What Temari wanted to know, was when she’d gotten so weak. And, for that matter, when Haruno Sakura had gotten so strong. 4th Temari drabble.
What Temari wanted to know, was when she'd gotten so weak. And, for that matter, when Haruno Sakura had gotten so strong. The first time Temari had seen her, she'd been a weak, trembling little chit of a girl whose first response to her team-mate's danger - Kankurou's rather extreme desire to beat him to a pulp - was to stand back, and watch in fear.
Now... when her team-mate was in danger... it was Temari's turn to stand back, and watch in fear, while Sakura's team-mate stood, trembling with his desire to beat Kankurou's attacker to a pulp. And Sakura took charge, ordering water and herbs, and handing out directions, which Sand's helpless medic-nin followed to the very letter.
Tears gathered in the corners of her eyes. Temari refused to let them fall - pushed them back by force of will alone - and wondered, perhaps a little desperately now, when she'd become so weak and Sakura had become so strong.
In her secret moments, when she wasn't the Sand's Wind Master, when she wasn't the Sand-Leaf liaison, when she wasn't Gaara of the Sand, or even the Kazekage's older sister - when she was just Temari - she thought that it was Naruto's fault.
He'd dropped a bombshell in her and Kankurou's lives - and that was only the collateral damage.
/Theoretically /she'd known there were other jinchuuriki out there. /Theoretically, /she'd known they couldn't /all/be psychopaths. /Theoretically/, she'd known she, and her village, were doing themselves a disservice by pushing Gaara away.
But then, /theoretically/, she and her village shouldn't have survived the first hour of Gaara's life, given how shaky her father's mastery of seals had been.
Naruto had been the affirmation of everything she'd known and never wanted to admit. Naruto had been the one whose very existence had proved her right.... And Naruto had been the one whose very existence proved her wrong.
Gaara was the freak of the family. But having a freak in the family doesn't mean you can't care about them, love them - if only for amemory - and have them love you in return.
It was Naruto's very existence - his true power, Temari thought - that changed people around him. And the more you spoke to him, talked to him... the more you wanted to be like him. No wonder Leaf's village council was terrified of him.
Because in a way, despite his teachers who refused to teach him, and being neglected for most of his childhood, and being hated, and scorned, and rejected again and again and again (or maybe because of it)... Naruto was stronger than Gaara - than anyone else - could ever be.
But Gaara was stronger too. Temari knew that as interdependent as she and Kankurou were... that if he walked out of her and Gaara's lives, she'd survive. Gaara would blink and keep going. She and Kankurou had never been that close to him. Gaara would never forget the times she'd hissed monster at him, and Kankurou had glared daggers at his back.
And they'd never forget his near-daily threat: you mean nothing to me. Annoy me, and I'll kill you.
Naruto, she could see even now, had never recovered, never moved on. His team-mate's defection had cracked something in him, and Temari wondered if Sakura was strong enough to heal it.
Temari knew she'd be strong enough to move on - uncracked -if Gaara never came back. Her affection for him to was too new, and layered over years of hatred and blame.
But if Sakura wasn't strong enough.... wasn't enough in general, Kankurou wouldn't come back either.
Temari wondered if she could keep from cracking then.