Dedicated to Vegetarian Salad, the one who kind of, sort of, almost, but not quite got me hooked on something that is close to, akin to something that almost is like sandcest. --


Temari had freckles. No one would have ever known. She covers them. Soft, pale, powder spread across the spattering of brown dots across her nose and cheeks. The make-up covered it well. When Gaara was young he used to watch, fascinated as they disappeared beneath the brush. Gaara wanted to try it – he snuck into her rooms after she left for Konoha. The brush still sat there – the powder on the other side.

He picked it up slowly, blowing, a smoke of white filling his vision. Coughing, he waved it away, redipped the brush and closed one eye. Slowly, he stabbed at the dark circles. Nothing happened. The black circles remained. Glaring; the young Kazekage dropped the brush onto the counter and left it there. It wasn't worth his time anyway.

His hand faltered.

Stuck in the mirror was a picture. Frayed and aging, it seemed to have no real importance. In the picture, her freckles weren't covered – they stood out against pale skin – darkened from the rays of the sun. She was smiling in this picture.

Gaara brushed a finger along its edge. Next to Temari, Kankurou was laughing along with her. His make-up was smeared, some of it becoming nonexistent. Purple dripped around his eye as if someone had punched him in both eyes – hard.

The source of their amusement was the small red-head child sitting below them. He was little, crouching in a tub of water, fully clothed (he couldn't remember the circumstance of the photo) but he was covered in Kankurou's purple paint, a foreign smile on his face.

Gaara raised his hand to touch his lips, feeling the corners turning up, "Kankurou … nii-san." It was as if he suddenly remembered they were related. He left Temari's room silently – the picture of purple eyes etched in his mind.

Kankurou was gone. His room as empty and barren as Temari's was. His mirror held no images, but on the dresser sat the bottle he was looking for. The edges were encrusted with dried purple, the sleek black handle on the blush stained. Gaara hesitated before he dipped the brush – he's lived with Kankurou forever, but as the time called for it he couldn't conjure up the image of the purple covered face – the make-up always seemed a blur of colors, holding no meaning.

The paint was cold as it touched his eye lid. He remembered one spot the paint went. The brush was harder to work with than he thought – his fingers slipping – the paint smearing across his cheeks. So caught up in this fascination he didn't hear the door open or the scrolls scattering on the floor.

"G-Gaara?" Gaara turned wide emotionless eyes to his older brother's face. He gently put the brush down on the desk –hands coming up to swipe away at the smudge on his cheek. The look of surprise left Kankurou's face and he caught Gaara's wrist before the color disappeared from around his eyes, "sit."

Gaara sat.

Gently Kankurou grabbed his chin – the brush moving with purpose and elegance across the pale skin. They sat in silence. Neither asked for an explanation, neither offered to give one.

Gaara only moved once – the brush flicked up from his nose to his forehead grazing the symbol. He flinched away at the sudden contact. Kankurou grabbed his chin again avoiding touching the purple triangle that was there.

He faltered as he stroked Gaara's cheek one more time.

The Kazekage turned to look at the mirror. His make-up mirrored Kankurou's old style. The purple around his eyes was cold and his eyelashes stuck to his eyelids forcing him to open them wide and then close them again.

"Kankurou! I've been lo- …" Temari blinked in the doorway, staring at the reflection that stared at her, "G-Gaara? Kankurou?"

No one moved.

Gaara shifted, "what?"

"Looking for a new look, Gaara?" He blinked up at her, "you could have asked me – I have something a little less … obvious." She smirked.

"He tried," Kankurou hadn't looked away from his brother's face – looking a little more than confused, "it clashes, you know."

Gaara turned his eyes to meet his.

"The red hair and purple paint – it clashes."

Gaara blinked.

"Fixable," Temari smiled grabbing onto Kankurou's hat. It has settled onto Gaara's head before Kankurou could protest and any words died when he stared at someone who could be his twin.

"Heh," they all looked into the mirrors, Temari's freckless face looking out of place against the purple faces around her, they stared as if it was the first time any of them had ever noticed the family resemblance, "We're siblings after all."