Author's Note: Yep, ShadowSilk has officially gone crazy. XD Here's another crackficlet for you.

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.


Skill Crane

By ShadowSilk

-------

"This is incredibly stupid."

Kankuro snorted. "Oh lighten up, Gaara. It's your birthday, for god's sake."

Gaara fixed his brother with an unpleasant scowl.

"But why did we have to come here?"

The three siblings stood in the lobby of a brand-new venue that had opened across the street from the Suna council building. It hosted many types of arcade games and cheap prizes, as well as wonderfully burnt pizza. Gaara disdainfully noticed that the place was crawling with small children. Their shrill squeals of enjoyment were drowned out by the cheesy techno music playing on the crackly PA system.

"C'mon, Gaara," Temari cajoled. "Haven't you ever wanted to relive your childhood?"

Frowning, Gaara flashbacked to the time his uncle tried to assassinate him.

"…Not really."

"Okay, maybe that was a bad way to put it," Temari admitted. She furrowed her eyebrows, trying to think of a substantial way to phrase things. "Haven't you ever wanted to relive…er…someone else's childhood?"

Gaara was emotionless.

"Temari," he said flatly, "I'm the Kazekage. I have duties to attend to. I don't have time for this kind of idiocy."

Kankuro clapped Gaara on the back.

"Sure you do!" he said grandly. "This kind of idiocy is great for you. Makes for good moral fiber."

Gaara was unsure.

"Please?" Temari and Kankuro asked in unison. Gaara noticed a hopeful glint in his siblings' eyes. He realized that they would probably continue pestering him until he gave in to their demands.

A devious bunch, he thought darkly.

"Fine," Gaara said in defeat.

Kankuro and Temari exchanged devilish grins.


"Gaara, don't just sit there. Go play some arcade games with Kankuro."

The Kazekage regarded his sister with a distrustful stare.

Temari sighed. "Honestly, it's not like it's going to kill you. Here." She pulled a wad of tickets from her pocket and shoved it into Gaara's hand. "Now go. I'll order the pizza."

Sullenly, Gaara made his way to the arcade.


"Damn it!" cursed Kankuro, slamming one fist down. "Why can't I get the frickin' thing to work?"

"What are you doing?"

Kankuro whirled around to find himself face-to-face with his younger brother. Gaara was standing behind him, rather awkwardly holding out a tangled mass of tickets in his outstretched palm.

"Tickets!" Kankuro exclaimed. He extracted a string from his brother's hand and quickly fed them to the machine.

Gaara watched, vaguely interested, as his brother maneuvered a metal claw with a small black joystick. Kankuro quickly tapped a red button, which released the claw upon a throng of stuffed animals. Kankuro was hissing under his breath. The claw hooked on to the foot of a shoddy teddy bear and began to lift it upwards.

"Go, baby, go!" chanted Kankuro.

The claw and bear slid to the left, heading for a metal funnel. All of a sudden, the claw released the stuffed animal. It tumbled down into the opening below, landing with a muffled thud.

"YES!" Kankuro shouted. Beaming, he shoved his hand into a metal slot and extracted his prize. "Who's your daddy? That's right, Kankuro just owned the skill crane!"

Gaara stared at the tacky teddy bear. Something flickered in his eyes.

"…I want to play."

"Really?" his brother said, surprised. "Well then! Give her a few tickets then, and let'er rip!"

Gaara pushed two tickets into the machine. Upon accepting them, the skill crane whirred to life.

The Kazekage gripped the joystick tightly in one hand. After the buzzer sounded, he guided the metal claw to the right side of the Plexiglas box. He quickly hit the red button. The metal claw slowly lowered. It just barely grasped a garishly colored stuffed lion when the machine turned off.

"Oooh," Kankuro remarked, shaking his head. "That sucks. You ran out of time."

Gaara glared at the metal contraption. His eyes were like ice.

"Give me two more tickets, Kankuro."


Gaara stood in front of the skill crane, arms hanging limply at his sides.

He was defeated.

Kankuro clucked his tongue. "I can't believe you went through all of the tickets, Gaara. Not even one win!"

"I will win."

"What?" Kankuro shot his brother a strange look. "You're all out of tickets, man. Look, we gotta go. It's time for burnt pizza."

Gaara ignored him. Instead, he raised one hand.

Kankuro's eyes went wide.

"You aren't…"

A mass of sand came flooding from beyond the front door. Startled employees and playing children stopped in their tracks to watch as the sand streamed in, twisting and meandering like a snake.

The sand coated the skill crane. A small, triumphant smile played upon Gaara's lips.

"Sabakusoso!"

There was a moment of resistance, as if the skill crane was trying to taunt him. Gaara gritted his teeth and closed his hand. The machine exploded in a flurry of sand and metal.

And out came a torrent of shabby stuffed animals.


Temari looked up from her dish of ice cream.

"Where were you guys?" she said, clearly irked. "I've been waiting an hour. The pizza's cold."

Kankuro chuckled and pointed over his shoulder with his thumb. "Gaara won at the skill crane."

"Really?" Temari said. "Well, that's great!"

Gaara entered the food court. A massive cluster of stuffed animals, riding a carpet of sand, came streaming in after him. He looked very pleased.

Temari dropped her spoon.

"What the…"

Unperturbed, Gaara took a seat across from his sister. His prizes hovered behind him. Temari spotted a metal claw nestled in with the pack of stuffed animals, between a garishly colored lion and a penguin with a crooked leer.

Gaara folded his hands.

"Where's the birthday cake?"


A/N: Hope you liked it! Reviews would be extremely appreciated!

Reading it over, I've realized that it seems a bit like my other fic, Of Rainy Days and Board Games.

I guess I really like writing about psychotic shinobi destroying things...XD

Anyways, please review!