aaaand we're done! maybe one day I'll get the hang of finishing these weeks.. in the same month at least. this was still really fun though, looking forwards to whatever comes next!

(I ended up falling down a rabbit hole of looking up weird flavours of crisps/chips and hOO BOY I will never sleep soundly again)


Day 7 - Celebration day!


He'd nearly managed to go the entire day without being cornered; the family had bantered as normal during breakfast, he'd turned up to work with no unusual welcome, the time at the office had been rote and boring and his evening was lazy and comfortable, just like he liked.

Kankuro had almost convinced himself that everyone had somehow forgotten the date and no one would mention anything to him at all, until he called out that dinner was ready and was met with empty silence. That was the first suspicious thing, the second was the darkened halls and distinct sound of a lot of people trying very hard not to make any sound, third was the sensation of an eye fixed firmly upon his back, always just over his shoulder, no matter how far he turned.

Stifling a groan as he returned pots to a low heat, Kankuro abandoned the dinner and followed the susurration out of the kitchen, past the dining room and into the main lounge.

The room was dark – more than even his heightened senses were capable of seeing through, which meant someone was using a genjutsu – but he could hear the slight shifting and carefully controlled breaths around him as he walked over the familiar, worn carpet, could feel the warmth of a body nearby as he stepped around the sofa he couldn't see, but knew from memory was right there.

"Ok guys," he grumbled, crossing his arms and staring defiantly into the black, "I know what's up, you can stop fuckin' about no-"

"Surprise!"

The combination of being surrounded by sudden noise and light and colour returning to the world in a great wave nearly knocked him off his feet, especially when the first thing he saw was his brother standing two inches in front of him, sparkly hat perched on top of his head and smiling in a way that suggested he was about as comfortable as Kankuro himself felt right now.

Before he could step back, a heavy arm dropped over his shoulder and he was pulled roughly into one of Temari's signature bear-hugs. "Happy b-day bro!" she yelled directly in his ear.

"You know it's not a surprise if I saw it coming a mile off, right?" he said, putting up with the embrace as he scanned the room to see everyone else involved. Gaara was still nearby – probably waiting to give him a slightly less crushing hug as soon as Temari was done with him – the brats were all packed together on the sofa, grinning and cheering, even Shinki was gently blowing a little party horn, Baki was holding a sparkler, sending a dirty look at the handful of puppetry-core shinobi already breaking into terribly off-key song, Matsuri had been flattened by a giant, white dog and Kiba was laughing trying to free her.

Even a few of his other Konoha friends had turned up, Sakura, Tenten, Shino and Sai were all raising their drinks to him; it was honestly the only surprising thing about this party.

Temari snorted and finally release him, shoving him toward his brother to receive a brief, but comforting hug from him too. "You're ruining it Kankuro, just be grateful that we went to all this effort for you."

He rolled his eyes, trying not to sound ungrateful, but also knowing that every single person in his room knew his position on birthday celebrations and was probably expecting his next comment anyway, "C'mon we've been over this a dozen times, I don't want a party, I just want to go through my day like it's any other and be done with it."

"With all due respect, fuck that-" Tenten's response was also expected, "-you've helped throw parties for basically everyone here before, you love going to parties, just not your own for some weird reason!"

Before he could argue her point, one of his more excitable apprentices stepped forward, arms flailing dramatically in that way he'd been trying to teach him was an extremely bad habit in a puppeteer for months, with little to no success. "Yeah, you're always doing nice things for everyone else, we just wanna return the favour for once!" Kankuro's glare seemed to finally get through to him as he wilted and dropped his hands suddenly. "A-and it was Temari-sensei's idea so you're not allowed to get mad at me…"

The same glare was immediately turned on his sister.

She rolled her eyes, before flicking his forehead. "Oh, please, as if I'm scared of that look; I've seen you cry because your favourite brand of potato chips dropped a flavour way too many times to be intimidated by you anymore."

"Why would you remind me of that?" he wailed, already feeling his eyes start to sting with the promise of tears if someone didn't distract him soon.

Alas poor Lemon Tea, taken too soon from this unworthy world.

"The point is," Gaara said, pointedly stepping between them and pushing them both back a few steps, "that we wanted to do something nice for you, like you've done for all of us. We've only invited your closest friends, the children promised they aren't going to play any pranks on you, Temari, Tenten and Kiba have all agreed to not drink more than two glasses of alcohol each, your students relinquished all cameras upon entering the house, preventing them from taking any incriminating pictures and Baki volunteered to take everyone home afterwards. This is just a night to express our gratitude for everything you've done and joy that you are a part of our lives, please, won't you stay to enjoy it?"

He tried to keep up his scowl, he really did, but within ten seconds of his baby brother's speech he broke down, quietly sniffing and trying to pretend there weren't tears streaming down his cheeks. "Ok, ok, fine, I'll join your party-" he quickly wiped a hand across his face, at least no one here was likely to tease him about crying, "-but you've gotta stop saying shit like that."

Silence settled over the room as everyone glanced at each other, before Sakura cleared her throat and tapped her glass against Sai's. "So… did everyone else prepare those appreciation speeches for Kankuro? Good, I'll start-"

This was gonna be a long night, he thought, thankfully taking the drink offered to him by his sister and downing half of it in one go. He'd never been so happy that it was his birthday.