Dysfunctional, quick-tempered, and more than just a little emotionally stunted, the Sand Siblings are proud to call each other family.
Written for the Livejournal Community: Naruto_flashfic
Sand. He hated sand. Well, that was a lie. He was born and raised in Suna. He was pretty sure, unless some "accident" happened while on a mission, that he would die in Suna as well; so by the very grace of god, he couldn't hate sand. He just strongly disliked it.
Taking off his oddly shaped hat, he watched as several streams of the yellow-white grains poured to the ground. He grunted as it fell to his feet, getting between his toes. Grimacing, he shook his feet out in front of him.
"You're making a mess, Kankuro," Temari said.
She stood in the doorway, just having entering from where ever she had been that day. Propping her fan up against the wall, she gracefully took of both of her shoes. Her features were passive as she shook out the sand that had been trapped there.
"Gods I hate sand," he mumbled to himself.
Temari sent him a look; it plainly showed her disbelief. "You don't hate sand, and don't let Gaara hear you say that."
Kankuro slumped forward. Of course he couldn't let the little brat hear that. While many improvements had been made in the past couple of years, Gaara still didn't quite understand some subtle nuances of being human. Over exaggerations, melodrama, and sarcasm were three things that often confused the ever serious Kazekage and often caused many misunderstandings, some of which were just plain dangerous. No, he definitely couldn't let Gaara hear him gripe about sand.
"Where have you been today?" Kankuro asked.
He stood from where he was sitting in the /genkan/. His shoes were already neatly lined up against the wall. Temari had placed her shoes right next to his. The puppet-nin sighed as he looked at the sand that had already been tracked in.
Kankuro turned, almost forgetting that he had asked her a question. He stepped further into the small home all three siblings shared. "Out? That's all you're going to say? I know you didn't have a mission, I looked."
Temari shot him a look. Hardened ninja as he was, he couldn't help involuntarily swallowing at the threat that was held in her eyes. He shut his mouth, knowing better than to say anything more; though that didn't stop him from shooting her the bird as soon as her back was turned.
"I saw that," she hissed.
Kankuro rolled his eyes. "Where's the brat then?"
"You shouldn't call our Kazekage a brat. It's disrespectful."
"Whatever, he's my brother first and foremost; so I'll keep calling him a brat," he said.
His brows were drawn close together, walking towards the kitchen where Temari had disappeared in. He heard the sound of water running. "What's up with you today? You're acting weird."
Temari gave him another glare before she pulled open the refrigerator. She grabbed some things out of it and then closed it with her hip. Putting everything on the counter, she shut off the water. The sink had been stoppered and was halfway full. Temari placed several leeks into the water, to wash them off.
Kankuro watched, trying to read her. Something was off; her movements were unnecessarily jerky, as if she was holding her emotions in. That in itself was odd, because Temari never felt she had to hide things from him. They were siblings, after all.
"Seriously, Temari," Kankuro said, his voice low and concerned. "What's the matter?"
Temari stopped her movements for a brief second. She was busy washing off other vegetables and setting them aside to be cut. She looked up quickly; her eyes a bit clouded as if she wanted to cry but was holding it back. "I...I...it's--"
The front door opening silenced her. Both ninjas straightened up, heads automatically snapping forward to the sound. It was pointless; Gaara's familiar chakra always enveloped their home in a near suffocating blanket as he entered the building. "I'm home," he called quietly, almost monotone.
"Welcome home," Temari called out. Kankuro repeated the sentiment in his gruff tone.
They listened as Gaara took of his shoes in the /genkan/, before making his way down the hall to the kitchen. He entered, back empty of his usual sand gourd, and looked between his siblings.
"Hope you're hungry kiddo," Temari said. "I'm feeling like pot stickers tonight and you know I always make a ton."
Gaara nodded. He looked over at Kankuro who just shrugged. "Well, let us know when you're done, we're going to go have some 'male bonding time.'"
The puppet nin's eyes widened as he dodged the kitchen knife thrown at his head. It stuck out from the wall behind him. "Thanks for offering your help," Temari growled.
"What? You know I'm bad at cooking! And if Gaara helps, sand gets everywhere!"
Ug/, he thought to himself. /I hate sand!
Temari reluctantly conceded defeat. She had been sick for three days after Kankuro's last attempt at helping out with dinner. "Fine, but no showing Gaara porn!"
Kankuro's face broke out in a grin. His purple makeup made the look even more devious. She narrowed her eyes. "He's a growing brat, Temari-neechan," he said. "He's got learn sometime."
Wanting to avoid the fight that was about to break out between his elder siblings, Gaara walked around his brother and out of the kitchen. He slid one of the partition walls open and then closed it again so that he was alone in the semi-silence of his room. Kankuro would find him later.
The puppet nin entered Gaara's room backwards, still yelling insults at his elder sister. Temari, for her part, was still promising bodily harm to Kankuro, who all but ignored the all too real threats.
Gaara grimaced when Kankuro turned around and bared his face for him to see. The makeup had been smeared and his lip was split. It looked like he had been punched several times and the skin under his right eye was slightly swelling.
"You always find such destructive means of distracting her," Gaara said.
He was sitting by the open window of his room, already a first-aid kit in front of him. He gestured for Kankuro to sit in front of him, and the puppet nin obeyed.
"Do you know what's going on?" Kankuro asked quietly.
Neither wanted Temari to overhear their discussion on her. The elder, however, left it to his younger brother to guard their privacy.
Gaara shook his head at the question.
"Do you have a theory of what happened then?" he asked.
Getting information from Gaara was like pulling teeth. You had to be direct and to the point because he simply didn't understand anything else.
"I believe it has to do with Nara Shikamaru."
"Her little boyfriend in Konoha?"
Gaara nodded. Kankuro winced. The redhead was carefully applying ointment to his split lip. It burned hotter than even the sand midday. "I can't do anything about the swelling. It would be best to go put something cold on it."
The puppet nin shook his head. "I think I'll pass. She's still going to be angry at me."
Gaara rolled his eyes, packing up the supplies back into the small first-aid kit.
"So it has to do with Shikamaru," Kankuro said, more to himself than to his brother. "Figures. She looked like she was almost in tears before you came in."
"She was crying?" Gaara's eyes were wide and his features were close to panic. "Temari doesn't cry."
"She's human, Gaara; and sometimes she can't help it."
"Temari doesn't cry," he repeated.
It was the elder brother's turn to roll his eyes. "Never mind. The question is, what did he do and what are we going to do about it?"
Gaara shrugged. He desperately wanted to go directly to Konoha and interrogate the man in question; however, his position as Kazekage complicated matters and prevented him from leaving. Kankuro, however, had nothing stopping him.
"Can't," he said, as if reading the other's mind. "You gave me a mission tomorrow, remember?"
The redhead nodded. They both sat in silence for a while. Through the thinly paneled walls they could hear Temari as she hummed. That meant she was assembling the pot stickers--half way through the whole process.
"Uzumaki owes me a favor," Gaara said.
"He owes you a favor?" the other asked. "How? What did he do for you?"
The edges of Gaara's lips turned up in a smile, his eyes brighter. For the second time since he got home, Kankuro swallowed involuntarily. His littler brother just wasn't born to smile, especially not that type of smile. "Actually," he said. "Forget it, I don't want to know."
Gaara didn't press the issue.
"Okay, so you send a message to Naruto and ask him to beat the shit out of Shikamaru, right? Do you think he'd actually do it?"
"Really? They're comrades."
"Well it looks like that is our only option. Make sure he knows to find out what happened first before he beats Shikamaru to a pulp."
The other nodded. With nothing else to say, Kankuro stood. He winced when he felt the rough texture of sand bristling against his skin. "Dammit," he growled. "Is your room just made of fuckin' sand?"
Kankuro kept himself from screaming. Another thing Gaara hadn't really comprehended, a rhetorical question. "I'm going to change before dinner. And probably take a shower. Several.../thousands/ of showers," he grumbled. "Fuckin' sand."
The three siblings reassembled in the kitchen a bit later. Kankuro freshly showered, hair wet, and face bare of its usual makeup. Gaara sat on the floor before their table. He was writing something on a scroll. Each stroke of his pen was clean, precise, and perfect.
"Did you get all the sand off?" Gaara asked, his voice only hinting at his amusement.
"I'd say yes but I'm sure I'll find more soon enough. I swear, I'm just a magnet for that shit."
"Well you should be a magnet for something, since your charms certainly don't work on women," Temari interjected.
He shot her a look, though she was huddled over the stove and completely missed it. "You're funny, a regular fuckin' comedian, you know that?"
"Yup, I do."
She turned to look at him. Her cheeks were flushed from the heat of the stove, but she was smiling and the pain from earlier was devoid from her eyes. "Really, Kankuro, you'd be in a much better mood if you'd get yourself laid. Porn only does so much, ya know?"
Gaara allowed himself to laugh, though it was brief and quiet. Kankuro choked on the glass of juice he was drinking. "Really? It doesn't seem to be doing you too well? Or is that little boyfriend just not good enough?"
He had said it as an automatic response to her jest. If he had thought about it more, he would have avoided the subject. Gaara growled from his seat. Kankuro sighed, knowing that there was a lot of sand heading towards him at the moment.
"Stop it you two. Whatever you're planning, /don't/."
Both brothers looked at their sister. She had returned to the stove to take the batch of pot stickers out of the pan. She added another batch and put them on to cook for two minutes. "Don't act innocent. I know you both far too well. And since I'm sure you're both curious, Shikamaru and I have decided to take a break.../indefinitely/."
"Why?" Kankuro asked.
"Too many issues."
Temari rolled her eyes and looked over at the eldest of her two brothers. "Well for starters, we're ninja from two different villages. Things get...complicated, to say the least. It would never work."
"It could be arranged, we're very close to Konoha. Right, Gaara?"
The redhead looked up from his scroll. He looked and Kankuro then to Temari. "It may be possible, but she would have to leave us, /permanently/. She could no longer be a Suna ninja."
"Fine, then that brat could come over here," Kankuro suggested.
Temari shook her head and spoke up this time. "Tsunade-hime would never give him up. He's a tactical genius."
"So you two are just going to break up?"
She nodded. "It's for the best."
"For the best my ass!" Kankuro yelled.
He slammed his drink down on the counter, the liquid sloshing out and running down his fingers. "You're upset, and obviously heart-broken--"
"/Obviously/?" Temari mumbled.
"And you're just going to let it end here?"
The blonde turned around to face her brother. Her eyes were clouded with a mix of hurt and anger. "Because I love my two little brothers. You're my family and now that we're actually acting like a proper family like hell am I giving that up. I may love Shikamaru but I love you two a whole hell of a lot more."
The two brothers were struck silent. Temari took several deep breaths to calm herself down. The batch of pot stickers in the pot were charred and not salvageable. She scraped them out of the pan and dumped them in the trash bin under the sink.
She jumped when she felt arms sliding around her waist. She looked down to see two pale arms holding her tightly. Looking over, Temari saw Kankuro leaning against the counter looking down. His cheeks had the slightest hint of pink on them. She smiled, patting Gaara's arms around her. Neither boy was very fond of words, but she knew how they felt all the same.
"You two go sit down. I'll get everything ready to put on the table."
"You need any help?" Kankuro mumbled.
She shook her head, grinning at him. "Nope, you two can do the dishes."
The puppet nin groaned, looking over at the blackened pan that would need lots of soaking and scouring to get clean. "Fine, come on Gaara."
Both brothers took their seats. Temari laughed when Kankuro burst into another round of cursing as he found himself sitting in a pile of sand that Gaara had summoned to him earlier.
"Dammit I hate sand!"