Title: Meet the Family
Rating: G
Pairing: Kankurou/Hana, if you squint
Word Count: 639
Warning/s: None
Summary: Kankurou meets the Inuzuka and comes to conclusions about this saving-people-thing.
Notes: This is totally the fault of Jules, who plays Gaara in Revanche RPG. We desperately need a good Kankurou, and we were talking about what a great guy he is, and, well… Kankurou/Hana resulted. I kinda like this pairing. XD;; (And if you're at all interested in Kankurou, check out my profile for links to Revanche!)

Kankurou let the dog-kid drag him home, shortly after the younger boy got out of the hospital. The late Kazekage's children were still not quite honored guests in Konoha, despite having saved the lives of three Konoha shinobi; the mission had still failed, after all, and Konoha was still under repair. Kankurou could pretend to ignore the suspicious glares and the muttering that followed him down the street, but that didn't mean he didn't notice them.

The dog-kid did, too, and he nearly snarled when some old woman pulled her little granddaughter out of their path. "C'mon," he said to Kankurou, shoving his hands in the pockets of his beaten-up old jacket. "S'not much further. My family's gonna like you, any road."

Kankurou had his doubts about that, but he shrugged and hefted Karasu a little further up on his shoulder and followed the kid. Kiba'd invited him home for dinner, after all, and free Konoha cuisine wasn't something to turn up your nose at.

But when the kid finally stopped, it wasn't at the run-down shack Kankurou'd kind of been expecting, given the way the kid talked and dressed and acted. The gates were nearly half again as tall as he was, and they were so elaborately carved with images of running wolves and fighting dogs and romping puppies that he stood staring at them, trying to read the story they told, for a good thirty seconds after Kiba'd trotted through. It took the dog-kid's shout to bring him around again: "Yo, Kankurou! C'mere!"

He trailed inside. The gates opened onto a wide courtyard of packed dirt, ringed on three sides by a sprawling two-storey house with doors and archways leading into other courtyards. There were dogs everywhere, sprawled panting in the shadows the walls cast, wandering through doorways, napping under benches...

And lined up in a neat row facing him. A hulking black monster far too big to be called a dog sat at the side of a wild-haired woman around Baki's age, while three grey dogs of a more reasonable size surrounded the, uh, very trim legs of an, um, rather well-endowed young woman a few years older than Kankurou. She gave him a friendly smile, flashing very white, very sharp teeth. Kankurou decided that focusing on her smile was probably a good thing, if it kept him from slipping his gaze south. Not that dropping his eyes politely wasn't a very tempting thought...

"Ma, nee-chan, this is Subaku no Kankurou," Kiba was saying cheerfully. "He's the guy who saved me'n Akamaru. He's a puppet-user, right, and he's got--"

"Kiba," his mother growled. The boy shut up immediately, though he kept the grin. Kankurou hoped Temari never learned that tone of voice.

"Kankurou, is it?" the Inuzuka woman asked, appraisingly. "Well, we owe you, for sure."

"Kiba's told us about you already," the kid's sister said, smiling again. "I'm Hana; this is our mother, Tsume. We're glad to meet you at last." She stepped forward, leaving her dogs milling in what Kankurou imagined was slight surprise.

Not nearly as much surprise as she left him in when she leaned in to kiss his cheek, though. He'd never been more glad of the Kabuki paint that kept any hint of a blush from showing through.

"Just a mission," he muttered, tugging at Karasu's strap over his shoulder. Hana stepped away again, to his (even more surprising) acute disappointment. But not that far; she slung an arm over his shoulders, cheerfully tugging him forward towards her brother and her mother.

"Well, you can tell us about it over dinner, then. I'm sure your version'll be rather more truthful than Kiba's--"

"Nee-chan!" Kiba yelped in outrage, and their mother barked a laugh.

Kankurou found himself smiling as well.

Maybe this saving-people-thing wasn't such a drag after all.