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Description

I wrote this very long fanfiction that I will post in parts (since it is sooooo long haha) to follow a young and extremely legendary kunoichi with a fourth form of ocular kekkei genkai throughout her life.  She discovers very early in her life when she meets her best friend who is none other than a lot of people's favorite, Gaara, that she is obsessed with Jinchuuriki and protecting them from the pain of the world.

 

******

 

            Her eyes were two shades too dark.  They were so black that whenever you looked into them you wouldn’t think that you were looking into someone’s eyes at all, but the deep liquidness that the black color held made you think that you were peering into the depths of a bubbling that of thick oil.

Surrounding those eyes was a short and tousled mop of pure white.  The hair that perfectly encompassed the young girl’s face was so white that it gave off a bit of a silvery glow.  It shimmered in the sunlight and held its luster even in the darkest of rooms.

It was no phenomenon that 9 year old Zeva Nivito looked this way.  Her father, Keth Nivito, looked the same as her.  Hair as white as fresh snow and eyes as dark as the scariest of dreams.  And her mother, before she passed away, had also looked the same.  As did her grandparents, great grandparents and many more ancestors before them did.  The Nivito family was a sort of royalty.  They only married within their own clan, as to keep their rich bloodline as pure as it was the very day that Yukon Saruka was born.

Yukon was the very oldest of the clan.  He was born into the Hidden Mist Village and was extremely adept with his use of the water style. He was the original of the Nivito’s new clan and what made his blood so special and worth preserving was the unique abilities that he possessed.  He was born with eyes so black that not one ounce of white could be seen and silky black hair that matched them precisely.  These eyes of his were capable of great things.  He was able to see right through people.  He could tell when they were lying, when they were uncomfortable, when they were happy and when they were scared.  It was impossible to slip anything past Yukon and that was what made his power so detested among the enemy.  He eventually became the number one target for anyone that he opposed and the attempts on his life became so frequent that he had to fend off attackers at least twice a day.  But Yukon was strong as an ox and sharp as a knife.  And to top his great power off, he had the eyes.  His special eyes could warn him when an enemy was close and let him see what their next move was going to be.  So he was especially skilled at evading attack.  However, every dog has its day.

A skilled demon tamer called Ishi discovered the greatness of Yukon’s power and devoted his life to strategic planning on how he could trick Yukon enough to be given the chance to slip the demon, Arukana within him, fusing the powers of the two together and making them one.  A menacing Earth spirit demon clashing with a ruthless Hidden Mist warrior would be the ultimate of all chaotic creations.  Eventually, Ishi devised the perfect plan.  Yukon was only able to see what the person he was looking at let him see.  Ishi began vigorous training on his mind and soul and eventually taught it to feel and think in a completely dissimilar way than what was real.  Thus, a genius scheme began into play.

Arukana was the most powerful of all of the demons that Ishi dealt with.  He was a silver furred wolf spirit of a great and skilled earth style using clan that existed thousands of years ago.  He was once the protector of the ancient clan, but the greedy people betrayed and mocked Arukana when he became sick with disease out of anger that they no longer had his protection.  They did not respect all of the noble and heroic things that he had done for their people.  When Arukana died, he died in vain and his spirit lived on in the living world in agony, longing for someone to care for him and help him rest in peace.

            But no one came for many, many years and Arukana eventually grew bitter to the world around him and began to terrorize and murder just to feed his hungry soul, until the day that he was discovered by Ishi.  Now, Arukana awaited the opportunity to take over a powerful human body and control it as his own.  At least, that is what Ishi told him was going to happen.

            Ishi was a trickster and he specialized in summoning chaos and destruction.  He cared nothing of his own life or the lives of others; just terrorizing the world and watching it burn.  So he filled Arukana’s mind with hopes and dreams of being able to finally live amongst the world again.  But he was fully aware of the fact that once Arukana was inside of Yukon, he would no longer have his free will.  He would be capable of haunting and terrorizing only one and that would be the one that he possessed: Yukon.

            So the day came and Ishi successfully fooled Yukon into thinking that he was just another bi-passer, all the while waiting for the perfect moment to unleash the demon, the moment that Yukon’s guard was completely let down.

            Once Arukana was inside of Yukon, all of Yukon’s silky black hair turned the silvery white color of Arukana’s fur and once Arukana realized in horror what was really happening, he lashed out rigorously in a futile attempt to escape.  But Ishi was legendarily known for his seals so nothing anybody could do would cause the seal that eternally imprisoned Arukana inside of Yukon to be broken.

            Yukon went crazy, unleashing his full power along with the demon’s raging power and killing Ishi.  The outcome was exactly what Ishi had expected, but he died with laughter on his face at the final menace that he had created for the world to endure.

            However, after a small outburst of pointless killing in the ruckus of the demon living inside of him, Yukon and Arukana both soon discovered that what had happened was really a blessing in disguise.  At first, the two loathed each other, but in a little time, they became the best of friends, feeding off of each other’s power and enjoying the companionship that would last forever.  Ishi’s plan was foiled and he most likely turned over in his grave because of it.  But a good demon was finally born out of Arukana and a better man out of Yukon.  From that point on, the blood of Yukon Saruka was holy blood that all of his descendents preserved with honor…

            That brings us to Zeva.  The Nivito clan, who were the rulers of their small home, the Hidden Mud Village of the Wind Nation.  This village was extremely miniscule in population due to the fact that it was a village that only welcomed the members of one specific clan.  They were also an extremely wealthy village because the Nivito clan was known for its brilliant warriors.  The Hidden Mud harbored a plethora of splendid shinobi and kunoichi and they were always hired by the richer nations for missions.  They were also preferred by some because of their devotion to a mission.  They were willing to do just about any dirty and malevolent work that one could think of to successfully complete their mission.  They created the name Mud clan to symbolize the fact that they are the only duel clan in existence:  duel because they had the ability to control both earth and water style which, if mixed together literally, makes mud.

            Keth Nivito was the head of the clan.  He was the ruler of the entire Mud Village and anything that he said was what would be.  He was a merciless and vengeful fighter and he began to raise Zeva the same way once she was barely even old enough to walk.  Zeva knew nothing but malice and violence, but somehow, her heart was the purest in all of the land.

            But as kind and soft as Zeva’s heart was, she was taught to never, under any circumstances, show her weaknesses and emotions, and at a very young age she learned never to cry or else she would be pleading at the hand of her heartless father.  Now, when Zeva cried, she cried on the inside and she noticed that every time that she wanted to cry, it would rain.  At first it seemed a coincidence, but eventually she realized that she was a water style using child as well as an earth user, so it made perfect sense that the rain could symbolize her tears.  It was the first small hint that she had of her immense power that would come in later years.

            Zeva was a mischievous and adventure seeking little girl and there was nothing her father could do to scare her rebellion out of her.  However, she learned very quickly and eventually knew that it was smart to pretend to be afraid of what her father would do to her if she was to sneak off, and just do it anyways.  Being the daughter of a clan head, she was not supervised well at all and she found that nighttime was the best time to sneak away and explore the other villages in the land.

            She had seen the Village Hidden in the Hills and the Hidden Thunder Village plenty of times and she was growing tired of them.  She had only seen a small part of the Fire Nation once in her life and she did not plan to go back.  It was much too far a voyage and she barely got to the outskirts before it was time to turn back.  The Fire Nation was the largest Nation in the whole shinobi world and she vowed that someday she would see every bit of it, but for now, she must stick to exploring the close proximity villages that directly surrounded the Village Hidden in the Mud. 

            However, nothing was quite as interesting in the night as it was in the day and Zeva decided that she needed to plan on sneaking away to the other villages during the daytime.  She had to find a time when her father was occupied and she had to time it just right, but she wasn’t worried, manipulating her father was easy enough.

            She waited until he had great plans to meet with the Kazekage of the Sand Village, and then she made a run for it.  The fact that Keth was meeting with the Kazukage gave Zeva a brilliant idea.  She would go and see a village that she had never seen before in the daylight!  She was about to go and visit the Hidden Sand Village, a decision that would change her life forever.  It was a tad farther than the other two villages that she frequented, but there was no better time to make the voyage than now.  If her father was meeting with someone as important as the Kazekage, it would surely last no less than all day.

            When she arrived at the Sand Village she was very pleased with her surroundings.  It was hot and dry just like a desert, with houses made of dried mud bricks and temples of stone.  It was a very nice looking place and she immediately took to it.  She began exploring some of the shops and even bought a few interesting items that she thought could be easily hidden from her father.  She met some people of the village and admired their sand jutsus, not daring to share any of her water or earth jutsus for fear that someone would recognize her as royalty and see it fit that she returned home.  She wore a black coat with an immense hood for this very reason.  Her white mop was a dead giveaway at the fact that she was Keth Nivito's only child so she tucked it away behind her hood tediously, but her eyes were a little bit more difficult to spot unless you truly knew the ways of the Nivito clan.

            She explored most of the day without getting bored for a second before she remembered her father.  Being in the Sand Village had made her feel a truly free feeling and she enjoyed it so much that she could not wait to return.  However, she knew the time had come that she ventured back home, so she started on her way.

            On her walk towards the direction of her home, something startled her.  A noise of children laughing with an evil spirited sort of demeanor.  She did not like the tone of their laughter one bit so she decided to check it out.  She wandered near the playground and peaked through a hole in the fence to see what was happening.

            That was the first time that she ever saw him.  Little 6 year old Gaara, cowering and teary eyed in the corner as a pack of other kids laughed at him.  She could hear one kid in particular.  He seemed to be the leader of the pack.

            “My mom said that you’re a freak.  She said to stay away from you at all costs little freak.  But I’m not scared of a weirdo like you.  Why don’t you go home to your family?  Oh never mind, not even your own family wants you!”  He busted up with laughter at his cruelty as the rest of the kids followed him in mocking Gaara.

            Zeva was infuriated.  There was something special about this boy, that was clear to her.  She had impeccable senses due to the fact that the wolf spirit had fused its dog like senses into Yukon so long ago.  Not only was there something different about him, but there was something about him that caused her to be drawn to him.  She wanted to intervene and to use her powers to teach the pack of naïve children a lesson that they would not soon forget, but she realized how close of a time schedule that she was on.  Not to mention the fact that revealing herself was a sure way to get caught.  She was too interested in young Gaara to risk being caught by her father and never being able to see the light of day again without total supervision so, she sucked up her anger and turned away from the scene, heading home in a hurried fashion.

            The rest of that entire night she could focus on nothing but the poor little child of the sand village who was being teased by children twice his age.  Who was he and what was it about him that caused her to feel this way?  She began to obsess over when she would be able to visit the Sand Village next and she decided that she would watch the boy from a distance for a short while, gathering information on him and trying to decipher who he really was.

It felt like ages before her father finally told her that he would be going out again.  She timidly asked him where he would be going and he boldly told her that he was going to the Village Hidden in the Sky on a top secret mission with her Aunt Renju and Renju's son Hiduka.  He told her that he would be gone for about a week and to make sure she trained plenty while he was away.  The idea of a top secret mission worried her.  She knew it was probably something horrible and she wondered how many casualties that the Hidden Sky would suffer because of her own ruthless people.  However, she had no time to worry about the Hidden Sky's well being because she had to head to the Sand Village as soon as she felt it was safe to leave.

She suited up with her knee length black hooded coat and dark shinobi sandals.  As soon as she reached the Hidden Sand she began tracking Gaara using the scent that she had picked up from him weeks prior.  Zeva was extremely gifted and she knew it.  She just feared the day that her father realized she was going to be much more powerful than him.

She located Gaara at his home and she could sense the presence of someone else living there.  She remembered the words of the bully at the park and they stung her heart more ferociously than she would have ever expected.  He had told the mysterious boy that his family did not love him, so Zeva wondered who he could have been living with if he had no family.  She prayed that she would not see more hate towards the boy because that was more than she could bear as a helpless bystander.

She positioned herself behind the far wall of the house, right outside the room that Gaara and the mysterious person were inside of and she tuned her hearing in perfectly to hear their conversation.”

“Young Gaara, do not weep over those who do not understand you.  My sister gave you life and in her death she gave you the gift of the sand to protect you.  She wanted you to always be safe and people fear you because of this.”

“Is it true what they say though, Uncle?  Do I really possess the spirit of a ruthless demon within me?”

The second voice sighed a great sigh and paused for a moment, as if thinking whether it should come clean with Gaara or not.  “Yes, Gaara.  Your father placed the demon inside of you before you were even born.  You were born with the retched thing inside of you and that you must live with.”

Zeva could sense Gaara’s panic.  “Oh, no. No, no no!  Then I will never be accepted.  My mother may have given me the gift of the sand to protect me from hurt, but I imagine that physical hurt feels a little like the feeling in my heart right now.  I am lonely Uncle and I have no one to care for me.”

“Young Gaara, I will always be here to care for you as long as you live, do not forget that.”

“I know Uncle, but once you are not here, then I will be completely alone and that I can not bear.  It is too much pain.”

“For now, do not worry about that, just sleep and let your dreams sweep over you…”

That was the end of the conversation.  Zeva felt strange about the whole thing.  There was a rage inside of her for the way that people treated the boy.  But she knew that they were simple minded and afraid.  And the whole business of his father placing a demon inside of him while he was still in the womb.  Despicable.

Gaara.  She had finally learned the boy’s name and she was so pleased to be able to put a name to the face that fascinated her so much.

She went up to one of the stone pillars that was a little bit of a distance from Gaara’s window.  Not a big distance, but big enough that her talented black eyes could see him perfectly, while he would never even know that she was there.  Her eyes were more of an emotion gazer than a literal one, but being as advanced as they were, they were still capable of a better than 20/20 view of things.

He did not go to sleep, as she expected, but what he did do she did not expect.  He pulled out a blade from underneath his mattress and drove it as hard as he could into his palm.  Zeva let out a small gasp of horror but soon realized that his attempts to mutilate himself were futile.  Sand emerged from his skin and protected him from the blow and as he tried to drive the blade into all different parts of himself she realized that the strange sand continued to protect him.  This was clearly what Uncle was speaking to him about earlier but it was just so fascinating.  Zeva sat up on that pillar for a few more hours before she decided it was about time to go home.  She just watched him as he slept, trying to imagine his dreams and feeling all of his worry and pain.

There was something truly unique about Gaara and Zeva knew that no matter what happened in her life, she was going to protect people like him.  Not in a physical way, but from the malicious, judgmental eyes of the people in the shinobi world.

 

******

 

Zeva continued her secret stalking for awhile, carefully planning her every move so that no one would ever discover what she was up to.  She learned more and more about Gaara as time went on and she grew more attached to him every time she went lurking around the Sand Village.

Meanwhile, in the Mud Village, she practiced hard during the sessions with her father, but she was sure not to practice too hard.  She did not want her father to know just how quickly her powers were advancing, but she still wanted him to think that she had enough potential to be considered a fitting heir to the Nivito throne.

It was a gloomy day filled with many storms the day that her father approached her after a particularly rigorous lesson.  “Zeva.  You have done very well today.  I am proud to call you my daughter, even though I did pray for a son.  When your mother died giving birth to you I was sick in my stomach because she was of the last in our clan that I was not directly related to.  So you were the only child that I could have.  However, you have done great at proving my doubts to be wrong and I suspect that you will do a fine job as my replacement when I am gone someday.”

Zeva was caught off guard by his compliment, but she accepted it nevertheless.  She bowed her head.  “Thank you father.  My life's goal is to serve you and to make you proud of my abilities.  I understand that I am your only hope and I want you not to worry about not having an heir.”  Her words were nothing but lies and she hated herself for having to say them, but keeping her father at bay involved spewing lies every day, so she was becoming quite used to it.

The truth was that Zeva was planning on becoming as powerful as possible and retreating from the Mud Village the day that she felt she was old enough to do so.  She was only 9 years old, but she still had the most elaborate plan for her future.  She was a genius so to speak.

“Well Zeva I have something to tell you.  It is about the Sand Village.”

Oh no.  He knows. Zeva's heart dropped into her stomach and she imagined all of the horrible and cruel punishments that she would have to go through once her father told her that he had finally found her out.  But that mattered nothing to her like the fact that she may no longer be able to watch over Gaara.  She kept her cool though.  She did not let an ounce of fear show on her face or on her inside.  She had become quite good at hiding things because of her years of practice hiding things from someone who possessed the power of the eyes.

“What is it father?”

“Today I am going to meet with the Kazekage.  I must sign a very important document of the treaty of alliance that the Nivito clan shares with the Sand Village.  It is an elaborate form of agreement and we will be sharing dinner with many very important people of the Sand Village.  It is an event that I would like to take you with me to.  Lord Kazekage will have his family there as well, so it is proper etiquette that I bring my own family, which consists of no one but you, Zeva.  What do you say?  Would you like to join me?”

Zeva was smart enough to know that this was not an offer as her father made it seem, but a demand.  But nevertheless she wouldn't have said no anyways.  It was a perfect chance to get a look at the Sand Village, and even though it would eat away at her that she could not sneak off and go looking for Gaara, at least she'd have a better chance at it than sitting at home by herself in the Mud Village.  She beamed.  “Of course I will join you father!  It is such a great honor to be given the opportunity to attend such an event.  I am elated by this offer.”

Keth nodded in satisfaction at his daughter's enthusiasm to take part.  “Very, well then.  Run along and go get ready.  We will be leaving within the hour.”  He turned away from her and left the room and she could not hide her excitement.  A smile was wide on her face and she jumped up and down with content.

Once they arrived in the Hidden Sand, Zeva took a great whiff of the air and she located the direction of Gaara's scent immediately.  She kept a steady track on his scent and noticed how intense it got as they neared their destination.  'Where could he be?' she thought in her head hopefully.

Once they got to the Kazekage's, the scent of Gaara was so great that Zeva knew that he must be in the temple somewhere.

'But why?  What is a young boy that is hated by almost everyone doing in Lord Kazekage's home?”

She tugged on the shirt of her father.  “Umm, father.  I have to use the little girl's room, fast.  Can you point me in the right direction?  You have been here before have you not?”

“Is it an emergency Zeva?  Lord Kazekage should be here any moment now and I would like you to be present when he arrives.”

She looked at him with her most helpless of faces that she could fake.  “Yes, father, it is an emergency.  I have been trying to hold it but it is too great an urgency to hold for a moment longer.”

“Very well.  It is down that corridor over there.  Make the second left that you see and then you will see a large red door on your right.  That is the main bathroom.”

“Thank you father.  I will be right back.”

She hurried down the corridor that her father pointed to and as soon as she was out of his sight she began running and sniffing out Gaara as she went.  She made many twists and turns as she sped along and remembered each one as she did so.  Finally, she came to a door and she knew that Gaara was residing behind that door.  Before she opened it, she tuned in her hearing to see what was going on inside.

“But father I would like to come and meet the Nivito clan head too.  Why can you not introduce me as your son?”

What?  Son?  Zeva knew that voice all too well.  It was Gaara's.  But who was he talking to?  Who was his father?  It was times such as this that Zeva wished that her eyes could see through walls instead of people.  But she decided to just keep listening.

“You are no son of mine.  You should not have even come here today.  You are such a disgrace and I am ashamed of you.  Do not dare call me father in front of the Nivitos, not that you will ever get the chance to.”  The man laughed a cold laugh.

All of the sudden, Zeva heard another door in the room open and a third person enter.  There must have been multiple exits in this particular room.  This time, it was a woman.  “Lord Kazekage, Keth and his daughter Zeva have arrived.  They are awaiting you as we speak.

NO!  It cannot be.  Gaara is the son of the Kazekage.  This turn of events is just too twisted.

But that wasn't the only reason she was so worked up.  How dare him talk to his son in that way. I'd kill him if I had the strength to. After that very moment Zeva the Kazekage with every inch of her body and she already knew what a troubled time she was going to have keeping her cool towards him the rest of the night.

“Very well, Hente, thank you.  Shall we go?”  He spoke to the woman with a calm tone, but it quickly turned dark as he spoke to his son.  “As for you freak, stay here and do not leave this room under any circumstances.  You should not have come here today.  I will deal with you later.”  The door slammed and Zeva knew that Gaara was the only one left in the room.  She knew that the time had come to meet him face to face and she opened the door.

The boy was startled as she came into the room but she was all smiles as she prepared to finally introduce herself.  “Hi!”

“Who are you?”  He said in amazement.

“Shh.”  She put a finger to her mouth.  “I am Zeva Nivito.  The Keth Nivito's daughter.  You and I are a lot alike you know?”

Gaara was astonished.  “Z-Zeva?  What're you doing here?  If my father catches us talking he will kill me.”

“Your father has no right to speak a single word to you.  From what I heard, he is a monster.  And from what I have seen, most of the Sand Village people are monsters.  Ironically, you are the only one here that I do not perceive as a monster.”

“Why do you say that is ironic?”  Gaara was obviously pressing her to see exactly what she knew about him.

“Gaara.  I know many things about you and you know nothing of me.  I promise you that will change, but for now, I must go.  My father thinks that I was only using the bathroom but I was really coming to find you and finally introduce myself.  I am so happy I got to speak with you this time.  Until we meet again Gaara, do not forget me.”  She smiled a warm smile and quickly left the room, leaving Gaara with a weird and, not so bad, feeling in his usually aching heart.

 

******

 

Zeva reentered the main room where her father was waiting in a studious manor.  The Kazekage was already there, speaking to Keth as if they were old friends.  She wanted to lunge at  the Kazekage and ring his neck with all of the wrath of Arukana that she could muster.  But she did not do anything of the sort, just imagined how wonderful that it would be in the depths of her mind.

The Kazekage stuck out a bold hand to Zeva.  “Zeva Nivito.  I have heard brilliant things about you and I am so honored to finally be given the chance to meet you.  I’m sure that you already know who I am.”  He smiled a sick and arrogant grin.

 She returned the handshake and her insides writhed inside as she did so, making her feel as if she may become sick right there on the floor.  “It is nice to meet you as well Lord Kazekage.  I have heard brilliant things of you as well.  Is your family here for this event as well?  I would like to meet them very much.”

“Yes, I have a son, Kankuro and a daughter, Temari.  They are both about your age.  My sister and my parents are the only other family that I have.  My wife died many years ago giving birth to our last son and he died as well.  Probably for the best though because of the demon that possessed the baby before it was even born.  He would be only a few years younger than you are now had he been a normal child.”

She grinded her teeth and she began to question her patience.  She did not think that she could take this all night long.  Zeva was quite the hot head and she was almost sure that she would snap at some point if this ignorance was kept up towards that poor little boy.  When that happened, nothing else good would come.  She decided she would try and refrain from asking anymore questions that she knew she would not like the answer to.

Zeva kept quiet for the majority of the night, minding her own business and eating her food as if she was not even there.  The grownups seemed to like children better this way anyways, so nobody questioned her.  But as she took in their conversations she realized just how much she loathed being part of this disgusting branch of so-called royalty.  She deduced that her father and the Kazekage were both putrid tyrants and she would have absolutely nothing to do with it in a few years time.  She began to cherish the day in the future that she would be strong enough to leave the clan without her father tracking her down and killing her.  It would indeed be the most glorious of days.

As she daydreamed about a happily ever after away from the Nivito madness, a brilliant thought came to her mind:  I will take Gaara along with me.  I’m sure by that time we will know each other well and I am also sure that he longs to get away just as much as I do, if not more.  But she decided she would not think of things that may not happen.  Gaara didn’t even know her yet.  What if he didn’t like her?  Her doubts and insecurities began to cackle at her maliciously and she quickly shook herself free of them by focusing on something else:  the conversation between the Kazekage and her father across the room.  They were going through great efforts to keep it in a hushed and private tone, but volume and distance of a noise was hardly ever an issue for Zeva’s talented ears, so she tuned them into their banter as she pretended to admire paintings in the temple.

“That boy of yours Lord Kazekage, when do you suppose that he will be ready?”

“That I am not sure of.  He is not nearly ready yet though Keth.  He is even younger than your daughter after all, hardly an age to consider him powerful enough to be a weapon.  I feel we will fare much better if I just keep him a secret for five or so years longer.  By that time, the demon, Shukaku that resides within him should have given him more than enough power to be used as our secret weapon in the destruction of the Leaf.  We are dealing with Orochimaru in this alliance.  You know that we cannot afford to mess anything up.”

WHAT IS THIS?  A rage began to generate within Zeva so severe that she started trembling more than a little bit.  If they are talking about Gaara, so help me god I will make it my life’s goal to murder them both, father or not.  She suddenly remembered specific words that Gaara’s Uncle had said to him when she was spying on him months ago, “Your father placed the demon inside of you before you were even born.”  So this is why he did this.  This is why he has created an outcast that feels he will never be loved by anyone.  And to top it off, I am speaking of the boys very own father who cast such a nasty curse upon him.  She was sick.  She needed to go into another room and regroup herself and she needed to go now.  She could not hear another word or else she would lash out all of the power within her on the two men conversing in the corner.

She hastily left the room with the thought of her father’s words stinging her mind.  “When will he be ready?”  Keth had emphasized the word ready in a disgusted sort of manor.  As if Gaara was just a monstrous weapon that was too grotesque to even speak of.  She hurried down the corridor towards the room that Gaara was supposed to be waiting for his father in.  She needed to see him.  She needed to cry on his shoulder and to tell him what she had been doing for the past few months and to let him in on the secret that she had just discovered about the fate that his very own father was preparing for him.  But when she got to the room, there wasn’t anyone there.  He must have slipped out, not wanting to deal with his father any longer.

“Damn.”  She sniffed the air.  His scent was hot and she knew she barely missed him.  She could go after him, that would be no problem, but she couldn’t just abandon this dinner.  Then her father really would discover her obsession with the Kazekage’s young son that he planned on using as a tool to conquer other clans.

Zeva originally hid her obsession with Gaara from her father because she knew that he would never approve of her congregating with any child not of the Nivito clan, but now she knew that the situation was 100 times worse.  Not only was this boy not of the clan, but he was carrying within him a demon that Keth planned on using to destroy the mighty Leaf Village, probably killing the boy in the process.  It was at that moment that Zeva Nivito understood the reality of what must be done.  She must train 10 times harder and become more powerful at an even quicker speed than she was already excelling.  She would secretly get to know Gaara as she had already planned, but she would not tell him of the grand scheme until the time was right.  She feared that discovering the plans that his father had for him would be too great of a pain on his heart in his present state.  But in time, she would be able to break him the news carefully.  She had five years at best before Lord Kazekage made a move on the child.   By that time, she must be skilled enough to be able to kill both Lord Kazekage and her father.

 

******

 

She was quiet for the walk home.  So quiet that her father even questioned her.  “Zeva what is the matter?  You have been distant all night, and now you are acting even more unusual.  I can sense your worry.  What is it?”

“It is nothing father.  Just that after being there at the Kazekage's with all of you tonight I am finally starting to get a real idea of all of the crucial responsibilities that come with being a great ruler.  That is all.  I am just a young child worrying about her future as a leader.  Nothing that I will not overcome in the years to come.”  She had a knack for making up on the spot lies for the rare times her father would look deep into her soul when her guard was let down.  Sometimes she would forget that the Nivito’s had the eyes.  Zeva’s eyes were different than her father’s though.  Yes, they were sharp and she was capable of seeing people’s emotions with them, but what her eyes truly specialized in was quite different than anyone else’s in the clan.  Her eyes were understanding.  She could look deep into a person’s soul and immediately understand all of their hardships.  She could sympathize with just about anyone because she had the ability to know exactly what they went through all of their lives.  The worst part of it all was that she could also feel the pain of the person she was looking at, or the happiness.  But having the burden of feeling anyone else's emotions but your own is stressful.  Perhaps this was why she had such a soft spot for Gaara.  She had felt the pure agony that he lived with everyday.  But she had seen excruciating pasts in many people and no one had ever affected her quite like Gaara.  He was just different  to her.

“Hmm.”  Her father sighed in a frustrated way.  “I wish you would not worry of such things yet.  Afterall, I’m not that old of a man that you have to worry about me leaving this life anytime soon at all.  I still have many plans for the future of our Mud clan.”  He smiled at her and it was such a rare thing that he would smile at her that her heart fell cold.

His words were painful to hear.  Little did he know he would be dead in a few years if it was the very last thing that Zeva accomplished.  The way she saw it, one of them was going to die soon and she had no plans on it being her.  But the way he smiled at her was the way that a father smiles at his daughter when he is trying to comfort her.  It was an odd thing that Keth was ever comforting Zeva.  Usually, he was scolding her for letting her emotions slip out because if you became side track with emotion, then your guard was let down.  But this time he seemed to genuinely care for her.  This is what hurt her so very badly.  As much of a brute as Keth was, he was still her father.  The only family that she had and the aspect of killing him made her feel as empty and ruthless as he was.  But she thought of Gaara’s adorable and helpless face and she was immediately motivated to snuff the life out of the Nivtio clan head and anyone else who opposed as soon as she could.

“Thank you father.  That makes me feel a little better.  I am so happy to know that I will grow old in the Mud Village and so will you.  Someday, I will be telling my child these same, encouraging words.”  She smiled and she knew that her child would hear nothing of the sort.

“That’s my girl, Zeva Nivito, heir to the Nivito throne.”

 

******

 

It was hot.  Brutally hot.  Zeva reached up to her forehead and wiped off a barrage of sweat pouring out of her at a massive speed.  She could feel the disgruntled crease below her hairline that matched her unpleased grimace perfectly.  Checking on Gaara’s Uncle was her least favorite thing to do in the Sand Village.  He was so boring.  He never did anything but read, but she had promised herself that she would keep a close eye on him ever since the night she heard him speak to Gaara.  He was the only person that Gaara had, and if anything happened to him, his pain would become even greater than it already was.  She felt obligated to check on him when she was in the village.

“Ughh.  It’s getting dark.  I’ve had about enough of this for today.  I’d better go home and see a few villagers off to bed so that my presence is known and then I can come right back and see what Gaara is up to.”

Being at the Sand Village had become a never ending cycle for Zeva.  It was a chore.  A full-time job with extra overtime that she enjoyed every moment of.  For some reason, her father had been going on a lot more missions than usual so he was not present at the village often at all.  He did not worry about Zeva, he knew she was capable of looking after herself so she stayed at their huge home alone.  She popped in the socialize with other members of the clan from time to time just so they didn't become suspicious of her never being around.

  She had yet to actually show herself to Gaara.  It had now been 4 months since their brief meeting at the Kazekage’s and she felt that there was a right time and place for everything.  Very soon, that right time and place would present itself, letting her know that it was time to start letting Gaara know that she hides in his shadows most of the time.

By the time she got back to the Sand Village, 6 hours had passed.  It was very dark and she tracked Gaara to the top of a building.  He was just sitting there, arms wrapped around his knees so that he was curled up in a tiny little ball.  There was something weird about him tonight.  There was always something weird about him because he was a weird kid, probably the weirdest, but tonight was weird in a different way.  It was weird because it was different from his version of normal.  He looked so sad and so lonely, like he had no one to trust in or talk to.  This was the right moment, Zeva could feel it deep down in her bones and her heart began to race as she prepared herself to go sit next to him and let him know that there was someone who wanted to be his friend.

She took a deep breath, but before she even got one foot moved in his direction, something happened.  There was an attack on him.  Shurikan and kunai went hurling in his directions.  Zeva wasn’t worried for a second because before they got a chance to impact poor Gaara, the sand emerged from his back and cut the knives right out of thin air.

Gaara whirled around, startled and frightened, even though he knew that he could not be touched.  “Wh-Who’s there?  Sh-show yourself.”

A masked figure came out of the darkness and with a sickening thud, Zeva’s heart dropped into the pit of her stomach.  This was indeed the night that Gaara was going to need her most of all.  It would be bitterly cruel not to introduce herself on this night for, Zeva instantly knew who the masked figure was:  Uncle.

Uncle was attacking Gaara with intentions to kill and Zeva knew that he would be foiled.  She wasn’t worried about Gaara’s physical safety, she had seen what the sand could do and why the people in the village feared it so much and she was certain that tonight was the night that Uncle would meet his demise.  She was worried what would happen once Gaara saw who was behind the mask.  He would be forever crushed.  Uncle was all he had in this world.

Uncle charged after Gaara once he saw that his knives had failed and he leapt into the air with a graceful spinning kick directed at Gaara’s face.  The sand wrapped itself around his foot before it could impact Gaara and Uncle crashed to the ground.

Zeva could not understand.  Uncle knew better than anyone how powerful the sand was.  He knew that he could not possibly defeat Gaara with shear force, so what in the world was he playing at?  What's more, she couldn't sense any intentions to harm Gaara within Uncle, only guilt and love.  Just what was he playing at?

He scurried up off of the ground and pulled out a great sword.  He swung the sword at Gaara and the sand counterattacked with an even grander sword of sand, snapping Uncle’s pitiful sword in two and sending him flying across the building.

This time, Uncle did not get up so swiftly, but he was on his way.  The sand however, was much faster.  It came out of Gaara with a furry larger than Zeva had ever seen from it and latched itself around Uncle’s wrists and ankles.  Then, it wrapped another creepy tentacle around Uncle’s neck and snapped it with such force that it left his head turned almost at a complete 180 degree angle on the axis.  Uncle was dead.

Gaara rushed over to the dead body and reached a trembling hand towards the mask.  Zeva wasn’t sure that she could bear what was about to happen.  Gaara pulled the mask off and gasped a horrid sound as he took a few large steps back and clamped his hand tightly to his mouth.

Zeva watched as the tears began to unstoppably pour from his eyes.  Her heart was crushing every second that she gazed upon the scene, but it wasn’t quite time to intervene yet.  She had to give him a few moments to understand the shock of what had just happened.  He had killed his beloved Uncle.  And even worse, his beloved Uncle had tried to kill him.

Gaara jumped off from the top of the building and was caught by the sand right before he hit the bottom.  He began running down the road, heading for no particular destination because he no longer had a home to go to.  Zeva gracefully swung down from the top of the building and began running after him in the shadows.  She saw in the distance a man coming towards them from the opposite direction, so she lurked behind Gaara a few moments longer while she waited for him to pass.  Gaara’s running had slowed to a disoriented stagger, so he was much easier to follow.

The man approaching also seemed to be doing a sort of stagger, but not because of confusion and heart break but because he was on his way home from the Pub.  When he got to where Gaara and Zeva were he did not pass quietly, but stared at Gaara for a moment.  “Hey, your that, your that one kid.  With the demon inside of you.  You’re a freak sta-stay away from me demon!”

Zeva saw a menacing look in young Gaara’s eyes that she had never seen before and she could feel his anger and hatred boiling up inside of him.  Out of nowhere, the sand emerged from him and encompassed the drunk man’s whole body in a layer of sand so that none of him was visible anymore.  Gaara reached an open and shaking hand out in the direction of the sand covered, drunken man’s body and clenched the open hand into a tight fist.  Doing this made the sand around the man compress at such a force that he was crushed into dust before he even understood what was happening.

Gaara let his hand fall and then he held it out in front of his face, examining it with terror and disgust.  “Wh-what have I done?  Oh no, not only have I killed Uncle but I have killed another innocent man.”  Zeva could feel the fear and the heart break inside of Gaara and it was more intense than it had even been.  Tears welled up in her eyes and she quickly shoved them back down deep within her.  She ran after Gaara who was now frantically fleeing once more.  She felt a drop on her nose and then another on her head and another.  It was raining.  It hadn’t rained in the desert terrain of the Sand Village for decades but today, today was an exception.

 

******

 

Gaara finally stopped running.  He wasn’t doing anything, just standing there in fear of himself, crying and staring up at the night sky.  This was her chance.  Zeva emerged from the darkness finally and Gaara didn’t even notice her there until she wrapped her hand around his and began to stare up at the sky with him.

Startled, he jumped in surprise, but did not force her hand from his.

“Humanity is a curious thing.  They loath you for being what you are and what they don’t realize is that they are the ones making you that way.”

He stared at her.  “You’re that girl.  That princess from the Mud Village.”

She laughed a callous laugh.  “Hmmph.  I wouldn’t say princess.  More like the heir to the Nivito clan’s throne.  But I have no plans of carrying out what is expected of me by my father, no plans whatsoever.”  Zeva was startled by how easily she was able to tell Gaara this.  It was the first time in her life that she ever told it to anyone and she was coming to realization that she may need Gaara in her life just as much as he needed her.

“What are you doing here then?  Why did you come to see me that one day and how did you find me those times?”

She smiled.  “That’s a lot of questions, but I will give you honest answers.  I am here because I would like to be your friend.  I have been watching you Gaara and I cannot bare the way that people treat you.  It is disgusting and I want to rip their heads off for it, especially your father.”  She had a dark glimmer appear in her already dark eyes when she thought of the Kazekage.  She loathed him with every ounce of her being.  “I came to see you that day for that same reason.  Because I like you.  I’ve been fascinated by you since the moment I saw you.  It was that day that those kids at the park were making fun of you even though they wouldn’t have been able to play ball had your sand not fetched their stupid ball from over the fence.  It took every fiber of my resistance not to attack all of those retched children.  As for how I find you all the time…”  she pointed a finger at her nose and tapped it a few times.  “Your scent.  I know that sounds weird, but it is part of the abilities of my clan.  We were descended from a man infused with Arukana, a demon wolf spirit, so all of the great wolf’s abilities were passed down to all of us as a gift.”

Gaara looked at her.  He gazed at her with such amazement and even a flicker of happiness.  Zeva wanted to cry again.  But this time, because she was content.  She knew that if it wasn’t for her then this night would be excruciating for him.  It made her feel this strange feeling of achievement to know that his pain was numbed all because of her being there for him.  “Wow, your ancestor had a demon living inside of him, just like me.  You are a lot like me.”

She grinned.  “In an odd sort of way.  Is it my turn to ask you questions about yourself yet?”

He looked at her in confusion.  “You want to know about me?  But, why?”

She reached a hand up and placed it warmly on his shoulder.  His eyes were deep brown and the skin surrounding them had a thick line of black encompassing only his eyes (much like eyeliner that you would see a punk rocker wear).  His messy hair was brilliant red and his skin wasn’t pale, but it was the color of sand, golden and full of life.  It felt so wonderful to be able to talk to this little boy that she was so interested in.

He stared back at her in admiration and as he saw the look of love in her eyes he reached a hand up and grabbed his heart.  “What is this feeling?  It is…. Good.  I have never felt anything but bad in my chest but now you are here and you make it feel so happy.  What is happening to me?”

Zeva removed her hand from his shoulder and giggled.  He had never felt the feeling of happiness and love before.  Unbelievable.  She was amused by how startled he was from feeling a normal emotion.  “Gaara.  It is love.  I have known since I first saw you that I would love you like this always.  From the moment I saw you it was like you were my little brother or something.  I think that we both need friendship.”

“But I still want to know about you.  I want to know absolutely everything about you, Gaara.  Please tell me everything even if you think it is something boring that would not interest me, because trust me, I will be quite interested I assure you.”

“O-okay, well let me think…”  He was excited now.  No one had ever been so interested in him before.  This strange princess girl had come out of the shadows and made him feel as if he may have a future after all.  Maybe all humans weren’t as disgusted by him as he had thought.  Maybe there were some good ones out there.  Zeva had given him hope for his future.  Hope that had not existed within him until this very night.  His Uncle betraying him still stung his heart, but not nearly as much as it should have.  Zeva was there for him now and she was mysterious and wise and interested in him more than she was interested in anything else in the world. 

They sat there for the next few hours of the night, just talking and talking about every single aspect of their lives that they could not talk to anyone else about.  Gaara told her about the cold loneliness that he felt, about the fact that he thought about killing people who disrespected him just because he could and he did not like the malice that he felt stirring inside of him.  Zeva told him that no matter what, there would be good people out there to care for him and she told him not to feel hate towards himself for his thoughts but to feel sorry for the people that made him want to kill.  They were the ones who did not truly understand and they were the ones that should be pitied.  Gaara loved her words of advice, every bit of them.  He ate them up and he learned from her great wisdom about humanity and why it acted the way that it did.

Zeva explained to him about her unique eyes and how she was able to watch him all of this time without him noticing.  He laughed at how creepy she was but it was a laugh that was mesmerized by this strange enthusiasm she had towards him.  She also told him something about her eyes that she hadn’t told anyone in her own clan.  She explained to him how she knew so much about people and why they act the sickening way that they do.  It was because of the way she was able to truly understand them because of a peculiar new addition to the eyes that have been passed down for so many thousands of years.  She told him the whole story of Yukon Saruka and why everyone in her clan now had silvery white hair instead of the traditional black hair that Yukon was born with.

It reached the point where Zeva knew it was only a short time before the sun would be coming up and it hurt her heart to know she would have to part from Gaara.  Where would he go?  “Gaara, it is time that I went home.  My father is as brutal a tyrant as your father is so if he was to find out what I was doing, I would never be allowed to come out again.  I cannot let him discover what I do or else I won’t be able to see you anymore.”

Gaara looked desperate.  “Oh, you’re leaving?  Well, I knew you would have to sometime I don’t know why I’m so dismal over it.  Just promise me that you will be back before I can even start to miss you.”

She looked at him with a look so confident that Gaara felt relief sweep over him.  “Trust me, I’m here in the Sand Village more than I am my own home watching over you.  I’ll be back so often that you’ll be sick of me.”

She smiled and kissed his forehead.  “Please do not kill out of anger.  If you ever have to kill let it be out of necessity and self defense.  Do not let them turn you into the monster that they think you are.  Keep yourself Gaara.  I will always be here to show you the way if you ever become lost.”  She touch her hand to his heart and gazed at him one last time, trying to build up as much of a mental picture as she could before she turned away and headed back to her rancid village.

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