Since only one thread per user name is allowed now, I guess I'll have to put everything in here!
Most of the fanfic posted will be Naruto; the photos will all be ones I've taken at parks and beaches and such around where I live.
Blanket disclaimer: I do not own in part or full any aspect of Naruto. This is the property of Kishimoto Masashi-sensei, his relevant partners and subsidiaries. I do own all original aspects of this fanfiction including but not limited to original characters and plot. This fanfiction has been published at no profit, purely for the enjoyment of the fans and the collective good of the series.
I guess I'll start off with Naruto Sandsibs drabble!
And Sand Becomes Glass
With time, heat, and pressure, coal becomes diamonds.
He'd learned that years ago, and remembered it after the Chuunin exam. He'd wondered if it was true, and had asked Temari. Still adjusting to him not being utterly vicious and homicidal, she'd looked at him strangely, then confirmed it was true.
Something so ugly and cheap turning into something so pretty and valuable was amazing.
Coal becomes diamonds. He wasn't coal, he'd told Temari.
No, she'd said, he wasn't. He was sand.
And sand? He'd asked. What about sand?
Coal becomes diamonds, she'd replied, and sand...
...Sand becomes glass.
o o o o o
o o o o o
This was written for the LiveJournal 20_inkspots community, located at http://community.livejournal.com/20_inkspots . From the Light theme set; one word trigger #12: optimism.
Please tell me what you think.
Two in the morning, and a light was still on in one room of the house that Sabaku no Gaara shared with his siblings. In said room, a pale redhead sat at the desk in the corner, the wooden top covered in papers. There were mission reports and pages of numbers, complaints, and correspondence of every type. And there was a lot. Things had piled up between the death of the previous Kazekage, his biological father, and his own inauguration as the new Kazekage. Gaara was almost glad he couldn’t sleep; if he could, it would have taken at least twice as long to get everything sorted through.
Just because he couldn’t sleep didn’t mean he didn’t get tired, however, and he was. He had been working on this particular issue since 0600 the previous day. His eyes ached, his fingers were cramped, and he wished he could just burn the damn papers, or throw them out the window, or tear them up. Anything to get them off of his desk!
With a glare that would send grown men running aimed at the offending papers, Gaara shoved them to the edge of his desk and leaned back in his chair, wincing as stiff muscles protested. He didn’t regret accepting the position of Kazekage, especially when the village was in such need of one, but he wished there was less paperwork. He’d certainly be able to survive without the paperwork.
Quiet footsteps in the hallway had him alert and listening warily, until he recognised them as belonging to Temari. She knocked on his door, which surprised him a bit, and opened it carefully when he called her in, quietly, so as not to wake Kankurou, who slept in the next room. She was dressed in her sleep clothes and yawning, hair pulled back into a single ponytail for the night.
“How’s you work going?” Temari asked around a yawn.
He glowered at the papers he had pushed aside. “Tedious.”
She almost laughed at the way he looked, but contained it with an effort.
Pale green eyes met her darker ones. “Why are you still up?”
Temari looked sheepish. “I was reading and lost track of time.” Watching her youngest brother’s expression, she was nonplussed to see a faint, tiny smile on his face.
“What are you working on, anyway?” Temari blurted suddenly.
Gaara motioned towards the papers on the edge of his desk, eyeing them distastefully. She picked up the top sheet and scanned it quickly.
The page was covered in numbers and calculations, with notes in the margins and crammed next to lists of printed data, all in a tiny, precise hand. It appeared to be the village’s imports and exports, how much they had made from shinobi missions, and the average income per capita, among other things. Flipping through the stack, she raised an eyebrow at what he was expected to do with this.
“Did the council give you a deadline?”
“Thursday,” came the soft reply.
“That’s tomorrow—no, today! ...Do you have any idea what you’re doing here?”
“No,” Gaara answered hesitantly after a moment’s silence, and when Temari looked at him, he almost seemed embarrassed.
He sighed, and leaned over his desk, pulling his papers and writing utensils towards him, obviously planning to get back to work. He froze and looked up at his older sister, confused, when she plucked the papers from his grasp.
“You,” she said sternly, “are going to take a break and get something to eat—I know you skipped supper, because I was there and you weren’t—and then we’ll tackle this together.”
Gaara stared at her for a moment, utterly speechless. Temari smiled slightly, and ruffled his hair, then dragged him down to the kitchen. Another half an hour found them back in at his desk with sandwiches and hot chocolate, heads together over his paperwork.
Eight in the morning, and the redhead sat and stared out the window as the village—his village—came to life. Temari had staggered off to bed at his insistence at about seven, and he’d finished up the work on the last of the calculations. Gaara still didn’t understand what had possessed his sister to stay up for five more hours to help him, but he was grateful.
But she had gone to bed, so he sat in the sun coming through his window and watched the people of his village. His empty plate and mug from their early-morning meal sat on the windowsill, white ceramic almost glowing in the sunlight. He’d never had hot chocolate until that morning, when Temari had showed him how to make it, but he knew he would have it again. It was rather addicting.
He didn’t know if he would ever understand the relationship he now had with his siblings, but he thought that was okay, as long as he got to keep it. He had never realised, before Naruto, just how lonely he truly had been. He laughed softly to himself. Before Naruto. The phrase was turning into a way of separating his then and his now; but definitively separating, not something like a vague “while back,” but more like an era in history. Before Naruto and After Naruto.
After Naruto, everything had changed: his perspective, his attitude, his whole being. Gaara thought Temari had realised it first—Kankurou always seemed like he could only read people in battle—and she had accepted him completely. For some time, he had known that she was still unsure about him, downright scared on occasion, but she had made the effort. Kankurou’s effort had followed after it had become clear he wouldn’t get crushed in sand if he tried to treat his younger sibling less like someone to be feared and more like a brother.
It was love; something Gaara had always known existed outside of his own twisted meaning, but had never tried, preferring to stay stable in his instability. In his own world, where he could pretend he had no emotions other than hate and anger and love for himself, and thus avoid the hurt real love could sometimes bring. If you made yourself believe something for long enough, it would become the truth to you, he knew now.
Real love, he had discovered, was something like hot chocolate. Sweet and warm and addicting, but it could burn, too. Now, though, he didn’t really think it was a burn he would mind, as long as he got the flavour and sweetness that went with it. That would make the pain worth it. If love had a flavour, it would probably be hot chocolate.
“Gaara? You there?” Kankurou’s voice came through from the hallway.
The doorknob turned, and a sleep-mussed brown head poked around the door. “I was going to make some pancakes, you want some?”
Gaara heard his stomach growl, as if answering his brother’s question. He nodded.
“Okay; I’ll get them started, come down when you’re ready.” The disembodied head disappeared and the door closed behind it.
Yes, Gaara decided, love would taste like hot chocolate.
o o o o o
o o o o o
For LJ's 20_inkspots. at http://community.livejournal.com/20_inkspots .
From the Light set, one word trigger number five: flavours.
Please let me know what you think.
The companion art by LJ user alanahikarichan can be found here: http://pics.livejournal.com/caitlin_chan/pic/00001r34/g1
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 apologize 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 apologize?”
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.”
o o o o o
o o o o o
For 20_inkspots, but I don't think you need the link again.
Please let me know what you think. Constructive criticism is encouraged and cherished.
This photo is of Melmerby Beach at sunset, and was taken on June 9th, 2006, around ten past eight in the evening. I used my Kodak EasyShare CX7300 digital camera, which shoots at 3.2 megapixels. Hopefully, I'll be getting a better camera soon.
This is another shot taken at Melmerby, where the beach ends at the cliff. It was also taken on June 9th with the same camera, about twenty-five minutes earlier in the evening and facing the same direction. The sun sets quickly over the Northumberland Strait.