Gaara of the Desert

Kankuro\'s Rematch

A dripping sound awoke me from the darkness. I could hear people talking but it was very muffled. It slowly opened my eyes, which felt like they had iron weight on them. I looked around from where I was laying to see the normal stucco walls of the Hidden Sand. I guess we had been rescued from our fight with the Flare Release user. The memories all felt a little foggy like they had happened a long time ago. I tried lifting myself up but just like my eyelids, the rest of my body was weak. I wasn really sure how much Id missed since passing out, it could be the next day or a whole week since that fight. After a bit of effort, I did manage to get out of my hospital bed. Using the support of the IV stand that I was hooked up to, I began to slowly walk my way to the door.

”Gaara, ” said a sickly voice to my right. I stopped and painfully turned to see who had called my name. Kankuro lay there, his face covered in bandages and his face swollen. He sat upright with one of his arms in a sling, the other wrapped in bandages just like his face.

”Kankuro, are you alright? ”

”I got the worst out of everyone except you, figures with my luck. They say Ive got superficial burns and a broken arm. Im pretty busted up, they say Ill be here for a few more days. ” Kankuro did look pretty bad in my opinion, I was surprised that he was only gonna be in here for a few more days. Hearing him talk about all his injuries weighed heavily on me.

”Im sorry I didn do better Kank- ”

”Will you not say that? Im the one that was too weak to do anything. All I did was throw some ANBU guys out of the way and get put in the hospital, ” grumbled Kankuro. He was obviously very upset with his performance against the Flare Release user.

”You did your best Kankuro, we were all outmatched on that mission, ” I said trying to reassure him. I didn want Kankuro being all down on himself after failing. I needed him to do well at the chunin exams, he needed to be confident.

”Not you, Baki-sensei told me you wiped that guy out after I was knocked out. ” I guess he was technically right even though that Jutsu had put me in the hospital.

”Lets just move past it Kankuro, where is Temari? ”

”She got out in a different medical ward since her injuries weren that bad. She stopped by yesterday to see if you had woken up yet. ” Woken up yet? Great, looks like I was a classic victim of the out for a lot longer than I realized cliche. Better just ask Kankuro and rip the bandaid straight off.

”How long was I out for? ” The blank look in Kankuros eyes when I asked really wasn helping me.

”Uhhh, about six days now, ” he said nervously. I was out for six whole days? How was that even possible? The only reason for me being out that long would have to be the condition I had been in.

”How bad? ” Kankuro looked uncomfortable at my question and began scratching his head. His eyes didn want to meet mine at all.

”They weren sure if you were even gonna make it to the hospital Gaara, you shouldn have used that Jutsu in your state. ” The words sent a chill down my spine. I had been so close to dying, yet Id managed to make it.

”Im the only reason your still here human, ” said Shukaku as he entered the conversation.

”What do you mean by that? ”

”If I hadn lent you some chakra after that stunt you pulled, you probably would have died. ” Shukaku actually sounded sorta angry that I almost died. I wasn sure if it was because he wouldve died for a while or that he actually cared about me.

”Thank you Shukaku, Im in your debt. ”

”You definitely are, ” he cackled. Great, that made me feel really good about owing him a favor.

”Kankuro Im going to go and see Baki, Ill be back later. ” Kankuro looked like he wanted to disagree but he was in no condition to stop me anyway. I resumed my slow walk down the ward. I eventually made it to the door after a while and exited the room. In the hallway, I could tell it was around the middle of the day from the sunlight pouring in the windows. I limped myself down the hallway, not really sure of where I was headed. All I knew is that I wanted to get out of that hospital room, it was stuffy in there.

”Lord Gaara, you must get back in bed, ” said an anxious voice. It was Baki who just like everyone else was wrapped in bandages. His arms seemed to be the worst, judging from how much they were covered.

”Im fine Baki, theres no need to worry. ” I of course didn want to mention that simply saying that had caused immense pain. I had probably broken a few ribs when I got slammed into the ground from the shockwave. I was really starting to feel the extent of my injuries now that I was moving around.

”I can tell just by looking at your face that you are in a lot of pain from just talking. You need to go back to bed Lord Gaara. ” Baki definitely wasn backing down on this one it seems.

”Im tired of lying in bed, take me to Temari or my father. ” Bakis face showed an expression of surprise at me asking to see Rasa. He probably was wondering why I would ever want to see him but I had a good reason. Thinking about the Flare Release user, I now realized what had been off about him. I needed to inform Rasa, so it wouldn happen to another shinobi of the Hidden Sand.

”Luckily for you, your sister, and your father are both just a few rooms over, ” Baki said as he gestured for me to follow him. I hobbled my way painfully down the corridor. Baki wasn exactly going slow for me but I didn care. Temari and Rasa were in the same room, meaning they were probably talking about something related to me.

”Why are you rushing? Your father and Temari are simply talking about our mission. ”

”That alone doesn worry you? Because for me it does, ” I told Baki. He seemed to have a little bit of understanding in his eyes. We continued briskly walking down the hallway. Baki and I then reached a small door that looked very inconspicuous. Rasa probably didn want anyone knowing he was here since being Kazekage tended to attract a crowd.

”Your father and sister are right inside, Ill stand outside and wait for you. ” Baki then went and stood next to the door. I breathed deeply, then opened the door. I was immediately welcomed with shouting and yelling from the back of the room. The door looked like it led to a storage room, with boxes piled up to the ceiling. Shelves and racks were also scattered about the crowded room. The yelling sounded like it was coming from behind a stack of boxes in the corner. I quietly closed the door, then moved closer to listen to what was going on.

”You don get it, Gaara was an inch away from death! You weren the one that woke up and saw him lying there, pale and cold. He still hasn woken up and its almost been a week! ” Sitting there listening to these words made me feel cold. It was one thing to be offhandedly told your condition had been bad. It was another thing entirely to listen to your older sister scream it out loud.

”Shukaku, how close was I to death? Be honest with me. ” I needed the truth from someone who had been in my exact position with me.

”Without me lending my power, you wouldve died right after using that Jutsu. Didn I already tell you this human? Why are you making me repeat myself? ”

”I guess its only starting to sink in right now, Im sorry. ”

”Sorry is right, now let me rest. ” With that, Shukaku went quiet. I recomposed myself and went back to listening in on the conversation.

”I needed to make sure Gaara was able to control himself. I was hoping that hed use the One Tail power to take down the traitor, it seems I can have everything though. Gaara has proven himself capable of attending the chunin exams. You should be happy, your mission was successful. ” Rasa was sounding just as cold as ever. He had wanted me to use the One Tails power to take down the rogue ninja. I guess he still was trying to get me to have absolute control over Shukakus power. Some things just never seem to change.

”Thats not the point, youve been using Gaara like hes a tool. Giving him that Jutsu was an awful idea, why would you give him something that dangerous? ” Temari was angrier than I had ever heard in my life. Listening to her tearing into our father brought me warmth, realizing that she cared just like Kankuro.

”Lower your tone Temari. I gave him that Jutsu to be used if pit in a dire situation. He decided to use it, not me. I do not know what has gotten unto you, don you realize the threat that Gaara poses to the people of our village? ” Rasas points struck me like daggers in my back. My father, the man who was supposed to care for me was calling me a danger to everyone around me.

”Gaara is a person dad! Hes not some weapon you throw at your problems and hope both get eliminated. Gaara saved all of us the other night and he could still die in his current condition. ” Temaris voice started to crack as she was yelling. It was soon followed by sobbing, Temari completely losing her composure. This was enough I needed to help her. I came out from behind the box to see Temari crying in front of my father. Rasa was just standing there looking disappointed. When he saw me, his eyes showed an unknown emotion before reverting to disappointment. Rasa simply walked away, right by me without saying a word. I decided to just let go of what I was going to tell him, now wasn the time. With a slam of a door, Rasa was gone.

”Temari, please stop crying, ” I said gently. It brought me serious pain to see her in such a horrible state. Temari froze when I spoke to her and then slowly looked towards me. Her eyes were very wide with surprise. Before I could say anything, she threw herself onto me. I was now in a bear-like hug with her crying on my shoulder.

”I thought you would.. ” Temari trailed off after that. I understand exactly what she was implying about me. I had been in a coma for nearly a week, I could have never woken up or even died. I had seen a hint of it in Kankuro but it was easily apparent in Temari. They had been anxious for days, wondering if their little brother was going to die. I couldn imagine being in their position, coming to see me in a stuffy hospital room each day. Every time, hoping for me to come out of my comatose state. The strain on them emotionally and also physically in their injured conditions must have been excruciating.

”Everything is fine now Temari, Im alright, ” I said as I hugged her back. We stood there for a while, just happy to see that we were both alright. Temari had several bandages and bruises on her body but there were considerably fewer of them than Kankuro or me. That made me happy, seeing that my near-death sacrifice had prevented her further harm. After some time we finally released our embrace. Temari had stopped crying though her eyes were now very red and her nose stuffy. Temari looked at me seriously out of nowhere, confusing me.

”Promise me you won use that Forbidden Jutsu again Gaara. ” So thats what this whole serious look was about. As well-founded as Temaris concerns about me using the Jutsu again were, I couldn agree to never use it again.

”Temari, you know I can do that. I may need that Jutsu in the future to protect you and Kankuro or the village. ” The look on her face turned angry along with frustrated. She obviously didn agree with my response.

”That seems like a bad response human. This angry human looks like she will kill you now, it was probably that lackluster answer you gave. ” I felt myself twitch with anger at Shukakus little jab.

”Do you ever have anything nice to say to me? ”

”I would if youd stop being such a useless fool all the time. ”

Now that one hurt quite a bit, I actually flinched at that insult. Shukaku laughed heartfully at my silence probably because he had finally got me. I guess he was a little right since I had made a lot of mistakes in my short time being in Gaaras body. Using dangerous Jutsu, fighting my friend and brother almost to the death, and finally fighting a Flare Release user with no true plan.

”I guess your right Shukaku, I am a fool. ”

This made Shukaku stop laughing instantly and his demeanor turn to confusion. It put a small smile on my face to know I had just stumped him. Bringing myself back down to Temari it looked like she was finally ready to rip my head off.

”Gaara that Jutsu nearly killed you why would you ever want to use it again? It doesn matter to me or Kankuro that we are safe if you
e dead. Just use your other Jutsu and techniques they have always worked in the past. ”

Temari was starting to ramble on about reasons why I shouldn use the Jutsu again. All of this because she was desperate to keep me safe. Heartwarming as it was I wasn going to shift my view on the use of the Jutsu. Sand Waterfall Imperial Funeral may be dangerous but it was undeniably strong. I would definitely need it in the coming months and years. If the Konan Crush continued as planned at the chunin exams, I might need to use it as soon as a few weeks. With me being in a coma for almost seven full days, the exams were now only a couple of weeks away.

”I won use it casually Temari, only when necessary or when you as well as Kankuro are in harms way. ”

She still looked extremely opposed to my reasoning but now appeared to be backing down. Temari could obviously tell I wasn backing down no matter what reasons she presented to me.

”Fine Gaara, just know I am strongly against this decision youve made. ”

”Don worry youve made that very clear. ”

She smiled at my response only to quickly go back to frowning. I guess she still wanted to seem like a tough big sister. That image had sorta been ruined by her crying on my shoulder just a few minutes ago but I wasn going to be the one to tell her that. I really didn want her to start pummeling me in the condition I was currently in.

”Im going to go and check on Kankuro now, you should either go back to your hospital bed or your room to rest. You have no right to do anything else in your state. ”

I hated to admit it but she was right. I hadn noticed it during my embrace with Temari or our conversation after. It was now impossible to not notice the gut-wrenching pain coming from every fiber in my body. I nodded weakly in agreement before I feebly began walking to the door. I leaned very hard on the IV stand that Id been dragging around to use as a walking cane. The metal stand creaked under my weight while Temari immediately ran to support me on my other side. She had been very quick on the uptake that I wasn very strong right now. I gave her a sickly smile before we continued on our way to the door. Temari opened it for me and then helped me stumble into the passage. Baki immediately caught me and helped lift me upright.

”Lord Gaara you must get back to your medical ward, youve completely exhausted yourself, ” Baki said with deep concern. I couldn really think straight but I knew I didn want to go back to that ward. It made me feel uncomfortable as well as trapped in that small room.

”No I want to sleep in my room tonight and I don care if you need to carry me there to do it, ” I managed to gasp out. Temari and Baki shared a look before seemingly agreeing to my demand. They both grabbed me with one on each arm and Baki dragging my IV stand behind all of us. I wasn really sure how long it took for them to haul me to my room. I fell in and out of consciousness several times but managed to keep myself awake just as we made it to my door. Temari opened it as Baki picked me up and carried me carefully to my bed. I heard Baki and Temari say something although for some reason it was very muffled. I did observe several changes in my room though I couldn really make out what they were. When I did try to look closer at these vague shapes in my room they only got more blurry. I sighed as I knew this feeling all too well from the end of my fight against the Flare Release user. I slipped back into the darkness of being unconscious, this time not waking back up after a few minutes.

—————————————————————————————————-

I opened my eyes to find myself in my mindscape. I sat upright and was very thankful I couldn feel the pain of my real body right now. This was probably because I wasn conscious right now in the real world.

”Why must I be stuck in such a weak human, ” grumbled an all too familiar voice. I stood up to find myself right in front of Shukakus cage. He peered at me through the bars with a look of disgust on his face. I was getting really exhausted with how he always seemed to treat me.

”Not like your doing me much help in the healing department Shukaku. ” Naruto always healed rapidly with the help of the Nine-Tails so why couldn Shukaku? Was it not an ability of his?

”I can do that you idiot, my abilities are all defense focused with a rare few offensive moves. Your gonna have to do all the healing on your own you weakling, or can you not manage even that on your own? ” Shukaku was really annoying, couldn I have been given any other Tailed Beast? Im sure almost any of them but the Nine-Tails were probably nicer than Shukaku.

”Ill do my best to heal myself but until I wake up Im stuck here with you Shukaku. ” I wasn really sure why but I couldn seem to exit my mindscape. Even though I definitely didn wanna be stuck in here with Shukaku. Shukaku cocked his head at me in annoyance but quickly dropped it. He then fell to his stomach and lay there in a comfy position.

”How about I tell you the story of how I dropped a mountain of sand onto that accursed Nine-Tails. ”

Surprisingly, that actually sounded like a very good story to hear.

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((Hello, it is Silent Storm, the author of this novel. I would like to thank everyone who has read this far and those who have given me support and ideas. Id love it if you gave me ideas or things for me to improve on in this story. I would really like it if you gave me ideas for the plot to go in since I have very few ideas on what to do after the chunin exams. Please give a review or comment on whatever you think I could do better or just your support.))

Sincerely, Silent Storm

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