New Beginnings

Kakashi showed up at training ground three to be greeted enthusiasticly by Naruto and… less than enthusiasticly by Shikamaru. The Jounin ignored the mutter of 'troublesome' and immediately launched into his story.

Shikamaru sat up, frowning.

Naruto shook his head, "Maybe I should take Gaara's suggestion…"

"Not yet," Shikamaru ordered absently, still thinking. If they did things just right… Danzo would be the one discredited. Carefully, quietly, Shikamaru began to outline a new plan.


Gaara sat quietly at the table, staring out the window above the kitchen sink. His siblings had just come to the doorway and he could sense them hesitating there, uneasy.

He sighed silently; it stung that they didn't trust him the way they had… before. It stung a lot, if he was honest with himself, even though he knew it would take time to… build the bond that he still felt he'd just lost.

Sand trickled from the gourd beside him and moved back two chairs in silent invitation.

There was a moment's pause before Temari moved, Kankuro following her into the room to take the offered seats.

Gaara glanced at them and offered a slight smile.

It was a start.


No, this is not the whole chapter. I scrapped the rest pending rewrite—and ANY suggestions, ideas, comments, or questions would be welcome. Anything to get me thinking about this story—I'd hate to give up on it. So, please, anything at all to help…