Chapter three

Gabe had forgotten all about his alarm when he staggered in sometime after two this morning. It went into its first round of shrill beeping at 5:45 and Gabe slapped at it until it stopped. No mission today. His head hurt and he didn't even want to open his eyes. Sleep. I just need more sleep.

Renji had always been a light sleeper. He was awake when Gabe got home last night, but stayed put when he heard big brother stumble into bed. The alarm's beeping and Gabe's pounding woke Renji now. He peeled his eyes open and pleasantly found himself face to face with Sheza. His sleeping teammate had a leg thrown over him, Renji was kind of hugging her, and of course his morning wood was between them.

Oh man… He could see right down the front of Sheza's dress. His hand twitched desperately wanting to be naughty. Renji loved lace. That's a real nice bra yo. His wake up boner agreed and Renji bit his lip to suppress a shudder. Don't be stupid. Sheza would kill me if I… Stupid or not Renji just couldn't help himself. He moved a little closer to Sheza smushing his Mr. Happy between them. Just look at those lips yo.

First it was noise from somewhere and then something tickled her lips. Sheza slowly opened her eyes. Renji the man whore was all over her oh my god is that his! rubbing his lips against hers. He was so busy enjoying being a pervert he hadn't even noticed she woke up. Renji grabbed her ass and Sheza sat up. "Son of a!" she swung a fist and knocked Renji right out of bed.

Gabe sat up when he heard Renji cry out in pain. Little brother howled damn it woman I'm sorry yo! and Gabe's feet hit the floor. Shaking off his tired and trying to ignore the pounding behind his eyes Gabe rushed toward the commotion. The guest bedroom door burst open and Renji came tripping out. "Renji?! What the hell?"

Renji dodged a flying tea cup nearly tripping over a fleeing Heen. "Sheza, come on. Take it easy yo!"

Sheza?! Little brother was still in his good suit, the one he had been wearing last night. Renji's tie was gone and his shirt was unbuttoned to his middle. "Renji!" Gabe snapped.

He looked at big brother wide eyed. Gabe looked pissed. "Uh, Gabe. You're awake."

More glass broke in the bedroom. "What the hell is going on?"

Sheza appeared in the doorway glaring at Renji with flaming cheeks. "Pervert. Creep. Masher!"

Hiding behind big brother wasn't part of his plan but Renji slid behind Gabe. "Calm her down would ya Gabe?"

"What did you do Renji?" Gabe brought up his right hand and massaged his forehead.

"He was molesting me in my sleep," Sheza hissed.

"No I wasn't…"

"You had a stiffy you pig!"

Renji straightened and frowned some. "I have a stiffy every morning whether you're there or not beautiful."

Gabe put his hand up. "Okay, just stop the yelling." He frowned down at Renji. "What are you two doing here, alone and in my guest room ne hooker?"

"Sheza got drunk last night," Renji tattled.

"That's not what happened," she argued back. "I was hanging out with Kaiya and Brianna in Kaiya's room."

"So you don't remember eating the worm outta that tequila ne?" Renji lifted his nose indignantly. "Guess you don't remember me holding your hair back why ya blew chunks either."

Eww. Gabe's own stomach recoiled. "Renji," he warned.

Renji couldn't resist being a bit of a jerk, Sheza did hit him after all. A big stupid grin spread across his face. "Do you remember when we," he gyrated his hips and started moaning. He then imitated Sheza badly. "Ooh Renji you're so hot baby. Gimmie more."

Sheza flew at Renji. "I didn't do anything with you man whore!"

Gabe got between them, but the girl did get a few good kicks in. "Sheza, please calm down. Renji is just teasing you. Isn't that right Renji?"

He wiggled his eyebrows at his red faced teammate. Dangerous, but cute. "You liked it and you know it."

"Damnit Renji!" Gabe held Sheza back while little brother did a happy dance. This was defiantly not how Gabe had wanted to spend his morning. "Quit grabbing your wang and make me some coffee asshole!"

To be polite Sheza stayed for one cup of Hazelnut coffee. Grinning like a fool Renji told her the truth about her drunken black out. His smile was a little less happy when he asked, "You wanna date Yusuke now ne hooker?" She hit the pervert again, thanked Gabe for giving her a place to sleep it off and left.

Gabe sighed tiredly sinking back into a comfy kitchen chair. "You're a real puttz you know that? Rubbing on Sheza, what's wrong with you?"

"It was early." Renji sipped his coffee. "Musta still been dreaming."

"She's your teammate. You shouldn't be lying in bed with her."

"I was watching over her yo. Making sure she didn't puke in her sleep or some terrible thing. I was saving her life."

"You were getting your jollies."

Renji shrugged his shoulders. "Wasn't time for that before she woke up."

Big brother shook his head. The ibuprofen had finally kicked in but the coffee wasn't doing much for his tender stomach. "Renji..."

"Come on Gabe. I've got more respect for Sheza then to get her drunk and stick my hand in her panties," Renji sighed and sipped his coffee again.

A cold chill worked its way down Gabe's spine. He remembered Hope leaning back in ecstasy calling out his name. I'm guilty. He dropped his eyes and sipped his coffee. "You better treat her right. She might save your life someday."

"She's not a med nin. Not like that hottie Hope ne Gabe? She single yet?"

He didn't look at his brother's lecherous grin. No one suspects a thing. "Hope is married Renji, get over her."

"You shoulda grabbed that shit up when you had the chance big bro. She's all," Renji set his cup down and used his hands to imitate big boobs. "Super jiggle."

Gabe pictured the piercing Hope got to hold a few grains of his sand close to her heart. Damn you Hope you bitch. "Yeah I know." He sighed and sipped more coffee. "Does mom know you're here?"

"Yusuke's covering for me."

"Nobody ever covered for me."

"That's why you moved out. Can't be naughty in mom's house, well unless your dad."

It was still too early to fathom his parents doing it, Gabe agreed on principal. "At least they're happy."

A lazy Sunday took over Konoha. Gabe went back to bed for a while but ended up at his parents for dinner. Whenever he didn't want to cook mom was ready to feed him. Yusuke spent the day giving Kaiya and Renji disapproving looks. Renji offered up no information about this morning and big brother Gabriel covered for him. Yusuke knew his twin was hiding something, he'd weasel it out of one brother eventually. Kaiya wore her sweat pants all day and never bothered to do her hair.

Hope hadn't been able to get away from her husband after church. It was Vana's for brunch and then over to Hoshi's parents for dinner. Her mother in law didn't like her, but she did like the ninja's money. Seeing her in laws always made Hope wish that her parents had survived the attack on Konoha fifteen years ago. If they had lived she could have remained free; she never would have had to marry her abusive husband.

When they got home Hoshi mentioned a baby again. Hope drugged his sake and he fell asleep early. She went to her room and took a hot shower. Hoshi had hugged all over her in front of his parents. It made her feel dirty. She didn't get out until she looked like a lobster.

Team Neji had a mission tomorrow, maybe even an overnighter. She hoped so, she was desperate to get away from Hoshi for a while. I bet if Gabe knew Hoshi hit me he'd… She pulled her nightgown on and tried not to think about it. Hope had never told anyone about the beatings Hoshi gave her, not her family, not her friends. She had often thought about telling Gabriel though. She wanted him to save her, but she was afraid he might tell her she was getting what she deserved.

Go home Hope. Your husband will be expecting you.

She thought she saw hurt in his eyes when he said it. Hope flopped into bed and closed her eyes. Gabriel consumed her thoughts. Her heart ached for him. I wonder what you're doing now Gabe. She put her hand over the piercing that contained his sand. "Gabe…" Tomorrow she would see him.

Renji was almost to their meeting spot when he first caught sight of his team. Sheza was wearing long pants and a jacket. She had the hood pulled up hiding her face in the fur lining. Heen lay at her feet and two big dogs flanked her right. Behind them Kiba sensei was talking with wow that guy's huge an agitated fellow. As Renji drew closer he recognized Sheza's father. Oh shit oh no he's come here to kick my ass and feed my balls to his dog! Renji went weak in the knees. Cautiously he approached his team.

"Oi, Renji come here I wanna talk to you," Kiba could smell him coming. Flashy cologne and somebody's sweating.

"Morning sensei, Sun sama," he greeted hiding his nervous.

Sun Koga wasn't about to fuck with the little red headed pervert. He loomed over the young man. "Maybe you can tell me why your idiot sensei lost my little girl all night. Maybe you know something about that ne kid?"

"Dad!" Sheza was mortified. "Do you mind not interrogating my entire team!"

Holy crap she lied to her dad. Renji blinked at the rugged looking giant. Shit what did she tell him?! "Umm, what?"

Koga leaned in and sniffed the flamboyant red head. The scent was familiar. "You were with her that night too weren't ya? She disappeared from your house."

"I already told you I went walking with Uchiha Yusuke until dawn dad." Sheza straightened and pulled her hood off. "We weren't doing anything so just leave it alone!"

Yusuke?! Renji's eyebrows shot up. "Wait a minute yo, you were with me!" he argued frowning at Sheza.

"Daddy no!"

Too late. Koga grabbed the twitchy ninja by the throat and lifted him up to eye level. "I thought I told you boy if you ever got fresh with my daughter Id cut off that little peanut between your legs and feed yer scrote to my dog ne?"

"Koga please," Kiba tried to pry the big guy off his student. There was a chaotic, confused almost comical look on poor Renji's face.

"This kid's a slut with nuts."

Sheza grabbed her father's other arm. "Dad! Please stop choking Renji. He didn't do anything!"

"Well kid?" Koga glared at the Uchiha.

Renji was smart enough to gasp, "I never touched your daughter!"

He let the kid drop, his daughter and her dog tended to their friend immediately. Koga turned on Kiba. "Sheza aint eighteen yet. You guys better keep that in mind. No corrupting my daughter." Big Daddy frowned down at his daughter. "You be home for supper young lady."

She was beyond grateful to see her dad take his pooch and leave. "You idiot why didn't you keep your mouth shut?" she swatted Renji in the arm.

"Out walking till dawn with Yusuke?" he sneered back. "You gotta thing for him now?"

Kiba hunkered and put his face in between his students. "I think somebody's going to tell me what happened Saturday night, isn't that right Akamaru?" the dog barked in agreement. "I thought you and Yusuke walked Sheza home, but that's not what happened is it?" He smelled sweat on both of his students now.

"Well, we did walk around a lot," Sheza lowered her eyes and cringed away from sensei.

"Where did you sleep?"

Renji fielded the question. "Yusuke went home and we crashed at Gabe's."

"Does Raine know that?"

"No," Renji rolled his eyes away from sensei's accusing stare.

"And you slept in separate beds right?"

With every fiber of being Renji wanted to shout Hell no teach. I woke up all over that shit! Instead it was a quick, "Yeah, right, of course. Sheza wouldn't sleep with me, you know that."

His man whoring student laughed nervously. Kiba smelled the lie. "So you just waited until she was asleep before you crawled up in bed next to her?"

Sheza almost fell over and Renji gasped. "How did you know?"

"I didn't." Sensei landed a solid punch on top of Renji's head. "What did you do that got Sheza lieing to her big irritable dad ne? He was pounding on my door at five the fuck o clock Sunday morning!" he hit Renji again and turned on Sheza. She was pale and had that distant look in her eyes. "And you!"

She let out a small "Meep!" and Heen started coughing.

"You aint eighteen sweet stuff, you better be behaving yourself. You want dip shit here to become dog chow?!"

Poor terrorized and humiliated Sheza fainted dead away. Renji dove and caught her before her head hit the ground. It wasn't the first time Kiba sensei had scared her unconscious. "Sheza! Oi don't faint!"

Kiba stood up sighing. He looked at the tangle of limbs at his feet. Heen jumped on Sheza's stomach coughing wildly. These two. "Get her up Renji, Akamaru can carry her until Miss sensitive feels better."

"You shouldn't yell at her like that."

It was good that Renji was so protective, but "Then you two nuggets don't go giving me a reason to yell like that."

"We didn't do nothin sensei."

"Sheza is still jail bait for the next three months Renji. Her dad will kill you and if you live through that you'll have me to answer to."

Renji hauled Sheza to her feet. Sometimes the whole world was against him. "Nothin like that is gonna happen."

"Sheza is a nice girl."

"Yeah yeah and I'm a man whore right? Keh!" He threw his teammate over Akamaru's back. "Does everybody think I'm a degenerate?"

"Pretty much." Kiba shrugged and started for the gate. "Let's go. We have work to do."

All of Yusuke's shuriken hit the middle circle, as usual. "Show off," Rukia grumbled and snapped her gum.

"Sanji, you're up," Ino sensei called on the next member of her team.

Yusuke stepped back and gave up his position to his yawning teammate. The Uchiha went to stand by Rukia while the tired blonde stretched. He settled himself and mumbled, "I wasn't showing off."

"You're always showing off Uchiha."

"No, I'm just that good muffin head."

Her lip curled into a snarl. Yusuke liked to pick on her fun buns. "Is that so?"

Yusuke's smile was soft but satisfied. "Yes."

Sanji whipped one shuriken after another. He didn't do as excellent as Yusuke, but not too bad either. "Alright Rukia," Ino waved her girl forward.

Muffin head went to take her turn and Sanji strolled over to Yusuke. "Not bad Sanji."

"I hate shuriken practice," Sanji complained. "We need a mission already damnit. I'm about broke."

Things had been slow lately. "Don't worry, something will come up."

"Easy for you to say Mr big bucks. Your rents are loaded."

The Uchiha had a sizeable bank account himself. "A man should take care of himself."

"That why you still got your mommy cooking your dinner? Keh, some of us live on our own you know."

Yusuke had seen his friend's dumpy apartment. "Maybe you should spend less on booze and women ne Sanji?"

A lecherous grin spread across Sanji's face. "What kind of a guy would I be if I couldn't even take my girlfriend out? Sher likes to party."

Rukia threw her shuriken; she did better then Sanji but not as perfect as Yusuke. "Second place, eat that Sanji."

Yukina had the map ready when Saichi and his entourage arrived in the briefing room. In the center of the map Konoha was circled twice; once for the inner perimeter guarded by ANBU and the second ring for the outer perimeter where Konoha's ninken squads patrolled. There were x's scattered around fire country and into other territories as well. They indicated the positions of Hidden Leaf's ninja on missions. A good number of jonin were not in the village, nevertheless Konoha was still well fortified.

"Uchiha Sasuke is in an ANBU squad of four," Yukina laid out photos of the shinobi. "Hiei, ANBU traitor of Suna. Hatake Kakashi and Hatake Haru."

Bankotsu smiled a little at the woman's snapshot. "His sister?"

"Copy ninja Kakashi's wife Bankotsu sama. They have been married for seven years and have a son. Hatake Allen started at the ninja academy this fall."

So dear old dad is surrounded by his cronies ne? "Kakashi has use of a Sharingan," Saichi reminded his team.

"Not a problem," Zelgadis smiled at the lord of New Sound.

"We'll break up their squad and take Sasuke," Bankotsu reached for his hot tea.

"I will take Sasuke personally." Saichi flipped his ponytail over his shoulder. "My Sharingan is superior."

Zelgadis eyed the other folders by Yukina's hand. "And that is?" he directed her way.

Yukina offered up the other folders at once. "These are the files on the ninken teams that frequently patrol fire country Zelgadis sama."

Renji's team was in the stack of paper his number two handed off to Zel. Saichi wondered if he'd run into his pathetic little brother out there. If I do I'll just kill him. Otosan will be thrilled.

Neji sensei took point with their precious cargo in a knapsack on his back. Delivery missions always bored Gabe. He ran between Ace and Hope trying not to look at her. It was hard, she kept stealing glances at him. After a long while Gabriel piped up, "Oi sensei I'm starving. Can't we stop and eat?"

"Lunch was better when your mom packed it for ya," Ace sighed at his friend.

"I can make a rice ball," Gabe frowned a little at Ace.

"Yeah a sucky one. Man cooked food just sucks."

Hope giggled and offered, "You can have some of my lunch Ace. I made it all fresh this morning."

Ace maneuvered between Gabe and Hope. "Oh yeah? What you got in that bento box baby?" he wiggled his eyebrows at his pretty friend.

"A variety of things. You can have whatever you want."

Gabe was still trying not to look at her. "Then what are you going to have for lunch?"

It was the first time he had spoken to her in hours. Hope looked over at Gabe, he peeked at her. For a moment she was looking into his eyes. "I'm sure Ace will leave me something, besides I'm not that hungry."

Sensei knew a quiet place where they could sit and eat. "We'll break in five for twenty."

Twenty minutes for lunch sucked as bad as man food and Ace groaned loudly. "Such a slave driver sensei!"

Neji smiled. "I know."

Renji had a giant Tupperware container of lasagna balanced on one knee. He devoured bite after bite like a ravenous animal. Sauce was flying, occasionally something dropped off his fork and Heen was right there to snatch it up. Kiba sat back watching his perverted student and the dog eating his bologna and mustard sandwich. "For gods sake chew Renji."

"Keh," Sheza twisted the cap off her sparkling water. "Heen, get over here."

Heen coughed and gobbled up a falling noodle. "He's fine." Renji licked sauce off his face. "Cleaning up after me."

"My dog aint your garbage disposal."

He smiled at Sheza. After she unfainted and Kiba sensei read them the riot act once more, things had gone back to normal. "Heen likes my mom's cooking."

"Wipe your face you slob. You've got a mustache."

"I aint done eatin yet."


These two. Kiba swallowed a bite wondering if this bologna had expired. At least the mustard kinda hides it.

Sasuke and Kakashi were chuckling about something when Haru went to her husband. "And just what is it you two find so amusing ne?"

Kakashi slipped an arm around his wife and hugged her closer. ""It's probably better you not know."

"That bad huh?"

The Uchiha secured his canteen. "We should go. Where's Hiei?"

Haru jabbed a thumb over her shoulder. "Watering the grass that way."

"Okay then." Sasuke proceeded to look busy straightening his gear while Kakashi and Haru smiled at each other with bedroom eyes. Already the Uchiha was ready to get this day over with and get home to his own loving wife. Since Gabe had moved out Raine had a lot of nervous energy and Sasuke was more then happy to help her burn it away. There was a lock on his bedroom door for a reason. Smiling a little he pulled his mask down and went to collect Hiei.

Ace ate her lunch while Hope sipped a juice box and tried not to stare at Gabe. He was talking with Neji sensei a few feet away about nothing important. She dropped her eyes and saw a ladybug climbing a blade of grass by her knees. Smiling a little Hope offered her finger to the little bug and it climbed on. It crawled around tickling a little and Hope giggled. The ladybug took flight and Hope watched it go with a happy smile on her face.

Gabe tried not to see it, Hope's softer side. Sometimes she looked so gentle, so innocent and she's so beautiful. He turned his eyes back to Neji sensei before Hope could catch him looking at her. Gabe needed to put some distance between them after Saturday night. He couldn't allow something like that to happen again. They had gone too far. It was grounds for divorce. Gabe started cleaning up his lunch mess. Their twenty was almost up.

Bankotsu kept pace beside Saichi as they walked down the beach. Pale Yukina kept her distance so the men could have a private conversation. "You really think you can do that jutsu?"

Saichi did more then think it, he knew it. "If I so desired."

"Orochimaru sama…"

"Would be perfectly preserved of course."

"What about Lady Rhiannon?"

He loved okasan and losing her would be hard but, "With otosan of course. It's where she belongs."

Cool as usual. "You know I will follow you Saichi."

"Even though it was otosan that gave you your life back?"

"Serving you is my life now."

Saichi could always count on Bankotsu to be loyal, brutally so if necessary. The young master could expect the same from Zelgadis and the little doll walking behind him too. Re create Sound my own way. It could be done, easily.

Bankotsu let the silence drag on for a while before he voiced his chief complaint. "I don't have any women here."

"Getting frustrated are you?" his swordsman had scored repeatedly with every woman on the ship over here. "Need a new harem do you?"

He peeked at the ghostly woman walking silently behind them. "How about her."

"Sorry Bankotsu, Yukina is more useful to me on her feet then she would be to you off of them."

The resurrected criminal chuckled. He thought the young master was more then just impressed with his curvy new assistant. Saichi even stole a glance over his shoulder at Yukina as Bankotsu laughed. "Hai Saichi sama."