The rain runs down my face.

It isn't a gentle patter that cools me off and washes my face from wrong. No, it's a hard, cold rain that hits me with unnatural force, every drop a shot from a gun from above. Punishment from heaven- who would've thought?

I smile wryly, acknowledging the irony. Religion from me- what a joke. I'm not exactly a big believe-in-God person. Quite the contrary, really. Why believe in Someone who can betray you, too? No. Not my thing.

There are powers in the world, strong powers at work. I'm one of them. My power, though, isn't one of protection. It's one of murder.

To kill to feel alive. That's my role in life. And I'm pretty comfortable with that. Most of the time.

The rain pounds down larder, getting colder and colder until it becomes hail. Kaa-san, my sand, detects a threat and rises to protect me from above. I'm safe. Safe from everything, safe from my father, safe from my people, safe from… safe from myself.

Last month, I had tried to kill myself. Tried to kill myself when I had realized what had become of me. How I had changed so much in so little time. Six years…six years since I had lost all my feelings and emotions. Six years since Yashamaru had…

That night last month, I had taken out a kunai, wielded a weapon for the first time. I had attempted to drive it into my heart… but the sand had stopped me, setting up a hard wall between the kunai and my body. Stopping me from taking my life.

Now, I wonder if I will ever be permitted to die.

"Sabaku no Gaara." The voice sounds vaguely familiar, but I don't turn. I'll kill the one who has disturbed me. My sand attacks the intruder, presumably killing him. I don't bother to check, just walk away.

"Sabaku no Gaara," the voice repeats, and this time I spin around. How can he be alive?

He stares at me from under the Kazekage's robes, his face an impassive copy of mine. No… his face is a copy of mine, period. He wears a gourd identical to my own, and he looks exactly like me, though perhaps a few years older.

"What do you want?" I ask him in a low, murderous tone. "I don't care who you are- I'll kill you if you don't get out of my sight."

"Sabaku no Gaara…" This time, his voice is sorrowful.

I don't allow myself to change my expression, but inside, I am feeling slight discomfort. I need to get away.

Kaa-san attacks the other Gaara, Kazekage Gaara. His own sand reaches up and forcibly smashes my sand away.

"Sabaku no Gaara…" he's amused now.

Infuriated, I run at him, my sand raring to go. He sidesteps, and we blow past him. "Sabaku no Gaara," he sighs.

I spin around and gather sand from all my surroundings. I shout out a jutsu, and six sand clones appear around him. We attack, but his sand is stronger than we are.

"Sabaku no Gaara…" He moves toward me, and I tense. His counter-attack must be coming! If he is me…he will kill me in a second. Perhaps this is even a new attempt at suicide for him. I freeze, waiting for the attack.

It never comes. Instead, he steps toward me until he faces me, cupping my chin upwards to meet his eyes. "Sabaku no Gaara…" he whispers, and I sense more than one emotion in his voice. Pain, regret, sorrow, love

Love? How can he love? If he is me, the only love he has is the tattoo on his forehead. Love. Ridiculous. No, it can't be love.

But it is. "Sabaku no Gaara," he says one last time, tenderly and lovingly. Then he turns and walks away.

My sand umbrella dissipates, and I feel soft, gentle drops run down the sides of my cheeks and fall to the ground.