Author: sna PM
A hospital ward is just about the only place the kunoichi of Konoha have time to stop and chat. Set during the 3rd Ninja War. Starring Anko, Kurenai, Shizune, Suzume and Rin. Multiparter. Part 4 up! COMPLETED.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor - Kurenai Y. & Anko M. - Chapters: 4 - Words: 20,429 - Reviews: 141 - Favs: 263 - Follows: 35 - Updated: 04-02-06 - Published: 05-04-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2380105
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Anko, Kurenai, Rin, Shizune and Suzume - it might be a war but girl talk never goes out of fashion y'know...
Final chapter! My goodness, could this have taken any longer? Probably not! Oh well, here it is at long last, the final chapter of 'Girl Talk' and my fave of all of them. Thank you so much to all my readers and reviewers, and I hope this last chapter lives up to your expectations.
Dedicated to this story's reviewers thus far: Inspiration doesn't come much better.
Oh! And an Author's Note: I understand that according to some of Japanese supersition when you sneeze, it's because somebody is thinking about you. Thinking about you lots.
Anko immediately forgot about her proposed squirell sandwich, and while Suzume subtly flung the corpses out the window and cleaned the blood off the floor with a jutsu she'd invented especially for the purpose, Anko, Kurenai and Shizune sat with the old and creaky book and worked through the different methods and calculations to see if they could see the future.
For her own part, Rin had been ignoring them and her textbook and staring far-away-eyed out the window for quite a while. In the last ten minutes she started to smile a little dreamily and a little sadly and rub her finger idly over the spine of her book. Thinking things with the part of her mind she didn't use very much at all... and wondering if these thoughts had always been there.
I wonder... if he'd ever... one day when the war's done...
"Oi RIN!" Anko's shout pierced the bubble of quiet around the medic girl, and she turned away from the window to look at the young girl giving her a demanding look.
"Whatcha daydreamin' about?" Anko asked, sounding suspicious.
"Nobody - I mean - nothing," Rin said quickly, "Nothing, Anko," she repeated with a small smile.
Anko gave her a funny look as Shizune and Suzume (finished with her task) looked up from Kurenai's book to raise their eyebrows again. Rin quickly put her face back in her book before they could say anything.
Kurenai looked at the two older girls and all three of them shook their heads.
"Three guesses who the nobody she's not thinking about is," Kurenai murmurred, sounding a little disproving. It wasn't that she hated Kakashi or anything, she just got the impression he was notoriously hard to follow and stuck up. Kurenai might have been a little stuck up herself, but she wasn't that bad. That's why is was good to be around more easygoing people. Like Asuma - at least he was verbose enough to have a normal conversation with. It was nice. She liked Asuma.
Kill this train of thought dead.
No but really, he wasn't that-
With your shoe.
Honestly though, Asuma-
And without giving away a throught in her head, as any good genjutsu user could, Kurenai turned to the next page of her horoscope book.
Suzume, spotting that Rin probably didn't need Anko's merciless hassle on the subject of what she was thinking at the moment, beckoned the other girl over and grinned slyly. "Hey, Anko-chan, I betcha there's something you can't do."
Anko's eyes flashed like daggers and the little girl shot Suzume a look of pure disdain she'd learned far too well from her sensei. "No way!" she stated, crossing her arms and glaring up at the dark-haired girl.
"Ah, well it's not just you that can't do it - nobody can do it!" Suzume said, lifting her arm. "See? It's actually impossible to lick your elbow." She gave it a shot, to show how it couldn't work and then gave Anko a teasing look. "But since you said you could do it just now..."
Anko gave her a cocky look and swiftly raised her arm to try and do what Suzume said was impossible. To her complete shock... it turned out it was.
Naturally, that fact didn't stop her from spending twenty minutes trying to prove Suzume wrong - which was the plan all along. Smiling smugly, Suzume brushed off Kurenai's quasi-disapproving look and hopped into bed on her and Shizune's other side to read through the book with them. At least now Anko would be occupied until they could finish off what they were doing.
"Damnit! Grrr! Ah'll flixh yoush, elbowth!" Thump! "OwchtH! Ah bith ma thongue!"
Well, occupied but definitely not quiet. You couldn't have your cake and eat it after all
Suzume, taking mercy on thepurple-haired girl,double-checked her calculations through her oval glasses and called out, "Oi Anko-chan! We're done! Yours says something about... a birthmark?"
"I don't have any birthmarks," Anko retorted flatly, unimpressed, angry at her elbow and her tongue,and only now noticing her squirells were missing.
"Maybe you'll grow one," Suzume said with a smirk, "These things are never wrong," she teased.
"Maybe it means metaphorically," Shizune said, far more reasonably.
Suzume rolled her eyes, "How can you have a metaphorical birthmark?"
Kurenai read over Suzume's shoulder "It says she'll bear the mark of her beginnings, sounds like a birthmark to me."
Anko grinned and hummed, "I wonder how cool it's gonna look!"
"Maybe it looks like an inverted squirell," Suzume muttered, smirking and snickering.
"Okay, okay, do mine!" Shizune said with an eager grin, leaning forward.
"Shizune... it says you will walk a long road that is not your own," Kurenai announced quietly, elbowing Suzume (still snickering) in the ribs.
The medic tried not to look put out, "So... like, I'll get lost on my way back to my house?"
Everybody else burst out giggling and Shizune went pink. Suzume rubbed tears out her eyes and patted her friend's knee.
"Don't worry about it Shizune, maybe it means metaphorically," she smirked.
Shizune went even pinker and Anko fell out her bed laughing as the others chuckled. She snatched the book and sheets of paper out of her friend's hands and read over the results for Kurenai.
"Hey...Kurenai... hmmm... it says something here about... uhm... dogs and bugs?"
Kurenai didn't look like she liked the sound of that. Anko asked if that meant she'd be in animal control when the war was over and Kurenai gave her a pointy glare.
"I'm not an animal person," she said definitively. Shizune and Suzume just laughed. Across the room, Rin smiled a little.
"You didn't want me to catch us some animal lunch," Anko pouted.
"There you are, can't argue with the mystical horoscope!" Suzume informed her cheerfully.
Shizune waved from across the room. "Hey Rin, give me your info so we can do one for you!"
"I don't really hold with those," Rin said quietly.
"Awh c'mon!" Suzume wheedled, "Don't you want to know the future?"
Rin wanted to say "Not really," but Anko was still giggling, and she looked so very young. So she smiled a little ruefully, and just shook her head.
"Hey Rin, are you feeling better?" asked Obito, pink-cheeked from training and still panting a little from racing all the way there.
"Obito! Yes, I am thanks," Rin smiled at her teammate, putting her book away as he stepped into the room. She could spot dirt on his face and grass in his hair and wished she could have been there training too.
He grinned at her and waved at the other girls - a little nervously when he spotted the pretty pair of Kurenai and Suzume. But he forgot all about that when he remembered why he'd insisted on being the one who came to check if Rin was ready to leave hospital.
Obito jumped up onto the foot of her bed and grinned gleefully. "Hey Rin! You'll never believe what happened at training!" he crowed, not bothering to lower his voice.
Rin gave him a questioning look and he positively crowed, "You shoulda seen it, Kakashi had a sneezing attack like half an hour ago that lasted over ten minutes!"
Rin went a funny color. Obito obliviously chattered on, cackling away to himself in amusement.
"See! You think it's funny too! D'you know what's funnier though? We were water walking when it happened and he fell right in! Sensei had to go rescue him!"
Rin looked like she might die. Her stripes almost ran away from her face
"Hahaha! Sensei thinks it's hilarious too, he teased Kakashi for the whole thing that somebody must be thiiiiiinnking about him," Obito stretched the word out the same way that their Sensei sometimes did in a perfect mimicry. Rin would have impressed, despite the furious blush on her face, if she hadn't suddenly caught sight of four pairs of eyes smirking at her from behind Obito's back.
There was silence for all of three seconds (save Obito's chuckles) and then Shizune, completely dead-pan said, "Gee Rin, as a fellow medic it sounds to me like you'd better go check him out."
"Check him out, yes," Kurenai added.
Suzume nodded, "All the way out."
Anko pulled her innocent face - the one that made her look five years old and worked on everyone but Orochi-sensei - and added in a thoughtfully concerned voice, "If he's got something wrong maybe he needs you to kiss it better."
Obito was wondering what exactly he was hearing when he got knocked out into the hallway by Rin's hastily thrown satchel. Before he knew what was going on Rin was out her bed, shoes on her feet, and had him by the wrist. He didn't even have time to yelp before she was pulling him down the hall and calling a quick goodbye to her roommates over her shoulder.
"But you're sick, Rin!" they could hear Obito's voice echoing in the corridor.
"Feeling better now," Rin replied quickly, putting as much distance between them and the smirking foursome in room 203 as possible.
Clueless, Obito assumed she was flushed with glee like he was at his news, the four girls could just hear him saying "I know I know, isn't it awesome - the great Hatake Kakashi brought down by allerigies - and he bitches at me 'bout my eyedrops..."
Back in the room all four of them burst into giggles at the other girl's predicament that lasted almost a minute. Eventually they calmed down and took stock.
"Oh bleh!" Anko made a face. So Rin was all kissy-faced over that weird guy? Weak.
Shizune and Suzume both grinned and went "Awh that's so totally cute!"
For her part Kurenai smiled, but she looked a little sad, "Maybe, but it's dangerous to get attached like that to a teammate," she said sternly. Every kunoichi knew that. Love affairs between shinobi made great romance novels; but more often than that they made failed missions and pairs of gravestones.
"Awh lighten up Kurenai-chan!" Shizune smiled, "It's a miracle someone on that team's got normal impulses."
"Having a crush on Hatake Kakashi isn't a normal impulse," Kurenai replied primly and the other three burst out laughing.
It occured to him to joke that someone was thinking really, really hard about his prodigal student... so of course he did it. As a consequence he found himself recieving a pointed glare from Kakashi (who he could see was flushing at the idea even with the mask on) that just made him laugh even harder and Kakashi sneeze even worse. Ergh... maybe he really was sick with something.
The Yellow Flash sighed and rubbed the back of his head as Kakashi dripped lake water on the ground. This was all very weird, and he thought it a bizzare coincedence that such a thing should happen the one time they didn't have Rin with them. Speaking of which... was that her bolting out the front door?
"Rin's feeling better Sensei!" Obito yelled (rather superfluously) when they were out the front door, skidding as Rin finally stopped pulling him out the hospital.
The blonde man sighed, relieved and pleased that his girl was doing better. She hadn't looked well at all this morning, and he'd been kinda worried all day. He ruffled her hair when she and Obito trotted over and she smiled up at him, letting him see her purple striped cheeks. He grinned back and watched her smile over at Kakashi, who nodded back but then winced at a crick in his neck acquired during the sneezing fit. Obito was trying not to snicker. Rin immediately looked guilty. Their sensei was nonplussed for a second but just forgot about it when something else occured to him (as he often did).
"Hey Rin," their sensei asked, jacking a thumb at the pale haired boy, "Now you're feeling better can you look Kakashi over?" he asked.
Every second of every day, a voice in her head said. It sounded like Jiraiya-sama. Rin mentally locked it in a box and decided she needed to cut down on her 'editing' work. Maybe that's why she was thinking in these weird ways. Honestly, it was just Icha Icha Paradise... as if Kakashi would ev-
Inside, Rin kicked herself very, very hard.
"Do you f-feel like you're coming down with something, Kakashi?" she asked, trying to keep the stutter out her voice.
Kakashi gave their sensei a glare for bringing up the possibility that he might have something wrong with him. Obito looked slightly concerned despite himself at the idea, and blinked his eyes behind his goggles. Rin for her part looked at him and bit her lip. Determined not to give herself away she just pushed up his hitae-ite and put her hand on his forehead, raising her other hand to check his pulse. Both were fine, temperature cool like it usually was, heartbeat quick and light as per usual.
"Hold still Kakashi," she said quietly, reaching a hand round to where he'd hurt his neck and pressing her chakra-lit hand against the pulled muscles. She had her eyes closed in concentration and automatically set about healing the small injury with a carefully applied jutsu. A moment later it was done, and she blinked her eyes open to find Kakashi staring right at her.
"Ah, you're fine Kakashi," she said reassuringly, pulling her hands back and feeling them brush his scrappy hair, glad nobody else could feel the funny tingle running up her arms. He tugged his hitae-ite back down and cocked his head at her a little. She blinked at the familiar action, which suddenly seemed new, different somehow. Oh hell, what was wrong with her it was Kakashi for goodness sake! Hatake Kakashi who she'd known since she knew herself, who she was supposed to take care of, who she'd always been beside, who she...
"Are you sure you're feeling well enough to be out here Rin?" he asked quietly, because her face had just turned a little redder. Okay, alot redder.
She quickly nodded and tugged on the strap of her satchel, trying to push the feelings away and not really succeeding.
"I'm fine, I'm fine, and so are you - more to the point, gee I'm hungry let's get lunch!" she rambled quickly, talking over the thoughts she was having in the privacy of her own head.
"It's seven at night, Rin," Obito pointed out.
"Dinner then! Man, I need ramen, hospital food is so terrible! C'mon Sensei! C'mon Obito!"
Five seconds later the three of them were out of sight (if Rin knew anything, it was the way to that pair's hearts), leaving Kakashi to wonder what exactly was making Rin turn funny colors and ramble like... well, like Obito did; when he got nervous. Shaking his head slightly, and rubbing a hand distractedly over his neck, he got ready to catch them up and had bounded into the nearest tree when-
Having spied the whole scene from their window, and been treated to the sight of Kakashi the genius ninja being knocked out a tree by a sneeze; Shizune, Suzume, Anko and even Kurenai burst out laughing at the tops of their lungs.
"Orochi-sensei! I'm all better now, see?" Anko cried cheerfully, waving her arms for good effect.
He did indeed see, she was back to her hyperactive homicidal little self. Joy.
"We're going Anko," he informed her, and twenty seconds later - after some hurried goodbyes to the others (who were frozen in solid terror) - she was trotting along behind him as they left the hospital.
They made it all the way to the Hokage monument before he realized Anko wasn't jabbering on about her day. Perhaps she'd finally learned to keep quiet. If a poisoning had taught her to keep a silent tongue in her head he should have done it himself long ago. He turned to look at her, curiosity winning over his better sense, and saw that far from keeping her tongue still she was waggling it about, busily engaged in trying to... what the hell?
"What are you doing?" he hissed, making her freeze in the most ridiculous position he'd ever seen her in. And he'd seen her in many. Several passers-by stopped to stare. He glanced at them and they ran away trying not to scream. Then he clipped Anko over the head, making her take up a normal stance as she rubbed her forehead.
"Answer me," he demanded, arms crossed.
Anko frowned and looked up at him, "Suzume-sempai says its impossible to lick your elbow," she said.
Mistaking Orochimaru's silence for confusion she clarified, "With your tongue."
Orochimaru considered kicking her into the side of the Hokage monument. Instead he closed his eyes, took a shallow breath and opened them to glare at her.
"Why would you-" he started to say, only to be cut off by Anko's inspired scream of "I bet you can do it Orochi-sensei!"
He just stared at her, but she was not to be deterred. With an enthusiastic grin she danced on her feet and waved her elbow in the air, "I totally know you can lick your elbow Orochi-sensei! You can do anything, right?"
The Sannin wondered why he didn't just try to kill Sarutobi-sensei for assigning him this insane brat. The only way this Jounin-sensei-escapade would wind up building his body of life experience (the premise on which Sarutobi had bitched him into it) would be via the time he spent in prison on Anko's murder conviction.
If they could catch him. Which they couldn't. So there wasn't even that.
Knowing from experience there would be no peace (such as there was in Anko's company) until this was done, Orochimaru waited until nobody was looking, raised his arm, let his kimono sleeve slide up and quickly touched the tip of his elbow with his unusually long tongue.
Anko just stared up at him the same way she had the first time she saw him summon Manda. Like he was God.
"Your tongue is the coolest Orochi-sensei!" she exclaimed gleefully, making several dozen passing townsfolk stop to gape at them. Despite the danger factor.
"Don't tell other people that," he snapped, dropping his arm and striding on his way. Tsunade taking that out of context was all he needed, she already had Jiraiya's rampant perversions to deal with.
Anko trotted up just behind him, "It is though! Wow! You're the best sensei ever!" she carrolled.
Orochimaru tried not to roll his eyes, and was utterly confused when they passed a shop window a few minutes later and he caught himself smirking in his reflection.
Suzume had rolled her eyes and smiled. Shizune had spent the rest of the day biting her own tongue to keep from asking Tsunade-sama to try and lick her elbow - just to equal the score with Anko and Orochimaru. She wondered how Anko had gotten someone like Orochimaru to do something so... well, so childish. It had probably involved wheedling him to the point of exhaustion. If nothing else Anko had proven an excellent wheedler. She'd probably do well in interrogation... maybe someone should hook her up with that Morio Ibiki guy, he was into that field. He couldn't be any more disturbing of an influence that Orochimaru-sama.
Rin had also sent a note, delivered by Kakashi who materialized, put the sealed note in Shizune's hand and vanished in about as much time as it takes to blink. Inside, written in medic's code, was a pair of birthdays and a tentative request for a horoscope reading signed by Rin, who'd decided that maybe she was a little too curious to be afraid of the future. Knowing poor Kakashi had no idea what he'd just delivered, she'd given it to Suzume who had grinned and worked the whole thing out using Kurenai's book and gotten Shizune to send the result back to Rin at home.
It hadn't exactly been promising, but then falling for that messed up prodigal boy wasn't exactly promising either. Suzume had no intention of reading his palms thank you very much, she made enough depressing predictions as an intellegence analyst. But hey, Rin obviously knew something the rest of them didn't which made it worth the risk.
As Suzume explained to Shizune the afternoon she was discharged, for all they knew the Hatake kid was a real looker under that mask. Shizune had just laughed and kicked her out on her crutches, promising to keep in touch.
It was the first and last time the five of them were ever together in one place.
So the conversation flitted aimlessly, lifelessly almost. It wasn't like they didn't want to talk, somehow it just seemed they didn't have anything to talk about. That was, until they heard the telltale shout of "I challenge you my Eternal Rival!" and raced to the window to watch Gai or Kakashi publicly humiliate the other as they had done since they were all kids.
"Arm wrestling? Didn't they do that week before last?" Kurenai commented blandly as Gai inexplicably produced a table and chairs from nowhere and threw himself into one, waving his hand. It still amazed her how she'd come to take these extremely weird men as... well, extremely weird but somehow comforting to have around. Not that she'd admit it under torture, of course. But she did.
Shizune shook her head, "No, that was jan-ken-pon - Gai just got over-enthusiastic when his paper beat Kakashi's rock..."
"Didn't Kakashi have to kick him in the head to get him to let go of his hand?" Suzume asked, casting her mind back to the memory. "I remember something funny like that..."
"Good times," said Anko with a smirk.
Shizune shook her head and smiled, "I can't believe they still do this..."
"Some things never change", Kurenai said with a roll of her eyes as Kakashi and Gai rolled their sleeves up.
They leaned out the window and watched the battle begin. Gai yelled a furious challenge and was so busy gesticulating with his other arm it was amazing he didn't dislocate it. Anko cheered when Kakashi tripped Gai under the table and almost pinned his hand. Suzume and Shizune yelled outrage and Kurenai smiled. They were ninjas after all, they were supposed to be sneaky. Suzume said she took offense at the blatantness of it, but couldn't keep from snorting into her sleeve and wondering about the pair of them - two of her commrades she'd never quite been able to fathom.
After all, Gai was alarmingly extroverted and about as tightly strung as a crossbow wire. And Kakashi, well he couldn't possibly be more introverted, but he was about as blase as you could be and get away with bothering to breathe. How the two of them connected she had no idea, but suspected alot of it had to do with Gai's refusal to give up on anything he'd started, and the fact that Kakashi was actually alot more human than anybody had suspected back when they were young.
Except Rin, who'd obviously known all along.
"Hey Gai, while you're here I've got a question for you about one of your gennins," Kakashi asked idly, completely failing to show the huge strain he was under keeping Gai from flattening him. The crowd watching the two of them had grown to about a dozen of Konoha's higher ranked nins and in the background Suzume was pretty sure she'd just spotted Genma taking bets. Damn, she should have thought of that.
"I will TRIUMPH in this CHALLENGE my Eternal Rival!" Gai bellowed, unimpressed by Kakashi's conversational gambit. Kakashi's hand was dangerously slanted towards the table top now and he wasn't about to lose the advantage. "In spite of your HIP and MODERN diversionary tactics!"
Kakashi was plainly frowning in consternation at his rival. "How is it 'diversionary' to ask what you do when Tenten gets that PMS thing? Sakura's acting weirder than normal and I need to-"
Gai's eyes nearly bugged out his head. "DAMNIT! YOU DON'T JUST TALK ABOUT THAT KIND OF THING, KAKASHI!"
"Hn? Why not?"
"BECAUSE!" Gai spluttered, now realizing he was losing ground to Kakashi, and roared something about his friend's impropriety and idiocy before trying to kick him in frustration under the table.
Suzume rolled her eyes, people thought Kakashi was clued in? That was just because he didn't open his mouth very often. Some of the things he came out with put her in mind of that Naruto kid. Which in turn put her in mind of Yondaime-sama and she figured out where both of them got it from.
The Yellow Flash, brilliant ninja, amazing Hokage, fantastic human being.
Suzume wondered if Rin had seen that in her sensei and her teammate all along, and when she glanced to her fellow kunoichi she realized they were thinking the same thing. They didn't talk about Rin, but Suzume for one thought of her sometimes.
Particularly when she saw Kakashi do something clueless.
Down below it looked like Kakashi almost had Gai pinned, but then - suddenly -
The Legendary Copy Nin sneezed so violently he was knocked backwards off his chair. And kept sneezing for five minutes more.
For reasons that completely eluded everyone else, Anko, Kurenai, Shizune and Suzume burst into cascades of laughter that lasted almost all day and went out that evening to have a girl's night out - to toast a friend of theirs whose influence was still apparently being felt.
It wound up being the first of many, and they made sure to drink to the gone-but-not-forgotten Rin as they discovered that they still had plenty to talk about. From Shiranui Genma's latest attempt at a lady-killing exploit (Kurenai had used a genjutsu on him that had him chatting up a lampost in her stead all night) to Jiraiya's return and repeated inflitration of the hot-springs (Anko had broken his face on behalf of all the other women last week and recieved three offers of a free lunch) to the fact that Umino Iruka was actually pretty hot (Suzume had accidentally-on-purpose walked in on him in the Academy locker rooms) all the way to Shizune's reflection that she'd been all around the Shinobi Countries, but nowhere had she found a group of men as weird, funny and worth fighting for as those of Konoha (a slightly tipsy cheer for that, despite the fact that no way in hell were they ever going to let the men know).
So the conversation wound on in anecdote, teasing, gossip and sarcastic put-down all night. Life might change, and girls might grow up, but girl talk never changed.
Why meddle with something so perfect?
Thanks to the penguin (a kind of chocolate biscuit) that inspired me with the elbow thing... hahah Orochimaru rocks.