I just need to get this depressing thing out of my system... I hope to not freak out anybody... ;;;

Naruto (c) Kishimoto. Opening quote (c) Clamp

Warnings: shonen ai, characters thirty years older than they are actually, characters death.

When sorrow sang softly

The best gift you can give to the one you love, is to die after her.

-Oluha- Clover

The terrace was one of the highest points in Suna. From up there the desert was an imponent expanse, beautiful and frightening at the same.

Kankuro remembered all too well the first time he had come in that place with his brother. When Gaara had tried to explain him his reasons to become Kazekage. His wish to learn to be human, to at least get a bit closer to how "normal" people felt, "normal" people loved. It had been… like more than thirty years ago.

Now, again, Gaara was standing, back to his brother, his gaze fixed to the desert. But it didn't take to be a ninja to perceive the tension compressed in his frame, the anger ready to explode.

"He left me."

Kankuro did not reply. He knew the desert was already starting to resonate with Gaara's turmoil. There had been a time when sandstorms excited Gaara, made him unstable and dangerous. Now it was Gaara's inner violence that made the whole desert stir and wake, furious.

"He had said he would never leave me. He always said promises were so important to him."

Gaara's voice was low, controlled, almost deprived of inflections to someone who had not, like his siblings, or him, spent his whole life learning to understand him by the littlest change of expression. Kankuro could hear so well the strain into it, like he had not for such a long time. And it made him cringe with a fear he hoped he had forgotten.

The puppetter swallowed, his sweated hand clinging to the ties that held Karasu on his back. Oh, he had feared it. As much as he had been happy for his brother, happy to see him find someone he could really care for, find he could be loooked at with no hate, or fearful awe, or even that distant devotion Suna people looked him at now, but with the simple love coming from closeness. He had feared this day to come. He wanted to reply, to say something, anything, that would have make things better, that would make Gaara reason, seeing that there was no point in letting himself being overcome by the rage, doing something that he would have surely regretted. But he was not so wise, he had no meaningful words, and most of all, he knew that everything he could say would have been most likely just as salt on fresh wounds.

Gaara turned to look at him. Age had took nothing from the porcelain perfection of the sand creature, he showed not a wrinkle. Only his eyes had got even deeper, if that was possible for someone who had seen death, had bestowed dead, when he was only a child. His eyes were now dried, and hard. He would never cry. He had not even back in Konoha, when, fuck ninja ways, even Kankuro had felt like crushing, after all had happened, all that pain. They won, yes, but it had been so bitter. Temari had given her life years ago for that same long fight, like many other shinobis from both the Leaf and the Sand, and it was her proud anger that had pushed Kankuro forward, together with the knowing that that thing, that Orochimaru, was not something he wanted to leave to his sons fight against. It had been the final fight, and they won. The price was carved in lapids, was resting into the ground, or flying in the smoke from the funeral pyres.

Since he got back from the battlefield Konoha had become, the Kazekage had took over Gaara's soul, because Suna needed him. The village needed his strenght, and so did Konoha and its Hokage, Naruto. Now things were slowly going back to something similar to normality, the immediate danger of other villages retorsions on the now weakened Leaf-Village prevented. Politicians were taking over to decide what to do of the remnaints of the Sound-Village (burn everything to the ground and pour salt all around, if they listened to Kankuro's opinion), and Gaara was left with his pain. Kankuro had come back from Konoha in a rush with that last message, only to find him on the verge of breaking.

Wind howled between the houses under them, bringing sand with it. Kankuro felt the light weight of the sack on his shoulder, of his message. He had come there thinking it could have brought a bit of relieve to his brother, but now he was scared to give it to him. Gaara looked at him for some moments, the heavy gaze making him even more nervous. Then his face hardened a little, and he started to turn back again. Realizing he had been given an opening, and had lost it at all, Kankuro quickly spoke.

"It was not his fault, nor it was yours! There was nothing you could do…"

"Of course I could do nothing. I was not even there, when… when he did it!" Anger slipped out, and Kankuro suddenly realized that the gourd on Gaara's back was uncorked, and the sand was floating out and around them, with sudden, unpredictable movements. Once the sand had been to Gaara what face and hands where to the other people. Some habits were just impossible to disappear.

"He… he had to do it. It was for his village, for everyone he loved, it was for you, too. We had to end it, someway. Everyone of us knew perfectly there was little chance of coming back alive." Kankuro went on hastily, feeling, almost with desperation, the uselessness of his words. "You too were ready to sacrifice your life to defeat that bastard of Orochimaru, because this was our last chance before he'd got really too much powerful for anybody to fight against him, weren't you?"

Gaara shook his head, reaching to press a hand over his eyes.

"He… you know how Lee is… was, dammit… he just saw everybody in danger, we were going to be fucking crushed by the fucking snake, and in that moment he was the only one who'd got the chance to do something… and he just did it."

Kankuro had been there, so near. Naruto and Gaara were fighting directly against that monster, and the demons he evocated, while the Leaf and Sand troops fought with the Sound army, ninjas transformed into monsters by Orochimaru's seal and Kabuto's skills. Nobody was expecting the Sannin to send Manda away from his fight and over Konoha that mad will to destroy his former village. Lee, Kankuro, and the other ninjas had just see the enormous creature over them, and the next moment the puppetter had felt the huge surge of chakra and Lee had jumped up and over the snake, pushing himself past the ultimate limit. They could only stare.

Kankuro licked his dried lips.

"Nobody could have stopped him from fighting till death… nobody, as much as he loved you…"

"I know it, I KNOW IT, DAMN IT!"

Gaara's scream made the sand rose up and crush on itself over their heads, then revolve in a vortex around the two brothers. Kankuro put up his arms, to protect his face, but as scared as he was he refused to back away. The sand howled into his ears, grains scratching his bare wrists and ankles like pieces of broken glass. He was expecting to be hit every moment.

Then he felt the wind subdue, and peeking warily between his hands, he saw the sand settle down to the ground. Gaara had got closer, he was now standing in front of him. He was forcing his breath calm again.

"I'm sorry." He said.

Kankuro shook his head, his body slowly relaxing. He realized he had been paralyzed by the fear.

"Hey, don't worry… I got the sensibility of a stone, I just wanted… I don't know. I'm sorry for it all, I'm sorry not being here with you right after the battle, to help you, I…" he wanted to say that he missed him too, and on a level he would never thought possible.

He would never had thought of the whole thing as possible. So many years ago, when Gaara had, matter of factly, explained he was in this "relationship" with the Leaf-shinobi, he had just thought they were both simply gone nuts. Then he had been so angry, secretely convinced that that crazy guy in spandex would have found the way to hurt Gaara, right when he was going to be better. It was all so unprobable… And… against all odds it had worked. For so much time. They even could not see themselves so often, tied as they were by ninja ways to their own villages. Lee had went back and forth from Konoha to Suna, taking every chance missions could give, with the not so subtle help of the Fifth, and then the Sixth of Konoha, and coming on his own any time he could. To Kankuro it was something totally crazy, for a thing like that to go on. For a bond to grow so strong, in spite of time, of distance, of the world itself. Maybe madness was really what this took, and in the end, even against his own will, he just started to feel happy when he saw Gaara's face lightening up after reading a message from Konoha, or when he stumbled in Lee, arriving to the Kazekage palace in a rush, after running all through the desert, always polite, and embarrassed to the excess, always wearing his big, flashy grin. He and Gaara stayed together for the time they had, was it two days or two weeks, and seeing them walking around Suna was at first looked with disbelief, then as a harmless oddness. Then it just become a habit.

So Lee had sneaked into their family. A sparring fight with Temari, an evening spent just chattering while Gaara was away on duty, after all the siblings could not just keep their guest closed in the training field. Kankuro remembered his tears, and his rage, after Temari's death, like she had been her sister too. And now, he felt like he lost a part of his blood too.

"…I… The Hokage gave this to me, in Konoha, right before I left. It's… you should have it." He trailed off, uneasy. He put off the sack, opened it and took out a small wooden square box, with the symbol of Konoha carved on its lid, and handed it to his brother. Gaara looked down at the thing puzzled, then his eyes widened, understanding what it was.

Right after the battle they could not find the bodies of everyone. Many had been completely destructed by the blows and the fire, or devoured by the demons who had been evocated. They had seen Lee die, no chance to hope for, but they could not recover the body. Gaara knew all too well that Lee belonged to Konoha, and that he would have rested there, so he did not even asked about it. He was left with only memories. But now…

"They've found him. He… He had asked to be cremated and his ashes shedded in the woods near Konoha…but he also expressed the wish a part of him was give back to you… if you want to accept it. He… loved Suna, too." He ended awkwardly.

Gaara looked at the small box his brother was offering him like it was a ghost. He reached to brush the wood with his fingers, and for a moment, for one only moment, Kankuro saw him shatter, his face showing all his sorrow, showing something of him only Lee had seen before. In the space of a breath it was gone, like Gaara's own body could not bear to show so much of its inner ways.

The sand rose again to catch the urn from Kankuro's hands, slowly, with utter caring. It condensed over it while Gaara looked intently at the small object. Then the box broke, pieces of wood falling to the ground, the ashes caught by the sand, brought by it, mingling with it. The sand went back into the gourd, holding its charge with devotion. Gaara had closed his eyes, breathing deep. When he opened them, what Kankuro could see was not peace, was not deliverance. The sorrow would always be there, no use fight against it. But maybe something like that, something material, was what Gaara needed to hold on, to remember he had not been alone, he would never be.

"I need to remain alone." He said.

"Ok. I'm getting back to the palace. See… see you tomorrow?" There were no adequate words, Kankuro knew, so he did not even try. He knew Gaara was still into his reach, was still with him, and that made all worth it.

Gaara nodded. "Thank you" he said, before turning to the desert.

Kankuro watched him go. Tomorrow, the Kazekage would be back to his village, tomorrow like forever. But not tonight. That night, the desert would cry.


ok... LEE, TEMARI, I'M SORRY! ;;

(gets hit by a giant fan)

Temari: Damn you, you got me killed in a SINGLE LINE!

Lee mumbling : uhm... well, punching Manda in the jawbone could be a cool way to die... notices Gaara's look just joking.

Kankuro sighs

Next one will be something totally cracked up and very funny, I promise...