The origin story for Gaara from the collab fic Acherona and I did called Magic. The collab is found on her profile.

WARNING: Child Abuse, Violence, Character Death, Vampires, Attempted Rape

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto nor any characters or locations thereof. I gain no money or goods from writing this.

A small child sat huddled in an alcove, knees drawn up to his chest with his face hidden in them as he shivered in pain and fear. He was only five and a half and six months ago he had lost his mother to an assassin's arrow, his father to madness, and his big brother to his father.

Blood trickled down his back from the deep vicious gash that had been left there by the spell his father had cast. Ever since his mother had died his father, the king and Suna's best wizard, had taken his darkest spellbooks and gone through them each day, looking for some spell that might bring his wife back. Every day he found nothing and at the end of every week he would have the soldiers bring his youngest son to his throne room.

The child would be thrown to the floor and there he would kneel and cringe the light glinting on his blazing red hair as his head bowed and he waited. Then the king, wanting to know what the spells he'd found that week could do, would cast spell after spell after spell on his son. Some of the spells were meant for torture and threw the boy into agony without leaving a mark on him. Some would twist his body into the terrifyingly foreign shapes of animals and monsters. Some would sear him with lightening or fire. He almost drowned without being near water, nearly died from some unknown magical plague, and then there were the spells that cut into his tender young flesh, leaving behind a bleeding wound.

Barely halfway to six years old and he was already tired of life. The day his mother had died had also spelled death for his childhood and he now lived in a world of terror and agony. One day he would die from a spell cast by his own flesh and blood, he had no doubt. So why then did such a young child stay and endure it? He was small enough to crawl through the sewers and escape to a better if less wealthy life.

A soft rustle of silk and the gentle pad of bare feet reached his ears and a kind voice whispered, "Oh no. Gaara, küçük kardeşi. What has he done to you this time?"

Sea green eyes rose and met the shimmering forest green of his big sister as she reached out and picked him up, not caring that the blood from his shoulder stained her beautiful white djellabah. She carried him to her chambers and set about cleaning and treating his wound.

Gaara closed his eyes and breathed in the comforting scent of desert roses and jasmine that enveloped his sister. Once she finished bandaging his shoulder, she scooped him up again and held him in her lap, rocking him and humming softly to offer what comfort she could. He wrapped his thin arms around her and nodded silently to himself. This, this was why he stayed. Because his sister loved him and he loved her and if he left their father would turn his cruel attentions to her instead.

So he would stay and he would endure so long as Temari was here. He would protect his sister from their father's spells no matter how long he had to do so.

A fifteen year old redhead lay on his bed listening to the rare sound of rain in the desert. It was not a natural rain, not at all. Over the sound of the rain he could hear the loud music and clatter of a celebration being held below in honor of the rain, in honor of the one who'd brought it and ended the drought, his older brother Kankuro.

Kankuro was the only one of the king's children who never felt the bite of the man's cruelty. Temari was ignored and occasionally backhanded and Gaara was magically tortured on a weekly to bi-weekly basis but Kankuro was spoiled, protected, taught, praised, loved, and trained as the kingdom's heir. Today Kankuro had mastered his first spell and cast it over the land, a spell to bring copious amounts of rain. And now everyone in the palace was celebrating his success.

Only Gaara wasn't in the great hall. He wasn't there because when he'd tried to join the celebration his brother had sneered and had him thrown out, stating that he didn't want 'the spare' in his sight.

Once Kankuro had been a loving big brother but so much time spent with their father, hearing the venom the man spewed about his other children, had turned his once caring older brother cold and callous. Yet Gaara couldn't blame his brother, not really. He still loved his brother no matter how cold the older male became because he could remember when his brother had played with him, when Kankuro had lifted him onto his shoulders to reach the pomegranates that grew on the courtyard trees, and a thousand other wonderful times they'd had before their mother had died.

Gaara closed his eyes and listened to the song of the rain falling. He missed his brother but there was nothing he could do to bring back the brother he knew. He accepted that but there were times when he ached for time to rewind. It wouldn't, no magic was great enough to turn back time or raise the dead no matter how much the living wished it.

The teenager turned on his side and curled up, sinking into sleep to dream of days gone by and better days to come should a miracle happen.

Gaara lounged in the window of his chambers, a book in his lap and his body aching from the latest spell session. Today it seemed his father had decided to replay his greatest hits from the past twenty-three years, the last three spells used had come from his father's darkest tome, the Book of the Iron Sand and one of them had caused all the scars and injuries from the thousands of spells he'd survived over the years to reopen again. He'd lost so much blood this time that it was a miracle he'd managed to crawl to his sister's chambers for help. Temari had tapped her own, not inconsiderable, well of magic over the years to learn healing spells in order to help her baby brother and Gaara was more than grateful for it when their father was on a tear since the bastard had only gotten worse as the years progressed.

He closed his eyes and let the hot desert wind wash over him. At least he wouldn't have to bother submitting to the spells for much longer. His lips quirked as he thought of the man his sister had introduced him to recently. How furious would their father be if he were to learn that his daughter was about to mate a vampire? To the King, Temari was a political bargaining chip to be tossed on the table when other kings came to negotiate, were it not for the fact that their father asked too much from his potential allies then his sister would have been sold off to some fat lazy king's son years ago.

But soon she and her vampire would leave Suna and Gaara knew his sister well enough to know the only reason she hadn't left yet was because she had been trying to work a way to free him along with herself. He could always count on her to be there for him when he needed help. He breathed in the desert air, freedom was so close he could almost smell it on the wind.

A loud clamor in the courtyard caught his attention and had him opening his eyes to see a mass of people swarming through it. He blinked in surprise at the sight of what looked like the entire adult population of Suna fighting their way past the palace guards. An arrow embedded itself in the wall by his head and Gaara tumbled backwards into his room, eyes wide.

For years the Sunaen people had been rioting in the streets, protesting their treatment at the hands of the nobility and the royals only to be brought down by brutal spells from the king. Now however, it seemed that the people had finally had enough of his father's cruelty and were taking steps to end it forever. Gaara got shakily to his feet, his body protesting the movement. He had to get out of here now. Those attacking the palace wouldn't care that he was just as much a victim as they were, they would only see the son of their greatest persecutor and attack him with just as much venom and hatred as they would his father.

What was more, his father was too drained from the spells he'd cast on Gaara today to protect the palace so those who were inside might as well put their heads between their legs and kiss their ass goodbye.

A loud bang echoed through his room as Kankuro and their father swept into the the chamber. His father was leaning heavily against Kankuro, blood pouring from a wound in his side. Kankuro paused and looked all around the room before snarling, "Where is she? Where's our bitch of a sister? She's not in her room and she's not in yours. Father needs her help!"

Gaara looked on in frozen amazement as his brother carefully helped their father onto the bed and began pressing whatever bed linens he could to the wound in an attempt to stem the bleeding. Apparently the people had moved faster than Gaara had thought they would and gotten to the throne room with little difficulty.

Suddenly the redhead's lips started twitching and he began to laugh, drawing a disbelieving look from Kankuro. Gaara leaned against the wall, held his stomach, and laughed harder than he ever had in his entire life.

Kankuro, eyes blazing, lunged at him and backhanded his brother. "How dare you laugh when our father is so gravely injured!"

Gaara fell to the floor from the blow, still laughing but between the laughter he spoke mockingly to his brother. "You fool, as if I care what happens to that bastard. He's brought about his own end with his cruelty. If he hadn't wasted his magic by be-spelling me today he'd have the power to protect the palace but instead he's here, dying because of using all his power for the day on me. And you, you're too pathetic a wizard to do more than whine and bleat in your helplessness."

Another spate of laugh came even when Kankuro's foot lashed out, kicking Gaara in the ribs so hard a few of them cracked. "You know, I always imagined being the death of that bastard but I never thought it would be like this. We're all going to die here because of his heartlessness."

Kankuro paled, the purple tattoos denoting his royal Sunaen lineage standing out in sharp relief at the thought of his own death, and turned to go back to his father when a group of villagers burst into the room.

"There they are! Get the bastards!"

Kankuro froze and with one last regretful look at his father, worked a quick spell that had him vanishing.

Gaara barked out another laugh, this one with a slightly hysteric, cynical edge. It figured his brother would regret leaving their father to the mob's wrath but not give so much as a second glance to Gaara. He watched a villager plunge a dagger into the king's shriveled black heart as the others swarmed towards him and began to beat on him.

"You think this is funny royal scum! We'll teach you a lesson you'll never forget, even in your next life!"

He was beaten, stabbed numerous times, and given one last vicious kick to his already abused ribs that broken them, sending one tearing into his lung. Throughout the attack he just kept laughing, tears streaming down his face from the pain, even as blood bubbled up from his lungs in a strangled laughing cough.

Somehow the cough had the villagers freezing and looking down at the broken, beaten man at their feet in horrified realization of just how unjustified their actions toward the youngest prince had been. Shame had them racing out of the room, intent on forgetting that they could just as vicious and cruel as their king.

Gaara's chest rose and fell in a jerky rhythm as his body struggled to breathe and he continued to cough up blood. The laughter slowly faded and he closed his eyes. He was dying but he couldn't really say it bothered him too terribly. He was disappointed that he'd never know what the world outside the palace was like, that he'd never get to see so many of the things he'd read about but he was still getting his freedom.

A soft, dismayed cry came from his doorway and rushing footsteps had him cracking open his eyes to see his sister falling to her knees next to his head. "Küçük kardeşi, no." She lifted his head into her lap, despair flooding her heart. She'd used so much power healing him earlier that she didn't have enough left to save him this time.

He raised a hand to her cheek to wipe at the tears that were beginning to drip from her forest green eyes and smiled. "It's...okay...Temari."

"No," she choked out, "it's [i]not[/i] okay." How could she let this happen to him? How could she have been so...caught up in finding her mate that she'd forgotten how urgent it was to get her brother out of the palace? "I am so sorry I didn't get you out of here."

Gaara made a soft sound of denial. "It's not...your fault...büyük kardeş."

A silent movement just behind Temari had Gaara's gaze meeting the emerald green eyes of his sister's mate, Kimimaro. The vampire knelt beside his mate and tucked a lock of her sandy blond hair behind her ear. "Sevgili, don't cry. There's still hope. I can save him, if Gaara will consent to it."

Temari met the gaze of her mate. "How?"

"I can turn him. He would become a vampire like me. It would not be without it's drawbacks," this he addressed to Gaara, "but you would live."

Gaara thought over the offer and looked at his sister's tear stained face and his decision was made for him. How could he die and leave his precious sister grieving when she should be celebrating her mating? He nodded his agreement to Kimimaro.

The pale haired man brought his fangs to bear and ripped his own wrist open with them and pressed the bleeding wrist to Gaara's mouth. "Drink litli bróðir and you will live."

The redhead forced down his human revulsion at the thought of drinking blood and swallowed the vampire's blood until Kimimaro told him to cease. The moonlight pale vampire put a hypnotic thrall into his voice and commanded Gaara to sleep.

The last thing the youngest prince knew before blackness took him was being lifted into the preternaturally strong arms of his sister's mate and carried towards the door.

Gaara leaned against a nearby wall of the ballroom in an ostentatious mansion and watched the large group of vampires and their mates that were celebrating Kirigakure's master vampire finding and claiming his mate. It was a gigantic party of hedonistic proportions. Alcohol, drugs, and blood tainted with both flowed freely amongst the party goers. Gaara shook his head as he saw his sister and Kimimaro dancing, well more like fucking while still clothed but it was an attempt at dancing. He'd been a vampire for going on ten years now and was still classified as a fledgling though he was an uncommonly powerful one.

When Suna had fallen and he had finished turning, Kimimaro and Temari had brought him here, where the once mighty empire of Kiri had been reduced to a single small island country and the capital nestled on the tip of a peninsula. It had been a good life so far, he'd slowly begun to come out of the protective shell he'd built around himself in this peaceful environment and he'd learned how to better defend himself. And didn't have to worry about magical attacks anymore. Every vampire that was turned got the standard enhancements, better sight, hearing, more sensitive nerve endings, faster movement, more endurance, and vampire to vampire telepathy, but they also were gifted a unique ability in addition to the ones they'd gain as they aged. Gaara's was immunity to most magics, healing magic was the only kind that worked on him anymore.

Yes it had been a good ten years and he enjoyed his new life but this party was a bit too much for him. He shifted to push away from the wall and head back home when a voice spoke in his ear. "Not enjoying yourself little cousin?"

Gaara jumped and hissed a bit at his cousin Sasori. The other redhead looked no older than thirty, though he'd been alive for going on two hundred years. When Gaara had been a child Sasori had visited the palace and been welcomed with open arms as Gaara's father had assumed he was a senior wizard and the old man had always been eager for more magic. The older redhead had seen how Gaara had been treated but though he could have ended the abuse, he had just walked away from the knowledge that Gaara and Temari needed help. The day Gaara had woken up with his new senses, he'd woken up to Temari arguing with Sasori about just that. He'd stumbled out of his bed to investigate, worried that Temari might be hurt by Sasori, and walked in to see Kimimaro and his cousin baring their fangs.

It turned out that Sasori had been turned into a vampire by his blond lover when he was thirty and was no longer able to be a wizard. For some reason when a wizard or someone with potential to be a wizard was turned the magic was locked away by the vampiric changes. It was probably mother nature's way of keeping any one species from becoming too powerful. Sasori had apologized to Gaara and Temari for his inaction but he'd not wanted to reveal himself as a vampire to their family and to save Gaara and Temari he'd have had to.

It had taken five years of Sasori essentially sucking up but Gaara had forgiven his cousin and had grown to trust the man enough that he often went to Sasori rather than Kimimaro for advice of the quirks of being a vampire. Kimimaro was a good friend and Gaara trusted him completely but the Kiri native had been born a vampire and as such couldn't explain some of the things Gaara went through as well as Sasori could. He wouldn't call Sasori completely trust-worthy though. There was something weird about him and his lover, Deidara, though Gaara hadn't yet put his finger on it.

The older redhead held up in hands in an 'I come in peace' gesture. "Sorry kid couldn't help myself."

Gaara shrugged. "Whatever."

Sasori snagged a pair of glasses of blood from a passing waiter and handed one to Gaara. "So not liking the party?"

Gaara eyed the blood for a moment, smelled it surreptitiously, then took a sip when he didn't detect anything off about it. As mentioned before, he wasn't completely trusting of his cousin. "It's not my type of recreation, no."

"Well that's too bad. Maybe you should go poking around for a bed partner here, put a smile on your face."

The younger vampire snorted and looked around the room at the various high or drunk people. "I don't think so. I like my lovers aware of what I'm doing."

As he drank he was unaware of Sasori watching him with predatory interest. After a bit he started feeling light headed and rubbed at his temples, brow furrowed in slight confusion. He felt like he had once when he'd been so badly injured he'd needed to be drugged to sleep.

"You alright there little cousin?"

Gaara blinked slowly at Sasori and felt a cold shiver go up his spine at the hunting look in the other vampire's brown eyes as a 'kind' smile stretched across his face.

"You look a little out of it little cousin. I'll help you to your quarters, come with me."

Gaara recognized the lyrical tone of the last three words as a strong thrall. It normally wouldn't have worked on him but whatever Sasori had given him had compromised his mind's defenses so the older vampire's thrall worked. Although his mind was fighting and trying to break through the fog of hypnotism, his body was moving to fall into step beside Sasori as the other redhead put a hand on his arm, appearing to steady his younger cousin when he was in fact increasing the thrall's effectiveness.

A cold feeling formed in the pit of Gaara's stomach as Sasori lead him through the mansion's halls to the room the older vampire and his lover had been granted for the house party. Once pulled inside the room, Gaara's eyes widened in shocked horror at the things inside. One of those things was a naked and obviously aroused Deidara, who brightened at the sight of him.

"Oh! You really did go get him Danna!"

Sasori smirked. "Of course, you know how I love to watch you work."

The cold dread increased and Gaara struggled against the mental compulsion even as Sasori ordered him to step forward and hold still for Deidara. The blond's nimble fingers worked quickly to divest Gaara of his clothes and as they traced over his pale skin his mind cried out in betrayal and tried to send some kind of mental distress call.

"Hmm," Deidara inspected the former prince like one would a good piece of horseflesh, "he's so well built but those scars," the blond's features twisted in a grimace of distaste, "so unattractive. At least he should have a high pain threshold, it's no fun when they pass out."

Panic flooded Gaara's jade green eyes as Sasori and Deidara forced him up against a giant black X made from sturdy wooden beams, shackled him to it, and put a gag made of knotted rope in his mouth, tying it tightly around his head. Sasori finally released the thrall and he struggled, trying to get free but whatever he'd been drugged with had sapped his vampiric strength and all he managed to do was rattle the shackles and get a disturbing smile from Deidara.

"Oh now there's no point in that un. Danna made sure you can't get away from our fun." The blond trailed his fingers over Gaara's body, avoiding the scars. "Danna his skin's smoother than yours where it's not marred, feel."

As Sasori did as his lover requested and stroked over the skin of his bound cousin, Gaara was practically choking on the denial and betrayal and he kept pushing against the drugged haze in his mind, trying to get a cry for help out. His breathing sped up, terror filling him as Deidara turned and picked up a barbed whip. He pulled at the shackles, shredding the skin on his wrists until he could feel and scent blood trickling down his arms. He thrashed on the X his mind screaming, panic eating away the edges of his control and sanity as Deidara smiled, drawing the multiple tailed whip with its barbed ends through his fingers then pulled his arm back. Another desperate pull on his shackles as the whip seemed to come forward in slow motion and then Gaara's vision seemed to blank out as something inside him broke through a barrier and exploded out.

Sasori's eyes widened as both he and Deidara were thrown back from the force of the magical burst that had come from Gaara. It threw them violently against the wall and broke the shackles as the door opened to reveal a huge black vampire with three marks under the outer corners of each eyes. 'Shit. Kisame.'

Kisame was a former guard of the Mizukage from ages past and had been a vampire for a very long time already and so, when he'd heard a whisper of distress on the mental plane he'd recognized the call for help from a drugged vampire and had followed it to this room, breaking down the door just in time to see the fledgling vampire somehow break out of the shackles he'd been placed in and slump to the ground. The black vampire cast his gaze over the area and a dark growl rumbled in his throat as he spotted Sasori and Deidara. The two's predilections were well known in vampiric enforcement circles since they didn't always have 'willing' participants in their little scenes. "The fuck have you two shitstains done now?"

The black vampire went over to where the fledgling was slowly rising. "Easy kid, we'll get you out of here and-" he broke off in shock and surprise as a savage growl came from the young vampire and the shaggy mop of red hair lifted to reveal a face gone full feral with slit-pupil amber eyes and fangs revealed as a clawed hand ripped the gag out of the fledgling's mouth. Before Kisame could even blink, the fledgling was across the room, clawed hand digging into Sasori's neck, a savage snarl baring the fangs at the elder redheaded vampire.

Gaara's fury burned and sparked in his veins, giving him strength enough to hold Sasori against the wall despite the elder vampire's strength. "You bastard! I give you my trust and accept you as family and you do this? You drug me and serve me up as some kind of toy for your lover. You're dead."

Sasori's blood ran cold at the power and fury his little cousin held. Still a fledgling and yet Gaara had the advantage because no matter how Sasori squirmed or clawed at the already bloody arms of his cousin, Gaara's grip only tightened. For the first time in centuries Sasori felt the cold chill of death creeping upon him.

Deidara got to his feet, a distressed sound rumbling in the back of his throat. "No! Danna!" He charged forward, knocking Gaara away from Sasori, though not without paying the price of the younger redhead's claws slashing across his left eye.

Kisame cursed as Deidara and Sasori both went feral and crouched at the ready to attack the fledgling, who swayed a bit.

Gaara felt the lethargy of the drugs creeping back, eating away at the burst of strength that his fury had given him, even as the twin snarls of his cousin and the blond warned him that he was about to face a fight for his life. He tensed in readiness then just before the other two sprung, the unknown vampire stepped between them and Gaara, a deep warning growl rumbling in the huge vampire's chest.

Sasori stopped and snagged Deidara's wrist. Kisame was older than both of them and could easily tear them to shreds without bothering to go feral. He nudged Deidara back towards the door and freedom even as the blond hissed. "You won't be around to protect the little fucker forever Kisame. No one attacks my Danna and gets away with it!"

Gaara's voice came, smooth and icy cold from behind Kisame as he shifted so that Sasori and Deidara could see the diamond hardness of his eyes. "You come near me or ever touch me again and I will kill you."

Deidara froze at the icy promise in that voice and almost cowered back into Sasori. Fledgling or not he knew Gaara was capable of keeping that promise.

Kisame watched with narrow eyes as the blond and his lover left the room then spun at the soft whumph behind him. The fledgling was on the floor and trying to get back up, without much success. The black vampire stepped forward and bent to help pausing when the younger vampire's head snapped up with a warning hiss. "Oi is that any way to act with someone trying to help you out kid?"

Gaara felt the fuzzy edge of unconsciousness beckon but shoved it away. "I don't know you."

"Hoshigaki Kisame. Former Imperial guard, current enforcer for Kiri's Master and I don't hurt fledglings, especially not ones who look like pissed off little raccoons."

Peridot green eyes widened at the implication and Gaara made a growl of irritation. "I am not a raccoon you walking shark."

Kisame just chuckled. "Well you have a name or am I going to be stuck with calling you Raccoon Boy?"

Something about this far too large man put Gaara at ease, though his instincts remained on high alert. "Sabaku no Gaara, my brother in law is Kaguya Kimimaro."

The dark skinned vampire whistled lowly. "Boneman's gonna go off on those two for fucking with you then. Look kid, whatever drugs the two freaks slipped you are hitting you hard, you can't even stand. You need help and right now I'm all that's around to offer it. So you gonna let me help you out?"

Gaara looked at the big hand the sharky looking vampire extended warily though he saw the logic in Kisame's argument. A twitch of a brow ridge expressed his irritation as he accepted the offered hand. He was given a big, toothy grin before finding himself embarrassingly carried bridal style out of the room. He tuned out Kisame's chatter as he was taken to his sister, who immediately began healing his wrists as Kimimaro questioned the black vampire. His eyes began drifting closed and he was aware of a few tears escaping. It wasn't from the pain of his wrists but from the sharp sting of betrayal and kicking himself for his stupidity. When would he learn that nothing came without price and that every time he trusted or allowed himself to care the price he paid was paid in blood?

Enough. He wouldn't seek to make anymore connections. He didn't need to pain they brought. He could only trust his sister and her mate and, perhaps in time, the vampire who'd just helped him since he'd already bled in meeting him. But no others, not even a mate. A mate would demand a far larger price than any he'd paid before and he would not pay for love with blood and bone any longer. The dark velvet arms of a restless sleep enveloped him, his dreams haunted by betrayal, blood, and an odd glimpse of silver eyes behind a curtain of dark chocolate colored hair.