A/N: This is an offshoot of That Look Chapter 59, a story from Lord Of The Land Of Fire.
Alright everyone, this was one of the directions I would have taken the story should LOTLOF abandoned it. He was going to give it to me, but I convinced him to wait a week and, thankfully, he decided to keep it and updated it.
Trust me when I say he WAS going to abandon it.
As far as what differences go on between my story and That Look, LOTLOF's original story, well, that's to be found out. I hope you enjoy my little slice of his story!
That Look: Retribution Of Heirs
Ch 1 Wait for me
There was no way Temari was going to sit idly by while the fate of Suna was being sealed by small minded politicians who cared more about their reputations than for the lives of their people. She also refused to let her brothers' deaths be for nothing. This wasn't really about reputation or the laws between the hidden villages anyway, it was about family, about justice, about one sibling doing what was needed against an enemy who had wronged them and had to be made to suffer.
Yes, she was not foolish enough to believe Gaara had not killed Akamichi Chouji in cold blood, but if their Hokage had deemed his death part of the exams and no crime that should have been the end of it. And it had been, at least, on the surface.
Looking underneath the underneath she had wondered if it had all been a ruse to coordinate her little brother's execution. Had it all been one vast conspiracy with the Hokage and the clans all acting in concert to avenge one of their own? Ninja weren't supposed to be motivated by revenge, but of course she knew what a lie that was.
Even she was guilty of it. Revenge was the root of what was one of her biggest fuck ups of her life. Kankurou had paid with his life. Now an untold number of other people were going to suffer in the wake of her actions.
Temari would not permit that to happen!
Then there was that boy… that baka with a lazy attitude and a smart mouth. He had everyone eating out of his hands at the exam and used it as an excuse to run away from her and get what was coming to him.
Oh how she had want to rip him to meat in front of his family, his friends, his people for what he did to Gaara!
Now, all she could see was Kankurou with his throat slit, blood coming out of him and coating his black suit. When she had to identify the body with Baki, she stared at him deeply, sorrowfully.
She was alone. There was no one left except her to be the heir of Sabaku.
While Baki had not said anything, she could feel his glare at the nape of her neck. She had done this to her brother and now to Suna as a whole.
Him…that boy was just as much at fault for this as she was. She didn't know the truth, but one thing she was certain of. That Nara Shikamaru HAD to have been involved in it; though he had not even been a Chuunin then.
Had he done what not even the hardest killers of Suna couldn't do?
It could only be true when he was the one who had openly threatened to kill Gaara and just oh so conveniently had three clan heads provide him an alibi during the time of Gaara's death. While she couldn't prove it and she sure as hell didn't know how he did it, when she found out that the clan heads stood up in his defense that had been enough for her to confirm what she knew.
How could he do this to her! That boy! What did he know of the trials of living in an environment as harsh and unforgiving as the desert? What did he know of loving someone that would just as soon as kill you if you crossed them?
He was her brother! They didn't know him when he was little! She was the one who stayed up nights, trying to comfort him when he couldn't sleep and needed to have someone just share his space! She was the one that fed him and endured the harsh stares when the sand around him became sentient! She was the one who changed his diapers and helped him walk!
She nursed him when all of the other kids were afraid of him!
She was the one he had went to when he had to kill his own uncle, Yashamaru, and came back bloodied with the word 'Love' etched into his forehead!
She was the one to see him turn from the boy who needed her to answer all those unanswerable questions about shinobi life and why he was a monster.
"You are a weapon, Gaara." Temari explained to her brother simply, reciting what her father and the other council members along with the shinobi people had labeled him. "Your job is to seek out the enemies of Suna and kill them. The power inside you makes you frightening to people, but it will let you protect the village one day."
In the smallest voice possible, he whispered while clutching his teddy bear, "I don't want to be a monster. I just want my uncle. I just want to play with the kids in the park. I…I just want someone to not be afraid of me."
Temari steeled herself, doing what she felt was needed at the moment. Taking her first steps and then another, she attempted the simple gesture that she had enjoyed when her mother was alive.
She tried to hug him.
As soon as she had raised her arms, Gaara flinched as if getting ready to get hit by her. This is before her uncle had tried to assassinate him. So at this point, he was well aware that Temari wouldn't do such a thing but her actions of approaching him, arms out and that fearful look, the tremble in her fingers and hands.
Whatever she was doing was abnormal to him and she didn't like it. It wasn't right that a child should be scared of being hugged by his own sister.
His sand thrashed into life, ready to defend Gaara should he need it.
It was no use.
Lowering her arms, she couldn't stand the look she had seen in his teal blue eyes.
It wasn't so much that she saw fear in them, but that she knew that he was doing nothing more than reflecting the emotion she was expressing herself.
She was just as scared.
Seeing no point in her attempts, she had left him alone. As a sister who was supposed to protect him, she had failed. It was the last time she had ever tried to embrace her brother.
"Now he's gone," Temari whispered to the empty room her brother had occupied, feeling her voice was too loud consider the solemnity of what was happening.
She had not gone straight back to her room as ordered by the Kazekage, but took a look inside the rooms of her siblings. It had taken some maneuvering to get around the chaos that was Kankarou's habitat. Wooden planks, joints, screws and all sorts of diagrams, sketches, and blueprints littered every available space. Truthfully it was more of a workshop than a bedroom. His bed was unmade and appeared to not have been so for a long time.
Some underwear stuffed unceremoniously into clumps in a draw that had half of its drawers left open.
Fingering through some of the unfinished drawings and the ins and outs of some of the puppet designs, she laughed when she remembered the first puppet he ever received: A rabbit. Oh, had she wanted to howl that day. If it hadn't been for Baki's strict instructions that his puppet was a tool that could kill, she had taken it with a bit more respect when she found that the rabbit was more dangerous then she could imagine.
It was quick.
Needless to say, he had received several puppets after that.
Looking at the wall, she saw them: A rabbit, a rat, a beetle, a crow, a monkey, and then the collection he had found that were the personal possessions of Sasori of the Red Sand. Her brother coveted them like a lover. He studied them for months on end before he was brave enough to tear them apart and put them back together again. He was so proud when he felt sure enough to actually add poison to the spurs or blades.
They were now an extension of him as a person. The puppets of one of the legends of Suna were now his. Kankurou had a place within the community of Suna as an elite. He belonged to the family of Sabaku now in his own way. Temari had been proud of him. Though, that was not something that had linked them as brother and sister. Their youngest brother, Gaara, had brought them together out of fear for their lives. Those many nights when he had stalked the halls of their homes, staring gloomily about as if looking for something, anything to take his anger out on.
The voices he was hearing telling him to do untold things made him look at her brother and herself as if weighing the choices of doing bad things to them…
Eventually, and with some obvious effort, he looked away.
She didn't know, but for whatever reason he didn't, she knew she owed it to him, and she had tried many, many times to bring back what was left of his humanity. It wasn't there anymore. Shukaku had taken it from him and created the monster that inhabited her brother, the maniac that was now her sibling.
Now, she had messed up.
It was her place, as the eldest sibling of Subaku, to do what was needed to put her failure to rest as well as any retribution that was coming to her.
"Good bye, Kankurou, my itotou." She touched his pillow with a few strands of hair on them. Under the pillow she found a porn magazine that had pictures of women in different types of positions that made her laugh.
She knew he had these things, but she had to cluck her tongue at the idea of the women in there: Women of the Land of Flowers Gone Wild.
She needed to laugh…
None of her brothers would ever make Chuunin…
Her stomach hurt, her knees buckled.
She wanted to show Gaara the love she had for her people instead of the faces he passed by who hated him. He would have made a great Kage if he had just a little more time, maybe the right influence…
The tears started to come when, at her kness, she found one of Kankurou's stupid cat ear'd cowls.
They would never know fatherhood. They would never know what it was to extend the family of Sabaku and teach them the culture of their people.
Picking it up, she took a deep inhale, remembering through her olfactory sense what used to be her brother. He was there, with her now.
She was sure of it.
Crumpling it in her fists, she couldn't help but pass by some of the assorted colored paints that made up her brother's 'war paint'.
"You always looked like some weird drag queen with that on." She huffed, touching some of the paints and brushes, the mirror he had used as a vanity so many times.
"It's war paint!" He would indignantly reply. "It brings out my inner warrior!"
Now he was no more.
She put his cowl over her head and turned towards Gaara's room.
Spartan wouldn't even accurately describe what it held in detail. All he had was a chair, a dresser, and a balcony to oversee the city and get a good view of the stars, the moon, and the evening horizon over the dunes.
He didn't need a bed.
On the sparse dresser, she saw what she was looking for: Gaara's white sash.
Taking it, she also gave it a whiff.
"We're together again." She exhaled, closing her eyes and thinking of what she had to do now.
Taking the few steps to Gaara's balcony, she didn't have squint her blue eyes hard to see what was happening. It was well into twilight now and the winds were blowing into the west. She had gotten used to squinting like so to avoid the granules of sand in her eyes. Before her, you would have thought some kind of execution was about to be carried out.
Two rows of Suna Jounin were holding torches, ten a piece on each side, and in the middle of their escort was a single person.
The Jounin Leaf Nin ambassador: Mitarashi Anko.
There was no doubt where she was going and, with the severe look on each one of the Suna nin's faces, it was obvious they were ready to do the necessary deed of ending her life should she even flinch in the wrong way.
To her credit, Anko had kept a grim visage of cool acceptance should any of Temari's fellow shinobi's enact upon it.
She was obviously not afraid to die. If anything, the woman's dismissive acceptance seemed all the more proper.
There was war in her eyes.
"I'll see you soon, my brothers." Temari tied the white sash around her shoulders with a tug. "Wait for me. I promise to meet you soon enough."