Author's Notes:

Yes, it's overdue I am aware of this. I have been working on it, people.

My personal life has been pretty crappy in the past year or so. It's kind of hard to be funny when the last thing you want to do is laugh.

Special dedication goes out to my beloved stalker, Hedder: I really appreciate the support you have given me in recent months - especially when there were times I was pretty much tempted to abandon this story. Thank you.

I would also like to thank those readers who sent me the encouraging PMs and email. This round is for you folks as well. :D

Alrighty then! This round contains humor of a sexual nature, violence and a lot of bad language. Kabuto has a seriously foul mouth in this round but intense pain and riding around bound in a trap puppet will do that to a person. Again - if this kind of thing offends you, then you shouldn't be reading this story!

As mentioned in previous chapters, there will be NO Sakura/Gaara lemon in this story. This is Kankuro and Ino's tale of courtship. I will be telling Gaara and Sakura's story at a later date and yes, it will have the lemon. No – don't ask when I plan to start writing that…I have no clue but it's a safe bet to say it will be after I finish up a couple of my stories.

You know the drill…read as always and review at your leisure… have fun, kiddies.

A sentence in Italics denotes the private thoughts of a character.

A sentence in "Italics and quotation marks" denotes the thoughts of Inner Sakura.

Japanese words:

Oyaji – old man

Kanojo - sweetheart

Gay Terminology:

Troll – Used by young gay men to describe older, undesirable men.

Bag Lady - Ugly drag queen.

Queen Bee - The central figure in a group of homosexuals; usually, but not always, an auntie with money, an entourage, and numbers (sex partners). Frequently he is elderly and, most always, an agreeable person.

Source: GLTB Gay Slang Dictionary - /lou/dic/dic00.html

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or the characters. They are the copyrighted property of that genius – Kishimoto. I do, however, own Suki, Chichi and Oyaji. I don't make a red cent off my literary rambling either.

Round Eleven – Return of the Puppet Nin

The Next Day…

A soft tapping on the door alerted Ino to the fact that someone was there.

"Who is it?" asked Ino with a soft groan, lifting her head slightly from the pillow to peer with drowsy eyes over at the door.

"Ayame – sweetie... It's me, Suki. Can I come in?" called out a familiar voice.

"Suki? What are you doing here?" murmured the blonde in surprise.

"Yukio dropped over this morning to let me know that his boss called him back on urgent business and he asked if Chichi and I could look after you until he got back." replied the voice through the door.

He did?

"Uh... wait a minute, Suki... I was still sleeping…" called out Ino, slightly embarrassed to be caught still in bed.

"Somehow I'm not surprised to hear that, Ayame." replied Suki in a sing song voice.

The young woman shifted her leg but abruptly stopped when she felt all the muscles in her body protest mightily at the movement.

"AHHHHH!" screamed out Ino, feeling intense pain shoot through her body.

There was a pregnant pause before she finally heard, "Ayame... honey...listen – don't move. I will be right back...okay?"

"Okay..." replied Ino before covering her head with a nearby pillow.

This was sooo embarrassing...

Just then, the lock clicked and the door slid open slightly to reveal Suki in another colorful ensemble.

"Thanks, sweetie... much appreciated." murmured the petite man to the person outside before softly closing the door and rushing over to the bed, his face full of concern.

"Okay...'s just us girls now... what's wrong?" asked Suki, removing the pillow from the blonde's head.

"It hurts to move..." confessed Ino, her face going bright red in embarrassment.

"There...there, sweetie... it's going to be okay." clucked Suki in sympathy, reaching out to push a lock of Ino's hair away from her tearstained face.

The man walked over to the door and opened it to quietly talk to the person outside before closing it once more.

"Okay, I just sent Akane to get Chichi and she'll be here soon. In the meantime, I will start filling the tub." murmured Suki soothingly.

"Wait….Chichi is coming here?! I-I should put on some clothes…she can't find me in bed like this." Exclaimed Ino, now starting to panic.

"Tut-tut…. Don't you go all prissy-missy on me now… I'm going to need Chichi's help to get you into the tub, silly girl." stated the gay man matter of factly, as he straightened out the sheet and tucked it more securely around the blonde in the bed.

"I'm sorry, Suki... I'm really embarrassed... about this." wailed Ino, cringing as she shifted slightly under the covers.

"Sweetheart, you have nothing to be embarrassed about... hell – there are women out there who would kill to have a small fraction of what you get..." consoled Suki, patting the young woman on the shoulder before walking over to the bathroom.

"Suki?" asked Ino.

The petite man paused at the entrance of the bathroom and didn't miss the fact that there was a sash wrapped around the shower head.

Well, well... there was QUITE a little party here last night!

"What's wrong, honey?" prompted Suki, turning at the sound of her voice and saw the question in her blue eyes.

Ino worried her bottom lip with her teeth for a moment before she blurted out, "Uh – is it normal to feel...sore"


"Yes, sweetie... perfectly normal if you're at it or it was a marathon session but the soreness will go away once your body gets used to it...and has a rest from all the activity." replied the gay man gently with a ruddy blush on his cheeks.

"Okay, I'm here!! Let me in, Suki." called out a husky female voice.

"Good lord, Chi Chi…don't tell me you ran here?" exclaimed Suki in surprise.

"No, you silly man…I was on my way over to your place when Akane found me…as if I would run and risk ruining my makeup." Huffed Chichi through the closed door.

"Oh Kami... kill me now..." groaned Ino in mortification as she tugged the sheet over her head.

Suki clucked his tongue in commiseration as he walked across the room and open the door.

Chi Chi's eyes widened in shock as she took in the smell and sight of the inn room before staring at the lump in the bed and murmuring in hushed awe, "Good lord... what the hell didn't he do to her last night?! smells like one of the back rooms of the Happy Times in here!"

Suki glowered at his friend and gestured to the woman hidden under the sheet and replied with a small hiss, "Chi Chi... please. It's very clear that the poor girl is need to point out to her the obvious."

The large woman in the scarlet and beige floral yukata hustled over to the bed and gingerly sat on the edge.

"Sorry, sweetie... it's just that I haven't seen this much action since puberty. Can you move?" asked the drag queen with a light touch on the woman's covered shoulder.

"No... it hurts!" wailed out Ino, muffled by the sheets.

Suki and Chi Chi exchanged knowing glances before the owner of the Happy Times opened her large matching floral hand bag to retrieve a container.

She silently handed her friend the large canister before waving Suki off to the direction of the bathroom with a flick of her manicured wrist.

"Okay, sweetie... the good news is that you're going to live. We will get you back on your feet soon enough..." murmured Chi Chi as she gently tugged the sheet off the young woman's head.

Ino looked up in surprise and murmured, "Really?!"

Chi Chi smirked as she took in the look of shock mirrored in Ayame's eyes before moving her hand and touching the blonde on the nose with a perfectly manicured finger.

"Yes... really... but don't think we're going to patch you up without your solemn promise that you will dish about what happened last night…including what happened in the alleyway on the way back here." replied Chi Chi with a smirk.

"Oh Kami! You saw that?!" wailed Ino pulling the covers back over her head in mortification.

"It was pretty hot, Ayame… I thought I was going to die from loss of blood!" called out a cheerful voice from the bathroom.

Ino swallowed nervously before giving a nod and narrowing her blue eyes at the drag queen openly grinning at her.

"Fine..." grouched Ino with a loud sigh before muttering, "I warn you both now... you better be serving the good tea and Hisa's dango...or I'm not telling."

"Hell, honey... we'll even serve those cute little almond tarts and red bean buns you like so much...just as long as we get all the naughty glorious details." replied Chi chi as she got off the bed and scooped up the small blonde woman.


That evening…

"Are you two okay?" asked Ino in concern as she watched the pair reach for another linen napkin.

"Mah …sweetie… we'll be fine…nothing that a blood transfusion from a hot young shinobi stud won't fix." Countered Chi Chi with a small moue of her lips.

"And here I was thinking that I had seen it and done it all… boy, was I wrong!" muttered Suki under his breath with a grimace.

"Is my sex life that disgusting?" asked Ino in a horrified tone as she reached over and picked up a stick of dango.

The drag queen mirrored the same facial expression as the small blonde before her hand flashed out with a wild and flamboyant gesture.

"Oh, hell NO, sweetie… not at all…" assured the drag queen quickly.

Suki cleared his throat and countered, "What the bag lady here is trying to say is…"

"Who the hell are you calling a bag lady, you…troll!" screamed Chi Chi irately.

"What?! How dare you call me that!! You're much older than me, Ms Queen Bee!" howled Suki, picking up a napkin and tossing it at his friend.

"Hag! You're jealous because I don't need to trowel on my makeup every morning!" replied Chi Chi with a hiss.

The effeminate man's eyes bulged in fury at the blatant insult before he picked up the cake server and waved it menacingly around in the air.

"You take that back, Hostess Cupcake Queen! I have a flawless complexion….FLAW-LESS!" exclaimed Suki outraged.

The pair heard the soft laughter then and pulled back in embarrassment before they turned rueful glances over at the blonde wiping tears from her eyes with one hand.

"Are you two always like this?" asked Ino with a teasing smile.

"Lah, Ayame…you should see us at the Annual sales…now – that's scary!" countered Suki with a smirk as he put down the serving piece and sat back in his chair.

"Forgive us, sweetie…as I was trying to say before sugar snax here interrupted, there is nothing wrong with your sex life. You're fortunate to have such an animal in bed." murmured Chi Chi with a smile.

"Does it ever… you know… slow down?" asked Ino looking down at the table with a small blush on her cheeks.

The two friends exchanged meaningful glances before Chi Chi cleared her throat and replied, "If you two continue to show this much passion in your relationship….then, no…I don't think it will die down but hopefully, if you're one of the lucky ones…you will find it gets stronger over time."

Ino looked at the two in surprise. Never in a million years was she expecting Chi Chi of all people to offer her such sage advice.

"How do I know that I am one of the lucky ones?" countered the young woman in a low voice, the blush spreading higher on her face.

The drag queen raised an elegant sable eyebrow before shrugging eloquently and replied, "Life's a crap shoot, sweetie...You don't know until you try but Yukio strikes me as the stubborn type. I don't think you will be getting rid of him in a hurry."

"Oh." murmured Ino, feeling oddly disappointed by the answer.

The two friends looked on concerned, watching the different emotions dance across the blonde's face.

"Soooo...Have you decided what you would like to do with your time while you are waiting for Yukio's return?" asked Suki with a warm smile, smoothly changing the subject as he propped his chin on his elbow and looked at the young woman with a great deal of interest.

Ino glanced at the two friends in mild surprise, not missing the eagerness on their features before replying, "No, not a clue but I can tell by those cat-got-the-canary-smiles you two have on your faces that you have a couple of thoughts on the subject, hn?"

Chi Chi traced a pattern on the embroidered tablecloth with a red finger nail as she smiled slyly and asked, "How would you like to earn some serious cash?"

Ino's eyes narrowed as she contemplated the pair before finally responded, "What do you have in mind? It better not involve one of the back rooms of the happy times either, Chi Chi."

Chi Chi gave a naughty smile as she raised a hand and waved it negligently in the air.

"No, no, no….nothing sordid like that, sweetie. We were thinking more along the lines of what you did at the Amateur's night…which by the way, you won."

Ino stared dumb founded at the drag queen for a few moments before glancing over at the gay man grinning happily back at her.

"I won? Are you serious?" asked Ino, watching the pair nod vigorously.

"How about it, Ayame? I dress you in something fabulously naughty from the shop and you wow the crowd on the pole on the main stage at the Happy Times. It would be easy money for you and besides, can you imagine the look on Yukio's face when he comes to pick you up and sees you working your milkshake?" said Suki with a cheeky grin.

Ino gave an evil little laugh and nodded, "I have a feeling I'm not going to walk for a week! Okay… when do you want me to start?"

"Ayame, it will be a miracle if you can walk at all if he catches you on that stage." Returned the gay man with a snicker.

Suki clapped his hands in delight as Chi Chi returned the blonde's crafty look with one of her own.

"You can start in a couple of days, Ayame. It wouldn't take long for us to find something suitable for you to wear from Suki's secret stash of goodies in the back room." Replied the drag queen with a delighted grin.


Two Days later...

Gaara and two teams of ANBU operatives waited patiently outside the Suna Village gates for the two figures to reach the base of the sand dune.

"Team five, go and assist him." murmured the Kazekage, keeping his eyes on the pair as they got close.

Moments later, the ANBU team flickered into focus next to Kankuro and the red head watched with a smirk as they retrieved a cursing and bound gray haired man from the confines of the battle puppet.

"Kazekage-sama, we have the prisoner in possession. Should we wait for your arrival before we begin interrogation?" asked the ANBU squad leader appearing in front of his leader.

Gaara watched his brother send his puppet back into the large summoning scroll before looking at the man struggling in his chakra enforced bindings in front of him.

"It's been a while, Kabuto." said Gaara in an emotionally devoid voice.

"Fuck you! If you're going to torture me – just fucking do it already." growled out Kabuto as one of the ANBU pushed him to his knees.

Gaara merely raised a non-existent eyebrow as a tendril of sand slivered over to firmly grasp the missing nin's chin and jerked his head upwards to meet the menacing light green orbs of the Kazekage.

"Maybe I should allow Kankuro the pleasure of interrogating you instead?" countered Gaara coolly, not missing the fear that crept into the man's eyes.

"NO!! NO!! I will tell you what you want to know - just keep that fucking sick bastard away from me!" howled the man, his eyes wide with terror.

"Very well... take him away." murmured the Kazekage with a malicious smirk on his face as he waited for his brother to arrive while the ANBU squad took the still cursing man away.

"Kazekage-sama." said Kankuro with a slight bow of his cat hooded head.

"I take it that your prisoner felt the full brunt of your displeasure then?" replied the red head dryly.

"Hai... now – if you don't mind... I need to get back." countered the puppet nin curtly, turning his back and heading back into the desert.

He didn't get far before tendrils of sand shot out and captured his arms and legs.

"I know you wish to get back, Aniki but you will do the return trip a lot faster if you have some food and a little rest." responded that cool voice from behind him.

Kankuro closed his eyes in frustration.

He didn't want to bloody rest but he knew that his brother was right.

"Fine, Gaara...but you better have some decent coffee." bit out the large man as he felt the sand release him then.

"Naturally." replied the Kazekage in mild amusement as he watched his brother walk back over to him.

"Don't worry, Aniki... you will be back by her side soon enough." muttered Gaara in a low voice that could be only heard by Kankuro.

"Yeah, I know..." sighed the puppet nin in resignation.

Gaara glanced over at the remaining ANBU team and said, "Squad Leader, send someone ahead and tell the old man that I need the good coffee ready by the time I arrive back at the office – or I will be making a sacrifice to appease the spirit of Shukaku."

Kankuro grinned wolfishly as he heard the knowing snickers of the ANBU team.

They had been protecting the Kazekage long enough to know that he was joking.

The crusty old cook was in no danger of being sacrificed to the dead sand demon but it was always amusing to see how the man reacted.

Shit – that never got old.

"Is he still making those weird cut out cookies?" asked Kankuro hopefully.

They were very tasty – even though they were morbid looking.

"The Tanukis? Oh, yes... he regularly bakes a batch of those for me but he only makes the sacrificial Tanukis when he knows that I am expecting dignitaries from other villages." replied Gaara with a knowing smirk.

"Sacrificial Tanukis? ...damn – he's one very twisted old man!" murmured Kankuro in admiration.

"I'm sure we can persuade him to make you a few... they taste even better than the plain ones." replied Gaara temptingly as they walked towards the village gates.

"Yeah – that sounds good." countered Kankuro with a small laugh.


Gaara watched in amusement as his brother leaned back in the leather chair with his eyes closed and the hood pushed off his head.

"I take it that it was a difficult journey, then...judging from your prisoner's reaction?" murmured the Kazekage.

The puppet nin cracked open one eye and looked at his brother before replying, "Not at all... that bastard just got on my mean side by making a few choice comments regarding Ino."

"I was surprised when I received the message yesterday that you would be arriving here with a 'guest'. You were supposed to just gather information and then leave. What happened?" countered the red haired man with a small frown.

"He recognized Ino and tried to bail... that's what happened. We couldn't run the risk of being discovered, so she immobilized him to prevent him from running off and I took care of the rest." murmured Kankuro gruffly.

"Here's your damn coffee, you young rogue… and yes, it's the good stuff." Grumbled a voice from the doorway.

"It took you long enough." Countered the Kazekage with a smirk as the old cook wheeled a cart into the room.

"How's it going, oyaji? You still trying to sidestep the wrath of the Ichibi?" asked Kankuro, opening his eyes and grinning wolfishly at the man who had entered the room.

"Hehehe… I manage. I find that regular offerings to the demon's spirit have saved my old hide many a time." Replied the old cook with a bark of laughter.

The puppeteer laughed at that comment, knowing that there was a deep and mutual respect between the two men.

"Here's your lunch to go with that coffee, you young upstart… and you better eat it all!" warned the grumpy cook, handing a covered plate over to the redhead.

Kankuro watched in amusement as his sibling glared while the man placed a bowl of rice next to the plate as well as the promised coffee.

Yes – it was just as well that these two found each other that sleepless night a couple of years ago…

It had turned out to be a rather fortunate meeting that had benefited both men in different ways.

"Young Kankuro…I imagine you're hungry, hn?" murmured that gruff voice.

"I'm always hungry when I know you're cooking, oyaji… so, what's this I hear about you serving Sacrificial Tanukis to the visiting diplomats?" asked Kankuro with a broad smile.

He heard the man give out a rusty laugh and retort, "Lah – I serve them at the council meetings too…but they always send them back untouched... humorless old farts."

The puppeteer looked over at his brother and shared a mutual smile.

The old man was right…none of those stick in the muds could see the humor in something like that.

The crusty old cook reached down and pulled out a tray of food for the puppet nin.

"Thanks, oyaji…" murmured Kankuro gratefully as the old cook merely nodded and shuffled back to the door, leaving the cart behind.

"You better eat everything, young Kankuro….or there will be no sacrificial tanukis for you." Growled the crusty cook as he left the room.

The young shinobi picked up their chopsticks and ate their meal in silence.

Gaara was glad to see his brother back in one piece, even if it was temporary but he had a gut feeling that there was more to the story of what transpired between his brother and the prisoner than Kankuro was telling him.

No matter…the medical reports will arrive here shortly… they will provide him with more information.


The old man was wheeling out the cart when the two shinobi heard a hurried knock on the door.

"Who is it?" growled out Gaara, anxious for the cook to return with his tanukis and a fresh pot of coffee.

"Kazekage-sama…the medic nin in charge has finished her initial checkup of the prisoner." Called out one of the ANBU on guard.

"Excellent. Let her in." replied Gaara, feeling a smirk appear on his lips as he heard Kankuro groan when Sakura walked through the door.

"You! What the hell did you do to him?! You make Ibiki look like a rank amateur." growled the pink haired woman with a frown, jabbing a finger in his direction.

"Nothing that the bastard didn't deserve." Countered the puppet nin with a growl of his own.

The Kazekage stretched out a hand for the scroll and unfurled it, reading the document in silence.

"Kabuto must have said something highly objectionable about the blonde to warrant these injuries… I find myself rather impressed, Aniki." murmured the red head after a while.

"You did this to him because he insulted Ino?!" asked Sakura slightly aghast and more than a little pleased.

(pumping fist in the air) "Yeah!! Way to go! Only we can insult the pig!"

"Yes. She may be a handful but she's my handful…and heaven help anyone foolish enough to malign her character in my presence." Bit out the puppet nin gruffly as the door opened to reveal the old cook pushing in a small cart containing a fresh pot of coffee, cups, some pastries and a earthenware kettle with a forbidden sign on the dome.

Sakura's eyes lit up when she saw the covered dish and exclaimed, "Oyaji! You made Sacrificial Tanukis today?! I love those things!"

(eyes light up) "Quick! Let's get the biggest one before Panda-chan swipes it!"

(grumbles) Yeah… I'm way ahead of you…

The crusty old man nodded his head with a decidedly evil cackle and murmured, "I saw you heading this way to see the young pup…so I made sure they were extra…juicy today – just the way you like them."

Kankuro's curiosity now more than piqued, he waited for the cook to leave before he lifted the cover off the kettle.

Large Tanuki shaped pastries, decorated with beige and black royal icing glared up at him from the dark recesses of the container.

It was the creepiest thing Kankuro had seen in a long time.

"Kankuro, can you hand me the one with the most amount of blood around its mouth?" asked Sakura cheerfully.

He reached in and fished out a large Tanuki with a generous amount of raspberry filling adorning its toothy grin, placing in onto a plate for the pink haired medic nin.

"Don't you dare start before I get mine." Growled Gaara at Sakura who was busy sticking her finger in the blood.

(pokes tongue out) "Tcha! In your dreams, Panda-man!"

Kankuro sighed as he handed an equally bloodied Tanuki to his sibling and heard him complain that Sakura got more gore.

"Enough! You're both adults… can't you eat these things without ripping each other's throats out?" yelled the puppeteer, feeling more like a referee.

Sakura and the Kazekage both pinned him with green looks of shock before replying bluntly, "No."

Kankuro fished out one for himself and stared at it for a while. He honestly didn't see what the fuss was… they were even more hideous than the plain Tanukis.

"I suppose there is a special way to eat these things?" asked the puppet nin with an air of resignation.

"If you want maximum blood spillage, I recommend biting the neck or the tail first." Replied Sakura helpfully.

Kankuro glanced over at Gaara who was smirking at the medic nin's advice.

"I can see that you've been spending way too much time in my sibling's company." Murmured Kankuro darkly.

The puppet nin stared down at the morbid offering and then glanced up briefly to see Sakura and Gaara looking back at him in anticipation.

"Fine…this thing better taste a lot better than it looks." Grouched Kankuro before he picked the pastry up and bit down on the tail aggressively.

His eyes widened in surprise at how good the light sponge cake tasted as raspberry puree oozed out of the Tanuki's head.

"Shukaku has been appeased." Intoned Gaara with a half smirk on his lips as Sakura giggled.

"I can now see why you two squabble over these things… it's delicious…but otouto – that cook of yours…" murmured Kankuro shaking his head.

"Yes, he's a little eccentric but I eat better and I don't need to worry about someone trying to poison me – thanks to Oyaji." Replied Gaara calmly before he picked up his Tanuki and bit into it, watching the raspberry puree explode out of its head with a good deal of satisfaction.

"Well, that's a small blessing I guess…" grumbled the puppet nin watching Sakura take a bigger bite out of her Tanuki and listened to her give a naughty giggle as the head popped off in an explosion of raspberry ooze.

"So, Aniki…I find I am curious as to what actually happened to your prisoner enroute to warrant the injuries listed on this scroll." Murmured Gaara as he gave the pink haired woman a nasty look before picking up the scroll.

"Shit, Gaara… can't this wait until…later?" griped Kankuro, giving the pink haired medic nin a meaningful look.

"No – she has a right to know as the Konoha representative. This is after all their prisoner we have in custody." Countered the Kazekage with a frown as his tongue darted out to snag a trail of the red sticky goodness.

Sakura felt her breath lock in her throat and her face go bright red as she watched that tongue take swipes at the raspberry puree on the corner of his top lip.

(drools) "Gah… He so needs to run that over us! I still can't believe you haven't sampled a piece of that, Sakura… look at him…seriously! We wouldn't be able to walk for a week after a night of that!"(evil laughter)

Shut it…I'm not listening to you…lalalalalala…

"I would kill to watch those tight rippling muscles of his bunching and relaxing as he drives into you…" (blood starting to trickle out of her nose)

She felt something nudging at her hand and looked down to see a napkin there attached to tiny strands of chakra before picking up the scrap of linen to wipe off the blood she was now more than sure was there.


"Sakura-san… are you okay? You look…flushed." Drifted out the voice of her nightly fantasies.

"She's fine, otouto… she just had a little sacrificial offering on her face, that's all." Countered Kankuro smoothly with a warning glance at the medic nin.

Sakura swallowed the lump that had lodged firmly in her throat, understanding what the puppet nin was trying to tell her.

Gaara may have had his demon removed but he still got excited by the sight of blood.

She had made that discovery herself when she had cut her finger in the kitchen two weeks ago.

(sighs) "Sakura…that was hot! I honestly thought he was going to tear your clothes off with his sand and take you against the counter."

(lets out a breath) I thought so too… it was just fortunate that Oyaji came into the kitchen when he did.

(grumbles) "You would be pleased about the interruption…I'm still pissed with you over that! I was hoping to finally see some action!"

Oh? You certainly fooled me, little witch… as I recall – you were laughing like a little maniac when Oyaji barked at the Kazekage that he didn't want any special sauce in his kitchen.

(snorting) "Yeah – that was pretty freaking amusing."

Sakura felt her face flush in embarrassment when the red head's voice brought her back to the conversation at hand.

"Well, Kankuro… I'm waiting for your report." Growled the Kazekage.

The puppet nin looked at the pair who watched him with anticipation before he bit out in disgust, "Fine…I will submit my report but I'm going to be pissed if you decide to reprimand me for my actions because I don't feel one ounce of remorse for what I did to the bastard."

Gaara let out a slow smirking smile and replied, "Somehow I have a feeling that this is going to be quite the story then… you can begin, Aniki…"


Flashback – two days ago

The silver haired man hissed out in pain as the chakra string bit deeply into his flesh once more.

It was the sixth time that that man had attempted to escape and Kankuro was close to summoning his trap puppet and forcing the bastard to travel back to the sand village in it.

Yes – Kabuto was starting to severely piss him off!

"Why do you persist in trying to escape, Kabuto-san? You know that I have no intention of letting you go." Drifted out that loathsome and smug voice.

"Hmmph…so the little blonde bitch got lucky. You are not going to be able to detain me for long, puppet nin. I always manage to get away in the end." Replied the missing nin, the sneer apparent in his tone.

"Luck had nothing to do with it, shit head. She got you when you least expected it and you're still sore about it." Returned Kankuro in a gloating tone.

Kabuto let out a mirthless laugh and countered with a curl of his lip, "Don't make me laugh…the only real skill that kuniochi possesses is the one between her legs."

The missing nin watched in malicious delight as his comment hit its mark and the puppet nin tried in vain to keep a tight rein on his temper.

"Oh yes… she's a hot little number… moaning like a little whore all night, begging you to fuck her harder… screaming her pleasure for the world to hear… It's a pity you don't share… I bet she's a pleasure to ride." said Kabuto with a smirk as he watched the other man's face harden into an implacable mask.

There was no warning as the missing nin was released from the chakra strings, only to have them wrap around his arms to pull them up over his head, causing his back to arch in pain.

"Fuck! You miserable painted whore-son." Yelled Kabuto, spitting on the ground in front of him.

"Don't even think for a moment that you would ever have her… it's not going to happen while I still have breath in my body." Growled Kankuro, chakra strings tightening on the shinobi's arm.

"Yes, it's going to be a pleasure breaking her after I kill your miserable hide." Continued Kabuto before letting out a pained groan as he heard his left and then right wrist break.

"Argh…fucker!" yelled the missing nin as he watched the other man calmly walk over to him and felt the murderous intent coming off him in waves.

"If you continue talking about Ino like that…I promise you that I will make this trip back to Suna as unpleasant as possible for you. I don't give a shit how many times I break your bones and patch you back up again." Warned Kankuro in a deathly quiet tone.

"Why do you give a shit? It's obvious that she doesn't care who's giving it to her." Sneered Kabuto as the puppet nin finished healing the left wrist, only to break it once more as he tightened the strings in anger.

"Holy….ARRGHHH! Fuck! What did you do that for?!" yelled the missing nin outraged at having his wrist broken for a second time in a short amount of time.

"I would refrain from talking about the future mother of my children in that way… Ino is mine…and I don't share….ever." hissed Kankuro pinning the other man with a piercing glare.

The gray haired man went pale momentarily in shock before his lip curled and he spat out, "Don't make me laugh! The only thing you will get from her loins is an STD."

Chakra strings whipped down to a knee cap and wrapped around tight until a sickening crunch echoed out along with a pain filled howl from the missing nin.

"Just fucking keep your shit up, Kabuto-san… and you'll discover just how close in temperament I am to my younger brother, the Kazekage." Growled out the puppet nin in warning.

"Hahahah… that fucking sick little psycho doesn't scare me…your sister has bigger balls than the two of you combined." chuckled Kabuto with a rattling wheeze as another set of chakra strings whipped out and did damage to the other knee cap.

"FUCKER!!" squealed the missing nin in outrage and pain, his breath rattling in his lungs.

Kabuto tried to pull away from the chakra strings holding him tightly but it was no good. He was caught fast and finally realizing that he was at the mercy of a furious puppet nin with some medical training. It was a scary thought.

The missing nin let out a small sigh of relief as he began to feel the familiar tingle of healing chakra being pushed into his body and slowly repairing the injuries incurred by the sand nin.

A few beads of sweat popped on Kabuto's brow as he felt the bones knitting back together before the other man's hand slowly pulled away.

He now understood the true danger he was in.

"I am not as skilled as you but I know enough to prolong your torture." Murmured Kankuro as he saw the realization dawn in the missing nin's eyes.

"Big deal. I am not intimidated by a shinobi whose abilities are on par with those of that pinked haired, thick browed, weakling apprentice of the Hokage." Sneered Kabuto with a slight curl of his upper lip.

"I would be careful what you say about her. My sibling will not take kindly to you insulting the woman he is trying to woo." Returned Kankuro.

The missing nin gave the other shinobi a jaundiced look with pain ridden eyes before spitting in the puppet nin's face.

"Yet another sand nin content to have the leavings of others. She isn't that much better than the blonde." Muttered Kabuto with a sly grin.

A blood curdling scream filled the air as chakra strings flew through the air and found its target with unerring precision.

"Screw it. You're traveling back to Suna in the belly of Black Ant. If I don't see you, I won't be tempted to kill you outright" murmured Kankuro in a chillingly calm voice before Kabuto finally lost his battle in blocking out the pain and passed out.


"So, I patched him up while he was unconscious and stuffed him into my trap puppet for the remainder of the trip back to suna. It was much easier to ignore the bastard and his snide comments if I couldn't see him but of course, there were a few moments where I couldn't help myself." Finished the puppet nin with a small shrug as he took a sip of his coffee.

The sliver of sand scraping the floor alerted Kankuro to the fact that his sibling has been displeased by his report.

"Are you going somewhere, Kazekage-sama?" asked the puppet nin dryly as he pointedly glanced down at the tendril of sand slivering towards the door.

His sibling gave a negligent shrug of his own and replied in a voice devoid of emotion, "I was merely planning to pay our guest a visit."

"I don't think so, Gaara. It would be tantamount to war if we kill the bastard." Countered Kankuro with a frown as he watched the medic nin launch to her feet and stalk over to the door, only to find herself caught.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?! Let me go! I'm going to kill that snake lover!" snarled Sakura as she looked down in outrage at the chakra strings restraining her.

"You are not going any where until you calm down, Sakura-san." Murmured Kankuro dryly.

"What?! The bastard referred to me as the local Konoha Bicycle! I'm not planning to let the little boot licker get away with that!" growled the pink haired kuniochi in disgust.

"The local Konoha bicycle?" asked Gaara with a quirk of his non existent brow.

"I will explain later, outouto." Muttered Kankuro under his breath.

"How dare he say that I will let any man screw me! I just want one man to do that to me and he's too obtuse to notice!" hissed out Sakura candidly to the surprise of the two men in the room.

Sakura stiffened in shock as she felt the strings holding her retract and heard Kankuro murmur, "I suggest you leave, Sakura-san before you get your wish answered."

The medic nin glanced over at the silent Kazekage before slapping a hand over her mouth as she realized what she just revealed and dashed over to the door.

"Too late, kanojo…I didn't realize that I was neglecting you shamelessly but I will correct that oversight momentarily." Returned Gaara with a slow smile as his sand whipped out and coiled around the pink haired woman.

Sakura swallowed nervously as she felt the sand wrapping gently around her ankles and travel upwards before glancing over at the puppet nin with pleading eyes.

She could feel her heart jump into her throat when she saw Kankuro lean close and whisper into his sibling's ear.

An undefined emotion flittered in those pale green eyes before Sakura saw the Kazekage give a curt nod and murmur, "I understand, aniki."

"What did you say to him?" asked Sakura as she took in the look of resolution on Gaara's face and the sympathetic look on Kankuro's own.

"I told him that he needed to be gentle, Sakura. You've never known a man in that way." Replied the puppet nin with something akin to regret in his tone.

"How would you know?" huffed Sakura in indignation as she pushed back her shoulders and folded her arms defensively.

The Kazekage rose to his feet and walked over to the captured woman.

"My brother has an uncanny ability to read people that is rarely wrong. Are you saying that he is incorrect in this instance?" murmured Gaara as he raised a hand to cup Sakura's chin and raise her eyes to his own.

The pink haired medic nin swallowed convulsively before biting her bottom lip and turning her head away to avoid pale green eyes that could see into her soul.

"No." whispered Sakura tightly, feeling her pulse race as a finger slid slowly down the side of her throat.

"If I do not see you before you leave for the sound village, I wish you a safe journey." Murmured Gaara as his sand whipped about him and his prey.

Kankuro shook his head wryly as the pair disappeared in the mini sandstorm.

"Where's the little rogue?" rasped a voice from the doorway, a few moments later.

"He's gone to take care of some overdue business with Sakura-san." Replied the puppet nin with a knowing smirk as he caught sight of the old man standing in the doorway.

The old cook let out a rusty chuckle and countered, "It's about time…those two were driving me crazy with their little games."

Kankuro smiled and responded with a sympathetic look in his eyes, "I'm not surprised, Oyaji….dealing with those two would drive anyone crazy. I take it that there were a couple of close calls while I was away, hn?"

"Pinkie cut herself in the kitchen not so long ago and I honestly thought the lad was going to rape her…but I don't think she would have complained…if you know what I mean." replied the crusty old cook as he shuffled into the room to retrieve the cart.

Kankuro gestured toward the other chair and murmured, "I need to head back in the morning to my mission and wrap up a few loose ends. Why don't you take a seat, oyaji and we can talk for a little while before you need to head back to the kitchens."

The man nodded and gingerly sat down on the leather chair, his joints protesting loudly.

"I take it one of those loose ends involves a rather curvy, loud mouthed and troublesome blonde kuniochi?" countered the elderly cook with a smile, waving a gnarled hand towards the plain band on the shinobi's ring finger.

"Yeah…I need to have a chat to Ino regarding the future of our relationship." Murmured Kankuro with a frown as he picked up his coffee cup and took a sip.

"Oh? Are you contemplating something of a more permanent arrangement, young Kankuro?" asked the old man in curiosity as he reached for a cup and the coffee pot.

"Eventually. I would prefer a little more time to woo her but it's difficult when we live in different villages." Replied the puppet nin with a grimace, watching the cook fill his cup before carefully setting the pot back down on the cart.

"Hai…that can be difficult…but not impossible. I notice Temari-san and that shadow wielding nin from the leaf village manage." murmured the elderly cook as he took a cookie from one of the trays.

Kankuro raised an eyebrow and murmured, "Indeed? Strange – Temari hasn't been forthcoming in any information regarding her relationship with Shikamaru-san."

The old man let out another rusty chuckle and replied, "I'm not surprised to hear that, Kankuro-san. She has always been a secretive one but I have noticed that when she returns from the leaf village she has often returned with suspicious marks on her neck and a mysterious smile on her face."

The puppet nin laughed and gave his elderly companion a mischievious grin.

"It seems that the lazy bastard took my suggestion to heart after all." Murmured Kankuro with a smirk.

"Oh? What sage advice did you give him?" asked the elderly man out of idle curiosity before taking a sip of his coffee.

"I told him that he needed to find his stones and ask her out on a date instead of pumping me for information…then I told him that if he wanted peace and quiet, Temari needed to be laid on a regular basis…I guess it's working for him." Replied Kankuro casually as he heard the cook choke on his coffee.

"Good advice." Wheezed out the old man, his eyes watering from the sting of having to rapidly swallow the hot bitter brew.

"It sounds like things have progressed a lot more quicker than I had initially expected if Temari is coming back to Suna in such a state though." Murmured Kankuro with a sly look at the other man, still fighting to regain his composure.

The cook nodded and gruffed, "Indeed, but it seems to be a good way to approach your own courtship, eh young kankuro?"

Kankuro took a sip of his coffee as he contemplated the old man's words with a thoughtful frown on his features before looking back at the smirking retainer with the hopeful gleam in his eyes.

Yes – oyaji's suggestion certainly had some merit. If Ino was given too much time to reflect upon their relationship, there was a good chance that she would allow those initial doubts come back into her head and that was the last thing he wanted to happen.

"Yes, oyaji…I tend to agree with you. A more aggressive courtship may indeed be the best approach to take." Murmured the puppet nin after a few moments, much to the delight of the elderly cook.


Three Days later…

Kankuro stepped into the full club and scanned the various platforms looking for his blonde virago.

He had returned a couple of hours ago and discovered from the inn keeper that Ino was staying with Chi Chi and Suki.

The puppet nin chuckled softly to himself as he recalled the look of horror on the elderly woman's face when he stepped inside and asked for his room.

The look swiftly changed to concern when he told his hostess that a local gang had tried to rob him on his way back to the village.

Not that they were successful in their endeavors…poor bastards.

Kankuro felt the small smirk come to his lips as he recalled the robbers' collective looks of horror when they realized just whom they were trying to rob.

He honestly thought they were going to wet themselves when he whipped out Karasu.

"Let's give a big Happy Times welcome to the lovely Ayame Sakamoto on the main stage."

Kankuro's dark emerald eyes shot over to the main stage as the curtain pulled back and the driving beat began.

He felt his jealousy spike as the male audience pressed against the stage as his blonde sashayed onto the stage, swinging her hips seductively to the beat.

His eyes widened to tiny little pinpoints as the image of Ino wearing the shortest mini skirt he had ever seen was burned forever into his brain.

Kankuro's nostrils flared slightly as his hungry eyes continued to track the young woman's movements.

The large man cursed roundly under his breath. He didn't know whether to thank the two friends or choke the living daylights out of them for torturing him like this….yet again.

The miniscule girl scout outfit left very little to the imagination but it was obvious by the reaction of the crowd that Ino looked anything but innocent.

She was carnality personified and the outfit showed off her curves perfectly.

Kankuro growled as Ino danced across the stage, mesmerizing the crowd.

The way she moved – should be considered illegal.

No other woman he had slept with left him feeling like he wanted to tear through the crowd and claim her publicly.
The puppet nin felt something stir a little lower on his body as Ino stalked over to the brass pole and threw a look of pure challenge over her shoulder at the crowd.

"Teasing little minx." Growled Kankuro under his breath as she swung up on the pole, much to the delight of the audience.
Kankuro licked his dry lips, his eyes never straying from the figure writhing seductively to the music.

Damn it! What was it about her that got him all worked up?
Kankuro's eyes narrowed to a feral glare as Ino's hands reached up and tore off her khaki sleeveless top to reveal a tiny purple scalloped lace and sequined bra top that barely held in her bountiful assets.

"Suki…I don't care that you're gay. You're a dead man." Muttered Kankuro under his breath, as the crowd roared its approval.

He paid no heed to the nervous glances he was receiving from the people nearby but continued to watch Ino.

"Damn you both to hell." Hissed out Kankuro with a scowl as the woman he wanted to throw down and ravish within an inch of her life grabbed hold of the brass pole once more and swung around with her long legs split wide.

Legs that should be wrapped around his torso.

He didn't notice the crowd part around him like the proverbial red sea when he let out a low feral growl from tightly compressed lips.

He only had eyes for the flirting temptress on the stage.

Gone for nearly a week…only to be taunted by this…it was too much for his fragile control to take…

"I've seen enough." Muttered the puppet nin under his breath as he turned abruptly on his heel and stalked his way over to the stage door.

It was time to reclaim what was his.


The sound of the crowd echoed in the background as Ino disappeared behind the stage and reached for the soft towel conveniently placed nearby.

"Oh my freaking god, Ayame….you totally worked it tonight!" squealed an excited voice from the wings.

The blonde looked over to see Suki hurrying over with a deep purple, floral dressing gown.

Ino smiled her gratitude as she slipped her arms through the sleeves and tightly belted the garment about her small waist.

"How are you feeling, Ayame…you look a little wiped tonight." Asked the effeminate man in concern as he took in the young woman's drawn features.

Ino gave the man a tiny smile and waved a hand absently in the air.

"I'm fine, Suki…nothing that a good night's sleep won't fix." Murmured the blonde as she looped an arm through the man's arm and walked through the small corridor that led to the dressing rooms.

The gay man frowned at that comment.

"Oh look, girls…it's the blonde bimbo and her gay pimp…" jeered a female voice.

Suki mentally groaned as he felt Ayame stiffen in outrage before he felt her arm slip out.

Honestly…you would think these nasty jealous little bitches would learn the first time…but no – it appeared that was not the case at all.

The sex shop owner turned to watch the young woman stalk over to the red head standing there with a smug expression on her face.

Stupid little cow.

Suki shook his head sadly as he saw Ayame forcibly yank the little witch by the front of her barely there costume, directly into the path of the blonde's waiting fist.

The sound of cracking bone and the red head's scream of pain ripped through the air before Ayame shoved the woman into the small group of women hovering nearby, watching the proceeding with undisguised joy.

"Go back to the rock you crawled out from under this evening, Nanami and leave me the fuck alone. I will be leaving soon enough." Hissed the blonde before she stalked off to her dressing room.

"What the hell is going on back here?" growled a deep female voice.

"Just the usual shit, Chi Chi darling…" replied Suki in disgust.

The drag queen took in the sight of the red head pathetically whimpering, clutching her nose as her friends held her close.

"Okay, you jealous little she-bitches – listen up. If you're not here to dance…go home and stop wasting my precious time with this rubbish." Snarled Chi chi to the stunned group of females milling about in the wings.

"It's a full house out there tonight, ladies. There is more than enough cash out there to be had if you go out there and shake your money makers. Kagami, you better get ready…it looks like they have almost finished clearing off the stage." Countered Suki in a soothing tone, glancing over at a petite brunette standing nervously nearby.

He let out the breath he'd been holding in as soon as he noticed a couple of the women nod their heads in agreement before they sauntered off to the dressing rooms.

"You have that look on your face, Suki…what's going on?" murmured Chi Chi quietly.

"I'm worried about her, Chi Chi. She seemed a little….off tonight." Replied the gay man with a small frown.

"She's probably missing tall, dark and scandalously handsome." Returned the drag queen with a low knowing laugh.

"I didn't know you thought of me in those terms, Chi Chi darling." Purred a dark sultry voice from the stage door.

"Kami…" gasped Chi Chi as her eyes widened in shock and she felt her nose begin to trickle.

The drag queen turned and gave the broad shouldered man a glare as she dabbed daintily at her nose.

"You! It's about bloody time you showed up! Did you see the show or did you just get here?" countered Chi Chi in an accusing tone.

"Oh, I saw the show….both of them." Returned Kankuro with a slow smile.

Suki and Chi Chi felt a tiny prickle of fear dance down their spines as the man walked over.

"Shit! Suki…I think we've done it now." Muttered Chi Chi under her breath as Suki nodded in agreement.

"Where is she?" drawled the puppet nin, watching in mild amusement as the two friends tried to hide their fear from him.

So they should be frightened! They had a lot to answer for but first, he was going to get a certain blonde to help him take care of something before he dealt with those two!

"Dressing room behind us. You can't miss it…it's the one with the group of women hovering nearby." Squeaked out Suki with a dull flush to his cheeks.

The pair watched in awe as the man glided past them like a panther on the prowl.

They swallowed audibly as Yukio paused in front of the non descript door, glance briefly over at the redhead clutching her nose before they heard him mutter in a disgusted tone, "You only wish you had half her fire. Women like you make a man want to switch teams."

Suki chortled at the man's comment.

Kami, he was blunt but oh so funny.

Suki was drawn out of his thoughts when Yukio's voice drifted out once more.

"Oh, Chi Chi? Do these dressing rooms lock from the inside? I would hate to be …disturbed."

The drag queen's eyes widened to the size of saucers as she nodded dumbly in reply.

"Chi Chi? One last thing…you may want to tell your DJ to keep the music loud for the next hour or two." Responded the large man in a lazy tone before he disappeared inside the room.

"Oh….my. You don't think he's actually going to do what we think he's going to do?" asked Suki, a part of him scandalized and another part of him rather envious of Ayame's good fortune.

All eyes were on the dressing room door as they heard the audible click of the lock sliding home a few minutes before they heard the distinctive sounds of someone clearing off the top of the dressing room table as well as an outraged female yelling.

"I will go and tell Horouki to play the music louder." Exclaimed Suki in a strangled voice before he dashed off to the DJ's booth, leaving Chi Chi to stare at the dressing room door, her nose starting to bleed profusely as a low banging sound drifted out.