Ch. 10: Threats and Broken Bones
That shinobi, Makoto Dajiin, leans against the wall, laughing. He's very lean with wiry muscles, a cheeky grin, and his brown eyes are always twinkling. He's a good shinobi, always completing missions efficiently, and his power is quite to be in awe of. He's never overly smug and never heedlessly vicious. He's good-natured, confident, and ambitious. Gaara should like him. He really should, but… "I don't like him." Gaara mentions to Kankurou as the puppeteer selects the groceries they need. Gaara's eyes settle on that shinobi and Gaara's more certain than ever that he doesn't like him. It's not that he's doing anything…wrong at the moment, really, it's…something else. His voice maybe. Something about the manner in which he's acting convinces Gaara his first impression of the shinobi was right, no matter what things Temari says about him.
Kankurou turns to look out the window at Makoto as well. "Why not?" The puppeteer looks curiously at a red pepper before tossing it back in the bin replacing it instead with cups of instant ramen.
Gaara continues looking out the window as Kankurou gets the groceries they need. Why, indeed? There were a couple reasons, most of which he couldn't really explain. "I…I don't like the way he looks at Temari."
Kankurou stands beside him looking out the window. He sighs. "Yeah, me neither. I'd kinda hoped I'd imagined the look though."
Gaara frowns, "You hoped…?"
Kankurou pays for the groceries. "Well…Temari likes him, and well, interfering because I don't like the way he looks at her isn't…something you or I should do. She's big enough to make her own decisions."
Gaara struggles to comprehend. People are still very complex to him, most of the social rules make little to no sense to him. This statement is one of the many that doesn't make sense to him at all. "Even the really old and wise make bad decisions."
"The only thing I have against him is how he looks at her." Kankurou grumbles. "That's not a good reason to do anything. Men are supposed to find their girlfriend attractive."
"But it's different. Isn't it?" He didn't know why he found the look so unsettling, but he didn't like it. He didn't like it one bit. "The way he looks at her, it's not…Is that the way that…?" When he thought hard about it, he realized that the look strongly reminded him of the one their old 'sensei' had given Temari before. That episode hadn't ended well… The look wasn't a parallel – in fact they weren't very close at all; what was similar to him about them was the bad feeling it gave him upon seeing the look.
"Yes… No." Kankurou grimaced. "I really don't know."
Gaara picks up the grocery bags. "Well, what reason do you have for not liking the look?"
Sighing, Kankurou walks out the store, hands drawn behind his head. "It makes me think he looks at her like…property."
"Like she isn't…you know, human? Just his. His…item. But then again, I could be imagining things."
Gaara thinks about it. "I…I don't think you are. Imagining it, I mean." Now he could put a name to the reasons he couldn't understand. Temari was and always would be an independent person. She liked to do things because she wanted to do them. She liked being who she was even if nobody wanted her to be that way. She was air that had learned to struggle and became wind. Being an object did not suit Temari and it never would. You can't catch the wind. It confused him as to how she hadn't noticed the look Makoto gave her yet. Blinded by her affections perhaps.
The council naturally loved their 'union'. Gaara was starting to understand why the council members were so in favor of their relationship. They wanted Makoto to tame her.
It was enough to make him seethe.
He and Kankurou walk back home; Gaara spares another glance at that shinobi. He was now leaning forward toward a soft-haired brunette civilian. Gaara stops walking in a trance.
Kankurou turns his head and sighs in irritation. He walks over to Gaara a scowl on his face. "What are you doing? We're supposed to…" Kankurou's eyes narrow as Makoto leans forward, touching his lips to the civilian's. "Asshole." He hisses. Kankurou starts forward in Makoto's direction.
Gaara sees her before Kankurou. He's not sure why he does it, but he whips out his sand at Kankurou's feet, making the puppeteer fall to the floor. It's loud and everyone hears. Makoto jumps away from the civilian girl.
Gaara winces as he feels her hand smack the back of his head. She's scowling, a little angry, but mostly befuddled. Temari's green eyes stare at him in confusion. "Baka, why'd you trip him?"
She didn't see Makoto.
He just stares blankly at his sister. Gaara spares a warning glance at Kankurou. There's no room for his hysterics at the moment. Maybe later; just…not now.
He's not keeping the truth from her, he reasons; he's just…he doesn't think seeing that would have…have… it wouldn't…it would hurt her.
Temari rolls her eyes as Kankurou pulls himself up, a deadly glare in his eyes. "What are the bags for?"
"We ran out groceries." Kankurou says a bit too angrily.
She raises an eyebrow. "What's with you?"
She scowls. "Alright, what's going on?" She glares at them. "Spill."
More words than he's ever said form on the tip of Gaara's tongue. Temari is special; she doesn't deserve what that idiot is doing to her. The words die before he can even open his mouth as Makoto slings his arm brotherly-like around Gaara's shoulders. Gaara has the strong urge to envelope the shinobi in his sand coffin.
"Hey, Temari." Makoto smiles easily.
Temari's scowl falls easily and her smile reaches her eyes. "Hey."
Kankurou grinds his teeth together.
"Mind if I borrow your brothers?"
Temari wrenches the bags from Gaara's hands. "Go ahead." She looks at both him and Kankurou severely. "But we are talking about your weird behavior later, got that?" Temari kisses Makoto on the lips and heads back home. Kankurou looks ready to murder Makoto as soon as Temari's back is turned.
"I take it you saw me with Jin?"
Kankurou lunges at Makoto. Gaara holds him back with his sand. Even though he doesn't want to. Even though he himself wants to break every bone in Makoto's body.
"What," Kankurou growls angrily, "are you holding me back for?!"
Makoto smirks. "Because, your brother knows harming me isn't a smart political move. You, Kankurou, have never been too good in political matters."
"Who gives a fuck about political bullshit!? I'm going to rip your lungs out from your body and throttle you with your own—"
"Kankurou, shut up." Gaara orders.
"You can't be serious!? You're putting appearances above our own damn sister!"
Makoto grins. "That's how a Kazekage must act."
"Shame I'm not a good Kazekage."
Makoto's brow furrows, "W-what?"
His sand darts out at Makoto's knee.
"You're missions are suspended due to your unfortunate accident."
Makoto is gripping his knee and glaring at him. "My what?!" he hisses.
He wants to hurt him far worse, he wants to kill him, murder him. But Gaara knows there are better ways to deal with things. "And due to your clumsy nature," at this Gaara lets go of Kankurou momentarily, the puppeteer lunges at the shinobi, he punches the Makoto and blood spills from his mouth. Makoto swears again, and Gaara once more restrains Kankurou, "Your missions will be restricted for quite awhile."
Makoto's eyes are stony. "What the hell is your—"
"You will tell Temari what you are doing." Gaara orders him, "or similar accidents may continue."
"There's no damn way I'm telling that whore—"
Kankurou struggles against the sand.
Gaara's eyes narrow. "You are telling Temari, or I will personally ruin any prospects you have of advancing from your current position. In fact, I'll demote you."
Makoto grits his teeth, "You can't. That's abusing your power; they'll have you sprung up from your status before you can—"
"Do you really find me such a fool, Makoto?" Gaara interrupts. "I will find ways to do what I will with reasons I plant. Don't cross me."
He can see gears turning in Makoto's mind. "Fine, I will—"
"And don't think you can lie." Gaara says to him, venom laced with every word. "We have our ways; we'll find out if you have told Temari the entire truth."
Makoto's eyes are furious. "I wouldn't dream of lying, Kazekage-sama."
"If, by chance you're stupid enough not to have confessed by tomorrow afternoon, I will let Kankurou loose on you. He has less restraint than I have."
Early the next morning, an ugly crack is heard all throughout the house.
"Fucking bitch!!" Makoto yells, cradling his arm. "You and your family are fucking psycho! Here I thought you were sane!"
Gaara sits at the foot of the stairs watching the interaction. He'd been going downstairs to eat breakfast, when he was greeted with the sight of Temari snapping Makoto's arm. Temari's eyes are dangerous and the turn of her lips show off a Temari Gaara's seen only a few times in his life. This is the Temari he used to be fascinated by when his only thirst was for killing. This is the Temari he was awed by when she tried to make him Kazekage. This is the Temari Gaara is just a little bit afraid of.
He probably wouldn't be afraid if he didn't know what she could do. Granted, she looked terrifying, but that alone didn't scare him. What fills him with the small amount of fear, are the things she does when she is this angry. Sometimes they're good and noble things, sometimes rash and impetuous things.
"Listen, jackass," she says in that deadly tone, "you're right, we're nuts. But if you ever," she presses her foot onto his broken arm. Makoto's eyes squeeze shut in pain, "call either of my brothers psychos again, in my presence of anybody else's, I'll castrate you."
His eyes open wide. "You fucking crazy bitch."
She pushes his foot into him harder. "And don't forget it, asshole." She removes her foot and kicks him in the ribs. "Get the fuck out."
Makoto scrambles out.
Temari straightens again. He watches her transformation. The shaking across her shoulders steadies, her eyes soften, and she's breathing normally again. "Gaara," she says, a smile growing on her lips, "you can move from the stairs now."
He obliges and walks over to her. "You should've broken both arms."
She laughs. Temari cocks her head and looks at him meaningfully, "Why did you make him tell me?"
"Don't lie, it's unbecoming."
"I figured you had a right to hear it from the devil's lips." He pauses and looks at her eyes. She's sad, he can see that. But then, he expected that to happen. He doesn't like to see the sparkle fall from her eyes, but you can't protect people all the time. The best way to protect them is to let them confront things. "That and I thought you should get the privilege of harming him and act on your anger as you heard the truth. Kankurou and I shouldn't do the beating up for you."
"Oh, really?" She raises an eyebrow. "Then what's with that knee injury of his?"
"He's awfully clumsy."
Temari laughs fully and her arms encircle around him. He smells her scent as it envelopes him. He likes the way she smells, strongly like cinnamon and maybe oranges. What he likes most is how her arms feel when she hugging him tightly. It's weird to him, but weird in a way that is really…nice. She's his sister, and it's moments like this that make him realize it more fully. She pulls apart from him, but not before planting a kiss on his forehead.
"You're really sweet, Gaara. Weird, but sweet." She ruffles his hair.
He pushed her hand aside a bit reluctantly. "Temari."
"Ay, ay," she rolls her eyes, "you're turning into Kankurou, you know? So reluctant at just an itty bit amount of affection." She pauses, "Kankurou knows doesn't he?"
"He was with me."
"And how on earth did you get him not to—"
"I restrained him." Gaara shrugs, "But, he did, ano, punch him."
"Hn." She's sad again. He can see it in her eyes.
"T-Temari," he pauses, unsure. Usually Kankurou is the one who cheers her up; he's actually good at it. But the puppeteer had to go on a mission. Gaara can't really – he doesn't know how to make someone feel better. Not the way Kankurou does. He can't joke with her until a full blown smile or uproarious laughter falls from her mouth. He just…can't.
"Don't … Don't be sad."
She pulls back abruptly, blinking repeatedly, pure shock upon her face. "I – what?"
"Makoto is jerk. Don't be sad because of him."
She hugs him again and this time she's really smiling. "You always astonish me, you know that?"
He frowns, "I…?"
"It surprises me that the boy everyone thought was the devil incarnate is one of the very few males in Suna who isn't a heartless asshole." Her smile is evident in her eyes and Gaara feels happy. Because his sister is genuinely happy.
"You'll find a good one." Gaara says without thinking, "Maybe not in Suna, but you'll find him."
She raises an eyebrow. "And who might you be talking about?"
Gaara is surprised to find that an image of the lazy shadow ninja with the funny ponytail is the one that pops up in his mind at her words. "N-nobody in particular…"
He can sense her speculation, but she drops it. "Come on, I'll make you breakfast. What do you want?"
"Can you make French toast?"
Temari is incredibly special and she deserves someone who can see that. Someone who sees her flaws and her strengths and loves every bit of her. Someone who'll be faithful to her.
It's hard, he thinks, to find someone like that, for anyone. But if anyone deserves somebody like that, his sister does.
Temari may be crazy, but she's a good kind of crazy.
A/N: I had to mention Shikamaru. I'm sorry, but it just had to be done. Oh, and Makoto means sincere/honest (I thought it would be cute to play with that) and Jin means tenderness.
So, I'm officially out of ideas for this series, so at this point, I'll put it under complete, but if I ever get another idea some day for it, well you know. And if you have any suggestion you'd like to see that's good too. I'm working on one suggestion right now but I can't find what to write…