A/N: It's not a good idea to write through a migraine. I spent thirty minutes staring at a half-written page trying to remember the word "conspicuous." XD But I got through it, and here is this little one shot about a day (or two) in the lives of the Suna siblings.
Disclaimer: Obviously, I do not own Naruto, or any of the characters therein. Neither do I own any of the shows Temari likes to watch, namely, Scrubs and WWE Pro Wrestling. (XD I know, she's a little bipolar when it comes to her entertainment, ne? But that's Temari for ya.)
Fish in a Jar
"Temari!" Kankurou came stumbling down the stairs, before panting to a stop in front of his sister, who was sprawled on the couch in the living room. "How could you?!"
"How could I what?" Temari craned her neck to see the latest episode of Scrubs that still occupied ninety percent of her attention.
"This!" Kankurou presented a glass fish bowl half full of water, and, conspicuously, empty of fish.
"Get that smelly thing out of my face." the eldest growled.
"Fluffy's gone, Temari!"
Temari's eyebrow twitched. Beyond the opaque form of her brother she could hear the self-deprecating antics of Dr. John Dorian, and she was missing it. "Well, I don't have anything to do with it. It's not surprising, either. You've yet to have been able to keep a pet for more than a week."
"I took good care of Fluffy!" The puppet-nin exploded. "I fed her, and cleaned her tank, and talked to her everyday! But today, when I checked her bowl, she was gone!"
"You must have lost it, like every other pet you've ever owned." Temari said dismissively, trying to see around him to the TV.
"How could I lose a fish? It's not like I took her out of the bowl! She just sits there, doing fishy stuff, but this morning, she was just gone!"
"Maybe she jumped out." To her annoyance, she could only see half the screen as Dr. Cox chewed out the cowering interns.
"I checked the entire room! She's nowhere!"
Temari sighed. Kankurou obviously wasn't moving. "Well, I'm not gonna do anything about it." Her unimpressed expression conveyed how little she cared.
This wasn't the first time Kankurou had come running to her about a missing pet. He had attempted to care for the occasional creature many times in the years before, and all his pets had mysteriously disappeared. Temari wouldn't be surprised if they had a hidden zoo in the five mile radius from their house just from all the animals Kankurou had lost.
The puppet-nin whined, and stomped his feet. He was such a baby. "Why does this always happen? I take good care of them, only they disappear the next day! It's not even like they ran away. Not every single one!"
Kankurou slumped, the fish bowl sloshing water onto the carpet, which was a rare luxury in Suna, simply due to practicability, he moped all the way back to his room.
Kankurou had a plan.
There was no way all the mysterious disappearances of his pets were all coincidences.
Slicker the snake couldn't have slithered out of his room. Nibbles the hamster couldn't have gotten out of her ball. Piddle the puppy couldn't have escaped. Loafers the booted kitten couldn't have wiggled out. Beakers the parakeet couldn't have flown out of a closed window. And Fluffy the goldfish couldn't have gotten out of her bowl.
Kankurou was determined to find the cause behind all of these unfortunate events.
He tapped the fish food container, sprinkling the newly prepared bowl of Fluffy the Second with fishy, nutritious flakes.
Screwing the cap back on to the plastic container, Kankurou leant down to give his new friend a purple-painted grin. "You, my little fishy," Fluffy darted away as he tapped the glass, "are going to solve this mystery for me. All you have to do is disappear."
Giving Fluffy the Second a final farewell, Kankurou pressed the record button on the camera he had hidden, and left the room.
"Temari!" Kankurou came stumbling down the stairs, this time carrying his digital camcorder aloft.
The fan wielder sighed in exasperation. He was standing right in front of last night's episode of WWE Pro Wrestling she had recorded. "What are you doing?"
Kankurou knelt in front of the TV, pressing buttons, tangling wires, and generally making a technological mess. "I've got the answer to this mystery, once and for all!"
"What mystery? And— I was watching that!"
The TV flashed static, before the brain-blanking blue of the default input screen.
Temari pulled her feet up with a growl, as Kankurou plopped down on the opposite end of the couch. "I interested in that, you know."
"Just wait 'til you see this!" He pressed the play button, and the movie started.
"It's... a fish bowl."
"Yes! I got Fluffy the Second yesterday, and, as usual, she was missing today. This will reveal the culprit, once and for all!"
Temari rolled her eyes. "We're just going to see you making a stupid mistake somewhere along the way."
Kankurou grit his teeth, and kept his eyes trained on the screen. It wasn't his fault; he was sure of it! "Just watch, damn it!" On screen, his recorded self left the room.
Fifteen minutes later, Temari was reaching the end of her patience, even as Kankurou fast-forwarded through the recording at the lowest setting, paying careful attention to each darting movement of the white and orange colored Fluffy the Second.
"Kankurou..." Temari whined for the umpteenth time. She had started counting down mentally to the moment she would tackle her younger brother to re-commandeer the television.
"Wait! What's that?"
Both elder siblings became rapt with attention. Something was happening onscreen.
First, a blur of red was distorted by the fish bowl, before it rose until it peeked over the glass. Following was an equally scarlet, familiar tattoo, marking a flawless snow white expanse of forehead. And then came into focus two turquoise gems, rimmed with bandit's black.
Temari rolled into an upright position. Her attention had been caught.
Onscreen, the redhead was intent on the little goldfish swimming in oblivious circles beneath the water. His eyes followed its every movement, and, despite Gaara's typical stoicism, there was a definite... desire in those eyes.
Gaara licked his lips, an almost lazy motion, as his tongue tasted the air.
"What is he..."
Both siblings' eyes widened as Gaara lifted a hand into sight, which held the green mesh net used for retrieving fish during tank cleaning.
The goldfish put up quite the chase, but was ultimately caught and lifted from the water.
Gaara watched the defenseless flopping of the grounded fish with a hungry gaze, and licked his lips again.
Then, with a great effort of fishy strength, Fluffy jumped out of the net.
"Fluffy, no!" Kankurou was on the edge of his seat, biting his nails over the fate of his pet.
Gaara disappeared from the screen, as he bent to retrieve the fish that had fallen to the floor.
When he reappeared, the only visible part of Fluffy was an orange filmy tailfin wiggling from between his lips.
Gaara swallowed, and Fluffy was gone, all in one bite. The redhead licked his lips with a self-satisfied smirk.
Temari's jaw dropped, and, onscreen, Gaara turned to leave the room, smacking his lips as he went.
"Oh my KAMI-SAMA! Do you know what this MEANS?"
"Yes..." Temari mumbled distantly.
"Gaara ATE them! He ate Fluffy!"
"We need... to feed him better..."
"And Piddle, and Nibbles, and Slicker, and Loafers! They were EATEN!" Kankurou fell to his knees on the living room rug, his back arched, and the heels of his palms to his eyes, he was the very picture of emotional agony.
"What are you watching?"
Kankurou spun with a melodramatic gasp, his finger jabbing the air towards a certain redheaded glutton standing on the threshold. "You! You ate them!"
Gaara blinked at his older brother uncomprehendingly.
"You ate Fluffy the First, didn't you? And the others! I have proof!"
Gaara's head cocked to the side, the picture of innocence. "Who?"
"You know who! Don't try to play innocent with me, you little demon!"
The redhead startled at the unexpected hostility, and shrunk back, looking faintly hurt. "Ah?"
Kankurou's face was ruthlessly smacked with the broadside of an oversized fan, and fell backwards like a downed tree. "Idiot!"
Temari hurtled over the cough to her littlest brother. "Don't you listen to him! He doesn't mean it!"
Gaara backed up another two steps, looking thoroughly confused as Temari started cooing at him.
"You poor thing! You've just been hungry all this time, haven't you? I'm not surprised, what with you being so skinny!"
"Ah?" Gaara glanced down at himself. He was skinny?
"You know what? I haven't ever seen you eat, now that I think about it! It's time to change that. Come on, I'll make you lunch!"
Gaara backed up, starting to get scared by his sister's overwhelming mother-mode, as she started shooing him towards the kitchen. "B-but... I'm not hungry..."
"Nonsense! There's always room for growing boys!"
Back in the living room, lying on the floor, Kankurou cried internally. "All this time... my babies... f-food..." He realized now, that the main reason he had turned to puppets in his lonely childhood in the Kazekage household was because they weren't edible.