Author: korinaka PM
Kankurou & Sakura. The brink of death is said to be the most peaceful place to be, granting one whatever sensation one desires most. Unfortunately, Kankurou can't get a break.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Kankuro & Sakura H. - Words: 2,978 - Reviews: 24 - Favs: 50 - Follows: 4 - Published: 09-12-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3150681
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
A/N: "Right before death, one experiences the most pleasant feeling possible, whether that feeling is unconditional love, content fulfillment, or simply the taste of an incredibly delicious hamburger. Although, it would be so much sweeter if one could experience all three."
In Kankurou's bio, it states that his favorite food is a hamburger.
O O O
In all aspects and all views, death was the most certain thing that Kankurou had ever known. Especially at this moment, at this time and place, when the poison coursing within him elicited such a bittersweet taint on his lips, and when the hands of a Leaf medic-nin were the most troublesome things in the world. He just wanted everyone to stop—wanted everything still and quiet, like the promise death was offering him he so gluttonously yearned to accept. Silence was good; silence didn't make him want to scream.
And yet the wonderfully amazing prospect of peace bothered him, and he found himself struggling to breathe despite his body's protests. Couldn't he just lie still? Couldn't he just give up? No, he realized. His determination and natural human will would not allow it.
So he kept wobbling and pathetically keeping whatever was left of his balance on that thin wire between life and death, walking the tightrope to the end that was survival. After all of Gaara's ramblings about never wanting to fade out and never wanting his existence to die, he suddenly understood. It was a terrible thing to think of yourself as forgotten; to think of yourself as no longer subsisting as anything more than a distant memory.
The presence of small, frenetic hands was stronger now, and he could faintly force himself to wonder who exactly was touching him in such a way. If he didn't know any better he'd say it was almost intimate—the way a loved one would touch him, if he had any loved ones in his immediate life to speak of. A momentary thought of Temari crossed his thoughts, but he dismissed it. Temari was far from gentle, and these hands were most definitely handling him with the utmost care.
As fast as everything had begun to start looking up, it all spiraled downwards again, and Kankurou found himself once more finding death's proposition awfully acceptable. He heard what he thought was the sound of a girl's voice—a girl's voice cursing, no less—before his mind no longer could comprehend the feel of the most soothing hands he'd ever felt and the sound of the most frenzied whispers he'd ever heard.
Soon, much sooner than he probably would have hoped, he could slightly feel again, but it was a faint, fuzzy sort of awareness. He still could not open his eyes, which was to be expected, and he was still unable to move at all, which was also to be expected, but at least his brain was still minutely in working order. He could tell that his eyes were trying to roll back into his head, and that he was trying to fight this feeling as per to his innate fight-or-flight instincts. He was conscious enough to know that when people's eyes rolled back, bad things followed—namely death or something like it. And while death was still quite tantalizing in its entirety as he lay there suffering, batting it away with barely-sincere mental hands seemed so much more fulfilling.
Moments later his struggle abruptly ended, and he gave up, letting his eyes, nose, mouth, and whatever else do whatever they pleased. He could feel significantly lighter and wondered why he hadn't just thrown in the towel earlier as every ounce of cognizant being slipped through his slack fingers. Everything was suddenly amazingly perfect. The burning in his veins and chakra channels was gone; his massive headache disappeared; even the bile rising steadily in his throat was forcibly shoved down. And he could taste the wonderful taste of a hamburger—the taste of cheese melting on hot, steaming meat. The taste of lettuce, cool tomatoes, and exactly three thin slices of onion all coinciding perfectly. The wonderful taste of soft, spongy buns pulling the condiments and fillings together made Kankurou feel like the afterlife was a beautiful paradise, and he didn't very well plan on coming back anytime soon.
With a jerk, though, he was able to open his eyes and sit up, gasping and panting. He looked around frantically, momentarily disregarding the hands that were pushing him to lie back down to try and perceive why he tasted hamburger and why he was no longer sitting at a table eating one. The realization dawned on his hazy mind when he found the female Leaf ninja with the shock of pink hair staring at him in the face. Her green eyes were wide and unmistakable—unblinking in the half-relief, half-astonishment that decorated her face much like the paint decorated his.
"Kankurou," she breathed, as if just the mention of his name would instantly make everything better.
And in some miniscule way, he mused, it did.
She blinked and seemed to snap herself out of it, because she began pushing on his chest and shoulders a little more persistently this time. "Kankurou, you have to lie back down. You need to relax or the poison will—"
"Shut up," he replied groggily, closing his eyes as he lifted a hand to massage his migraine-infested temples. For a split second he noticed that his hood had been removed, but otherwise paid no attention. He had more important matters at hand, such as to why the hell he still tasted hamburger. He opened one eye to glare at her. "Who are you?"
"Haruno Sakura," she curtly answered, bowing even though her hands remained on his chest. "But that doesn't matter. You're poisoned, and—"
He grunted and waved her concern away, but acquiesced and lay back down anyway. Her name definitely rung a small bell somewhere within him, but he was too exhausted and confused to allow himself to dwell on it. "Is the poison completely out yet?"
"Almost," she said, biting her lip. Her hands began to glow faintly with some color he really didn't pay attention to, and everything inside him started to feel warm, bordering on uncomfortably hot.
He closed his eyes again and relaxed, ready to fall back into that delightful sleep, but a hard slap to his cheek awoke him and he sat straight up once more, reflexively reaching behind him for Karasu. The fact that this "Sakura" had slapped him had faintly registered with him, but even more so was the startling realization that his beloved puppet was no longer strapped to his back. He shouldn't have been surprised by this, seeing as it would be damn near impossible to lie comfortably on his back with Karasu attached to him, but didn't think about this and instead panicked. "Where is it?" he asked hysterically, turning his head from side to side in a quick succession, bringing on an almost overwhelming wave of vertigo. "Where's Karasu?"
He heard a growl as the girl began to grow frustrated. She pointed to his left. "It's fine, Kankurou. Now please lie back!"
He sighed in relief and obliged.
"And don't try to fall asleep this time," she firmly commanded, returning to her chakra-healing task. "I don't want to risk losing you to something like this."
It didn't take long for her to finish what it was she was doing, and when she finally set her hands aside, he could tell she was exhausted. He watched her for a few more moments as she teetered dangerously, rocking back and forth unconsciously as she fought the thick curtain of drowsiness sliding over her. "You should lie down, too," he said never taking his gaze from her.
She shook her head slightly. "I can't. Who knows if an enemy will attack us? And if they do, you're in no condition to fight." She almost fell over on top of him, and he rolled his eyes. He grabbed her elbow, tugging her towards the ground. She tried to keep her own, though, and struggled against him. "Kankurou, no! I have to protect you!"
He sat up, not wanting to be defeated, and put both hands on her, pushing her harder than before to rest against the dirt. "Damn it, you're going to wear yourself unconscious if you keep this up, and I don't feel like carrying your ass back to Suna with me." He finally succeeded in making her belly-up on the floor, even if he had to straddle her and restrain her arms by the biceps to do so. He figured if she was really desperate to get him off of her she could probably devise a way to forcefully remove him, with her being a ninja and all, but she showed no signs that she would physically hurt him. He was her patient, after all, stubborn and uncooperative as he may be.
The burning in his own muscles became painfully obvious to him, then, and he decided not to move lest he keel over and die from the slow burn of it. Sometimes Kankurou didn't think things out before he acted, and this time was one of those ever-so-often-occuring times.
She was glaring up at him then, trying her hardest to forget her fatigue, apparently. "Get. Off." Venom laced her words.
He scowled down at her. "No."
She wriggled a little in his grasp. "Damn you, Kankurou!"
"I seem to be hearing that a lot lately."
"Just…" she grunted and tried to free herself of his deceptively clever hands, sharpened to the height of dexterous capacity by years of puppetry, but all in vain. Kankurou was not moving—it was as simple as that. "What if an enemy attacks?" she settled for asking, knitting her eyebrows in a most unpleasant way.
"They won't. I can't sense an enemy around anywhere."
"That doesn't mean they're not there! Stop taking this situation so lightly; you almost died!"
He shrugged, and almost laughed at the unabashed horror that washed over her face. "People die. It's a part of life."
This time he did laugh, and he decided to slump, releasing her hands. He was literally sitting on her, anyway, so she wasn't going anywhere any time soon. Kankurou was not one to lose battles—whether significant or not—and he fully intended to come out of this one triumphant. The fleeting thought that perhaps he was hurting her crossed him, but he didn't think much on it. If he was hurting her she'd say so, and would most certainly remove him from her.
"Why do you insist on sitting on me, anyway?" she asked in exasperation, tugging at the material of his black clothes with her now free hands.
He pulled those hands away, though—the very same hands that had brought him back from an imminent death not too long ago. "Because it annoys you, and I think it's pretty fun to make you frustrated."
"Well you're doing a damn good job of it," she snapped, gnashing her teeth.
He laughed again, even though it pained his chest to do so. "You know, you're not very ladylike."
"And you're not very grateful to someone who just saved your life!"
He grinned, closing his eyes as he did so. "That's true."
Once more she tried to writhe free of him, but he had her pinned fast. She even tried leveraging herself to slide out from underneath him by grasping onto his arms with white-knuckles, but still, there was no escape from him. She quickly grew agitated beyond belief. "Are you some kind of pervert or something?"
"Maybe." His smirk was completely self-satisfied even as she slapped him again, this time for completely different reasons.
She huffed and crossed her arms defiantly. "I don't think you understand the consequences of this! If someone tries to attack us, then—"
"Then I'm perfectly capable of handling it."
"No you're not! You were DYING. How many times do I have to say it before you get it through your thick, cross-dressing head? You and I are both very vulnerable right now!"
He shook his head and leaned back, no longer slumping, and pulled his hood up to cover his messy array of light brown hair. "We're fine. Like I said, I can handle it. I've got Karasu with me, so you're perfectly safe." He smiled charmingly after that, showing perfect white teeth that sharply contrasted with the dark purple markings on his face.
"I need to protect you, though," she whined, as if it was her last line of defense.
Finally he decided that he had won the match and he rolled off of her, moving to sit against a tree. "You've got it twisted." He pulled his puppet into his lap. "The man is supposed to do the protecting."
She scoffed and sat up too, dusting herself off as best as possible. "And what exactly is that supposed to mean?"
He shrugged. "It means that it's my job to protect you. Not the other way around." He rested his head against the tree trunk, sighing in comfort from the support his aching back was given. "You saved me, so it's only natural that I repay the debt and take care of you. Besides, I'm more of a gentleman than I look."
She snorted at this, and he was tempted to throw a nearby pebble at her. Instead, he just kept talking, desperately trying to keep her awake now that her body was once more telling her that she was on the brink of passing out. "So, did you feed me a hamburger while I was out or something?"
She raised an eyebrow. "A…hamburger?"
"Yeah, a hamburger. I tasted hamburger."
She shook her head. "No. Where would I get a hamburger?"
He shrugged again, but instantly regretted it. Now that his body was give relaxation, it was becoming far too accustomed to it. Every muscle and bone within him was going stiff. "Oh well." At this rate, he might not be able to uphold his end of their impromptu "bargain."
She was silent for a moment, as if contemplating something, before speaking on. "I heard somewhere that when patients—people," she quickly corrected herself, "are bordering death, they undergo the most pleasing situation they can in their own mind, using the five senses." She laughed a little after this, and Kankurou chuckled too. "I guess what you wanted most at the moment was…a hamburger?"
He nodded. "I still do. And damn, wouldn't you know it: I can still taste it."
She laughed again, but this time softer.
"You know, I have a feeling this has happened before," he joked, staring up through the leaves of the tree.
"What, you tasting a hamburger that wasn't really there?"
He chuckled at this. "No, I mean the bit about you saving me from poison."
She nodded. "Yeah. You know, I honestly thought you'd remember me. I mean, this is the second time I've saved you."
"Well, everything was foggy. I could barely remember my own name."
"That's understandable," she replied, rubbing the back of her neck. "By the way, my teammates should be showing up any second."
"Oh?" He raised an eyebrow.
"They're looking for me by now. I did separate from the group, after all." She moved over to him to nudge his side with a playful elbow. "And you're lucky I did."
He laughed. "That's for sure."
True to Sakura's word, the telltale calls of Team Seven's voices rang out in the forest, and the green-eyed girl called back to them. The distant sounds of foliage being crushed under rushed feet could be heard, and Kankurou settled a little bit deeper. "You and your team will take me back to Sunagakure, right?"
She nodded. "Of course. We were headed there initially, anyway."
He nodded. "Good."
Naruto and the others appeared from the backdrop then, and the little blond boy hurried to Sakura, helping her stand. "Sakura, are you alright?"
She nodded. "Yes. I found Kankurou, though, and helped him. He was poisoned."
Naruto gave her a lame look. "Again?"
"Hey!" Kankurou shouted, defending his pride and waving a hand in the air. "I'm sitting right here; I can hear every word you're saying!" He stood up, with much effort, and slung Karasu onto his back. "So are we leaving, or what?"
Naruto nodded, both he and Sakura moving to aide Kankurou in walking. "We're taking you to Sand?"
"Yep," he replied, trying not to lean too much weight on Sakura. Naruto, on the other hand, felt the brunt of it—of that he made sure. "I can't make it there on my own—I'm not afraid to admit it."
Sakura grunted and moved his arm a little steadier over her shoulder. "We should make camp and rest soon."
They began to walk, the rest of Team Seven occasionally helping support Kankurou, before said puppeteer finally decided to speak. "Yo, Naruto?"
"Yeah?" Naruto asked, turning to look at him.
Kankurou waved a nonchalant hand that was still draped over the boy's shoulder. "You wouldn't happen to have a hamburger on you, would you?"
Sakura laughed as Naruto furrowed his brow. "No, why?"
Kankurou grinned. "No reason."