, even as Kankuro went back to emotional training, he didn't understand it.
He didn't understand it until he met Rock Lee. Gaara had every intention of killing Rock Lee during their chuunin fight. Rock Lee was the first person to ever penetrate his sand dense and it made Gaara mad. When Maito Gai stopped Gaara from completely crushing Rock Lee's arm and leg, Gaara was determined Rock Lee was going to die. Not only had Rock Lee physically hurt him, but Lee's bond with Gai reminded Gaara of painful memories. Rock Lee had to die.
He tried to kill Rock Lee once more, but Naruto, Shikamaru, and once again Maito Gai saved Lee's life. It was something Gaara never forget, even after Naruto beat him into a pulp, Gaara was still bitter at Rock Lee. Even as Gaara slowly began to feel something other than indifference for his siblings, there was still a dark shadow in his mind that wanted to crush Rock Lee.
It wasn't until the fight with Kimimaro that Gaara saw Rock Lee differently. Here Rock Lee was fighting for Sasuke Uchiha, a guy Gaara knew was as dead as himself inside and a guy who probably didn't give a damn about Rock Lee. Gaara didn't understand it, until he saw the blood dripping from Rock Lee's hand. Gaara had caused that. He had nearly killed this guy and yet, Lee was here fighting, holding no grudge against Gaara for trying to kill him. Gaara realized Lee wasn't so much fighting for Sasuke as for himself and the urge to murder Lee wasn't so strong.
For some reason Gaara was possessed to protect Rock Lee. He didn't know why but, he did. When it was finally over, Gaara felt disjointed. He had protected Lee. Lee wasn't hostile towards him. Lee was polite and kind. Gaara had almost killed him. It made Gaara's head hurt and most importantly, it made his heart. Once he and his siblings were back in Leaf Village, Gaara waited until Temari was alone and teleported into her room, nearly frightening her to death.
"Gaara! You should have used the door." She held her heaving chest.
Gaara was silent, just staring at her.
"Is something wrong, Gaara?"
Still Gaara said nothing. His heart felt as if it would explode.
Temari placed a careful hand on his shoulder. The sand didn't react. "I'm your big sis Gaara. If want to-"
Gaara did the most impulsive thing he'd ever done in his life. Gaara wrapped his arms around Temari's waist and clutched her tight.
At first Temari stiffened and Gaara wondered if maybe he hadn't done it right, but suddenly she was un-strapping his guard and dropping it to the floor. Then she pulled him over to the bed and sat with him in her arms. It was awkward at best, but yet consoling, especially when Temari began to rub his back.
"Gaara...are you okay?" Her voice was soft and Gaara wondered if this was how she talked to Kankuro when he had cried.
"I almost killed him..." Gaara could only speak in whispers.
"Killed him?" Temari sounded alarmed.
"Rock Lee...I almost killed him..." Gaara didn't dare meet her eyes.
"But Gaara, you didn't kill him. Lee came back with us. He was alive." Temari seemed confused.
"But I wanted to. I wanted to kill him. I wanted him dead." Gaara met her eyes tentatively. Temari's eyes were the softest he had ever seen them.
"But you didn't, Gaara. You did not kill him, Gaara." Temari ran a hand through his hair.
"Then why does my heart hurt? Why does it feel like it's going to explode? Why..." Gaara's voice was cracking, "does it hurt so bad?"
His eyes were beginning to sting.
"Maybe you feel regret. Remorseful. Sorry that you almost killed him."
That made sense. Gaara had heard of that emotion before and he had felt it. He had felt it, after his fight with Naruto. Remorse had prompted him to apologize to Temari and Kankuro and now it was making his heart hurt because of Lee.
"But Gaara..." Temari's voice sounded full of wonder, "Why do you remorseful for what you did to Lee?"
Gaara's vision went blurry when he began to speak, "He wasn't mad. I tried to kill him and he didn't get mad. He was nice to me. He wasn't scared. I tried to kill him. I don't understand..." Gaara's felt something warm and wet on his cheeks.
"Lee is...a very weird person. Maybe he just didn't take it...personal. Shikamaru is...okay with me, too. Leaf ninja are just…different, I guess." Temari seemed at a lost.
"But I tried to kill him," Gaara's voice was muffled as he buried his face into Temari's neck.
"Gaara...," Temari sounded surprised, "are you crying?"
Gaara didn't say anything. No matter how hard he pressed his face into Temari's neck the tears wouldn't stop.
Temari pulled back and stared at Gaara's face. Gaara refused to meet her eyes.
Her mouth opened and closed a few times. Gaara started to move away.
"Gaara, wait," Temari grabbed his arm," it's okay."
"It's okay. Really. It's okay." She pulled him back into her arms as more tears fell. "It'll be okay."
And this was the first time Gaara ever cried because of remorse. He was in his sister's arms with her consoling him, telling him it was okay to cry that it was okay to feel remorseful for something you did. Gaara didn't know if crying and feeling remorseful made him feel human or not. No matter how much Temari told him it was okay, Gaara didn't know if this strengthened him. He never took emotional training class again, but he resolved to never do anything again that would make him cry inhuman tears.
Author's Note: Let me just say, this story was written to explore the depths of Gaara, Kankuro, and Temari's relationship as siblings. There had to be a first time that Temari and Kankuro murdered someone while on a mission and there had to be a reaction. The Sand Siblings are tough and strong, but they are also human with feelings, even Gaara. I just wanted to explore the emotional side of the siblings, primarily from Gaara's point of view.