Child's Play

Chapter 1: What's Bugging You? (laughs) such a stupid title ;;

By: Vampire Toy

PG13 (Rating may go up later)

Disclaimer: Doesn't own (sigh)

Summary: When a member of the Sand Sibling's team starts constantly harassing one of her own, Kurenai decides to try and talk out the problem in a calm manner with their sensei Baki. However, he doesn't seem as eager to cooperate and she realizes she'll have to play his little games if she wants to help her students without losing her job for disorderly conduct.

I had always loved my team; in a way they made up for me not having any family of my own. Hinata my shy daughter, Shino and Kiba my two, very different, sons. But I would never refer to them as, 'my son' or 'my daughter'. They had families of their own; it would seem strange should I call them anything of the sort.

Yet, through all of this I reassure myself, rather selfishly, that I am more of a parent to them than their real one's. I am, after all, watching over them as they became ninja's; and that was a life-long process, I'd always be here for them….

At that thought, I'd begun noticing some strange behavior in Shino and it was worrying me. On the days we went off to train separately, he would either train near Kiba Hinata or me. Shino was not one to talk out his problems or admit he had one unless constantly questioned; usually he'd even be able to solve it himself. It almost seemed as though lately, his way of dealing with problems was to avoid them unless absolutely necessary.

When helping his teammates with their problems, however, he always found a way to rid of the problem before the problem could get too big.

Perhaps his problem had gotten too big? But what problem was there that he couldn't handle? I had always been proud of Shino for being so self-sufficient yet still caring for his teammates. I suppose we all will have a problem in our lifetime in which we need help; I just wished he would come to me directly.

This evening I decided I would test him, so on my way to our meeting place I determined that we would go train separately again. He would always take turns with following us, and it was his turn to follow me. I would catch him alone then. I didn't want to question him in front of the others if I didn't know the extent of the problem.

I finally reached our meeting place and smiled at my beautiful team.

"Alright, I know we trained separately yesterday, but I would like us to do so again. I've set up a little exercise for us all tomorrow and I'm giving you one more day to prepare. I want you to do your best because I will be evaluating you in your strengths and weaknesses. By determining that I can make new exercises to fit improving your weaknesses and keep up your strengths."

"Sounds good." Kiba grinned.

"Should we go into the forest again?"

"Yes Hinata, split up as far away from each other as you can so you may have full concentration. I will come retrieve you each when the exercise is over. Does everyone understand?"

"Yes, Kurenai-sensei!"

"Yup."

"Yes."

"Alright, I will be training as well if you need me, we start… now."

Hinata, Kiba, and Shino all scattered into the forest and I waited for a while before entering myself. I walked calmly through the trees and turned here and there until I reached the riverbank. This was my favorite place to train; the river was soothing on beautiful sunny days like this.

Practiced a few simple jistu's while carefully feeling for his chakara. Throughout the training over the past few days I'd noticed he'd cover up his chakara but let enough of it show to let me know he was around. It told me that his problem definitely had to do with us separating for training. It's as if he wanted me to know he was there, just in case the chakara would suddenly disappear.

I finally sensed it and slowed my practice a little to concentrate more on his location. I pinpointed it and pretended to use a replication jistu, leaving my copies while I went to confront Shino.

I hopped up onto a tree branch and over a few more trees before I spotted him. He was training just a diligently as he would when we were together, at least I knew he wasn't slacking off by coming so close….then again Shino was never one to slack off.

"Shino, we need to talk." I hopped down behind him and he turned around calmly.

"I figured."

"Good, then you know what I'm going to ask you, but I'll say it anyway; Shino you've begun to worry me. The way you're acting isn't like yourself. Tell me, what's wrong? Why do you want to be close to someone when we're training? Solo training is you're favorite, you do so often like to be on your own."

He was quiet a moment and I couldn't read his emotions with his sunglasses on, so it made it difficult to assess his mood.

"You're going to keep questioning me if I don't answer?"

"I will keep questioning until either the problem is solved or you get help for it. If it is personal, I won't question you further, but I'd like to know if there's anything I could do to help."

He was silent again and sighed; I was surprised at the frustration in his voice, it wasn't a usual emotion for him.

"Well, it is a personal matter, but I suppose since I'm not following training orders, I should tell you."

I nod and waited for him to continue.

"The Sand Sibling's have decided to train here for a while; I suppose it's their way of familiarizing themselves with all sorts of terrain. Before the Leaf Village, they had trained in the Hidden Mist and Snow."

"That's still a little strange….maybe I'm just being too suspicious."

"I don't blame you."

"Well continue."

"As you may recall I did fight one of the Sand Sibling's a while back after the incident at the Chuunin exams."

"Kankuro."

"Yes, and I won. I believe he's continuing to hold that against me, maybe because I'm younger or because his ego was bruised, I'm not sure."

(Kankuro seems the type whose ego might be hurt easily….)

"He found me a few days ago, quite by accident, and apparently his annoyance over the loss isn't gone. He began trying to provoke me to a fight. I refused and left. A few days later he tried again, and every time we would practice on our own, he would attack me or try provoke me with words."

"What! That's a direct violation of our treaty…"

"I don't fight back because of that treaty, but also because I don't believe in senseless fighting. Should it be like a practice spar of some sort, it might be different, but he aims on defeating me and inflicting extreme damage. I have no time for such stupidity."

"I see….Hmm, we will train together from now until they leave. I can't see why he'd still be so irked by the defeat."

"Thank you, but I don't believe that is necessary."

"What?"

"I have yet to see him again, it's been about a week…. In fact I think I'll go off as to not distract you, I do miss my solo training."

"That's good…..but let me know if he shows up again…please."

Shino nod and I smiled.

(So that's what it was, simple enough, and everything's ok now…..that's good….everything's…ok)

A few days later I noticed Shino seemed more troubled than before, leaving abruptly after meeting's keeping close to us again. I became worried again, and gave the day off, grabbing Shino before he could leave.

"Shino, wha-….what's this!"

I saw something that looked like a scar on his arm and grabbed his sleeve yanking it up. I gasped and yanked up his other sleeve; all over his arms were puncture wounds, some deeper than others but no doubt they were painful.

"Shino?"

"He came back, that's all. You need not worry; the needles of his doll aren't laced with poison anymore."

"Shino! It doesn't matter if they were poisonous or not! Why do you let him do this to you!"

"I won't give in to his stupidity, it's only been wasting my time."
"Shino, please! When he starts hurting you like this, counter attack! Or at least defend yourself!"

"I do defend myself, he's gotten a little faster….but these are mainly from surprise attacks."

"Shino, please! If he attacks you…..defend yourself in anyway possible!"

He looked at me with what seemed curiosity. I told myself to calm down; my frantic outburst was not like me at all.

"You have my permission to defend yourself by any means necessary."

"Thank you, but as I said, I don't want to give him the satisfaction of knowing I'm giving in. this fight he wants, is nothing more than a game resulting of boredom. He only THINKS there's a reason behind it."

"Shino, at least for my sake, don't let him do this to you again….are you hurt anywhere else?"

"No."

"Shino! You're lying, I can tell…." (Calm down! You're beginning to sound like a frenzied mother!), "Do me a favor Shino, please come with me, let me at the very least put some ointments on these for you."

"I'll be fine."

"Please…"

"Really, you are worrying over nothing Kurenai-sensei." He pulled his arms away, letting the sleeves drop down over his scars again. He gave me a nod, mumbled 'goodbye' and walked off. I stared after him, my heart strained with not being able to help him.

(He's strong, he doesn't need you…) do any of them really need me? I sighed and shook my head. I HAD to do something! I wouldn't be able to bear seeing him hurt again. I couldn't go to Kankuro, it was against the rules for the sensei of one team punish the child of another team.

(So go speak to their Sensei, let HIM deal out the punishment!) Of course, that was a civilized and simple way to deal with this problem. I'll do so; I'll find out where they're staying and pay him a little visit tonight.

Vampire Toy: Heheee, Hope Kurenai and Shino weren't too OOC (dies) I know they were…now, before anyone goes freaking out over Kankuro constantly poking Shino, remember that Kankuro is like a bully (a really hot one XP). You don't just fall out of your tendencies to pick on someone because of a treaty; Gaara might be nice to Shino, Kiba, and Hinata, now that his butt was kicked by Naruto (but remember he's insane and different things change his attitude than a normal person). And I love the Sand Sibling's so that's why I'm portraying Kankuro this way (if that makes any sense) he's a badass for life XP it'll take a long time to beat it out of him. WHELP, I don't know if this will get many reviews, seeing as my intended couplings for this story are gonna be kinda weird (no I'm not putting Kurenai with Shino) but I thought the idea for it was pretty good and the story is original (I hope). So erm…if you do happen to read this, thanks, and please, R&R and flames welcome.