Filling the Void
It was the silence that got to him, really.
All through his life, he'd wanted to gain that silence. He'd longed for it, hoped for it, even tried praying to whatever God there was at one point. After a while, he simply accepted the fact that he'd never attain it. Even when he'd made his decision to change, he knew that through the rest of his days, he would never be able to gain true silence.
He also knew he would never be truly alone.
He almost scoffed at that thought, continuing his steady pacing around the darkened room. Some people would take that knowledge as inspiring or encouraging...but when the only higher power you knew of wanted nothing but death and chaos, that phrase tended to lose it's rather naive meaning.
He'd long since given into that voice. He knew it was wrong, but he'd justified it. After a while, the numbness had settled in, and he wanted to do anything to overcome it. To prove his existence...to justify it. That's why he'd killed so often.
He almost felt like sighing. Was this what ordinary people went through? Did they talk to themselves in their minds too? Or did the lack of the second entity that had plagued him for so long driven him to this? Maybe he wasn't really sane at all? Were any Jinchūriki truly sane? He doubted normal humans argued with themselves like this simply because they had no one else to argue with. They wouldn't know what it was like to have someone else to "discuss" subjects with like he had, so it seemed very unlikely that they did this. And yet...
If he would have been anyone else, he would have screamed in frustration, or pulled his hair out. However, he simply bared his teeth and allowed a low growl to escape. How was it, that he could put up with an insane demon for almost 20 years with practically no emotion showing, and yet he couldn't seem to handle this? This simple lack of the other voice.
Step. Step. Step. Step.
Not that he would complain. He'd finally achieved his greatest wish. So, how could he be grateful and yet sorry all at once?
He glanced through his open window (his bodyguards would undoubtedly have a "talk" with him in the morning about that, but at the moment he couldn't bring himself to care) up at the full moon and almost cringed. Simple reminders he saw on a constant basis brought it up every time--that conflict he felt inside of him. He'd never wanted to be alone. Loneliness had driven him insane before he'd even reached the age of true accountability. Now that he had people he cared about, and people who cared about him, he no longer had to worry about that. He'd never be alone...but he'd had to lose that voice: the bane of his existence, and yet the one being that had truly always been there; the one thing that had both driven him insane, and kept him from despair. Because of who he'd been, he could never truly be alone.
And yet, now he was.
She hadn't been there by choice, though, which seemed to help one side of the argument now raging in his troubled mind in some small way. Not by choice, the other part of him argued, but still there none the less. And she'd never stopped.
Step. Step. Step.
She'd never stopped calling out...
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.
Never stopped urging...nagging for blood...
Step, step, step, step, step, step.
"AARG!" He growled throwing his hands to his head. He hadn't been this frustrated since...bright yellow/blond hair over cool, blue, happy eyes flashed into his mind. Not since the person those eyes belonged to had beat him down...without allowing the demon inside of him to control him.
That's what had caused him to think...and to ultimately ignore that voice. The voice he'd called 'mother'. The fact that at the time, the Ichibi had gone after the blond boy with even more of a vengeance than normal. He still remembered the harsh voice shrieking inside his mind (although it all seemed a vague blur, and he couldn't remember if he'd actually been awake or asleep at the time) that she knew this chakra anywhere: this boy housed the Kyuubi. The most powerful tailed-beast demon...and he had not let the fox overcome him despite the odds.
He resumed pacing as his face returned to its normal, stone-carved state. He'd kept his "lack of emotion" demeanor for so many years by learning to tune out the other voices, both those from outside and the inside. Shouldn't this be the same? Couldn't he just tune the silence out? Still, he found it difficult to tune out the lack of something...anything. Shaking his head, he closed his still black-ringed eyes, and concentrated on breathing.
This had been a calming exercise that anyone who had ever been in an authority stance around him had tried to pound into his head. Mother had always hated it when he'd...
His eyes snapped open and he paused his pacing yet again. It had been years since he'd called that...thing Mother.
Again he brought his hand to his head, this time much more slowly, and having it carefully caress the bridge of his nose. Even when she no longer resided within him, she haunted and manipulated him.
She still controlled him, even if it was only to some small extent.
For some reason, that didn't surprise him. What did surprise him, was the fact that it didn't bother him as much as he thought it would. It annoyed him to no end, but he found that it did not make him angry. He felt more...resigned.
Was he that used to being manipulated?
He knew the answer to that question. That's why they'd chosen him to "rule" this village. After years and years of giving into something just to find some semblance of peace of mind, the village elders knew that he could be controlled.
Feared and controlled. To them, there wasn't any better combination.
That's why he loved the looks on their faces whenever he stood adamantly against them. He would not be controlled so easily, not after breaking away.
Not after that fight with him...
"Gaara?" He paused and turned to the door calmly, having known that she was there by the radiating chakara signature that calmed him. She hadn't even tried to hide it, and for that, he was more than grateful.
"Temari," he nodded at his sister. She took it as either an invitation, or the acceptance of her own, and entered, shutting the door behind her softly.
She stood there for several seconds in the loose shirt and shorts she liked to sleep in before looking up. "Still can't sleep?"
He shrugged and began pacing again. "Could I ever?"
She shook her head. "I know, not without being restrained." Gaara simply nodded and continued to pace.
"Do you think we should try the restraints?" She asked. "Maybe that's--"
"I already did," he said without emotion, never looking up at her, instead choosing to focus on the floor before him.
She paused. "What about the 'Forced Sleep' technique?"
He shook his head again. "It doesn't last more than a few minutes without her to maintain the state."
Temari stood at that and folded her arms, a stubborn, sour look crossing her sun-kissed features.
"Well what is it then?"
He blinked, not understanding the question. Then he turned to look blankly at her. She got the hint.
"What's keeping you from sleeping?" she specified, her voice laced with impatience.
He nodded and looked back at the floor.
"How can you do it?" He asked after a long pause.
This time, it was her turn to look confused. "Do what?" She asked.
He felt like sighing again, but still, he refrained, instead choosing to answer her question. "How can you sleep with all this silence?"
Realization came over her face as she looked at her little brother. She could see it now. He hadn't stopped pacing when she'd entered the room, and he seemed to be uncharacteristically focused on the ground, and his feet. Even when she'd been in the hall, she could hear his deliberate foot-falls, far louder than his normal steps.
Whether consciously or subconsciously, he was trying to fill a void he'd never had before, to obtain a state he'd always had trouble with.
She shook her head, realizing that she really couldn't answer his question satisfactorily.
"I'll be right back," she replied and slipped out of the room. Gaara looked up at the door for a moment, a little surprised. His sister never acted like this. She was a very direct, terse person. She got straight to the point, and she rarelyleft anything unfinished.
He didn't stop pacing, but he didn't stop staring at the door either.
He nodded, all confusion related to Temari vanishing when she walked back in a few moments later.
"Here," she tossed him something. He caught it easily and looked down at the round, flat object that had something dangling from a wire.
"What is this?" he asked.
"It's my Walkman, what does it look like?" The annoyance in her voice had returned, not that he minded. If she hadn't been sarcastic and annoyed, he would have cornered her as a spy and asked what they'd done with his sister.
He studied the smooth, flat surface and noted the buttons.
"So", he looked back at her, "what do you want me to do with it?"
Somehow, she managed to look even more annoyed and impatient. Muttering something under her breath that sounded suspiciously like 'he can control sand, is probably one of the best ninja the village has ever seen, can run a country and ignore an inner demon, but he can't figure this out.' He simply raised an eyebrow at her implications, and stopped pacing.
She reached out, and took the dangling wire, placing the slightly heavier ends in his ears.
He sighed. "Temari, you know I don't like your music."
She smiled slyly. "You didn't like that inner voice either though, did you?" He tipped his head, conceding her point with a nod. "Just don't turn it on too loud," she muttered as she took the machine from his hand and started fiddling with the buttons. "It won't be the same, but maybe," she grinned as heavy guitars started pounding in his ears.
He immediately took them off, eyeing them as if they were the spawn of all evil. Then he noticed that his sister had said something, but due to the sudden noise, he'd missed it.
"Excuse me?" he asked, his face still nothing short of stoic.
She shook her head and put a hand up to her face in a "why me?" gesture. "I said it won't be the same, but maybe it'll help."
He looked down at the round mechanism she's shoved back into his hand, and the ear-phones in his other. Then he looked up, and in a completely uncharacteristic manor, he smiled. It didn't last for very long, but it had been honest and sincere.
"Thank you, Temari," he bowed to her and placed the phones back on his head (consequently missing her response). He did not miss, however, the contented, peaceful, and warm smile that she reserved only for her brothers.
"Now please try to sleep, Kazakage, sir," she bowed herself, and turned to retreat.
He sighed, his face returning once again to his normal, emotionless base.
"Please don't call me that," he said. "I'm your brother."
She smiled again. "Get that sorry--" at this point she chose some rather colorful words, winking and smiling before continuing, "--to bed, little brother."
He nodded and turned around, watching her slip out of the room out of the corner of his eye. He never thought he'd actually miss that voice, but until he got used to this new situation, he'd just have to rely on those around him who would never voluntarily leave him again.
Allowing another smile to slide onto his face (with the vague idea that two smiles in five minutes was some sort of record for him), he laid down on his rather hard bed (if it had been any softer, it would have hurt his chances of sleeping more than helped it) and turned the music up.
After a moment, he was able to tune it out, and for the first time in his life, he drifted into a peaceful, undisturbed sleep.
Author's Notes: Okay, so this will probably be my only Naruto fan-fic ever. glares at Carissa and Jessica THIS IS ALL OF YOUR GUYS FAULT! shakes fist Anywho, yeah. I just figured that Gaara would not adjust so easily as some people make it out.