Gaara of the Desert

Kankuro\'s Rematch

”You did what? ” I was completely stunned by what Rasa had just told me. He has ordered a water tower dropped onto the street to see how I would respond? Rasa was the Kazekage, he was supposed to protect the people. Yet, he has just admitted to purposefully endangering innocent lives to test me.

”I just told you what I did, what is so hard to understand? ”

”You couldve gotten people killed, what if I hadn caught the water tower? Innocent villagers wouldve died father! ” My blood was beyond boiling, I could barely contain my anger. The old Gaara might not have cared about the people that rejected and tormented him but I did. I would not let people die because of me.

”Do not be foolish, those villagers you saw were staged. They were ANBU following my orders. The ANBU were skilled enough to get out of the way or know the risks of following through with the mission I gave them. ” Rasa still sounded unconcerned about the safety of the ANBU. Who cares if they were ANBU, the threat itself remained regardless of who was there.

”They still could have died, ” I shouted at him.

”You will not speak in that tone to me, I am the Kazekage. Why are you so caught up in what might have happened? They are safe because you protected them, ” Rasa said with great authority in his voice. His words only made me calm down slightly. I was still fuming for what he had pulled. I had thought we were past all the tests and trials that he had put me through when I was a little kid. I was dead wrong, Rasa hadn changed at all.

”Now then, we will move onto why I called you here today Gaara. I would like to send three teams to the chunin exams this month. I want your team to be one of them but I need to know if you won disgrace the Hidden Sand while attending. Do you understand? ” Rasa was dead serious now, he wasn messing around.

”I have no intention of doing anything other than becoming a chunin. I don plan to start any trouble unless provoked. ” Rasa didn even flinch at my response. He didn care what response I gave, that much was unmistakable.

”Regardless, Id like to test your abilities. Its been a while sent Ive sent you on a mission that has truly challenged you. Unfortunately for the Hidden Sand and fortunately for you, one of our high-ranking ANBU deserted his post this morning. We do not know why but it seems hes headed north. We cannot risk our secrets or his kekkei genkai falling into enemy hands. This is why Im sending your team to back up the ANBU Ive already sent. Take care of the problem with minimal casualties and damage, then Ill allow you to go to the chunin exams. ” I couldn believe what I was being told. This at the very least was an A-rank mission, maybe even an S-rank. I may be powerful but I was still a genin, so were Kankuro and Temari. I felt my rage go back up as I thought it over even more. All of this for what? Just to test my ability? Rasa already knew what I could do, there was a trick inside this somewhere. He wasn telling me the whole truth and I doubt he would even if I asked further.

”You will catch up with the ANBU in pursuit of the rogue ninja just before Ainokara. Ive already had the rest of your team informed, youll leave immediately, ” said Rasa as he opened his drawer. He took out a small box in one hand and then an ancient-looking scroll in the other.

”In this box are food pills to help you restore your chakra you wasted this morning. This scroll contains something Id rather not teach you. The situation may demand it though so Im giving it to you. ” With that, he handed me the scroll and the box. I quickly opened the box and threw all the food pills into my mouth. They tasted awful, I had a really hard time choking them down. The taste was worth it though, I could already feel my chakra restoring at a faster rate.

”Is there anything else you want to inform me of father, ” I asked bitterly. My mood didn have a speck of joy to it. Rasa was sending us on a mission that was way outside of my teams skill set. It was mostly my fault too, all because of my behavior change. I had unintentionally put both Kankuro, Temari, and even Baki in danger. Id just have to end this mission quickly before anything would happen to them. I turned to walk out of Rasas office when he cleared his throat. I turned back to find an odd expression on my fathers face.

”Take care of Kankuro and Temari Gaara, I want all of you back safely. ” I stared blankly at the man who was my father. Rasa was such a mystery that I would probably never figure out. He was still a father though, even if he didn like me Kankuro and Temari had done nothing wrong. Rasa still cared for them, maybe his only redeemable quality in my eyes.

”I will bring them home safe, ” I said right before I closed the door to his office. Outside the office, Baki stood there just as he had before. Beside him how we
e Temari and Kankuro, probably arriving when I was talking with Rasa. The grim looks on their faces meant they had already been informed of the details. Kankuro was nervously fighting with the same nozzle mechanism from earlier. Temaris usual confident expression was gone, replaced with worry and small etches of fear. This was what I hated seeing, how uneasy they were about the mission.

”Now that Lord Gaara is done meeting with Lord Kazekage, we must depart. ” Baki was business as expected though there was a bit of extra seriousness in his tone. We all followed Bakis order and began quickly walking down the many flights of stairs in the Kazekages office. As we did, I quickly unrolled the scroll Rasa had given me. My eyes widened as I read the contents of it. There were two Jutsu techniques written down in the scroll. The first one was pretty simple and I mentally kicked myself for not thinking of it on my own. The other one though was no joke, it had the words ”Forbidden Jutsu ” written right before the details of the technique. I couldn help that Rasa had given me such a dangerous Jutsu, no wonder it was forbidden. Judging from the details of the scroll, using the Jutsu once would completely drain my chakra at my current level. I doubt even Kazekage Gaara from the main anime series could pull this off more than twice before he was out of chakra. Rasa wasn pulling any punches about this kekkei genkai user. He truly didn want any other hidden village to get their hands on it. I put the scroll on my sling, in case Id need to look at it again later.

We quickly exited Sunagakure and began our long journey north. We found many areas that indicated that the ANBU pursuers had caught up several times. These areas were scorched with black marks, with several dead pursuers laying charred on the ground.

”What kind of kekkei genkai could do something like this, ” asked Kankuro fearfully. I had to agree with him, I had never heard of a kekkei genkai that could turn sand to glass and people to ash.

”The man we are after has a kekkei genkai called Flare Release. Its a combination of lightning and fire chakra natures. He was a very distinguished ANBU before he deserted his post, ” said Baki while he also surveyed the annihilated Sand ANBU.

”What was his name, ” I asked Baki. Someone of this caliber should be well known, yet none of us had heard of him before.

”I don know, the ANBU are very secretive about their identities and missions. Lord Kazekage sending us to help bring back one of their own is highly irregular. ” Seems like even Baki didn think it was logical to send us. Rasa was Kazekage nevertheless so his orders were final, as unusual as they were. Looking at the reminds of the ANBU solidified one thing in my mind. That I would bring my team home safely, without any casualties.

We continued on our way, traveling at a fast pace since we were playing catch up. We came across several more scenes just like the first, each one more horrific than the rest. I could tell that our morale was very low, seeing Sand ANBU wiped out see easily was pretty crushing. Baki had told us the ANBU sent after the rogue ANBU operative numbered around two dozen. Judging from the dead we had seen, a little more than half of the pursuing ANBU were dead. There was no evidence pointing to the rogue ninja even being injured in these encounters. It was more grave than we had possibly even imagined. It was starting to get dark when we started seeing unusual flashes on the horizon. Blood red fire popped and flashed in the distance, screams could be heard along with yelling. Baki motioned for us to stop right before we got there, the flashes still coming over the dune we hid behind.

”Temari and Kankuro, I will be blunt and say that you will not but effective on your own. I want you to start in the rear and backup Gaara and me. Rescue and ANBU that need help, let me and Gaara handle the head-to-head fight. ” Kankuro and Temari both looked relieved for a moment before turning to me with guilt. They had both been happy that they didn have to fight the Flare Release user directly but that meant I would be on my own. Only Baki and the remaining ANBU would be fighting with me, and who knew how many ANBU were still left over the dune.

”Lets move out, ” said Baki as he leaped over the dune. The rest of us quickly followed, ready for battle. The first thing I noticed was the heat. It hit me the second I leaped over the dune. It made me want to cover my eyes and curl up into a ball. I quickly found the source of the unbearable heat. A masked ANBU was in the center of the raging fire, sending out massive balls of blood-red fire. Looking around, most of the dozen ANBU that had been in pursuit lay charred on the ground. I brought out my chakra-infused sand from my gourd. I ripped the scrolls from my sling and unraveled all of them, while the sand from my gourd put up a wall to guard me. I summoned the chakra-infused sand and the iron sand, then put the scrolls back on my belt. Suddenly, a bright flash lit up in front of me and the heat increased. My sand surrounding me whirled, encasing me in a sand cocoon. I then felt an immense heat hit the shield, some of my sand turning into glass. It quickly ended and I then brought the shield down. The sand that had been in the front had indeed turned to glass. Id held the iron sand back in case it would melt under the heat. Judging from how much of my sand was now glass, my worries were well-founded. Using sand from the desert, I formed two large whips and sent them to attack the rogue ninja. They were blown apart by large lightning-like tendrils of fire. The tendrils continued even after hitting my sand whips, showcasing how destructive they were. Trying a different approach, I tried using my Sand Bullets to hit the ninja. They were turned into glass just as my sand shield had been. How was I supposed to land an attack on this guy if my sand couldn get close? Maybe I was thinking too small, I needed stronger Jutsu to take this guy down. It seemed that the rogue ninja didn want to give me leeway to think though. Three kunai coated in red flames raced toward me, looking very deadly.

This time though, I used my iron sand to protect myself. I needed to test how resilient it was against the heat, with the three small kunai looking like a good opportunity. I raised the shield and the kunai connected, causing my iron sand to glow hot red. I worried for a moment that it might melt and fuse but the heat thankful halted. My iron sand was now glowing res but it has survived minimum exposure to the heat. It was obvious that it wouldn survive a blast like my sand had taken earlier without melting. It was time to get serious, I was going to use the first Jutsu on the scroll Rasa had given me. I put both of my hands onto the ground and let the chakra flow into it, hoping it would be sufficient for how big the Jutsu was. Monstrous Sand Arm was the name of the Jutsu and it was exactly what it was named. Huge amounts of sand began pilling up on both sides of the rogue ninja. The rogue ninja stopped throwing fireballs at Baki and the ANBU for a minute to stare in awe at what I was making. The scroll had dictated that a single arm usually be about three stories tall. I had made two six-story tall arms on both sides of the kekkei genkai ninja. Both of the arms were mentally attached to my actual arms. This means that if I waved my left arm then so would the giant arm on the left. I took both my arms and clapped them right where the rogue ninja would be. The sand arms slowly followed in sync with my arms, there was a slight delay to the response time. The rogue ninja outstretched both of his arms and pointed one of them toward each of the sand arms. Small balls of fire began to form on each of his palms but these were different than the fireballs he had been throwing at us before. These looked like miniature suns in his hands, they also appeared to take large amounts of concentration judging from his movements. As the sand arms closed in, both of the miniature suns shot from the ninjas palm towards them. I watched as the little suns raced towards the arms, wondering what they would do. There was a blinding flash when they struck the arms and my connection to them went dead. A scorching heatwave slammed into me and sent me flying into the air. I crashed to the ground hard, something in my body cracking unnaturally. I then felt pain shot through my body from my right leg. I opened my eyes and found the leg twisted at a bizarre angle. It occurred to me that I was maybe in shock since I wasn feeling too much of the pain. Raising my arms, I found that they were both burnt from shielding my face.

It occurred to me that I might be in way over my head on this mission. I was facing an ANBU kekkei genkai user, not some small fry rogue ninja. I painfully managed to glance to my right and find everyone else in the same position as me. Baki and the other ANBU operatives were passed out almost directly across from me. Between us were Kankuro and Temari, they were laying on the ground injured just like me. Both of them were thankfully still conscious, it looked like Kankuro had used his Crow puppet to partially shield them from the blast.

”It looks like your about to die, let me have control, ” said Shukaku from inside my head.

”Are you kidding me? You don help me the whole fight and now want to take control? No, I won let you Shukaku. ”

”You
e breaking our agreement human, ” he growled. I felt pressure growing on my forehead, Shukaku probably trying to take over.

”I still have another trick up my sleeve Shukaku, leave me alone until Im almost dead. Then I might let you take over. ” I had no intention of giving power to Shukaku, least not yet. I still didn trust his intentions, giving him control would be far too risky.

”Is that all you have, son of the Kazekage? I was surprised when you showed up but I know see that you are just a little genin brat. ” Turning my head, I saw it was the rogue ANBU who was talking to me. He was slowly walking toward me, a red fire glob in his hand. He had removed his mask to reveal pale white hair. He had a very sharply shaped face and black eyes. He looked surprisingly young to be so powerful, no older than his early twenties probably. I tried to scramble up but the shooting pain throughout my body sent me back to the ground. I wouldn be doing anything with my broken leg or my burnt body.

”What, cat got your tongue? ” The man was grinning like a maniac and now tossing the fire glob up and down like a rubber ball.

”Why are you doing this? ” It was all I could manage to think of through the pain going through me.

”Why? Isn it obvious? Im sick and tired of being used as a tool by the Hidden Sand. Your father rescued me after my village was destroyed. For a long time, I was grateful to him but now I realize that I am nothing to him. Thankfully, Ive finally found someone who appreciates me for who I am instead of what my kekkei genkai can do. ” This guy didn really make any sense to me. I understood what he was saying my gut was telling me that something was off. What was it though? it definitely had something to do with the look in his eyes, it didn seem normal. The man leaned down right next to me and started to push the glob of fire toward my head. He was grinning with a shine in his eyes as I struggled to get away from him. Out of nowhere, the man was blown off his feet and sent flying. Craning my neck, Temari stood a few yards away from me with the damaged fan in her arms. She was using it as a crutch right now to stand upright, her condition was just as bad as mine.

”Gaara are you okay? ” Temari limped toward me, concern on her face despite her own condition.

”Temari get away from here, ” I weakly choked out. I could see the man getting up in the distance and he seemed angry. She didn listen though because she crumbled to the ground. Temari had passed out, her injuries being too much. I dragged myself using my arms to get to her. I quickly checked her over to find that she was in pretty bad condition but still stable.

”Im gonna kill that little brat right now, ” growled the man as he prepared another miniature sun in his right hand. He was stumbling towards us, having somewhat recovered from being sent flying. If he hit us with another one of those suns, then we would all die. I had to do something before he killed everyone.

”Shukaku, I may need some of your chakra and I might pass out okay? Please don try and take control and rampage, I don want anyone to get killed. ” I could tell he was intently listening to me for once.

”What are you playing to do human? You better not get us killed. ”

I wasn listening to him though as I started forming the complex hand signs for the Jutsu. I wasn normally one to use hand signs but for this kind of Jutsu, it was better to play it safe. The rogue ninja saw what I was doing and began running towards me. He was far too late to stop me, unfortunately for him.

”Sand Waterfall Imperial Funeral ”

With that one sentence, the ground in front of me split as if someone had started cutting it with a knife. The traitor tried to get out of the way but he couldn possibly escape what was about to befall him. He fell into the vast canyon that had formed, screaming as he dropped. It wasn over though, sand began to pour back into the abyss, the mans screaming soon cut off. There was a muffled explosion as his small sun exploded but even that didn make a dent in my Jutsu. In mere moments, the landscape had turned back to exactly what it had been. It had swallowed the man up in less than a minute. I crashed limply to the ground. My vision started to fade even though I weakly fought against it. I couldn stop it though and I embraced the darkness of unconsciousness.

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