Author Notes: Hello again, everyone! I remember how often Takamaru was featured in the Rescue Gaara arc so just had to write something for him. Enjoy :)

General Warnings: Spoilers for Naruto Shippuden Episode 7 (Run, Kankuro), 8 (Team Kakashi, Deployed), 11 (The Medical Ninja's student), 32 (Return of the Kazekage).

Rating: 'T'

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.

- Story Start -

Takamaru was justifiably proud of being the fastest messenger hawk in the Hidden Sand.

After all, when the Kazekage was kidnapped by the Akatsuki, it was on Lord Baki's orders that Takamaru deliver the request for the Hidden Leaf Village's assistance. Thanks to his flying speed, the Hokage was able to assign Team Kakashi for this all important mission.

Team Kakashi consisted of Naruto Uzumaki, Lord Gaara's first friend and fellow jinchuriki; Sakura Haruno, medic specialist and student of the Hokage herself, and of course Kakashi Hatake, elite jounin and famed Kakashi of the Sharingan.

(The Leaf's messenger hawks were notorious gossips who seemed to know anything and everything.)

As Takamaru rested in the Leaf aviary after his long journey, he was gratified to see Team Kakashi setting out from the massive gates, seen off by the Hokage herself.

He was later sent back to the Hidden Sand with a message informing Lord Baki that Team Gai had also been deployed to provide assistance to Team Kakashi. Takamaru was pleased to learn that the message was received with good cheer from both Lord Baki and Team Kakashi.

Team Gai consisted of Maito Gai, jounin and taijutsu master; Neji Hyuuga with the famed Byakugan; Tenten, weapons specialist; and Lee who was... well, a mini Gai.

(Yes, the Sand's messenger hawks were notorious gossips too.)

But what Takamaru couldn't understand was why Lord Baki had seen fit to send him back to the Leaf Village again after Lord Gaara had been rescued, to inform the Hokage of the good news and that her two teams would arrive home in three days' time.

What was the urgency then?

There was none! The Kazekage had been rescued and the only casualty was Lady Chiyo, who by the way, was a kunoichi of the Sand and not the Leaf. In fact, barring Kakashi Hatake who was suffering from chakra exhaustion, the other Leaf shinobi were all fine and dandy.

More than fine, actually. Takamaru had flown past them in the desert, rolling his eyes at the ridiculous foot race back to the Leaf Village, issued by Maito Gai while piggybacking the half conscious Kakashi.

So why the heck didn't Lord Baki send another messenger bird to deliver what was essentially a status report to the Hokage?

Takamaru wasn't one to shirk his duties, but neither did he want it to look like his village only had one messenger bird to deliver any and all messages regardless of their level of importance. He ruffled his feathers in annoyance as he flew on.

Sometimes, it didn't pay to be the fastest messenger bird in the Hidden Sand. Maybe he should consider reducing his speed, or take a couple of breaks along the way to 'smell the roses'?

Takamaru nodded to himself. Yes, he would do that on the way back to the Sand, but not now. After all, the female hawks of the Leaf were far more attractive than their Sand counterparts...

- Story End -

A/N: Thanks for reading! Please leave a review if you enjoyed it :)