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Cacti and Cannabis

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   A knock on the wall makes him look up from his dresser and Gaara turns around to spot his older brother, Kankuro, standing in the doorway. Running his fingers through his hair, Kankuro smiles and leans against the doorframe.

   “Sis is gonna order pizza if you are feeling hungry.” Stepping into the room Kankuro makes his way over to the window and opens the blinds and the windows themselves. He grins at Gaara and ruffles his hair. “Let some air in here, it’s so stuffy.”

   Gaara pushes his hand off and shuts the dresser drawer. All of his clothes are away. That comes to no surprise, it’s not like he had a lot of things to bring here. Father never let him keep much. Anything special was kept a secret.

   “You probably like it stuffy don’t you, Gaa’?”

   Gaara simply shrugs his shoulders and moves to the stack of boxes placed on his new bed. This is going to take a lot of time to get used to. A real bed? A roof to live under where he doesn’t have to stay up to make sure it’s safe enough to sleep for the night? A house that doesn’t suffocate him? It’s all so new to him. Gaara flinches as he hears Kankuro sigh heavily. There’s a hand on his shoulder as he turns around.

   “Take your time, we’ll save you a few slices.” Kankuro heads to the door and turns his back to his little brother. With a frown, Gaara takes a hold of his wrist and squeezes it.

   “Thank you for this, Kankuro...I’ll be out in a second.”

   True to his word he only took a few more items out of their boxes before heading out to the kitchen where his siblings were arguing over who should get the bigger slice. Kankuro felt that Kankuro himself should get it, Temari can never finish her slices anyway. It would just be a waste to let her eat it. Temari, on the other hand, wasn’t asking for it so she could eat it. She wanted to give Gaara the bigger slice. It’s his first day in years that he gets to live with them. The least Kankuro could do is let their baby brother eat it. Kankuro doesn’t believe it for one second. Kankuro knows she wants it, he deserves the slice.

   Rolling his eyes, Gaara moves over to the pizza boxes and takes the large slice right out of his brother’s hand, putting it on a plate before taking a seat at the table. He reaches for one of the few soda cans on the table and cracks the tab open. Taking a deep breath Gaara looks down and sighs. When he looks up there is a cupcake with a candle in it placed in front of him. Looking farther up he spots Temari standing beside him, smiling.

   “Happy birthday Gaara. Welcome home.” Temari leans down, pushing his hair back to expose his forehead as she kisses the space between his almost invisible eyebrows. She’s right. It’s good to be home.

   Despite his pleading, Kankuro and Temari sing him a happy birthday song and give him gifts. He didn’t expect them to. He thought his freedom was gift enough. For now, he’ll except the scrapbook and the—

   “Hair...Hair dye?” Gaara turns to Kankuro who has his arms crossed over his chest with a grin.

   “Yeah, your roots are showing, fix that shit.” Gaara rolls his eyes they eat and when they finish Gaara takes the gifts to his room.

   He sits on the bed and looks out the window opening them wider after shutting the bedroom door. Out of the box, he pulls out a pack of cigarettes and lights one up. He takes his time finishing the few remaining. As each one comes to a close finish he pulls his sweatpants down enough to expose his pale thighs. Plenty of circles are scarred onto his skin, so what’s a few more? He covered his mouth and shuts his eyes tightly as he pressed the butts into his skin. Putting them out and then tossing them into the trash can. Tiredly, he pulls his pants back up and stands up, putting the boxes of his belongings down onto the floor. Gaara goes to lay in bed but the box of red hair dye catches his eyes. Reaching for it he steps out of his room and spots Kankuro laying down on the couch in front of the television.

   With a grin he throws the box right at him, startling Kankuro so much he almost slips off the couch. “Kankuro, help me dye this mess. I can’t do it myself.”

   Needless to say, Temari was not happy with the red mess that covered the bathroom sink and the shower in the morning.