Chūnin Exam Arc
Gaara and Naruto first met during the Chūnin Exams, though Gaara didn't think much of Naruto at first, putting most of his attention on Sasuke Uchiha. After Gaara's battle with Rock Lee, Naruto thought of him as a rival he had to beat, along with Neji. Before the final exam, Naruto and Shikamaru stopped Gaara from killing the hospitalized Lee. It was then that Gaara revealed his past and told about the Tailed Beast sealed within him, along with his morbid concept of his existence. During the whole talk, Naruto was shocked to find out that Gaara was just like him.
Invasion of Konoha Arc
During the Invasion of Konoha, Naruto fought Gaara in order to protect Sasuke and Sakura. The battle was long and intense, with both of them utilizing almost everything on their arsenal and using up most of their chakra, though it eventually resulted in Naruto's victory after exchanging final blows.
After the battle, Gaara was intrigued by Naruto's determination to protect his friends. Crawling his way towards Gaara, Naruto explained that he had also suffered a relentless lonely life and that he completely understood how Gaara felt, but he now has friends that saved him from the hell he was living and so he would protect them no matter what. This made Gaara realize that Naruto's strength and resolve came from his desire to protect those who are important to him. It also made him remember Yashamaru's words about "Love".
Sasuke Retrieval Arc
Gaara appears again during the Sasuke Retrieval Arc to help Lee fight Kimimaro. When Lee questioned Gaara about his reason for being there, he replied that he had a great debt to Konoha, and the scene transitioned to Naruto, implying that it was the latter he was specifically referring to.
Kazekage Rescue Arc
Gaara became the new Kazekage, and was being targeted by Akatsuki for being a jinchūriki. While protecting [w:c:Naruto:Sunagakure|Sunagakure]], Gaara is kidnapped by Deidara and taken to Akatsuki's hideout to extract Shukaku from his body. Kakashi's team was assigned by Tsunade to rescue the Kazekage, and during the whole way Naruto was very determined to do so, comparing himself to Gaara and lamenting the bad fortunes the latter has faced his whole life. In Itachi's genjutsu during their fight later on, Gaara was one of the four people shown as Naruto's illusion, suggesting the importance he holds in Naruto's mind.
Akatsuki was successful in extracting Gaara's bijuu, which resulted in his death. Naruto was enraged upon seeing Deidara nonchalantly sitting on Gaara's lifeless body, and after confirming Gaara's death awhile later, got emotionally uncontrollable to the point of beating Deidara bloody and slipping into Kyuubi form, sprouting two tails in the process.
After the battle, Sakura tried to heal Gaara, despite knowing he was already dead. Naruto cried for not being able to protect him, and lashed out his anger at Chiyo for sealing the Shukaku within Gaara, making him suffer his whole life for it. However, Chiyo resurrected Gaara with the help of Naruto's chakra using her life-restoring technique, in the hopes that it would make up for her sealing of Shukaku into Gaara years earlier, and that Naruto and Gaara would both change the world, by bringing Gaara back to life at the cost of her own.
Gaara awoke in Naruto's arms, shocked at being surrounded by so many people who were all relieved that he was alive including Konoha-nin and the Sunagakure shinobi that had gone looking for him. This was the first time Gaara truly felt loved and not so alone. Gaara later ordered everyone to pray for Chiyo when they realized that she had passed away.
Before Naruto went back home, he tried to say goodbye, but admitted that it wasn't something he was good at. Gaara smiled and used some sand to encourage and guide Naruto's hand, and the two shook hands, symbolizing the change in their relationship.
Five Kage Summit Arc
After Sasuke's attack against the Kages, Gaara and his siblings found Naruto in a nearby inn, along with Kakashi and Yamato. Gaara told them about the what happened at the Summit, Sasuke's actions, and about the impending war. Much of Gaara's effort was focused upon convincing Naruto about Sasuke, telling Naruto that he saw no redemption for him and had given up on him. He added that, if Naruto truly wanted to be Hokage, he had to realize when to do the right thing. Naruto remained silent, and Gaara and his siblings left him to reflect, and returned to Sunagakure.
Shinobi World War Arc
During the Shinobi World War Arc, Gaara became both Regimental Commander of the primary fighting force and Captain of the Fourth Division. Prior to his address, Gaara used his sand to break up a quarrel among Suna and Iwa shinobi. He explained to the joined forces that he himself was a product of the hatred between the villages yet his fellow jinchūriki, Naruto, bore no ill will towards him and others and so he was going to fight in war to protect his friend. At the end of the speech, everyone was united and all went out for battle to reach their assigned destinations.
Later after sealing his re-animated father, the Fourth Kazekage, Gaara faces the battlefield with new determination and sets out to aid Ōnoki in his fight with Mū. Naruto's clone arrived and with Gaara's help defeated the Tsuchikage before being sealed. Gaara then scolds Naruto for coming into the battlefield when he was suppose to be hidden.
After moving to a safe location at Ōnoki's request to get an explanation from Naruto, Gaara asked him if it was safe for him to be using the Nine-Tails' chakra so much to which Naruto retorted that he was going to be Hokage someday and until then, he would not die, so Gaara shouldn't treat him like a child. They continued on separate paths after, fighting different enemies.
After some time, Naruto's clone arrived at Gaara's battlefield, and the two regarded each other with concern. Gaara asked him how things went on his end and Naruto informed him that the Third Raikage had been sealed. Gaara then told him that he would soon finish up as well and calmly informed Naruto that the pyramid was his technique when the latter mistook it for the enemy's body. After the Second Mizukage remarked to Gaara that he and Naruto made a good duo, Gaara smiled and wondered whether that was so as he finished sealing him. He then told a shinobi to report to headquarters and turned his attention to Naruto, asking him where his original was.
As a new battle commenced upon Madara Uchiha's appearance, Gaara and Naruto joined forces along with the Tsuchikage and the division's remaining forces. Gaara used his sand to catch Madara's arm, creating an opening for a Kumo shinobi to attack, but Madara easily countered. Naruto finally entered Sage Mode and Ōnoki lightened the sand in Gaara's gourd, which made it even faster and easier to manipulate. Gaara uses the sand to pull Madara out of his Susanoo, and into the flight-path of Naruto's Rasenshuriken. Their combo fails when Madara reveals his Rinnegan and uses the Preta Path to absorb the attacks. Madara then retreated to the top of a rock formation and summoned a huge meteorite, which shocked everyone present, and caused Gaara to wonder whether that was the power of a god.
As the meteorite plummeted towards them, Gaara told his troops to try and escape as far as they could while he remained behind, and attempted to help Ōnoki, who had flown towards the rock in order to lighten it. With their combined efforts, they were able to stop the meteorite, but when Madara sent another one crashing into it, they are unable to stop it. Predominantly unharmed, Gaara went to check on the Tsuchikage. As Ōnoki declared that he would fight Madara, Gaara moved to help an exhausted Naruto to his feet. As Ōnoki stumbled getting up, Gaara used his sand to support him, telling him that they would fight together. As Madara and Mū attacked, they are buffeted by Tsunade and A who arrived on the battlefield via the Heavenly Transfer Technique. Mei arrived soon afterwards via the Flying Thunder God Technique and Gaara stood with the other Kage, prepared to fight Madara.
A and Mei confronted Madara directly in order to buy some time for Tsunade to heal Gaara and Ōnoki. When Madara decided to test their defenses, Gaara and Ōnoki worked together to build a double-layered shield of sand and rock to block his attack. Before Naruto's clone dispersed, having been told to leave things there to them, Gaara and the other Kage leave him with one message: "win".
Ten-Tails Revival Arc
Madara returns once he obtains one of his Rinnegan and starts sealing the tailed beasts into theDemonic Statue of the Outer Path. Gaara tries to prevent Shukaku from being sealed,, his way of thanking Shukaku for enabling him to meet Naruto all those years ago
In its final moments, the Nine-Tails within Naruto communicates to Gaara how to save Naruto's life: have the Nine-Tails' chakra sealed within the reincarnated Minato Namikaze transferred to Naruto. Gaara starts carrying Naruto to Minato, but his life is rapidly fading. Gaara takes him to the Fifth Hokage so she can provide medical assistance, but she sends Sakura Haruno instead.
Return of Madara Arc
Stuck into the Genjutsu of Infinite Tsukuyomi, Gaara dreams of his family and Naruto being his friend while the Uzumaki asks him to go play.
- Gaara's main reason for helping out in the Sasuke retrieval effort was his "big debt" to Konoha, which was then heavily implied to be Naruto.
- Naruto does not hold any grudge against Gaara for his part in the Konoha Invasion
- Gaara's whole monologue to Kankurō about his motivations to becoming Kazekage centers mostly on Naruto's influence on his way of thinking and change of attitude.
- Upon hearing that Gaara has become Kazekage, Naruto was happy for him from the bottom of his heart. No malicious jealousy or bitterness involved.
- Naruto's rage and despair during the whole Rescue Kazekage Arc, especially after confirming Gaara's death.
- After refusing someone else's offer of assistance, Gaara lets Naruto help him up in order to pay respect to Chiyo.
- Gaara encouraging Naruto to shake his hand, despite likely not being used to touching or being touched by other people at this point.
- Gaara's speech to the Allied Shinobi Force centers on the need for unity, trust and cooperation with one another as he thinks back to past moments and friendship with Naruto. The speech ends as he implores everyone to help him protect his friend.
- Gaara acts really upset that Naruto would put himself in harm's way and states that he worries about him.
- Naruto expresses concern for Gaara's well-being after being on a battle and so does Gaara for Naruto's.
- Gaara supports an exhausted/hurt Naruto in his arms during their fight with Madara.
- The lack of insults, sarcasms and hurtful "jokes" between the two shows how much respect they hold for one another and how seriously they regard their friendship.
- Gaara considers meeting Naruto the best experience of his life, even concluding that his painful life as a Jinchuriki was more than worth it.
Gaara to Naruto - Chapter 474 page 14
- "Naruto… Just so you know, there will be a war to protect the Eight-Tails and Nine-Tails… in other words you. For the sake of the ninja world and as the Kazekage, I will guard you with my life. If as a member of Akatsuki, Sasuke Uchiha stands in the way of the ninja coalition… I will show him no mercy."
Gaara To Naruto - Chapter 457 page 13
- "I think of you as a friend. I used to think "friend" was just another word… Nothing more, nothing less. But when I met you, I realised what was important was the word's meaning."
Among the Fans
GaaNaru is one of the most popular yaoi couples within the Naruto fandom. Its support is likely due to the fact that Gaara and Naruto are both jinchūriki and have gone through similar sufferings in the past. It's also supported by fans due to their numerous similarities and the mutual sense of respect and protectiveness they both feel and show towards one another. It is a rival pairing to SasuNaru and GaaLee.
- You Give Me Meaning; A NarutoxGaara Relationship Manifesto
- LiveJournal GaaNaru Pairing Discussion Part I
- LiveJournal GaaNaru Pairing Discussion Part II
- LiveJournal GaaNaru Pairing Discussion Part III