It had come out one day, out of the blue, clear sky and right on her unsuspecting ears.
“Temari…I want to see him again.”
There was no confusion about who ‘he’ was to her. ‘He’ was the one who had shown her baby brother there was more to life than just killing and basking in the blood of his victims. ‘He’ was the one that had defeated her brother to save his important people from near death. ‘He’ was the one who had actually given her, her brother back, who was no longer not just some killing machine to be scared of and wonder if it would be her last day on this good green earth because of a change in whims. ‘He’ was none other than Konoha Village’s number one most hyperactive, loudest, most thickheaded ninja she had ever met and had the pleasure to call ally, Uzumaki Naruto. Temari supposed she should have been shocked, but in truth, she had actually been waiting to hear those words from her baby brother’s mouth. Ever since getting soundly thrashed by the little blonde Gaara had slowly been changing. It hadn’t been blatantly obvious at first of course. It just started with little things; he wouldn’t kill anyone if he felt like it or wasn’t highly, highly annoyed, only when he needed to. He attempted to be a brother to herself and Kankuro which he had started then scared the living shit out of them, for him taking an interest in what they did and their lives outside of the shinobi world or just him taking an interest was a complete alien thought to the siblings.
Occasionally, she caught him smiling at nothing in particular. The smile wasn’t the old the ‘I’m a raving psychotic who’s about to kill you’ smile, but an actual, real smile that spoke of genuine gentle happiness and comfort. He was still quiet with them, but he seemed to be developing a sense of humor, another huge shock to the poor siblings’ hearts, albeit his humor was a weird one, but it was a sense of humor nonetheless that was the best change yet that Gaara had adapted. It was something that which had thrown Kankuro for a loop the first time Gaara had cracked a joke to him, it made her laugh so hard seeing Kankuro looked stunned and stupefied when Gaara had told the pun then look expectant for a humored response.
The biggest change that had happened was about a year or two after his battle with Naruto. A close friend of hers that she had known for most of her childhood and who was a few years older had been sent out on a B rank mission; something that was supposed to be a simple mission, black and white. She had just gotten word later that the mission had been a set up and none of the team survived. He had found her in her room hugging the crumbled scroll that the news had come on close to her heart, tears trickling silently down her cheeks as she shook from the pain and heartache. She had been utterly shocked when she felt the warm arms of her baby brother close around her from behind and a quiet voice say “I’m sorry.”
Gaara had learned to hug.
Temari suddenly found herself with a quiet, very pale, insomnia induced, extremely odd little brother. But he was a little brother to her and that’s really all that mattered.
So when the time came that he decided he wanted to see the one responsible for all this, Temari wasn’t surprised in the least she was very glad at the prospect. “So, go ask permission to leave the village already.” She had replied with a fond smile at the not so little red head. Lime green cat eyes looked up at her with faint surprise. “Look, you want to see him right? It’s been ten years, go find him. But first let someone know where you’re going. The village has enough of a shinobi shortage without you killing off the entire hunter nin.”
He gave her one of those fond rare smiles in return. “Thank you, Temari.”
She shrugged, secretly still delighted. “Hey, what are big sisters for?”
Gaara of the Desert may have changed over the years and slowly mellowed and matured, but Gaara of the Desert was still Gaara of the Desert and a demon vessel none the less. If Gaara of the Desert wanted something, then he damn well got it; and quickly.
Kazekage seemed to remember this little tidbit of survival information when dealing with the vessel and Gaara left for Konoha Village the next day with no resistance from his Kazekage or the council of elders.
Konoha hadn’t changed much. The buildings that had been destroyed during the failed attack so many years ago during the chuunin exams had been rebuilt and multiplied with the growing population, there was a new head carved into the Hokage monument, and the cemetery was a little larger with the fallen soldiers and villagers from the past fatality. But Konoha was still basically Konoha from what he remembered, and Gaara had to remind himself not to kill the birds that were twittering happily in the trees for their songs were off key and jumbled together as an orchestra of crap.
He headed towards the administration offices and prepared himself for dealing with bureaucracy of the village. Hmm…maybe he should have killed those birds, if only to keep from having the urge to kill the bureaucrats grow with every second he wasted on them and not with ‘him’. After waiting half an hour, he was allowed to approach a harried looking scribe ninja for the Hokage.
”Gaara of the Desert”
“Purpose in Konoha?”
“I’m looking for Uzumaki Naruto.”
The scribe stopped, looked up at him with wide eyes of disbelief, and then attempted to speak. It took a few tries for the poor bolk. “I…I’m afraid that’s impossible...” Green eyes narrowed. “Why?” Sand swirled around his feet and around the bottom of the desk the scribe sat at causing the man to tense greatly from fear and anxiety.
“Well…you see…Err…that is…”
Sand rose from merely swirling around the bottom of the desk to circling tightly, and closing in with each spin, around the scribe’s neck, making his eyes dilate with the panic that set in. he shot his arms out and waved them hastily to try and stop the sand.
“Erk…Ah…if I could just get you to wait over there for a few minutes, I can let you speak to someone else about this…” With that the sand abruptly stopped circling and flowed back into the large gourd on the red head’s back, as he walked over to the indicated spot.
The scribe scurried off for his life.
Another fifteen minutes found him face to face with a rather well endowed chest blonde woman with red eyes and a diamond mark on her forehead. “Gaara of the Desert?” He nodded. “Follow me, please.”
He followed her to a particularly nice office which featured the Konoha symbol on much of the décor; it was simple but, comfortable to him and probably her. The woman sat behind the desk, leaned on her elbows, folded her hands, and then just looked at him for a minute. “So…you’re looking for Uzumaki Naruto. May I enquire why?”
He glared at the woman with ice. “I fought him once and I want to see him again.”
“To settle an old score, then.” She nodded disgusted.
“No. I just want to see him…He’s…He’s like me.”
The woman held her breath for a moment looking at him confused, still studying him carefully. “Kyuubi was not the only one then…” she muttered to herself. She then spoke louder, “Uzumaki Naruto does not reside in Hidden Leaf Village anymore. Nor is he a Konoha chuunin any longer.” She watched with interest as the boy’s face remained perfectly calm, yet sand began to swirl excitedly around his feet. “He was exiled four years ago now. You will no longer find him in the village.”
“I’ve wasted my time here then.” He turned to leave; a call from behind him gave him cause to pause.
“Gaara-san? Please remember. I’ve said you will no longer find him in the village.”
You will no longer find him in the village, but she didn’t say a word about the country. Gaara smirked. He turned to face the woman again and gave a slight bow. “Aa. Thank You.”
She smiled in return. “Good luck on your journey.”
Good luck on your journey. Not a word said about his journey home. Clever minx of a woman she seemed to be, that was good for the Hokage position she held.
Gaara smirked. Maybe he didn’t need to kill those birds, after all…
Four. Bloody. Years.
That’s what it took to find the damn man. Fire Country was not a small country in any sense at all, and coupled with the fact that he was frequently called back to Hidden Sand Village for missions which angered him to no ends, stretched out what should have been, at most, a six months searching into four years of massive headaches and killer urges to murder those before him, deserving or not.
If this wasn’t the right place he came to then he seriously was going to kill all the occupants of the area who unfortunately happen to be in his way, he was that pissed off at his quest. There had been too many false leads and dead ends for his bleeding heart to bear anymore; he was tired of searching places again and again and only gaining the bitter disappointment he’s come to taste almost every minute of every hour of every day he continued on, and pain in his crossed chest that came with each wrong turn, it was making him lose faith in ever finding ‘him’. Shukaku was the worst part of the quest for he was getting more irritable than ever and Gaara didn’t know how much longer he could keep the demon at bay with his taunts and parries at his ever thinning sanity. Hell, after four years worth of pain he wasn’t even sure if he wanted to hold back the blood lust of the demon anymore and just let go like he use to all those years ago.
Heaven help the poor souls of the surrounding area if this wasn’t finally the place he had been searching for.
He had heard of the place accidentally, completely unintentional. Some poor country bumpkin wandering in one of Fire Country’s many villages’ bar and mentioned to some of his buddies something about a young man who lived alone in the mountains and hearing then weird noises come from the forest up there sometimes. Like a good Shinobi, Gaara had questioned the man thoroughly; oh, he was very proud of himself that he didn’t even have to use sand or red hot kunai on the poor fellow like those before him. Apparently the ‘I’m a psychopath who’s about to kill you for fun and profit’ grin was a torture method all unto its own that he had mastered to the very best.
The blonde, they said around those parts, comes down to the village once every few months for a few items and supplies and then heads back up the mountain, never goes beyond the village borders or anywhere else. Although, the young man had been a little off as of late and now hardly ever come down from the mountains. But it was probably the solitude of the mountains that did it, they said, it tends to make those alone a little too comfortable with themselves.
Gaara didn’t care if the young man was frolicking through the fields naked singing ‘I’m a pretty brony’. If it wasn’t his blonde idiot, someone was going to die a very gruesome death and that someone was the poor man on the damn mountain. Although admittedly, if it was Naruto he sincerely hoped the blonde wasn’t actually frolicking and singing ‘I’m a pretty brony’. It would just be too weird, even by his standards and there would be probably no helping the man’s shattered mind.
The redhead strode stoically onward, almost to the village that the poor bolk had described to him in detailed. Just outside the border he paused for a moment, sensing something that was much like a chakra warding. It was a chakra warding; extending for a good distance too it looked like. Well, well, well. There was obviously something is this backwater little section of the country that someone at Konoha didn’t want getting out. Maybe he wouldn’t have to kill anyone after all and finally get what he was looking for.
He still wasn’t exactly sure where this young man up in the mountains was located, but being the genius Sand nin that he was it didn’t take him too long to find out. Stealth and some well placed terrorization of the local kids with his sand could do wonders for helping one find directions to where one needed to go if they were like him though.
And so he found himself walking a barely visible mountain path through a deep forest. The trees were dark and menace looking with many branches and thick foliage; the bushes and vines tugged and snagged his outfit causing little rips and tears along the way. It was a bit…no extremely annoying to him in every sense. Every now and again he had to stop and reach out with all of his senses to make sure he hadn’t somehow inadvertently gotten off the trail and had to constantly use his sand to move away the cursed foliage that got in his path. Eventually it brought him up to a small cabin nestled in the crook of a mountain edge with large, deep green pines surrounding on three sides and a small pond a little away from the cabin. Walking up to the door, he didn’t sense any chakra but then again it was possible to mask such things and one could never really be too careful.
Sending some sand through the crack beneath the door, Gaara performed the Daisan no Me jutsu and viewed the inside of the cabin. It seemed to be rather Spartan and plain. The main room was a combined kitchen and living area, it was neat and tidy at the moment but the walls and floor had a few spots of faded dark red-brown that the redhead knew from experience was dried blood that someone hadn’t managed to completely scrub away. The other two rooms where just as empty as the main and just as mysterious. Adult clothing and ninja gear was stored in the first. But the puzzling thing was along with it were smaller piece of clothing, child sized, along with crudely made toys.
Clearly a ninja was here, but it must be an exiled or hidden kunoichi, not a young man like everyone said. How else were the children’s articles explained? Gaara felt the by now familiar disappointment and rage swelling up within him again but, curiosity and caution made him thoroughly search through every room in the cabin. The second room was completely devoid of any furnishing or item. It could have been a storage room, but there was obviously nothing stored in it. Yet another mystery to chock up to the oddity that was the cabin came to mind for Gaara here.
Well, whatever it was it was empty at the moment and, more importantly, it wasn’t what he was looking for. Oh he was definitely going back down to that village and doing more than just terrorizing those lying little punks that lived there this time…
He had turned and walked a small ways away from the cabin when he felt chakra nearby. He was rather irritable and disappointed.
Why not start the killing spree now? After all, an exiled ninja would give him more of a challenge than pathetic villagers and he was really tired of hearing the demon in him bitch at him for lack of bloodlust and trying.
Slipping into the shadows of the forest he made his way stealthily towards the source of the chakra. And then frowned…there were two…three…no, only two different chakra. There was a rustling in the underbrush ahead of him, he ducked behind an ancient tree and heard a male voice say “Go hide and then go home.”
The voice sounded eerily familiar, but he couldn’t place it, it was as if from someone he knew long ago. There was a soft whimper, probably an animal of some sort, and then more rustling as something moved away from them. A kunai flew towards him and he blocked it easily.
“Come out, I know you’re there.”
They hadn’t said please, but how could he resist a challenge for it had been so long since he had one. Stepping from behind the trunk of the large pine, he saw his enemy clearly for the first time. And if he hadn’t been Gaara of the Desert, he of the severe lack in facial expression, his jaw probably would have dropped. Good thing he was because it looked like he wasn’t going to get to kill anyone after all.
Uzumaki Naruto had grown up. He was a little taller with lean legs encased in jeans and broad shoulders stretching out a black t shirt with the Uzumaki spiral printed in red on the front, bronze arms tight with tension as he held another kunai in his hand. His face had lost its chubbiness he had known when he was young and was more angular now; a man’s face. The blonde spikes Gaara remembered had grown long and wild, a mass of them held back in tail that reached to his shoulders. There was no Konoha *hitae tied around the forehead. The eyes though, those blue eyes had changed. Before they had shown determination and the need to protect his most important people; they were filled with pride and courage and love. But now they were hard with betrayal and the harsh pain the boy had suffered and glittered as brightly as shards of ice.
However, only one thing was running through Gaara’s mind at the moment. Yummy.
Incomprehension flashed over the blonde’s face, but he didn’t drop his guard.
The red head smirked, folding his arms; doing his old signature move.
“Good. It is you. Now I don’t have to go kill that village. Do you have any idea how hard you are to find?”
Vocabulary You didn’t think You’d need to know:
*Hitae = headband
*Daisan no Me justu = The third Eye justu; Daisan no Me is a Ninjutsu unique to the Sand ninja Gaara. Created out of sand, the Eye allows Gaara to view an opponent when he is either encased in his Suna no Muya or when he needs to be able to see his opponent's actions when he has no clear line of sight with his own eyes.
Chapter notes: Authors Note: Now it’s been a while since I released anything and I’m still tweaking Seeing Beauty so, I do not have plans to release chapter one yet; I’ll try before my second semester of college starts to get it out but, no promises. Now this story here is one I’ve had around for a while that I just never finished editing and polishing up for yal to read. But now that’s all different for I got it all nice and pretty for your delight and hope yal love it and review it or something to let me know how and what you felt on it. I got it planned out and ready to be released on a regular basis so, chapter two will be out sometime next week so yal know. Anyway good to be back and writing stories for your hungry minds and hearts to devour so, sit back, reading and review you hear! Thank you and enjoy,
Oh and this is canon up to shippuden, afterwards none of the shippuden storyline is applicable here so do not FLAME on the matter; it’s just a what if situation that could’ve occur and don’t argue with me on if it could or couldn’t occur; that is a losing battle for both fields so we won’t go there shall we? Good, anyway just letting you know, none of anything that has occurred in shippuden is applied in this story so it’s completely different turn outs. Thank you for understanding even if you don’t,
Laughing in all sincerity,