I started writing this when I first started watching Shippuden for the first time, so I wrote this between watching the episodes where Gaara died and being brought back to life. It sprung to life from there.
I'd never had any inclination to write a fic about these characters before. But it can't hurt while all my other ideas have smashed head-long into the wall that is writer's block.
Disclaimer: Don't own Naruto, but hot damn, I'd love to draw it.
Father, How Art Thou Hated
Their father was not an easy man to like when he was alive, let alone get along with. And now three years after his death, Kankuro could never hate him more. He probably hated him the most out of anyone. It would be a long list at that.
Kankuro liked to think of himself as the one to show his emotions the most in his dysfunctional family. Of course, his father didn't like that. Temari will say that was the reason Kankuro always painted his face; hide behind deceptive paint that screams for attention, effectively hiding emotion.
He let her say what she wanted.
Kankuro was the one who most looked like their father. And he saw the way Temari looked upon their father without love and how Gaara wanted to murder the man and dance on his innards. So he painted himself, not to hide his face but their father's, so that Gaara and Temari could look at him and see only him… love him.
He also didn't want to look like the man he couldn't bring himself to like. The man who regarded his children as only tools and sacrificed his wife to make their youngest child a weapon. Three strikes, you're out.
He thinks he may have started to hate him when he realised that it was his father's fault that they feared their little brother. He used to be like most little boys that were so excited that he would have a little brother. Their father changed it all.
Kankuro drew himself closer to his brother and sister. Temari, who was hot-headed, loud and rough around the edges but cared and looked for approval from their father that Kankuro doubted she ever got and that in turn hardened her against weak emotions. Gaara, who was sealed with a demon, delivered death threats and was downright scary but used to have such innocence and did show he was capable of love, companionship and everything human until Yashamaru stomped on it.
No matter how many hands played their part in the deal that sealed the Shukaku in Gaara, he will always blame his father.
After the invasion of Konoha and their father's death Gaara came back from the darkness. When Kankuro realised that Gaara really did want to be human again and was making leaps in that direction, Kankuro couldn't stop smiling. Temari suggested he paint a frown on his face. Some days she didn't get it.
But it was all taken away again. And it was all his father's fault.
The monk presiding over the memorial ceremony was now droning through the part about Gaara's sacrifice to the village. Ha, Gaara braved more sacrifices than any other Sand shinobi has or ever will. A jinchuuriki that was driven mad and used as a tool of war, became Kazekage and then went down fighting to protect his village. It would have been quicker to sell his soul to the Shinigami.
Kankuro looked over to Temari standing beside him. She was still looking into the setting sun as he had just been, silent tears streaming down her face.
Kankuro knew her like no other and knew she'd hate their father. She'd try not to show it of course.
Looking back into the setting sun, he tried not to look at the rest of the people at the private funeral service for Gaara. Baki had situated himself somewhere to the right of himself after giving him a squeeze to the shoulder. Kankuro thinks it was meant to be comforting. Kankuro had insisted on something private for those who knew and loved Gaara personally.
His request was met with a range of barely suppressed emotion from those in the council. He would have gladly beaten the tar out of any of them who had protested, but they had unfortunately not given him enough incentive. Temari on the other hand had grabbed him roughly at the shoulders and screamed at him about mourning at two funerals. He just wanted to be able to give Gaara a proper funeral where people stood amongst those others who would have loved him even if he wasn't the Kazekage. Because the ones who loved him had failed to get him back, no matter how hard Kankuro tried. He'd just deal with a second ceremony.
Kankuro could feel how bad his face must look… maybe Temari shouldn't see it just yet. He took a step to stand slightly forward of her so she would see less of his face if she looked. His face paint would be running from the tears, eyes puffy, and his face would be red from the fury he felt.
The only reason he was standing in this spot mourning his little brother was because of the demon that had been sealed into his body. The demon that the Akatsuki wanted and killed him for. Yes, he decided he would hate the demon too.
It wasn't fair. He'd just gotten back his brother that he could love openly, and just be brothers with.
Now Kankuro openly sobbed. He just stopped trying to hold back the emotion.
Temari may now hate their father like Kankuro used to, but Kankuro would now loathe the man, hate him with his dying breath. Any love lost was done so long ago.
Children were not meant to be made into weapons, wives were not meant to be sacrificed and family was not meant to be ignored nor feared. He would not forgive Honourable Lady Chiyo either… it was her jutsu after all.
The irony was not lost on Kankuro that his poor brother who had not been able to sleep for the fifteen years of his life was now resting eternally. He'd give anything to see those green eyes that he once felt uncomfortable to be subjected to their scrutiny. He'd been cheated of his opportunity to keep making it up to Gaara for fearing him.
He had lots of time to mourn his brother, because he knew he'd always be mourning him. But he would also have lots of time to hate his father. He idly wondered which emotion Temari would rather him harbour.
The sun dipped even lower on the horizon, casting the shadows of the gathered mourners across the walls of their village, and Kankuro was still watching it over the sand. He would continue standing to look towards the setting sun long after it had disappeared. Though he was tempted to close his eyes when the desert sand changed to the rich red colour Gaara's hair had been.
The sun had set over Gaara's life. But he would see this sunset through properly at least.