Lucky Number

Part 1: Paperwork for Kazekage

After the death of the Fourth Kazekage, the offices of Sunakagure had been, understandably, in a state of almost terminal chaos. Psychotically evil and malevolent bastard though he had been, Sabaku Arashi had done his paperwork and there was no way to get out of admitting that. So it was with grudging respect for the man he'd never called father that Sabaku-no-Gaara sat down at the wide wooden desk every morning and got to work. There was a betting pool going on down in the clerk's office about how long it would take the new Leader to work through the beauracractic sandstorm left behind, though the smart money was on a matter of weeks. After all, the Fifth Kazekage didn't have to sleep.

But even with this monumental advantage, there were some things Gaara simply couldn't be bothered with; older files were left in haphazard piles while the chaotic mess of the moment took up precedence. Trash paperwork that had never been tossed out, with a worry that someone somewhere might need whatever was scribbled on it. Late at night, when he had finished the immediate paperwork, Gaara would sometimes turn his attentions to these older files; they held pertinent information and oftentimes kept his mind from wandering until Temari would emerge, hazy-eyed and yawning, to make her younger sibling a pot of coffee.

Tonight was one such night.

Gaara glanced behind him. A sandstorm was rolling through; a smaller one, wouldn't last more than two hours, but every housewife in Suna would be out with their brooms the next morning, waging war against the elements. He blinked down at the manila folder in front of him.

Kankuro Sabaku. Puppeteer Jounin.

How this particular file had wound up in the pile-of-stuff-to-bury-in-sand-so-Baki-didn't-know-about-it, Gaara wasn't sure; he was certain that his older brother's missions file was something he should keep handy, seeing as Kankuro was a healthy Jounin and, barring any incredible unpleasantness in the future, would continue going on missions for quite some time.

Gaara flipped the file open.

Name: Sabaku, Kankuro.

Age: 17

Rank: Jounin

Affilation: Puppeteer of Red Sands Journeyman Master

Blood Type: O

Height: 6' 1"

Weight: 130

Team Members: Sabaku Gaara and Temari

Teacher(s): Mitsuki Baki, Elder Chiyo, Mitsuzaka Kadaj.


D Rank: 26 Complete

C Rank: 15 Complete

B Rank: 10 Complete

A Rank: 9 Complete

Gaara allowed his eyes to scan the information, taking it in. Most of it he knew; as Kankuro's default Team Leader, he had committed almost all of it to memory when they had unwillingly formed a team together at the beginning of their genin days. From Kankuro's specialized puppeteer training with Chiyo and Kadaj to his rank as journeyman, it was all old news.

Except for one thing.

Gaara felt his gaze stop at the A Rank listing.

It wasn't right.

It couldn't be; they as a team had only gone on six A rank missions, and most of those had merely been a case of 'Kill everyone and get out fast' meaning that while his siblings had stood by and kept an eye out, he'd decimated everything in his path. Very basic, very cut and dry. Only six, and they'd come back alive from each one. Most of them hadn't even been officially listed until a few months ago. Just six.

So why were nine listed?

It could be a clerical error. The desk ninja of Sunakagure were notoriously lazy, after all, and this had to be a newer copy of Kankuro's file, correcting some of the..oversights of their last leader. One hairless brow quirked in curiosity, Gaara flipped through the other papers in the thick folder. Medical reports, examination results, poison diagrams...soon he reached the mission reports, uniform pieces of paper with the same fill-in-the-blank format. The D rank reports were all filled in with Baki's neat, militaristic handwriting; the Wind Sword was a stickler for penmanship. As the missions got harder and they had learned to fill out their own paperwork, Baki had handed the reports over to the three of them; the copies of the C and B rank missions were all in Kankuro's surprisingly elegant, spidery calligraphy.

Gaara scrutinized them; they were the same ones Kankuro had shared with his siblings, to make sure their information was accurate before turning it in to the missions desk. Here were the A class missions; again, all neat and aristocratic, barring the few swearwords his brother liked throwing in for shock factor.

And here...

Gaara picked up the last three pieces of paper in the folder. They were also Mission Forms, and they too bore his brother's unmistakable hand; yet each and every one had a client and a name that Gaara had never seen before, and each bore the seal of the previous Kazekage...

Meaning these missions had been assigned to his older brother personally. By their father.

This disturbed Gaara slightly. There was once very little that the Sand Siblings could call familial connection. They were together as keepers and mindless weapon only, but in one thing they had always remained united, and that was the hatred of the man who had sired them. They had lamented him together (well, Kankuro and Temari lamented while he devised various methods of bloody execution in his head) and they had taken on his assignments together.

A seal of the Kazekage meant one of two things.

An ANBU mission, or a solo mission. And as far as Gaara knew, his older brother, dark and supremely twisted though he was, had managed to stay out of Sunakagure ANBU's puppeteer division, more commonly called The Spooks.

Gaara arranged the three reports side by side, steepling his hands in front of him. The sandstorm outside was reaching its peak; soon it would die down.

He began to read.

A/N: I know, I know, I shouldn't be starting new multi-chapters when the Shirt isn't done yet but this idea wouldn't leave me alone and I'm on a Kankuro kick. With any luck there will be five chapters to this piece, and any questions you might have (how did Gaara not know about the missions, why does Kankuro write so neat, etc) will be answered throughout. As per usual, review if you'd like- and if you fav my story, please review it and tell me why. I love knowing why. It makes my day. Constructive crit welcome, angry flamers please pm me personally so I can deal with your idiocy. Canon nazis...really. Go write your own completely-loyal-to-the-storyline fiction.