The Phantom of the Desert

(I don't own anything from Naruto or The Phantom of the Opera)

1. The Phantom's Night

Everyone in Konoha stared. But it wasn't like people didn't stare wherever the murderous red head and his sand went. But today was for a different reason.

Temari and Kankuro were even more worried about their youngest brother. They walked a couple of feet behind staring at the back of their brother's head.

"Even with Shukaku gone, he has finally reached a whole new level of insanity… and it's too weird to even think of as fun…" Kankuro thought.

"This is so strange for a kazekage… and especially for Gaara…" Temari thought.

Gaara has changed and nobody expected him to be kazekage. Still feared without shukaku, Gaara was still a disturbed wacko to many people. Maybe that is why he is acting so strange today. He's lost it, all of it and much more…

Gaara's black outfit was no different than usual. The black long sleeve shirt with black pants seemed to fit unusually well with his new addition of "accessories" that made everyone stare. Half of a white mask hid half of Gaara's emotionless face.

Yesterday before sunset, Gaara was restless as usual and refused to do any work as kazekage. He could wait to do that until Temari yelled at him. He stepped out of the Sunagakure for awhile and walked out into the desert. The sky was a beautiful blue color with its fluffy cotton clouds and bright yellow sun. But it only made Gaara angry for some reason. He couldn't enjoy a day like this that so many would love to enjoy. It just wasn't him.

"How annoying…"

He started to run. He ran deeper into the desert, into its harsh sands with the hot wind blowing onto his tan face. He wanted the day to go away. So he continued to run.

Nobody would understand why he ran nonstop for such a long time. The sky turned pink as the sun grew less bright. Gaara detested the color pink.

"MAKE IT ALL GO AWAY!" he screamed inside.

Shukaku didn't answer.

Never before did he feel such a strong emotion as he realized his situation.

He felt so alone.

This only stirred up anger within. He began to uncontrollably shake the sand beneath his running feet and a sand storm danced madly around him. The sand blocked out the sky and its garish light. He ran though the darkness not caring where he would go.

In the darkness within the sand, tears were helplessly released from the once emotionless eyes.

Anger diminished as sadness took over.

The angry storm softened till it was quiet once again in the desert.

His feet stopped moving. Nothing could be seen. The sand and wind didn't seem to exist to him. Gaara only existed.

Yet so did the night.

He looked up. The sky was dark just like his eyes. Tiny stars shined dimly back at Gaara. He suddenly had a twinkle in his own eyes.

Then he caught sight of something that made him loose his breathe in awe.

The moon.

"Since when did it seem so…… beautiful?" he whispered. For once, he sounded gentle.

Yes, it was amazing. But through Gaara's eyes, it was a gift to his cold dark world. It wasn't as bright as the sun and it didn't give warmth to his skin. But it somehow brought warmth that no one else could give. He never really enjoyed such a sight. It was always there… yet it was so far away. Now it didn't seem like he was alone.

"It's always there above me…"

He laid himself on his back and watched the sky that looked back at him. It comforted his anger and sadness. He spread his arms out and let out a sigh. He had never felt so pleased with something that was so normal.

Then he did the unthinkable.

He began to sing.

Night-time sharpens,
heightens each sensation . . .
Darkness stirs and
wakes imagination . . .
Silently the senses
abandon their defences . . .

His left hand touched something. He had accidentally created something with his sand through his incident of anger and sadness. It was hard and smooth like glass.

"A… mask?"

He lifted it up to the sky and let the half face of the mask stare back. It had no emotion.

Something to deceive the world.

Something to hide all the emotions of the world.

It somehow pleased him.

So he put it on and walked back to Sunagakure.

Now everyone was staring. Many stared out of fear. But to many others (girls in particular), they stared in awe. Gaara looked attractively mysterious wearing his mask.

He had definitely changed since that night.