Gaara fumed while he sat out the remainder of the game. He kept getting odd looks from everyone, though a few flashed him a few hand signs as well as some smiles. Perhaps to encourage him? Gaara wasn't sure, he'd never been on the receiving end of looks like that, much less smiles.

Finally the game ended. Gaara sighed as he stood up. He presumed his team to have won from the celebratory actions of those around him. Not to mention the dejected looks of the people on the other team.

The leader of his grouping pulled him aside and was apparently trying to give him a stern talking to. Gaara tuned him out. This man had nothing on Baki. Thinking of his fierce sensei sent a pang of homesickness through him. Not having ever felt that way before, Gaara wondered if this weaker body was getting sick.

When released, he walked over to Gary's parents. He simply could not think of them as 'mom' and 'dad', though a part of him wanted too.

"Gary! What were you thinking? You could have broken those boy's fingers." Meara said, running her hands through his hair, looking down into his eyes.

Suddenly, Gaara actually felt a bit remorseful under the baleful glare of this woman. He was smart enough, though, not to mention that it was only this body's lack of strength that had kept the boy's knuckles from crumbling. If he'd been in his own body, the outcome would have been far different.

Gaara paused and nearly smiled. Actually, if he'd been in his own body …none of this would have happened.

Charles wrapped an arm around his 'son' and indicated Meara should take the rest of the children to the car. Gaara sighed. Another lecture. Shit.

"Son. Dial it back a bit. But that man I was talking with earlier? He's the high school coach. He told me he liked what he saw in you. He's impressed with your focus and that great catch you made early on in the game. He even didn't mind your 'roughness', just told me to pass on to you to tone it down some. Don't go for the obvious fouls, okay?"

Gaara blinked in surprise. "He liked me?" He asked, wondering what the hell a High School coach was. After the Academy, there was no higher schooling available to those in ninja villages. Experience was the teacher from that point on. That and the genin team leader, of course.

Charles nodded, and again with the hair ruffling. Was this a parent trait? Gaara wondered as the man kept talking. "He sure did. I'm proud of you, just …not so violent okay?"

"Okay." Gaara said, wanting to please this man, although he really didn't know why he did. It's not like he cared or anything. This was Gary's father, not his own. An image of his own father's disapproving stares imposed itself in his mind, and Gaara shivered.

"Come on. Let's get home. Don't worry about your mother, let me do that." Charles said as the two of them walked back to the vehicle.

Gaara felt better, though he would be hard pressed to explain why. Still, it was nice to have someone in your life that supported you. He thought briefly of Kankuro and Temari and wondered about their attempts to be 'friendly' with him. He'd always pushed them away.

For the first time in his life, he wondered what he had missed out on by pushing his siblings away.


Gary watched with shock, and not a little awe as Temari took out three of the ninja all on her own. And they were HUGE guys too. She wielded that fan of hers like it was feather light and with a grace that defied description. And by 'took out' ...he meant killing them.

On the other side of the clearing, Kankuro's puppets were at work. And while they were not what Gary would call graceful or pretty, they made up for that with lethal effectiveness. Gary's stomach churned at the sight, sound, and SMELL of death. He tried not to gag openly as blood dripped out of one the puppets, the trapped man inside screaming in pain. Then silence.

Gary wasn't sure what was worse, the screaming of the trapped man…or when the guy stopped screaming.

Suddenly the three remaining brigands jumped toward him.

"Argh!" Gary yelped and leapt backwards, surprised to find himself suddenly off the ground and up in one of the trees balanced precariously on a branch. How'd he do that? He didn't have time to wonder though, as they followed him.

He watched in sick horror as three sharp blades of varying sizes descended toward his head. Gary heard a muffled shout and one of the men fell away as a ninja puppet attacked him. That still left two, and they were looking at him in a way Gary had not seen outside of the movies or television. His death was in their eyes. Able to do nothing, Gary whimpered and closed his eyes.

Without warning, sand exploded out of no where and shielded him from the blows. Angry shouts from the men got Gary to open his eyes. Blinking, he looked at the sand wall in stunned silence. Finally able to breathe again, he stepped back …and fell.

"Shit!" He screamed, he'd forgotten he'd been standing on a tree branch high up off the ground!

Fortunatly, the sand that protected him from the fighting also moved quickly to cushion his fall. Unused to such moves, he landed inelegantly, rolling to the ground in a heap of arms and legs.

"I told you he was injured from that fight with Naruto!" Temari screamed. "Look at him!"

Gary managed to raise his head as the blond girl's fan nearly decapitated one of the remaining victims. She turned on the last man, who was cowering and Gary couldn't help but feel sorry for the man.

It hurt to watch, and he glanced down as he wished with all his heart that the man didn't have to die.

"No, he's fine. See? A Sand Coffin!" Kankuro cackled happily. "Gaara just had to work the kinks out, that's all."

Sand Coffin?

Gary looked up again, then nearly threw up. His sand was completely surrounding the last man. Had he …had he …KILLED a person? Shit. Shit. Shit.

How could this have happened? It was one thing to see violence in the movies. It was another thing to smell a person empty their bladder as they died. Pity stirred within him as he felt like crying. Being a villain wasn't nearly as cool as he'd thought.

"LET ME OUTTA HERE!" The man screamed, pounding on the sand from the inside.

Gary sighed, falling onto the ground in a heap. He hadn't killed him! Oh thank heavens!

Temari and Kankuro wandered over to him as Gary sat up, looking around himself, hoping to just wake up and be back in his own bed. This wasn't fun anymore.

"Gaara?" Kankuro finally asked, after a long silence. "Aren't you going to kill him?"

Gary shook his head.

Temari scratched her head, thinking as Kankuro just looked at him, stunned. "But …but he attacked us!" The puppeteer said with disbelief dripping from every word.

Gaary nodded. He knew that. In the movies he'd be screaming for the brigand's death. But …but this was too real! This …this wasn't anime violence. He could HEAR that man screaming for his life. He could taste blood. Oh, wait, that was his own blood from the fall. Still, the point was the same.

Finally Gaara's sister knelt beside him. "He's no good as a prisoner. The man doesn't have any skills past that of a genin. He's obviously a bandit. Kill him and let's go home."

Gary stared at her and suddenly he didn't think she was as pretty anymore. Not that her appearance had changed or anything. But something inside him had changed.

Oh. Wait. Something inside him WAS moving. Shit. Gary clutched his stomach and tried to hang on as the demon within him rushed his mind, trying to take control. His last vision before passing out was of a human sized sand cocoon, and the sound of a man screaming.


Gaara stepped out of the shower and dressed in some more of Gary's strange clothing. None of it was made for fighting in. No reinforced leather, no padding outside of the things he'd worn for the game, no metal spikes, and no hidden weaponry.

But then, did he really need those things here? For the millionth time, he wondered if this was his new reality. Or would his normal life return?

Which did he want?

Charles and Meara were okay, and it did feel oddly nice to be fussed over. But it rankled heavily to be told what to do and when to do it. But after he'd gotten back to Gary's house today …his ….Meara had …she'd tended to him. Fussed. Over him. He tried telling himself that the woman thought he was Gary, and if she knew the truth she wouldn't be as nurturing. But it hadn't stopped the strange feelings deep inside him.

Gaara looked down at his knee and looked at the criss-crossed bandages over the small cut. The bandages were nothing. The cut was nothing. But the attention. Gaara's heart beat a bit faster as he recalled his shock at how tenderly the woman had treated his small wound. He'd tried to tell her it was nothing, but she wouldn't listen.

The woman had sat him down and cleaned it up, putting medicine on it. Gaara blushed a bit at what Baki would have said to treating such a small wound. Still, her gentle touch had left him a bit breathless.

Unsure of the proper reaction, he'd stopped arguing and allowed the ministration.

Once more dressed after his shower, Gaara felt his stomach growl. He sniffed and smiled. He had NO idea what strange foods these people would be eating today, but he was hungry enough to try almost anything.

A strange ringing sound came from somewhere downstairs. Gaara frowned.

"I'll get it!" Karen screamed.

"Let Gary get it, it's for him." Meara called.

Gaara stood still. Get what? What were they talking about? He heard the sound of the door opening downstairs.

Then came a shrill scream from Karen that made every hair on his borrowed body stand on end.

"Gaaaaaaary! Your girrrrrrlfriend is here!"



Sorry it took me a while to update. Though, this weekend I've updated nearly every story I've got that is still ongoing. I'm tired, but feel like I've accomplished something! LOL