Anko woke up feeling a tad dizzy and grumpy. Normally she wouldn't have a problem taking a nap after a huge meal. But today she didn't only just had a meal and went straight to bed, well she did in fact went to bed but not for a nap, she had worn out her body in more that one way. Groaning she opened her eyes and gazed to the window on her right, revealing that the sun was about to set. The kunoichi sighed and rolled over to her left, gazing now at the ceiling. She felt all sticky and dirty and not only because of the result of constant "struggle" between her and the companion next to her. It was the damn weather. Looking for some shelter underneath the sheets, hoping it would be cooler than receiving the direct sunset on her face, she found it hopeless. Instead she opted to make good use of the giant tub they were provided with.
Gazing over her right shoulder and finding a sleeping figure facing the opposite side, she smiled and trying not to make that much noise she walked to the bathroom. Looking around, Anko was thankful she was spending the night in one of the master chambers. True it wasn't the best in the palace but it was bigger than her apartment. This made her wonder if this room was succulent… How would the royal chambers look like? Pushing these thoughts aside she opened the faucet and once the water was at the temperature of her preference, she got inside and sighed in pleasure.
The initial shock of different temperatures made her back arch as immediate response but after a couple of seconds her skin got used to it, welcoming the freshness it provided. Closing her eyes she dove until there was no part of her body dry, after holding her breath for a couple of seconds she emerged just to relax on the corner of the tub while humming. After a minute or two she started to rub her body and wash her hair and until her fingers got crumpled she reached for a towel and got out.
Once she was fresh and clean, she gazed at her reflection on the mirror. There were some bruises and purple spots, along with some scratches. She smirked remembering exactly how she got them. "My, my… who would thought you were the biting type? Kakashi"
Taking a dressing gown near the door and looking at her image for the last time, she stepped out the bathroom. The sun was fading on the horizon, lamenting her time of peace and solicitude was about to be over, she gazed at the sleeping figure on the bed. Taking a few steps towards it, she was about to nudge him when he jolted, making Anko almost jump out of her skin. His hair covered most of his face and if it was possible messier than usual, his eyes were framed by two dark circles announcing he needed more time to sleep. Anko regretted to be the one interrupting his slumber, but once she glanced at the clock over the nightstand she knew it was for the right reasons. Even if both would had preferred to be secluded in this chamber and abuse the room service, they had a mission to accomplish.
Her thoughts were interrupted when she felt a hand over her right cheek, cupping it gently. Before she could say anything his lips brushed lightly over hers and with that he headed towards the bathroom. Anko followed his steps with her eyes and until he closed the door she sighed. Definitely a terrible pity their time together had come to an end.
It took only five minutes before Kakashi stepped out the bathroom, freshened up and ready. He gave her a slight smile before picking up his garments and getting dressed. Noticing the state of her attire, Anko copied him and after a couple of minutes they were both ready. Giving a last glance at the mirror, Anko fixed the bun on her hair and headed to the door. Kakashi was already waiting for her, holding the knob. She looked up and smiled at him and even though the mask concealed most of his emotions, Anko knew he was smiling too.
Silence reigned in the empty halls of the palace, only the occasional steps of a maiden performing her duties, broke the illusion of a deserted facility. Once they arrived to the main hall, they spotted a damsel waiting by the end of the of it. Apparently she had been waiting specifically for them to arrive, she bowed and started to walk to an adjacent room. Once inside, the damsel closed the door behind them.
The room turned out to be one of the biggest dining rooms Anko had been in. It was decorated in the oldest fashionable way, along with endless chandeliers and humongous paintings across the walls. In the center of the room there was an immense table that could easily hold to 40 people, but only half of it was occupied, mostly by what appeared to be counselors. There were only two chairs left near right side of the head chair, occupied by Lord Chichiatsu-sama. Right next to him stood Akihiko, smirking and beckoning them to join them.
Lead by the maiden, Anko started to gaze at the counselors around. All their eyes were set upon them, scrutinizing every move with vigilant eyes. Once they reached their spot, Akihiko grinned wider before turning his attention back to his father. Taking the chair right next to Akihiko, Anko took a deep breath and tried hard to ignore the gazes upon her. Once in place the tension was broken by the whispers of conversations between small sets. After a couple of minutes a group of maidens appeared from a door on the corner, all of them pushing trolleys packed with food. The conversations kept flowing until all the guests had been served. After that all conversation ceased and only the clinking noises of knives and forks filled the place. Once dinner was over and the maidens had taken care of the dirty plates, Lord Chichiatsu-sama spoke finally.
"Gentleman, as you might already know the festival is the day after tomorrow. Due to circumstances beyond our control" he stopped for a moment and for a second he ogled at Anko before proceeding. "This year we might receive uninvited guests"
There were some murmurs Anko guessed most of those quiet conversations were related to her.
"As I was saying" Lord Chichiatsu interrupted "These guests belong to the group of rogue fugitives that had been causing disturbances on the outskirts of our land. Like some of you gentleman know, their purpose is none other but to retrieve part of the message these Konoha shinobi were supposed to deliver" he said looking straight at Anko with piercing eye.
Anko didn't flinch; instead she kept the gaze until the feudal lord returned back to his audience.
"So it is imperative that, along with all your assigned duties, you must reinforce the security standards".
And outburst broke in the place, one complaint followed by a louder one, each person looking to get a hold of Lord Chichiatsu's attention. He instead just removed his glasses, breathed into them and cleaned them with the back of his sleeve. Once the ruckus disappeared, he placed the glasses back on his nose and proceeded.
"To protect our people we must follow the proper security measures and not alarm the villagers. Giving them notice about this possible attack will only cause a state panic and no good use could come from that"
A hand was raised but before the owner could speak, Lord Chichiatsu proceeded
"And no, it is not an option to post-pone the festival"
Said hand was lowered and the owner sat back on its place. The feudal lord glanced all over the table before continuing.
"In case of any doubt or a possible concern you may proceed and ask the experts on the subject" he said, looking back again to Kakashi and Anko "They will gladly provide you with information and assistance. At any time" he finished, emphasizing each word in the last part.
Anko felt the impulse to groan but in that moment she felt the lightest brush over her knee, no doubt Kakashi's hand in a warning gesture. The kunoichi swallowed her anger and nodded in approval along with Kakashi. Once he got their consent, Lord Chichiatsu returned to the main audience.
"If there is any other topic of discussion aside from the one already discussed, feel free to follow me to the counselor's chamber. If not you are dismissed"
With that he pulled off the table and started to head to one of the doors in the corner, which immediately was opened by a maiden waiting by the frame. Only two old men and Akihiko followed that same door, the rest of the crew stood up and headed to the main door. Anko waited in her place until all the counselors were out of the room, before turning to her side with a raised eyebrow.
"At any time?" she said, folding her arms over her chest.
"I assume it is some sort of punishment due to our failure" Kakashi responded, resting his back on the chair.
"You mean my failure" she said closing her eyes and resting her head on the back of the chair. "What if they decided to ask us at ungodly hours?"
"Then we might not be busy in any type of activity, if the case happens"
Taking note of the teasing manner, Anko smirked and punched him lightly on the arm. As response he smirked. After a minute of silence Anko stood up and placed her hands over her hips.
"So… what now?"
Copying her moves, Kakashi pushed away from the table and placed back the chair on its place.
"I suggest until the meeting with the feudal lord is over, and our assistance with his son isn't required, to scout the village and look for any evidence of these bingo shinobi"
Anko scratched the back of her head, but nodded afterwards.
"I'll take the west if that's ok with you" he asked, she only shrugged in a dismissive way. "If you find something, as minuscule as it might seem, feel free to report it to me"
Anko rolled her eyes and clicked her tongue. "Yeah? How?"
As a response Kakashi started to look inside his vest and pulled out a set of diadems attached to a mini receiver. Handing one to her, Kakashi started to plug the device around his left ear. Anko frowned and imitated her partner, once she checked they were in the same channel she looked up. To her surprise Kakashi was right in front of her. She gulped, feeling her face burning as his face started to approach hers. Predicting what his moves might mean, she closed her eyes and parted her lips. Not caring if they were in a public place and probably been watched. But when there wasn't a soft brush of skin over her lips she frowned, opening her eyes slowly. There was Kakashi's face right in front of hers and before she could ask what was wrong, he took a detour and got close to her right ear.
"See you later, Mrs. Hatake" he whispered before disappearing into a puff of white smoke.
Anko blinked a couple of times before shaking her head and smirking in delight. Once her face had returned to her usual pale color, she opened her coat and started to check her inventory, verifying that everything was in order and stocked. Once that was done, she started to head to the opposite door while thinking in all the possible ways she could retrieve her payback when they were secluded back in their private chambers. And the more she thought about it, the more she regretted they weren't patrolling the village together.
The night had turned out uneventful; most of the villagers were already on their homes, probably dinning, oblivious to her vigilant eye. As she jumped through the ceilings, hiding her presence, she took in the beauty of the place. How it shone with the pale glows of the multiple fireflies over the water. Since most of the village was settled over a swamp, it was natural that most of the insects had learned to live with the people that occupied their home or perhaps they just tolerated their presence. Whichever was the case, the mixture of both species definitely gave the illusion of an illustration pulled out of a fairytale.
Stepping on top of the roof from the furthest house of the village, Anko crouched and decided to watch the village from that spot. It sure was a beautiful scenery, but a nightmare no doubt. There were many hiding places so one could easily disguise and lose tail. There was no doubt that Kakashi and she would have to be very vigilant until they retrieved the missing part of the message. She bit her inner cheeks, remembering the sting of failure. While regretting her careless she started to review what exactly she did wrong. But the more she thought about it, the guiltier she felt. Shaking her head she puffed in anger. There was no good in getting all worked up with guilt, she needed to remain focused. Besides there was no point in lamenting the past, the only thing left was to encounter those unfortunate bastards, who had dared to cross her, and make them pay back. She had to admit that, even if they made the biggest mistake in their lives by crossing her path, they definitely had guts and some few tricks under their sleeves.
The sound of a twig been snapped brought her back from her thoughts, jolting in alert and kunai ready on her right hand, she started to scout the area where the sound had came from. She stood there in silence, expecting anything to happen but when no sound came, aside from the croaks from the toads and the buzzing of the mosquitos, she placed the weapon back inside her coat. Her legs started to complain due to the long exposition to the uncomfortable position she was at the moment, she stood up and shook her legs so the circulation flowed back to her toes.
One gaze at the sky told her that it was around midnight, looking down to the village she noticed that most of the houses their lights were already off. Stretching her back into an arch, she cracked her neck before jumping to the nearest roof, heading back to the palace. Once she landed gracefully on the roof of it, she started to sprint to the area where she assume was the window of her room. But then she remembered that somehow that might seem inappropriate, it might trigger some sort of alarm in the castle, also they might be expecting her to enter through the front gate. Rolling her eyes she turned and headed to the main entrance.
As the guard opened the door, her assumptions turned out to be correct. There was a maiden waiting for her. Anko felt guilty for depriving this young girl from a normal sleep schedule, but dismissed the thought once she remembered that she hadn't been exactly sightseeing the village. The maiden bowed lightly before handing over a silver platter a note folded by the middle. Anko thanked the young girl and dismissed her. Once no one was around, she opened the piece of paper. It was from Kakashi's, it didn't say much, only that he will stay all night watching over the village. Anko folded the note and saved it on her right pocket, clicking her tongue. Apparently her ideas of how to spend the rest of the night with the masked man would have to be put on hold, and judging by the state of things, it might have to wait until they were back home.
Scratching the back of her head she yawned and started to head back to her room, apparently the side effects of whatever she had been drugged with hadn't wore off completely. Considering that she still felt slower than usual and a tad drowsy. It wasn't like her, she could manage pretty well under stress and live up to 3 days with not sleep and little food. At the moment she felt like a normal citizen, ready to snap close her eyes and fall into oblivion once her body made contact with the softness of the mattress.
Cursing her nameless attackers, she yawned once more while opening the doorknob of her room. As expected the place was empty, not a single sign of her companion. Also the place still looked unarranged, just they way they had left it before dinner. For a moment she thought the maidens were inefficient, but once she remembered that the cleaning traditionally was performed on the mornings, she dismissed the thought. Besides how could had the service known they would make such a mess of the room during evening hours? When usually that type of action was reserved for the late hours of the night?
Having a vivid flashback, Anko smirked as she started to undress. Placing her coat on the chair in front of the dressing table and her weapons on top of it. It was a terrible pity indeed that everything that she had planned for her companion would have to be postponed until their mission was over. Since there was no way they could have a moment of privacy, not with the new orders of the feudal lord. For now they have to stay alert and take shifts, watching over the village and making sure nothing wrong happened under their watching gazes. Anko snorted but recognized it was the least they could do, she had failed and now she had to take full responsibility for said failure. And as she got inside the huge bed, she wondered what would the next day bring for her.
To her displeasure it had been a total utter nightmare, considering that the following morning Anko barely had anytime for herself, starting from the beginning when her slumber was unglamorously interrupted by a persistent knock. Her initial response was to turn to the other side of the bed, but the sound kept repeating now followed by a muffled voice. Realizing there was no point in evading the inevitable, she stood up and opened the door lightly. Behind it was the same young girl that had given her the message the previous night, and just like the last time, she was carrying a silver tray and a message on top of it.
Anko immediately snatched the message and thanked the girl, closing the door behind her. Expecting to find Kakashi's styled handwriting, she was surprised when an unfamiliar one met her eyes. She frowned but read nevertheless, once she was done with it, she crumpled the piece of paper and tossed to the corner. Groaning she headed to the bathroom and once she had cleaned up her face and put on some clothes, she headed out.
Kakashi was tired, which was a shock. Considering he couldn't even remember the last time he felt this exhausted. In all the years of going back and forward and with all the missions he usually held during the course of the year, he had never felt this worn-out. Rubbing his eye with the back of his right hand, he yawned openly as he stepped inside his room. The place of course had been already cleaned and tied up. He thanked whoever was in charge of such duty as he pulled the curtains down. He definitely needed some shuteye before heading out once again. As he made himself comfortable over the massive mattress, he punched the pillow a few times before resting his head on top of it. Taking a deep breath he closed his eye and started to snooze into slumber, it wasn't until a familiar scent caressed his nose softly. He frowned but once he recognized what it was, he smirked.
"Lavender" he muttered before falling asleep.
Anko knew beforehand that the 'suggestion' of Lord-Chichiatsu would be taken seriously, it was almost as he had ordered the counselors to ask her even if they didn't need the help to begin with. She was fine by giving out guidance in how to improve the security, after all it was part of her job even if she usually was the one executing it instead of offering pieces of advice. But apparently these counselors thought of taking Lord-Chichiatu's words beyond the advice department, which was fine by her. It wasn't until later, when she found out exactly these men needed assistance with, that she started to regret leaving her room altogether.
They first started by asking some minor questions about how to improve the vigilance and where would it be the best spots to place some guards. Then they proceeded to take her with them to said spots and make her help them to assemble them. Once that was over she was dragged to one of the multiple rooms the palace held, arguing that her point of view was required. To her misfortune it was in the department where she held few, perhaps none, knowledge about what they were discussing. They needed her to help pick up flowers for the decorations of the festival.
As several ladies approached her, showing her all sorts of flowers in different colors, Anko resisted the impulse to roll her eyes. She was about to groan when two ladies started to argue between the colors of the ribbons the bouquets must have, they couldn't decide about indigo or azure. Which to Anko's dismay she didn't even know those colors, she started to wonder what had happened to the plain pink, blue, purple, yellow? In which moment the basic colors changed to such complicated names? But when both ladies asked her opinion, she opted for the first option. The lady applauded and smirked in triumphant manner to the azure lady.
Believing the meeting was adjourned she stood up, ready to leave the place when the ladies somehow had pulled her back into the gathering. Now they were discussing if lilies or lilacs should be good for the wives of the counselors. So when they asked Anko about it, and she had declared she had no idea what they were talking about, they repeated the question like she was mentally challenged. Angered by this, she responded that both sounded exactly the same to her, making the group of ladies gasp about her ignorance in the flowery department. Anko groaned internally as they kept on whispering about her lack of femininity and why she was appointed to be a counselor when clearly she didn't even could tell the difference between those two types of flowers. Rolling her eyes she turned deaf ears to those not so quiet remarks about her, thinking in which moment she had turned from a respected ninja to a member of the old ladies flowery club.
The meeting lasted another couple of hours before they were interrupted by a group of maidens carrying trays with food in them. Remembering she hadn't had anything in her stomach, Anko was the first to approach the damsels. But when she was about to reach for some sort form of bread she was stopped by a hand. Frowning she looked up to find whomever thought it was funny to put itself between her and the supply of food, when she found a pronounced smirk and a set of glistening eyes.
"If you eat any of that food, there will be no room left for the lunch I have prepared for you. My fair lady"
Anko raised an eyebrow, clearly not impressed. Folding her arms on top of her chest, she gave the man in front of her a knowing stare. After a couple of seconds she rolled her eyes and sighed
"Fine, where to? Your highness"
Kakashi opened his eyes around midday, he thought he had enough sleep to keep steady for the next shift. Besides he didn't want to be reported by the feudal lord to his boss, it was enough that the mission hadn't gone the way he intended to. As he shuffled his hair with one hand and brushed his sleepy eye with the other, he walked to the restroom and decided to have a refreshing shower. Stripping his garments and opening the faucet, his mind started to wonder how exactly everything went wrong.
They were fine, just catching some shuteye before heading to the village. But the thing that intrigued Kakashi above everything else was that he was ambushed with his guard down. It's not like it hadn't happened before, but those occasions could be counted with the fingers of one of his hands. So how could it be that they, both skilled jounins, had been caught by a simple charade?
As he stepped inside the shower and letting the burning stream of water hit directly to his back. He started to think more thoroughly the incidents. It was pretty obvious that they had been ambushed, that didn't surprise him. What puzzled him was that he had not listened or felt anything strange in the environment? He was experienced, that's why most of the missions were set upon him. And not to brag but his percentage was almost zero. So could they, a bunch of common bingo ninjas, have surprised not only one jounin but two.
He didn't know the exact range of error of Anko, but he knew from what he had heard from everyone that she was ruthless and as effective as him. And for that matter now that he was swimming in these waters, how could they had been paired in two missions in this short spam of time? Considering that they had never been teamed up before and their specialties were totally unlikely. How so the Hokage thought it was a good course of action to pair a couple so contrasting like them? In terms of strategy it was the worst kind of move a leader should do. Military speaking.
Kakashi shook his head once he realized he had stopped moving and the water was wasting, closing the faucet he started to scrub his hair and body. Once that was off the table and he had rinsed the suds, he took a towel and resumed the train of thought. Obviously he had thought about this when they were called into Tsunade's office and he announced that Anko would be the one in charge to supervise him and his team. He had never heard of such a thing, but he didn't thought competent to argue with the Hokage about it. Instead he went along and to his surprise he got more that he asked for.
Then just when they went back to the village he was stunned that he had been assigned again with the same partner not along he had shared more than just work. It had been strange but Tsunade had always been like that. Besides he was more concerned by the previous events, Kurenai's party and the slap event for instance, to think further about such atypical development. But now that his head was clear, and away from any distractions, he was certain that Tsunade had something planned for them aside the missions. He couldn't put his finger on it but once he was back in Konoha, he would definitely give a check to unravel this puzzle.
As he was picking up his garments and dressing, his mind started to drift back to his original thought, how could their defenses had been so low? How could they have been so careless? He didn't even want to think what Tsunade might do to them once she finds out about the partial failure of the mission. But it didn't really matter at the moment, once they recovered the missing part of the message this incident will be long forgotten. Now the pressing matter was their lack of professional execution during the mission. Scratching his hair he started to replay the events in his head, remembering exactly what happened before they were attacked and there is when it hit him.
He had been so worked up about the events on the previous days concerning Anko, and what had been happening between them, that his head hadn't the same capacity to process both things at the same time. Also it didn't help that this sort of, whatever it was, confused him in more ways than one and let's not forget about the little detail of physical favors that didn't help the cause either. Shaking his head he walked to his backpack and started to pull items from it, avoiding thinking further about that matter. But deep down he knew it was pointless to push this out of his head, he could no longer ignore the big elephant of the room. And since his partner refused to face it, he had to do it for both of them.
As he packed his vest with new weapons and zipped afterwards, he hid his backpack away from the prying eyes. Checking his reflection on the mirror and giving an approving look he headed out, thinking it might be a good idea to have some food before patrolling the village once again. But even if he tried to occupy his mind with mundane things such as food and protocols, he couldn't suppress the uneasiness sentiment that had settled on the pit of his stomach. Nevertheless it had to be done, if he wanted to recover his former self and prevent any further failures that might lead to even worst consequences than a missing part of a message, he had to be the one to break up whatever Anko and he had.
A/N: Wow... I don't even know how long I hadn't uploaded anything about this story and for that I ask your forgiveness. Anyhow I am trying to be good this year and keep on writing, but like some of you might know I have other pending works to finish. So what I'm trying to do is to finish all of them at the same time. I hope I can carry that burden hehehe wish me luck.
Hope you had liked this part and sorry for taking so god damn long to update this fic. Again, I am sorry.