Sandy Claus Is Comin' to Town
Description: The Kazekage's most frightening duty doesn't involve battle, but a red suit, pillow, and fake beard. Enter Sandy Claus. Post-Shippuuden. Humor/Christmas!crack.
Disclaimer: Gaara, Kankuro, Temari, and the Naruto-verse are copyrighted by Masashi Kishimoto and Weekly Shonen Jump. I am making no profit; this is just for fun.
A/N: Written for the Club-KGT Christmas contest on Deviant Art! This story is meant to take place after the general Shippuuden timeline. Yeah, it's crack. I also wrote it pretty quickly for the contest, so it's not meant to be deep or have any hidden point. I just wanted to make someone laugh with it.
Thank you to Ariel-D for beta reading!!!! You are awesome!
Translation reminders: "jan" is the nonsense word Kankuro puts at the end of some of his sentences.
Fights between all three of the Kazekage's family members were few and far between. Since she had become engaged to Shikamaru Nara, Temari had spent most of her time in Konoha. The remaining two, being the Kazekage and his brother, were generally on good terms with each other. Therefore, when Temari was away, there was no one to start fights. When she returned, she always found some way to get under her brothers' skin, especially her youngest brother's.
"I think it'd be cute!" Her grin was absolutely nauseating. Temari leaned against the Kazekage's desk, her fan balanced behind her with one hand, her other hand fisted on the mahogany. "Really, Gaara."
Gaara hoped that if he kept his eyes closed long enough, his sister would disappear and go bother Kankuro instead. He loved to see her. He really did. But he wished that she'd leave the Teasing Older Sister mode behind in Konoha with Nara's family.
Finally, he opened his eyes and peered at her intently. "No."
"No?" Temari laughed loudly. "Come on, quit being a stick in the mud!"
Gaara raised an eyebrow and wondered how many times he'd have to say it before she caught on. "No."
"No what?" Kankuro's voice drifted from the doorway. "Temari, you causing trouble, jan?"
That did it. With Kankuro in the same room, there was no way he was going to get Temari out of his office. Gaara sighed softly and rested his chin on his hands. He'd been sitting at the desk with his elbows propped on the surface for so long that he could feel the little nerves being pinched numb. Temari was too stubborn.
Temari turned and grinned mischievously at her other brother. "Me? Trouble? Come on, Kankuro, you know me better than that. I'm just trying to get our little brother here to have some fun."
"Fun?" Kankuro seemed curious. He leaned against the doorway into the room, his brown hair sticking up at odd angles. "Knowing you, your kind of fun is beating someone across the head with that fan."
Temari glared at him. "I can try it on you if you really want, jackass." Her smile returned quickly. She turned back to face Gaara, and he had to resist the urge to twitch and break into a sweat. "So. Little bro. How about it?"
Before Gaara could respond, Kankuro interrupted again. He was always impatient. "About what? Come on, Temari. Spill it!"
"Oh. Well, I ran into Baki when I arrived in town, and he mentioned he was having a horrible time trying to convince Gaara to partake in the festivities." Her eyes positively twinkled with mischief. "Did you know that the Hokage has played this part in Konoha every year since time immortal? I hear rumours that even Lady Tsunade herself took part."
"Sure. Let's hire them instead," Gaara said.
"Oi, wait!" Kankuro's expression brightened. His eyes were fixed on something hidden behind the desk at Temari's feet. "You mean Santa? Didn't we grab someone from the puppet corps to do it last year?"
"Yes, we did!" Temari slammed her fist on the desk again. A tea cup and a potted cactus rattled precariously. "And Baki and I both think it's more practical and appropriate if Gaara himself were to do it. He is the Kazekage, after all! What better way to represent good-will in the village than to have the leader on call to deliver gifts to children?"
Gaara absently rubbed at his temples with his thumbs. "You make it sound …. Fun. It's not. I saw the man last year. He had to sit around in the sun, dressed up in layers upon layers of material, while children were tugging at ever available part of his body and screaming at him at the top of their lungs."
She shrugged. "Duty, little brother. What better person exists to sacrifice his body for the village?"
"And that's another thing." Gaara straightened in his chair and tried to look slightly assertive. "How do you get the idea that I even look like Santa? He's overweight. He has a huge, white beard." He paused and looked down at himself. He held the glare long enough to make the point, then turned a deadpan look on Temari. "I'm not fat enough to play a believable Santa."
Off by the doorway, Kankuro snickered. "Or tall enough, technically."
Gaara wasn't sure how to respond to that. He wondered if Kankuro was actually in secret cahoots with Temari this time. "Fine. All the more reason for you to do it instead."
"Hey!" Kankuro's eyes widened so much that Gaara thought they'd pop out of his head. "I'm not fat enough, either!"
Gaara shrugged. "Not my fault. At least you're tall enough. Just shove a couple puppets up your shirt; it'll be close enough."
The room was silent for a moment. Temari stared at Kankuro. Kankuro stared at Gaara. Then, Temari finally turned back to Gaara. Her eyes were narrowed like little slits. "Nice try, little brother," she said softly. "But it's not going to work. You are going to be Santa whether you like it or not. You are going to let little children sit on your lap, whether you like it or not. You are going to represent this village, whether you like it or not." She paused and let her words hang in the air. "Besides, Naruto-kun is doing it at Konoha this year."
Now that wasn't fair. Gaara managed to keep a straight face as his sister glared kunai knives at him. He knew why Naruto would do it. Naruto was loud and extroverted, just like the little kids that wanted to sit on Santa's lap. Gaara was not loud and extroverted. In fact, at the moment, he really wished he could turn into a cactus and cosy up with the one on his desk.
Except that was impossible. Just like it was going to be impossible to make Temari leave.
"Eh?" Temari blinked and her dark expression disappeared. "How long?"
"How long," Gaara sighed, raising an eyebrow at her, "Would I have to wear it? As in," he added, "if I put the damn suit on and walk around outside for a bit, would you leave me alone?"
"Oh! Well then." Temari reached to the floor and disappeared behind the desk's front. Gaara heard something unzip, and then she reappeared, holding a red jacket in her hands. She seemed utterly unflappable. "Just for the afternoon. It's one day, Gaara. Today is Christmas Eve, you know."
"I know." Gaara took a deep breath, then rose from his chair. He felt resigned to the fact that he couldn't get out of it. He pulled the overcoat off that he usually wore and let it fall onto his chair. Then he began to unwrap the scarf around his neck. "Fine. Help me."
Temari chuckled. "Sure." She grabbed the entire bag holding the suit, then set it on the desk. Once Gaara had disrobed to his boxers, she fished out the pants and held them out to him. Then she cocked an eyebrow at him and clucked. "Kankuro, are you sure he's eating right? He's looking thin."
"He always looks thin, jan." Kankuro had folded his arms. He was still at the doorway, as though he had no intention of getting any closer than he already was. "Besides, you try and make him eat anything filling. It's damn near impossible."
Gaara felt his cheeks flush. He snatched the pants away from Temari, pulled them on, then grabbed the jacket, too. "Given what you cook, certainly. I'd rather die than have hamburgers every day. You're going to clog up your arteries and then wonder why you die young."
"Hey! Better than all the sodium you eat with that salted tongue crap."
Temari cleared her throat loudly. "Gentlemen, focus please. We have a Santa Claus to dress."
Gaara didn't feel he needed to be reminded of that. He accepted a large pillow from her with a frown. "So this really …"
"Yeah. Down your pants. I'm not putting it there, Gaara. You have to do that one yourself."
Flushing further, Gaara glared at her and proceeded to secure the pillow in its correct spot. He fixed the jacket over the pants and belt, then stared down at himself. "I look ridiculous."
Temari ignored him as she pulled out the final atrocities from the bag. She gently reached around his face and secured a fake, white beard around his ears with elastic cords. Then she plopped a tall, red hat on his head. The pompon refused to stay up and fell down in front of his eyes.
"There!" She took a step backwards. "You look so adorable!"
Gaara had to take stock of his situation before he could even respond. While he tried, a small piece of cotton fluff from the beard sneaked towards his nose. His eyes went wide, then he sneezed loudly.
"I'm breathing in fake beard," he finally managed.
"Just don't sneeze on the kids, jan. Not like they need any contamination."
"Oh, be nice Kankuro." Temari put her hands on her hips and surveyed the scene. "Besides, he looks cute enough to have a picture taken."
For the umpteenth time that day, Gaara wondered what he'd failed to do that had told Temari she could call him 'cute' or any suitable variation whenever she wanted.
"If you do, I'll find all those love poems you pretend you don't write and mail them off to Nara with our fastest hawk. It'll be my Christmas present to him."
A moment passed, then Gaara's words seemed to register. Temari's face went slightly wide and her grin vanished.
Kankuro's howl of laughter broke the silence. "You write love poetry? Seriously, sis? Man, somehow I had you pegged as the kind of girl who shows affection by whipping her boyfriend with a –"
"Shut up!" Temari sounded flustered, and her face had broken into a furious blush. "If you don't stop laughing, I am so going to hang that stupid leopard print g-string I saw in your room this morning from the flag pole in the middle of the village!"
It was Kankuro's turn to blush furiously. "You found what? What the hell were you doing in my room? And … that … isn't mine!"
"Looking for you, dingbat! You're ridiculously hard to find during the day. And it's not my fault that you leave your little personal secrets lying in open sight on your desk."
"It's not mine!" Kankuro roared loudly, his hands going to the scrolls on his back. "So drop it, jan!"
"Really? Well, if they aren't, how come when I asked her about them earlier, Iga-chan said they looked pretty damn sexy when you wore them!"
Gaara wasn't quite sure what to say. Part of him felt sufficiently traumatised by the thought of Kankuro wearing any sort of g-string that he figured he shouldn't have to be traumatised more by playing Santa. The other part of him thought it might be a good time to escape.
"I was already scarred for life by the Santa suit," he muttered as he slipped quietly by Temari and Kankuro, who both had their hands on their weapons. "Now it's ten times worse."
As he walked off down the hall with much resignation, he heard the echoing sound of a fan hitting something back in his office. Somehow, it all seemed so familiar. He sighed and wondered why his siblings couldn't act their age.
It was much later in the day when Kankuro and Temari finally caught up with him. By that point, Gaara was completely sure he was going to die. The weather was remarkably hot that day for Suna's off season, and sitting in the ridiculous cushioned chair under the sun, wearing a red suit, a pillow, and an itchy fake beard was threatening to give him heatstroke.
Kankuro, despite the large, purple bruise on his cheek, grinned when he saw Gaara. "Hey, look at you and all the kids, jan!"
Temari glared at Kankuro, then glanced at the line of children stretched in front of them. "Remember, it's Santa, Kankuro. Santa. You don't want to ruin things, do you?"
"Oh no." Kankuro snorted, his grin going even wider. "Oh no, I wouldn't want to do that. That'd just ruin all the fun. Besides, we can take pictures of Santa, can't we Temari? Unlike our brother, Santa isn't afraid of cameras!"
Gaara managed to get a glare at them both before another child popped onto his lap. He sighed and tried to summon something resembling the Christmas cheer of a fat, old, break-and-entry suspect. "Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas. What would you like this year?"
"Hmm." The girl, who was probably no older than five, stared at Gaara with wide eyes. "I don't know what I want, Santy Claus."
"Santy Claus." Kankuro couldn't seem to control himself. He had a hand over his mouth and was obviously laughing hard beneath it. "Santy Claus. Hey, you know what we should be calling him?"
Gaara somehow knew what was coming. He just knew it. He gently shifted the girl on his lap so that he could glare at Kankuro without the child seeing. Then he mouthed silently, "If you say Sandy Claus, I am going to kill you." He paused, then repeated with emphasis: "Kill you."
Kankuro stopped and stared. "You wouldn't."
"What did he say?" Temari looked curious.
Gaara continued to glare.
"Er …. Nothing at all."
Meanwhile, the girl, who was getting impatient, turned and tugged on Gaara's coat. "Santy Claus, how long will you be here? I don't know what I want yet."
"Oh," Gaara said nonchalantly, "most of the afternoon. After which I will go see the Kazekage and tell him which children have been good this year and which have been naughty." A thought struck him, and he couldn't resist. He pointed at Temari and Kankuro. "Now, those two there have been naughty!"
All the kids in line turned and stared. Then laughed. Temari and Kankuro flushed.
"Are they going to get coal in their stockings?"
"Coal? Of course not." Gaara gave the sweetest, most secretly evil smile he could muster. "This is the desert. They'll get lots and lots of sand."
He could see the thoughts playing out on his siblings' faces. They turned slightly, as if pondering leaving.
"Hmm? Don't you want to sit on Santa's lap?"
Kankuro stopped, then shrugged. "Nah. Better luck next time, Sandy Claus." He glanced at Temari, burst out into raucous laughter, then sprinted down the street. Temari's eyes went wide when she realised what had just happened. She ran after him, her fan already in her hands.
"You idiot! He's being good! He's being good! Don't piss him off! Kankuro!"
Gaara watched the entire thing with mild amusement. Try as he did, he was finding it very difficult to be angry at them both. Even as he sweated under the blisteringly hot sun, he knew that it was, after all, Christmas the next day.
"They must be very bad," the little girl said, her voice completely serious.
Gaara smiled. "Yes. But I do think they actually care about their little brother. And that's what matters." He shrugged. "And I'm sure they'll find something better than sand tomorrow under their tree."
From the distance came the sound of something metallic crashing into concrete. A pair of voices, male and female, began shouting after that.
"That was your fault, jan!"
"My fault? My fault? You're the one that ducked!"
"You're the one who hit the building!"
Gaara cringed, then patted the girl absently on the back. "Maybe Santa can bring them a first aid kit."