So…first fanfic ever. Just decided to do this for fun.

Oh, and I equal a poor overworked and over-caffeinated college student…clearly I don't own Naruto.

Green and blue eyes.

That's all I could see as my siblings carried me back to our home in Suna.

Green and blue eyes glowing with the fire of determination. They seemed to haunt every crevice of my mind, forcing Shukaku into the deepest darkest corner to cower until my mind was once again free for him to torment.

Imagining the fearsome Shukaku cowering with his tail tucked between his legs almost made me smile…almost. I had already freaked both Temari and Kankuro out by apologizing to them both so I figured I would suppress the smile to save their sanity.

But it was still amusing to me…the almighty Shukaku, beaten by a small nobody of a boy.

Shukaku was beaten, I was saved.

This Naruto kid helped me to see "the light" if you will, helped me to see how my past actions were all wrong. Well, some of them were wrong, but some of the people I have killed had it coming in worse ways than I could give it to them.

I keep replaying the fight over and over in my head, but the moment that I remember the most, the moment that's the most vivid, is highlighted with green eyes and pink hair. Never would I have imagined that girl jumping in front of me to save that Uchiha boy. When I first met her when my siblings and I first entered into this town, I immediately dismissed her as some little girl that dreamed of being a ninja but just didn't have the makings and the guts to follow through with it.

Boy was I wrong.

Not even my father, the Kazekage of Suna, would stand up to me like that. Sure, he had found ways to punish me, but never would he stand up to me when I was losing control.

But that girl…

That stupid little girl who dragged all of the memories that I had so lovingly repressed back out of their graves… she stood up to me.

That's probably why her eyes are still haunting me.

And that Naruto kid… the way his eyes changed as our battle progressed… no wonder they're still following me around.

But I can't think about those two now.

Right now I have to concentrate on the problem at hand: what the hell I'm going to tell the heads of Suna when we get back.

The mission failed because I couldn't keep control, but whether or not I would be punished for it was the question. I knew that everyone else would be punished of course, because of my failure everyone that was assigned to this mission would suffer. Temari, Kankuro, the other ninjas… all of them would suffer.

Shukaku loved that idea.

They would all bleed because of me. Just the thought of all that blood causes my heart to flutter.

But for some reason, it just didn't feel right to me anymore. For once in my life I didn't want them to bleed because of me.

I can only hope this new found feeling doesn't last too long, because I don't know if I can handle it.

Feeling my siblings slow down their pace, I scanned our surroundings. The tree line is beginning to thin, so that means we're getting closer to the desert. Apparently we weren't going to stick around to face the repercussions from Konohoa.

Smart move, but we're still going from out of the frying pan and into the fire. They knew full well what awaited them in Suna, they knew of our country's policies on failed S missions: twenty lashes.

It might sound barbaric and prehistoric…but it works.

Even I wasn't immune to such a punishment. Our father had a special building built where no sand could get in; and where there's no sand, there's nothing to protect me; so the whip and whatever else my father could choose to punish me with pierces my skin just like everybody else's. He always use to threaten to take me to that room, and I always just looked at him, daring him to try it. Sure, once he got me into that room I would be at his mercy… but of course, he had to get me into that room, and both he and I knew that that wasn't going to happen.

Hearing my sibling's quarreling voices, I was snapped out of my memories…

"We have to go back to Suna, Kankuro! Gaara needs medical attention."

"But Temari, the mission might not be a complete failure yet… we have to go back and see what we can do!"

"This mission was a failure before it was even carried out, Kankuro, and you know it! I don't know what father and the elders were thinking when they made up this plan but…"

Sick of hearing them fight over what to do, I decided to bring reality crashing down into their lives once again.

"That wasn't our father."

That shut them up. But I should have thought my action through more because now they expected an explanation out of me… and I wasn't in the talking mood.

Sighing, I elaborated, "he was different. The way he moved and talked…that wasn't our father."

"Then who was it?!" Kankuro shouted.

You know, for an older brother, he wasn't very smart.

"How am I supposed to know who that was?" I almost shouted back, "all I know is that it wasn't our father."

"Gaara's right," Temari added, "he was different somehow…he was stiffer in his movements…"

Finally, quiet descended upon us as my siblings thought everything over.

"What are we going to do?" mumbled Kankuro.

The question hung into the air. We all knew that no matter where we went serious repercussions followed.

"Well, we can't sit around here all day…" Temari muttered.

"…Let's go home," I decided for us.


Halfway through the desert I regained enough chakra to support myself on our trek home. I could tell that Temari and Kankuro were exhausted, but I didn't want to stop yet. I wanted to get as much distance between Konohoa and us that I could before the sun got too hot and forced us to stop. Besides…I needed time to think and sort things out in my head.

Walking ahead of my siblings, I closed my eyes and focused my attention inward. As my body continued to walk, my awareness stroked every corner and crevice of my mind looking for Shukaku. As much as I hate to admit it, I needed and depended on that wretched demon. If it weren't for him, I would have been dead long ago.

Growing up, Shukaku hid himself from me. I always knew that I was different from everyone else, and the way that others reacted to me only proved this; but I would never had guessed just how different I really was.

It wasn't until my uncle tried to kill me under my father's orders that Shukaku let himself known to me.

He saved me from my uncle's spineless attack.

He gave me strength when all I wanted to do was quit and die along with my uncle.

He promised me revenge on all who ever wronged me.

He kept me company when I was shunned from all of Suna.

He told me of my mother…

Yes, Shukaku was my friend…but he is also the being that threatens my very existence by overwhelming me with his power and taking over my body.

Sighing, I reached out with my mind, Shukaku, where are you?

I'm here boy…

That's all I needed to hear.

Opening my eyes once more I focused on the limitless sea of sand in front of me, knowing that our home laid somewhere ahead of us and that Shukaku would talk to me once again when he was ready.

At mid-day, the heat became overbearing, so we were forced to stop.

My siblings set up their tents to shield them from the sun and I watched as they slowly drifted into a light sleep. I knew they wouldn't sleep deeply like they sometimes did because they were still worried about me losing control…if they only knew how much control I had right now, they would have the deepest sleep they ever had.

I sat myself in the shade of Temari's tent since I usually used my sand as protection from the sun, but with my chakra levels being as low as they were, I didn't want to push things.

Closing my eyes, I listened to Temari's breath slip evenly in and out. I used to do this all of the time when I was little. I used to hear my siblings breath change as they slipped into sleep and would become jealous over their ability to sleep and dream and to take a break from the world around them. Sometimes I used to mimic their breathing patterns and would pretend that I was sleeping with them, occasionally it made me feel normal, but that effect soon lost its appeal.

I was different.

There was no point in acting like I wasn't.

We lost!!!! a high pitched shriek came from deep within me causing me to visibly flinch at the volume.

I kept my inner dialogue on mute, I knew it would only provoke him further if I interrupted his rant.

I can't believe we lost to that nine tailed boy! How could we be so weak!?

I could feel the demon thrashing around inside of me, throwing a tantrum that would be equivalent to a six year old not getting his way.

I just sat quietly in the shade of the tent, letting him wreak havoc on my insides…he would calm down eventually.

After a few minutes of constant screaming, Shukaku calmed down. I guess the battle was a little unfair…I mean, we did fight and defeat that Uchiha kid. That counts for something. If we didn't have that battle before the battle with the orange kid, we would have won…

I smirked at this. Leave it to Shukaku to make himself feel better about losing.

Done licking his ego's wounds, the demon turned his attention onto me.

Boy. I cannot protect you from the fury of the village if they bring you to that room…

I know, I replied opening my eyes. I took in the surrounding desert and the mountains of sand.

They could kill you…if they bring that damned teakettle in there and start the chants…

I KNOW, I said a little louder. Shudders ran up my spine as a picture of the kettle flashed in my mind. I felt Shukaku shudder as well, he hated that thing more than I did.

Once my father dragged me to that room when I was caught off-guard and locked me in there for a few days. Eventually Temari noticed by absence and let me out. She found me in a corner of the room shaking violently and staring at nothing but that damned teakettle…

Forcing the memory from my mind, I stood up suddenly and startled my siblings by saying, "Let's move."

They jumped slightly at my voice but followed my order without complaint.

They were in no hurry to get home, but they knew we were just sitting ducks in the open desert.

Walking slightly in front of them, I kept my eyes trained on green eyes hovering above the horizon.