Disclaimer: I don't own 'Naruto' and I don't make any money from these writings.
Warnings: yaoi, incest, violence, insanity, non-con, AU.
Pairings: At first KankuroxGaara but eventually GaaraxNaruto.
Summary: Gaara has enough problems without Naruto's continuous attempts to make friends. The demon shadowing his life is his brother and he cannot see an escape of it. But Kankuro, too, has his own demons to deal with.

Chapter 1: Carved Up

The cellar was dark but there was still enough light to paint. Gaara dipped the brush in paint and traced the paintbrush along the canvas, transferring the images in his head to the painting. The unfinished picture portrayed a half-rotten male body lying on a pier.

He glanced at the clock on the wall, noticing it was already 7:15 a.m. The red haired boy had slept quite well at first but had woken up at four in the morning. The rest of the sleepless night he had spent mostly painting, not noticing the time slip by.

"I've got to hurry if I wanna be on time..." Gaara muttered, putting the painting tools away.

The 16-year-old boy knew all too well that the teachers in Konoha High were strict and wouldn't look the other way if he offended the laws of the school in any way, like, being late for class. He already had a bad reputation at school due to his looks and antisocialness, and therefore he wasn't going to worsen his situation by getting detention.

He thought a bit envily of his two years older brother, Kankuro, who had been a model student at school. Unlike Gaara, the older brother was well liked and had many friends, thus having gotten many job offerings after graduation this spring. Currently, the more popular of the brothers was working in a café in the centre of Konoha, working long hours to provide for the two of them.

"He was never scolded for being late," the redhead grumbled to himself.

Just because Gaara wasn't on top of his every class, the teachers easily considered him either lazy or stupid. He never sought out for trouble but was sometimes forced to engage in fights, started by some too self-confident students. Because the redhead always tended to win those fights, it was easy for the teachers to blame him without further investigation.

Kankuro and Gaara had always been close, for they shared the same past and understood each other. In their childhood Kankuro had always defended and protected him from the horrors that happened at their home, and for that Gaara was eternally in a dept of gratitude for him.

"Almost ready to go," Gaara murmured as he put studded collar and chains on his neck.

Looking at the small mirror on the wall he brushed some of his hair aside, revealing a red kanji meaning 'love' tattooed on his forehead. His black rimmed, jade green eyes scanned the room, finally finding what he was looking for. His black bag was laying half under his bed. He grabbed it and headed up the stairs out of the cellar.

"Damn, I doubt I have time to even drink my morning coffee," Gaara groaned in annoyance, glancing at the clock one last time. The redhead was in the hallway, hand on the knob of the front door, when Kankuro came to him.

"Morning, Gaara," Kankuro said slyly as he walked closer.

"Yeah, morning Kankuro. Is there any fresh coffee in the pot?" the redhead asked, planning to have a take-away drink.

"Sorry, there's none, but I know what'll please you instead. I have a day off, you know," the older brother said as he laid his hand on Gaara's shoulder and pushed him back first to the wall.


Kankuro's hands slid down to Gaara's waist, slightly rubbing the boy's sides. He then lowered his mouth to the redhead's ear, biting the lobe tenderly. The younger brother gasped at the sudden intimacy. He put his hands on Kankuro's chest, pushing him away.

"Look... I have to go to school. I'll be late if I don't hurry. We can't do this now..." the redhead said, looking at his brown haired brother.

Kankuro gazed at Gaara, his black eyes hardening. He grabbed Gaara's arm and prevented the teenager from leaving.

"When will you be back?"

"About 3 p.m.," Gaara answered, yerking his arm to get rid of the uncomfortable grip.

A smirk spread on Kankuro's face as he released the hold. His black eyes weren't disappointed anymore but now held a glimpse of satisfaction.

"Don't be late," he said.

Gaara only nodded at his brother before he slid out of the front door. Now, after the distraction, he had to walk briskly if he was going to make it in time. He didn't like the look Kankuro had given him. He could swear his brother had not liked his objection but he didn't have a choice. Sometimes he hadn't left for school but stayed with Kankuro instead and it had brought him problems at school.

The redhead exited the old, large house which their now 20-year-old sister Temari had abandoned, when she had moved out to a city named Suna two years ago.

When the siblings were kids, their whole family had moved from Suna to Konoha. For Temari, Konoha had never felt like home and that's why she had thrived back to Suna - at least she had said so before leaving. Doubting the reason, Kankuro and Gaara thought it was just an excuse to escape the haunting memories dwelling in the house they lived in.

Sometimes Gaara missed Temari and wished she hadn't left. After the brothers were left alone, their relationship had become much too intimate than the norms of the society would allow. The redhead wasn't sure though if their big sister's presence would've prevented certain things from happening. It was needless speculation and Gaara rather didn't dwell on 'what ifs'. He liked to concentrate on the future more than the past. At least he tried even though from time to time, he was forced to face the horrible memories from years back.

The redhead checked his cell phone to see what time it was. He still had time, he would not be late, get a detention and piss off his brother waiting for him to get home.

"Wait!" someone shouted and Gaara could hear footsteps behind him.

A blond, cheerful boy ran to catch him up, a wide smile spread across his face. He was wearing a bright orange T-shirt and black baggy pants and there were whisker-like scars on his face.

Oh great, Gaara thought. He didn't want more distractions to prevent him from being on time. Surely the blond was just another idiot who had the need to meddle in his business, asking questions about the black clothes he favored or the unique tattoo on his forehead.

He usually didn't care about people's curiosity but today, he was not going to spend his precious time in teaching a lesson to a stranger. Clenching his fist and ready to tell the boy to get away from him, the smiling boy started to speak in a friendly voice.

"Gaara was it? I'm Naruto!" the guy introduced himself.

Come to think of it, Gaara had seen the boy at school. He was usually hanging around with his friends who often shot dark glances at the redhead. To Gaara, they looked like they were one of those people who believed the numerous rumours spread about him. He decided best not to answer the boy, since he didn't know the motives behind the blond's act.

"You aren't very talkative, are you?" the boy went on, walking beside Gaara and holding his hands behind the back of his head.

"I live near your house, I've often seen you going to school," the lively blond continued the one-sided conversation.

Still no answer came from the redhead. Getting no reply didn't seem to upset the boy. Naruto just grinned openly, as if nothing could get him down, not even Gaara's indifference and quietness.

"So, you live with your brother? You sure have a big house for only two people," Naruto rattled on, glancing at Gaara every now and then.

Gaara was becoming annoyed at the sudden company and on-coming questions. It was no wonder that this Naruto knew he lived with Kankuro. After all, only a few months back the brothers had gone to the same school and nowadays, many students visited the café his brother worked in. To Gaara's knowledge some girls even flirted with Kankuro, who flirted back only if it advanced selling cappucinos or other products the café had to offer.

In the redhead's opinion Kankuro was labeled handsome in the standards of their society. Maybe that was why so many people seemed to like the brunette at first sight and were eager to talk to him. Gaara thought that he and Kankuro were actually quite alike if you looked hard. Their eyes had a similar shape and their features were alike but still no one had ever said Gaara was handsome, not that he cared.

The redhead thought briefly of the house he lived in. The place never felt like what a home should be like. It was all but homey - rather unpleasant and depressing. The house was indeed very large for two but when they had moved into Konoha, their family had been bigger. His father, uncle, sister and brother had inhabited the house with him before some unfortunate events of the past.

"It's none of your business," Gaara replied harshly, not caring to even glance at the blond teen beside him.

He didn't want to talk about anything that referred to his home or family. They were almost on the school grounds and soon he would get rid of the blond, hopefully forever. He didn't want the boy's company.

"Hey, no need to be rude. I just wanted to stir a conversation," Naruto said, not taking the comment personally.

"Just stay away from me," Gaara grunted, hoping the blond would get the hint.

Naruto got the hint indeed but didn't care about it. He decided to change the subject to something more neutral.

"What do you have first? I have math. Oh man, I just hate math..." Naruto said in a bored voice.

Why would he tell the boy what kind of schedule he had? It was none of the stranger's business. Was this a part of some prank?

"Why are you suddenly so interested in me?" Gaara asked, directing his ominious gaze to the blond's friendly-looking blue eyes.

Naruto averted his gaze in fear that his eyes would reveal more than he wanted to. The intense stare of the redhead made him uneasy and he prayed he didn't blush. Forcing the usual grin to his face, he finally looked back at the redhead.

"Why do you need a reason? I just felt like getting to know you. I mean, you seem to live near my house and stuff," Naruto said.

Gaara didn't answer but gave Naruto one of his piercing stares. The blond didn't seem like lying but the redhead knew better than to trust the first impression.

"Well, I'll see you after school so we can walk back home, if that's okay," Naruto said in a cheerful voice before vanishing so quickly Gaara had no time to object. Goddamnit, the redhead thought. He wondered what was wrong with that guy, suddenly paining him with unwanted company.

Didn't the boy know about the rumours being spread at school? That the redhead was a devil worshipper, a monster, a freak? To put it simply, a person to be avoided. It was even said that his hair was so red because he drank blood. He almost laughed. He had no idea where those rumours had started.

"Naruto, wait!" a brown haired boy yelled at the blond, catching him before they entered the class.

The boy's hair was unruly and there were red, fang-shaped marks on his cheecks. There was an ever present, animalistic look in his eyes, as if the boy was always ready to pull a prank.

"Morning, Kiba," Naruto said, flashing him his trademark grin as they picked their seats in the classroom.

"Yeah, whatever. I was just chatting on the yard with Sasuke when you came around. Listen, Naruto, were you just hanging around with that freak?" the boy named Kiba asked in a serious voice.

Naruto's heart chilled at the mention of Sasuke. His smile disappeard quickly as he thought about the black haired boy who had onyx, abysmal eyes and an ever present, arrogant look on his face. Naruto tried to force the memories out of his head. It was not Kiba's fault what had happened between them and therefore he had no reason to show his anger to the brown haired boy. Concentrating on what his friend had asked him, he forced out an answer.

"Come on, he lives in my neighbourhood so I thought it would be okay to walk with him to school," the blond said, annoyed.

Everyone was avoiding Gaara's company like a plague and it was no surprise Naruto's friend was worried, seeing him voluntarily spend time with the redhead.

"You should be careful. You know about the rumours, don't you?" Kiba continued warily. He was worried why his blond friend suddenly showed interest in the freakish redhead.

"They're just rumours!" Naruto yelled, unable to keep the annoyance from his voice, knowing where this was going. "Don't tell me you actually believe them, Kiba. I mean, no one can seriously say Gaara is a vampire or something as absurd as that."

Kiba said nothing but instead gave Naruto a studying look. Naruto huffed. The mention of Sasuke had upset him and he wasn't in the mood of dealing with stupid worries about his choice of companion. Naruto had only walked with the redhead to school and was already disfavored because of the fact.

It was a taboo to befriend the unpopular students like Gaara and clearly Naruto had violated that unwritten rule. Like I care, Naruto said to himself. He spent time with anyone he pleased. He understood Kiba was worried but he didn't like the tone his friend had when he spoke about Gaara. Surely Gaara was no freak... Naruto knew what it was like to be an outcast but he didn't expect Kiba to understand.

"Just be careful, okay. Remember what happened last time you tried to approach one particular person," Kiba said, looking away. Naruto hit the desk with his palms, causing some nearby sitting students to give him curious glances.

"What!?" the blond said loudly, his mouth hanging open.

"Y-You don't think I'm hanging out with him because I... because... of the same reasons I had with Sas... with that idiot?" Kiba gave him a wary look, staying silent. That annoyed Naruto even more.

"Look, Kiba, is there something wrong if I want to make new friends? I know what people think about Gaara. He has no friends, and I know what it's like to be left alone. I just don't want anyone to feel the way I did before," Naruto said in a piqued voice, wanting to make his point clear and to get to the next topic. He wasn't going to listen to Kiba complaining about this all day long.

"Naruto... There's a reason why he has no friends. Are you sure it's wise to approach him?" Kiba spoke, burying his head on his math book to hide his emotions which were surely displayed all over his face. He didn't want Naruto to see how hurt he felt.

Why did Naruto have to take interest in cold, harsh and arrogant guys? Why didn't he ever notice the nice people around him? Naruto never noticed Kiba, not more as a friend anyway. Jealousy crawled into Kiba's mind as he thought about the redhead. What did Naruto see in him?

Naruto only growled as an answer, unaware of Kiba's mental pondering. He rested his head on his hands, forcing the thoughts of Sasuke out of his mind.

After the math lessons Naruto headed to history class. He sat next to a bored looking boy who had a high ponytail and dark brown hair. Swinging his school bag next to his desk he gave his friend a pensive look.

"Shikamaru... Why do people butt into other people's business?" Naruto asked, his voice quiet. Shikamaru looked back at him and after giving a thought to his friend's question, spoke in a even tone.

"I dunno... People are like that. Why do you ask?"

It was rare to see Naruto this dispirited. Usually the blond was full of energy. Even his blue eyes seemed to be darker and there was not even a trace of smile on his face.

Not caring to give Shikamaru all the details, Naruto finally said, "Kiba thinks I should avoid Gaara. He says it'll end up the same way like with Sasuke... I just wanted to walk to school with him 'cause he looks so lonely." With that said, the blond put his head on the desk, covering his face with his arms.

Shikamaru tried to figure out the whole story despite the gaps. He really didn't care to get involved in other people's personal affairs but he couldn't bear seeing the blond so crestfallen. It would be too troublesome to have to sit the whole class through with a depressed Naruto.

"Did he push you away?" he asked.

Naruto lifted his head to look at the other boy. "Not really... He was awfully quiet, though."

Shikamaru pondered what to reply, finally coming to a conclusion. "I think you should do what you feel is right, Naruto. If you want to hang around with him, then do it. People will always criticize you, whatever you'll do. If I were you, I wouldn't care."

Naruto gave him the faintest of smiles, eyes lighting up a little. He didn't reply but felt his mood getting better after what his friend had said. Naruto could always rely on Shikamaru when it came to problem solving - the guy was a genius at that. Otherwise the lazy boy seemed to give no effort on anything, claiming that everything was too troublesome in a way or another.

"Thanks," Naruto said to him at the end of the class, giving him a friendly grin before leaving.

Yes, it was better not to care what people said. Almost as happy as ever, Naruto stormed to his next class, eagerly waiting to see the redhead at the end of the day.

After the classes, Gaara was heading home, glad about school being over for the day but cautious about what waited him at home. Kankuro had been in a good mood in the morning and Gaara found himself wondering if he was still feeling the same way.

Naruto exited the school building only to see the familiar redhead walking out of the school gates on the yard.

"Hey, wait Gaara!" he shouted. At the moment, he didn't care if someone thought badly of him because he tried to befriend the loner.

Gaara had already forgotten the blond and was surprised when Naruto started to walk with him.

"So, how was your day? Mine was totally boring! First I had math, then history and science, and after the break, geology. Can you imagine?" Naruto huffed, grinning.

Gaara wondered why the blond was so interested in talking to him. Was this a prank, after all? He was ready to defend himself with fists, if needed. Hoping he wouldn't get into a fight, he decided it would be better to check up this Naruto guy's motives.

"Just what the hell is wrong with you?" Gaara snapped, unable to stand the unsureness why he was suddenly taken interest in.

"Huh?" Naruto asked, dumbfounded.

"What are you after? You wanna pick a fight or something?" Gaara retorted, gripping the blond's front and pulling their faces and inch away each other. His jade green eyes were cold with fury and doubt, as he stared daggers in the soft blue eyes of the perplexed blond.

"N-No..." Naruto stuttered in shock. Sharpening up, he put his hands to the red haired boy's shoulders, ready to push him away.

"I just felt like talking to you, that's all," Naruto said in a clear, determined voice. "Now let go of me or you'll have the fight you're so eager after!" he then said, his blue eyes soft no more but sharp and studying.

Staring coldly at the other boy, Gaara loosened the grip with a 'hmph'. He pushed Naruto backwards as he finally let go of the shirt.

"Don't mess with me," Gaara spat and started to walk again. He was more than annoyed by now. He didn't exept the blond to follow him but was surprised when the blue eyed boy caught him up again.

Gaara didn't say a word. Who would have thought that this Naruto was so stubborn?

Naruto was quiet, too. He was glad they didn't get into a fight. The redhead's attitude was getting on his nerves. I mean, how many people start threatening you with violence when you try to get to know them? the blond wondered by himself. Forcing the annoyance out of his mind, he decided to start talking, widening his mouth to a friendly smile once again.

"I live alone in a small house. Before, I used to live with Iruka, who adopted me when I was a kid. He was the nicest guy in the world, believe it! Everyone liked him," Naruto told as he looked at the quiet boy.

Now, Gaara was mildly surprised about two things.

Firstly, the blond had begun to babble again as if nothing had happened. Just how stubborn can you get? Gaara pondered. He had clearly pointed out that he was in no need of company. The blond just didn't seem to get it.

Secondly, he hadn't known that the other boy lived alone. If he was correct, the blond was at the same age as he was. Curious. How could he manage all by himself?

"What happened?" the redhead asked.

Naruto didn't reply for a moment but when he spoke, his voice was serious and it held a hint of sadness.

"He passed away an year ago."

Gaara didn't say anything. He knew how it felt like to lose a family member but that was a thing the blond didn't need to know.

"But I'm fine, I can take care of myself!" Naruto said with a wide smile, his big eyes thinning into slits.

The change in mood had been so quick it almost seemed forced. After all, the redhead had learnt to be very good at sensing people's moods. What a weird guy, Gaara thought. How could anyone be so happy all the time, or pretend to be, was a mystery to him. He believed some of Naruto's smiles were fake, like he was trying to assure everyone that everything was fine. The redhead didn't understand that kind of behavior.

Gaara never smiled. In his opinion, smiling was in vain. Sometimes he smirked to himself when something amusing came by but it was rare. In some worse days of his life, he had become familiar with Kankuro's evil smiles which matched his coal black eyes glinting hungrily. It was a combination he wanted to avoid.

Naruto's smiles, however, were totally different. It seemed that Naruto could easily smile and be friendly to everyone. Now that the redhead thought back on it, he didn't remember Naruto calling him 'freak' or 'monster' even though his friends sometimes did, not that Gaara cared.

"This is it!" Naruto exclaimed happily.

Gaara stared at him, not really understanding what the other was saying. He had been so deep in thought he had missed most of Naruto's rattling.

"What?" Gaara asked.

"My house," the blond said proudly. It was an old, small brick house with a small yard. It looked cozy and friendly even though the grass was long.

"I have to cut the lawn, it's not my favorite task as you can see," Naruto laughed, turning to go inside.

"Well, see ya!" he yelled before opening the front door and vanishing inside.

Naruto's house was only a couple of hundred yards away from his, Gaara noticed. He shook his head and continued walking home.

Inside the house, Naruto leaned his back on the door and let out a breath he didn't know he had been holding. He had done it. He had talked to Gaara and he had left him intact, after all. Though the grip on his front had been uncomfortably tight, matching the vicious look in the green eyes. The boy sure was quiet, making it hard to engage him into a conversation.

Naruto had often seen Gaara walk past his house, alone in his black outfit. The sight had always brought sadness to Naruto's mind, as he remembered how his childhood had been like. His parents had been looked down on, and after their violent death everyone had seemed to pick on him, as if assuming him to grow up to be like his father.

The blond had tried harder than anyone to get acceptance, to get even one friend to spend time with. When Iruka had finally taken him under his wing, the public attitude towards Naruto had somewhat softened, making it possible for him to socialize at school.

In Gaara he saw a reflection of his former self, an unpopular loner, except the difference that the redhead didn't seem to seek anyone's approval. Naruto wondered if he could befriend Gaara - would the boy let him close? He wouldn't know without trying.

His plan was to get the redhead out of his shell and make friends with him, taking the risk that the redhead might push him away. In the back of his mind a sly voice asked him if he was only seeking for a friendship but Naruto tried to smother it.

Memories of another boy, a black haired one, flooded into his mind, reminding him how the boy had toyed with his feelings, only to dump him soon after. His heart had broken and for a while he had had second thoughts about wearing his heart on his sleeve so freely.

Being honest to himself, the redhead was appealing to him. Gaara wore tight clothes, bringing out his slim body. The red hair made him look wild, the black rims around his eyes gave contrast to his jade green eyes. His skin was like cream, flawless and soft-looking. Naruto sighed at the image, only to realize a second later what he had been thinking of.

Shaking the thoughts off vigorously, Naruto climbed to his bed to take a nap, pulling the blanket over his shoulders and soon dozing off. Without him being aware of it, the pleasant images creeped back to his mind, forming into vivid dreams which Naruto couldn't remember when he woke up.

At the same time the object of Naruto's dreams was pushed against the cellar door, nothing but tight black boxers on, his other clothes laying ripped on the floor. Kankuro had his red hair in a thight grip, not giving him a chance to move.

When Gaara had come home earlier, his brother had been in the attick rummaging around. Curious, he had gone to see what was going on. He hadn't had a chance to ask what the older brother had been looking for, when he had noticed some old photos scattered on the floor. Hadn't they burned all their family pictures before? It seemed they hadn't...

Knowing instantly it was better to get away as soon as possible, Gaara had burst towards his only refuge, the cellar. At the door, Kankuro had caught him. He had seen a glimpse of the brunette's eyes but even without looking at him, he knew that the rare, insane glint was there.

It had been five months since Kankuro was this screwed up. Back then, Gaara had ended up beaten with bruises all over his body. He didn't want to endure the same fate again tonight but all he could do was to try to speak his brother out of this. After all, he couldn't fully blame him. This was not Kankuro's fault alone but mostly of their uncle. Even though he was dead, his actions seemed to haunt over their lives as lively as years before.

"Gaara, do you know what love is?" Kankuro asked, his voice unsteady.

Gaara gulped, pondering what he should answer to the mad question. He had grown up without being loved and that's why the feeling in question was somewhat alien to him, despite the fact that he had a tattoo referring to it on his forehead. The only kind of love he had ever known was the one he received from Kankuro. He was sure it was love, if love was meant to include confusion, submission and secrecy. To Gaara, love was very complicated. It felt wrong and right at the same time.

Knowing that all the answers might lead into the same outcome, he finally whispered, "Love... is complicated."

It was an honest opinion but he doubted it mattered right now. Kankuro's grip tightened in his hair, pulling Gaara's head back.


The sound echoed in the hallway as the younger male's head smashed to the door. The redhead let out a cry of pain, unable to hold it back. The smack had been so forceful it made his forehead bleed, leaving stains on the door.

"No... love is simple," his brother answered, madness clearly echoing in his voice.

"I'll show you!" Kankuro said, dragging Gaara to the kitchen and throwing him into the corner.

Leaning against the cupboards, the redhead watched in horror as his brother took out a knife. He had no time to flee, when the brunette came face to face with him. Kankuro put the tip of the knife on Gaara's stomach. The tension in the redhead's body increased ten-fold as he felt the cold metal on that sensitive area.

"Kankuro, put that knife away," Gaara started as calmly as he could, desperate to get away from the situation. The words didn't seem to have any effect on his brother.

"Kank-" Gaara started again.

"Don't move," the brunette interrupted.

Like hell am I going to move at a moment like this, the defenseless redhead thought. Pushing the blade, Kankuro made a thin slash on the pale skin. It started to bleed, making Gaara sickened at the pain and the sight of his own blood. Not even daring to breathe, he bit his lip and watched as Kankuro started another slash.

It hurt so much that Gaara had hard time not to react. He wanted to scream, shout or push the crazed brunette away but he didn't dare, not now when Kankuro was armed and unstable.

Slowly, the pattern on his stomach started to remind the kanji meaning 'love'. Utterly disgusted, Gaara had to close his eyes. The knife was pushed a little too deep, causing the redhead to cringe. The slashing stopped.

Gaara opened his eyes and yet another shock came to him. Kankuro placed the tip of the knife between his little brother's eyes, staring at him angrily. The brunette's hand shook a little, unnerving Gaara even more. The redhead didn't know which gods he should pray to not to let the blade slip away into his eyes.

"I told you not to move," Kankuro said with a cold fury in his voice.

Gaara gulped, not thinking it as movement. Anger flashed in his brother's eyes and that was the only warning he got.

"Don't move!"

The shout rang in Gaara's ears as the knife was roughly slapped to the cupboard door, not even an inch away from Gaara's ear. He was sure his heart had stopped from fright and he didn't even dare to blink his eyes. He stared at the brunette's black, unmoving eyes, not seeing a trace of his brother's normal self.

His brother was like another person and Gaara thought Kankuro could even kill him in his current state of mind. Pulling the knife away, Kankuro gripped Gaara's left hand, slashing it without a second thought. The cut was too deep, making the redhead let out a cry of pain. It was too much... it had to end now. Trying to win his own fear, the green eyed boy forced himself to speak.

"S-Stop! I'm not h-him! I'm not!"

As if not believing a word, Kankuro made another cut, hands trembling and emotions crossing in his eyes a hundred miles per minute. Had Kankuro even heard him? He was not stopping... Having no choice, Gaara kicked his brother in the stomach, making him fall on his back.

Gaara got up and was ready to run, when he shouted to his brother. "Snap out of it! I'm your b-brother, not him!"

Almost kicking Kankuro to the face in order to get him to his senses, he saw the sudden change of emotion in the coal black eyes. Slowly, the insane glint seemed to fade away while being replaced by realization.

The redhead backed off. Dumbfounded, Kankuro looked at Gaara as if seeing him for the first time. Glancing at the blood covered skin, he made a puking gesture and stormed to the bathroom. Not staying to wait for Kankuro to come back, Gaara rushed into the cellar, his breathing still uneven and shock written all over his face. Sitting on the floor and leaning to the wall he thought what had just happened.

Remembering the bleeding cuts all over his body, he grabbed the bed-sheet and tore it into bands. Wrapping the bands up his wounds, he decided it was best to distract himself of the haunting thoughts. Picking up the brush, he was about to continue the painting left unfinished earlier this morning. Painting turned out to be impossible, thanks to his trembling hands.

Sitting back on to the floor, Gaara listened to the silence around him. Not daring to drift off to sleep he stayed awake, wishing it would be morning already so that he could get out of the house.

After long hours of waiting, it was finally 6:20 a.m. Gaara had not slept a minute. To tell the truth, he had partly been too afraid to even close his eyes. Normally Kankuro was reluctant to enter the cellar but after the mental breakdowns he was a bit unpredictable.

Gaara yawned, feeling tired. Even though he was an insomniac, the hours spent awake last night and the night before were taking their toll. He was hungry, since the last time he ate was at school the day before. Ignoring his stomach, he climbed up the stairs and listened carefully before opening the door. He couldn't hear a thing. Hoping Kankuro was sleeping and not lurking in the shadows, he opened the door and went to take a shower.

He disinfected his aching wounds and collected the ripped clothes from the hallway floor. Luckily, his favorite jeans were not torn. He threw them down the cellar stairs before heading to the kitchen. There, he dropped the shreds into the trash bin. The kitchen was dark, its dark brown walls almost black in the scarce light of dawn.

"You want some coffee?" came a quiet whisper behind Gaara's back.

Swinging around, the redhead saw his brother sitting at the table and looking out of the window. On the table, there were two mugs and a coffee pot. All senses sharpening, the younger male studied the atmosphere. Was his brother back to normal? Afraid that the events of the night would happen again, Gaara stayed where he was, not making a move towards the table.

"I'm sorry," Kankuro whispered in a barely audible voice. Gaara stared at him.

"I just lost it. I shouldn't have gone to the attick... I was looking for my old CDs to sell them..." the brunette spoke. He was perching on his chair like the dead weight of the world was on his shoulders.

Kankuro didn't seem to be dangerous and so Gaara moved slowly to sit in front of him. Pouring coffee into the empty mug, Kankuro handed it to the redhead. They sat in the semi-darkness, waiting for the sun to rise and the world to wake up.

"Why aren't you sleeping?" the redhead asked, sipping his black coffee. Kankuro rubbed his eyes, staring at the empty mug on his hands.

"I couldn't."

He had been up all night, sitting in corners the faint light of the night couldn't reach and mulling things over and over again in his mind.

He had been thinking about what had just happened, not quite remembering. He had thought about events of the past, not really wanting to remember. The thoughts and feelings had started to swirl in his head like a whirlwind and when all logic and common sense seemed to vanish in the depths of the mental vortex, he had been sure he had lost his ability to think rationally. He had been sitting in the shadows, feeling lonelier than ever before, knowing that in the end, he was all alone.

His only faithful companions were the maddening thoughts of pain, desire and guilt. Yet, he had felt safe in the shadows, for they were as black as his heart. In the darkest of shadows, he had almost felt invisible - like the darkness could swallow him and the growing black hole in his soul.

"Are they... hurting? I hope I didn't... too deep," he said, not looking at Gaara.

The redhead's eyes hardened and he gripped his mug a little harder. His cuts were hurting really bad. Every time he moved, his clothes chafed the wounds, causing Gaara to wince in pain.

"Yes... They're more than sore, thank you very much!" he hissed. He was angry, and he should be. It wasn't right he had to grow up in this kind of environment.

He wondered how long he could live here, if things didn't change. He had planned on moving away after graduating. Even though the thought of escaping felt pleasing, he was worried about his brother. Would Kankuro go totally insane without his presence? He didn't know how to help the brunette. He loved him as a brother, but he was not planning on getting in mortal danger every time Kankuro had his little 'episodes'.

Getting up, Gaara left the kithcen. He obscured the bruise on his forehead with make-up as well as he could and checked his cuts one last time. Picking up his bag, he left the house.