Gaara the Messiah
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Kankuro looked up from his puppets repairs at the knock on his door. "Come in."
"Kankuro, I need to speak to you," Gaara said gravely.
"Huh? Oh, sure Gaara," Kankuro said agreeably. "Hey, do you think it's weird I'm planning on using Sasori as my new puppet? I mean, he did break my old ones."
"A little," Gaara confided.
"Well, puppet users are often regarded as eccentric so I suppose I can deal with that," Kankuro decided. "So what did you want to talk about?"
Gaara hesitated. "It's not that I'm not grateful that Suna suddenly loves me, because I am-" he began.
"It's not sudden, Gaara," Kankuro interrupted. "It's the result of years of unrelenting determination and hard work. It's been slow going, so I can see how you might not notice, but after you sacrificed yourself to protect us and we almost lost you…Hell, we did lose you and if it hadn't been for Naruto and Chiyo-sama you'd have stayed lost. People tend to become more openly affectionate under these circumstances."
Gaara's eyes softened. "Be that as it may, it took me quite by surprise. Even when I decided to try and follow Naruto's example, I never really expected anything of the sort. And I AM grateful."
Kankuro's eyebrow's rose. "I can feel a 'but' coming on. Don't tell me that you find everyone's adulation troublesome."
Gaara blinked owlishly at his brother. "You sound like Shikamaru."
"Well if Temari's not in Konoha, then he's here," Kankuro grumbled. "I see so much of him that I'm practically guaranteed to pick up some of his habits…"
"At least it's not his laziness," Gaara remarked. "And while mass adoration may become, as you said, troublesome, it will probably take awhile."
"Then what's the problem?" Kankuro asked, genuinely curious.
"Some of the people I've seen – actually quite a lot of them – have taken to calling me 'Kazekage-kami and seem to think I'm some sort of Messiah," Gaara explained, shaking his head in disbelief and mild annoyance.
"Really?" Kankuro looked uncomfortable. "That's strange."
Gaara's eyes narrowed. "Kankuro, what aren't you telling me?"
Kankuro valiantly looked confused for a few moments before caving under the pressure of Gaara's glare. "Okay, fine, I may have said something about that…" he admitted.
Gaara's eyes narrowed further. "Why?"
"Look, it was either that or telling everyone you were a zombie," Kankuro said flatly. "I thought my version was more kid-friendly."
"Why did you need to say anything of the sort?" Gaara demanded.
"You saw how many people were there when you came back to life. Chiyo-sama's research was top-secret for a reason. The last thing we need is to get that kind of thing started up again but there were so many people there and you were so clearly dead…we had to tell them something."
"So I'm either a zombie or the Messiah?" Gaara summarized succinctly.
Kankuro nodded. "Basically."
"I suppose I should thank you for not telling people that I eat brains and am a reanimated corpse," Gaara said dryly.
"But you won't," Kankuro finished. "Yeah, I figured that you had enough of that kind of prejudice as a Jinchuriki."
"MORE than enough," Gaara swiftly agreed. "Seriously, though, that or being the Messiah were the only two things you could think of?"
"People usually don't come back to life, you know, so my options were kind of limited!" Kankuro said defensively. "The only non-S-class secret method for bringing someone back to life is said to be the Rinnegan but no one really believes in that anyway and even if they did, we have no idea what it looks like or who we could claim had it or why they would never use it again."
"What about Chiyo-sama?" Gaara suggested. "You could have claimed it had to be done reasonably soon after death or else it wouldn't have worked and the chakra drain killed her."
"I would if that didn't sound completely stupid," Kankuro shot back.
"Sometimes reality can be completely stupid and there's nothing you can do about it," Gaara pointed out.
"Yeah, but this is fiction so let's try and avoid that if we can," Kankuro replied.
"This?" Gaara inquired.
"How you survived that doesn't involve evil soul-stealing puppet research," Kankuro clarified.
"Ah. So in an effort to avoid looking stupid, the mythical Doujutsu was out but being a zombie was fine?" Gaara asked dubiously.
"Hey, I did eventually decide against it," Kankuro reminded his little brother.
"Any other rejected ideas?" Gaara wanted to know. "Maybe I'm secretly an alien from another planet."
"Don't be silly; Temari and I are far too normal for that," Kankuro declared.
Gaara stared pointedly at the cat-ears and purple face paint "Well Temari is at any rate."
Kankuro glared at him. "And as for your question…yes."
"Do tell," Gaara prompted after it became clear Kankuro had no intention of elaborating.
Clearly reluctant, Kankuro continued his tale. "At first I was thinking vampire, but Suna's just far too sunny for that to be practical. Not to mention that if people wouldn't fear a return of your former bloodthirstiness, they'd at the very least think you were a kinky sex fiend."
"CAN vampires have sex?" Gaara asked uncertainly.
"If I ever meet one, that will be the very first think I ask," Kankuro promised. He stopped and tilted his head to one side. "Well, after 'Are you going to eat me?' as that seems like it would be slightly more pressing. Maybe still first if I phrase that as a statement, like 'Please don't eat me!'"
"That's more of a plea than a statement," Gaara pointed out.
Kankuro sighed. "No one likes a nitpicker, Gaara."
"Sorry," Gaara apologized. "Please go on."
"Thank you," Kankuro said gracefully. "Now as I was saying, being a vampire was right out. Then I thought maybe we could go with 'ridiculously fast healing' like Naruto since you were both Jinchuriki and you've never had life-threatening injuries before."
"But I'm not a Jinchuriki anymore so that would work and I'd have no other reason for rapid healing," Gaara objected. "Not to mention that once you're dead you tend to stop healing. And, well, everything."
"I realized that," Kankuro said, at trace of irritation in his voice. "So then I thought that maybe you could be a god or something as myths never have death be permanent. Of course, that wouldn't work once you died for real, but by then we could just claim you ascended to a higher plane and if people didn't believe it, you'd be dead so it wouldn't really matter."
Gaara simply stared at him for a moment before finding words. "That sounds needlessly complicated."
"I know," Kankuro agreed. "And it really wouldn't due to imply that the Yondaime's wife cheated on him, even if it was with a god. Although it might explain why he sealed a demon in you…but anyway, at that point I just decided to settle for you being the Messiah."
"So I'm supposed to do what?" Gaara wanted to know. "Save Suna? The whole world?"
"Given who you succeeded and that you not only helped smooth things over with Konoha after that whole mess with the invasion but actually have created more than just a token alliance, one could argue you're doing pretty good as far as the 'Save Suna' things go," Kankuro told him. "Not to mention you're refusal to back down from the Akatsuki which saved a lot of lives that would have been lost if they'd had to go looking for you. And as far as saving the world…you're the leader of one of the Big Five shinobi nations and Naruto could very well end up Hokage someday."
"He will become Hokage," Gaara spoke quietly but with conviction.
Kankuro nodded absently. "Right. That happens and your alliance stays strong, your influence will be enormous and you can spread the peace or something like that."
"You've put a lot of thought into this," Gaara noted.
"Of course!" Kankuro exclaimed. "You can't declare someone the Messiah lightly, you know. People will probably still from cults devoted to you for centuries to come."
"That seems rather disturbing," Gaara confessed.
Kankuro shrugged. "Don't worry about it; you'll be long dead by then."
"Remind me to have my remains cremated," Gaara instructed.
"Will do," Kankuro agreed cheerfully.
"So is that it?" the young Kazekage asked.
"Pretty much," Kankuro confirmed. "Oh, and I figured I would have to explain this to you sooner or later so I wanted to be ready so you'll hopefully kill me less."
"I wouldn't do that," Gaara insisted, sounding slightly hurt. "I thought you knew that."
"Oh, I do," Kankuro said, quick to reassure him, "but I did have you declared the Messiah and that doesn't seem likely to go away anytime soon."
"So when were you planning on telling me?" Gaara queried.
"Well, my ideal situation would be you never finding out or possibly knowing but never feeling the need to ask me or anyone about it," Kankuro admitted.
"Are you serious?" Gaara demanded incredulously.
Kankuro laughed. "Yeah, I realized that probably wasn't going to happen so I decided to just wait until you brought it up."
"So this was all your idea?" Gaara asked.
"Pretty much, yeah," Kankuro confirmed.
"What about Temari and Baki?" Gaara inquired. "Why weren't they involved?"
"Baki said this was a family affair and Temari and I didn't feel you should have to deal with that after you had just come back to life," Kankuro answered.
"So why wasn't she involved?" Gaara pressed.
"We flipped a coin and I lost," Kankuro said shortly. "I still think she cheated…"
"And how did Temari take your Messiah idea?" Gaara asked curiously.
"She found it hilarious," Kankuro replied.
Gaara looked puzzled. "So why didn't she tell me?"
"She said it was too troublesome." Kankuro paused. "And so did Shikamaru, for that matter."
"Just how much time does Shikamaru spend here?" Gaara wondered.
"Did you say something, Kazekage-kami?" Shikamaru asked, wandering into the room.
Gaara rolled his eyes. "Not at all."
"When did you get here?" Kankuro demanded.
Shikamaru shrugged indolently. "A few hours ago."
"Really?" Kankuro seemed surprised. "I didn't see you."
"I was taking a nap in my room," Shikamaru said by way of explanation.
Kankuro's eyes widened. Stunned, he managed, "He has a room here? TEMARI!"