How does one apologise to an entire village for over ten years of fear? Gaara goes to Kankurou for some advice. Oneshot, Sandsib fic. May later become part of my 20 inkspots collection.
Best of You
Kankurou turned from where he'd been working on Karasu, surprised--he hadn't even heard Gaara come in, which he had to admit unnerved him. He would rather be able to hear someone who could easily kill him coming than be startled by him. But no, he chided himself; he didn't have to worry about that any more, since Konohagakure and the Chuunin selection exam.
"Do you need something, Gaara?"
Kankurou studied his brother as he came into his workroom and walked around to the opposite side of the table, staring out the window. Gaara seemed somewhat--preoccupied, perhaps? He certainly acted preoccupied, and more solemn than usual, almost melancholy. Kankurou went back to tinkering with Karasu--he knew that Gaara would speak when he was ready, once he had his thoughts in order. Years of seclusion and exclusion and loneliness had left their mark; Gaara always chose his words carefully to make sure he could get his point across correctly.
"How do you apologise to a whole village, Kankurou?"
Kankurou was taken aback, but didn't say what was on the tip of his tongue. Instead, "You're the Kazekage, why do you need to apologise?"
Gaara eyed him levelly. "You know why," he responded softly. Kankurou hesitated for a moment, and then nodded.
"It's as you said before," Gaara continued, "the people see me only as a frightening weapon. Until recently, I had done nothing to make them consider otherwise. They did not deserve to live with the fear I instilled, but they had little choice."
Gaara pondered his next words and Kankurou remained silent, his attention focussed on his younger brother.
"Pain is real, and faith, and fear. More real than being a loner; than loving yourself and hating everything else. But the people have no faith in me; they only feel fear and anger and resentment. I'm not a fool, I know that I have to start again, and that it will be harder than if I was a complete stranger to the village. They know only the worst of me, and I have to break loose of that and build their faith in me as their Kazekage and as a person."
Gaara turned to Kankurou, meeting his gaze for the first time since he'd entered the workroom. "How do I do that? I want them to have faith in me."
Very aware of Gaara's eyes on him, Kankurou tidied up his workbench as he thought over his brother's question. He realised with some cynicism that he had never considered Gaara his brother until after the Chuunin exam, not like Temari. But he banished the thought as he returned to the issue at hand--when all was said and done, Gaara was still only thirteen years old, and as insecure as any other teenager.
"I think," he said, "that you have to confess." As Gaara's brow furrowed in confusion, Kankurou elaborated. "If people ask, admit you were wrong. Don't force the subject, but if it's mentioned, acknowledge your failure. It's much easier to believe in someone who knows they aren't perfect. Everyone has flaws, has failings, and you can't pretend not to see your own."
Gaara nodded slowly, turning the words over in his mind. "Is that all?"
Kankurou shook his head. He tossed one of his tools across the table to Gaara, who turned and put it away.
"Just give them the best of you."
"Best of You" by the Foo Fighters and the AMV "jihaku" by tyler to that song are what inspired this story. It is an excellent video, and can be found on animemusicvideos dot org and fantasy-movies dot net, though the second site is a French one, so some people may have problems locating the video. (I can't recall exactly where on the site it is, or else I'd tell you.)
I'm fully aware that I rather suck at summaries, so thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed the story. This may or may not become part of my collection for the LiveJournal community, 20 Inkspots.
This story takes place shortly after the flashback conversation in chapter 249 of the manga, which is where I drew the tone from. I adore that conversation--it's kind of mushy and full of brotherly love and makes me squee.
Please let me know what you think. Constructive criticism is encouraged and cherished.