XxpuppetmasterxX and LilMzSunshine

Chapter 1: The Engagement

A/N: This story is every nerdy fanfiction writer's (me! me!) romantic fantasy.

I'm not excessively fond of this pairing... It's ok... It's kind of like SasoSaku, with all the spice taken out (for those of us who can't handle too many lemons in one sitting). I'm not even sure if it's a common pairing or not. I've never seen it before, but I don't read a lot of fanfiction. I only wrote this story because I got a new notebook, and I like to start each new notebook with a new story. If you liked it and are glad I bothered to type it/finish it, thank Celeris... who for some reason has taken it into his otherwise-sensible head that this is a good story.

Warning: Character life, in the form of the Kaz.

The fundamental defect of fathers is that they want their children to be a credit to them.

Bertrand Russell

Gaara was the least favorite child in his family (thus was sent to live with his bi-polar uncle), and therefore never really got an accurate impression of his father.

In fact, contrary to Gaara's beliefs, the Kazekage cared a good deal for his children, and wanted only for them to be well provided for. (And by them I mean Temari and Kankuro. He was out of paternal instinct by the time Gaara rolled around and just didn't care anymore.)

That meant getting them the hell out of Sand, and into Leaf, if at all possible. To shinobi, Leaf was the Mecca of Residential Areas. It was clean, beautiful, friendly, rich, and peaceful. You wanted your kids living in Leaf.

And the Kazekage had done it. It had taken a few calls, a few diplomatic visits, a few favors cashed in, and, yes, it meant he would lose his two babies, but so worth it to know they would be in the safest village in the world.

"Karura," he said when the day came, placing his hand on his son's computer monitor.

"Kankuro, Dad. My name's Kankuro," Kankuro corrected without looking up from his typing.

"Yeah, Kankuro. Today your fiancee turns eighteen."

"Are you serious?" Kankuro looked at his father for a moment, trying to decided if he was just being senile again or if he really meant it. He decided on the latter. "You're not going to actually make me marry this girl, are you?"

"Of course. You made a commitment."

"No, Father, you made a commitment when I was about two."

"I'm sorry you don't want to, but I'm afraid you cannot go back on this. It's far too important for the relationships between--,"

"Just like you always taught us, right, diplomacy and country first?" Kankuro growled. "How did Temari get out of that disaster of a marriage you tried to rope her into?"

"That was broken off mutually. He was in love with someone else, so his father wanted it called off, and then Temari doesn't want to get married at all (something I don't understand, but...) and didn't want to leave Suna." This was also something the Kazekage didn't understand, but when it came down to it, he wasn't so upset to see his carefully laid plans go awry; he couldn't have handled losing his baby girl anyway.

"I don't want to leave Suna, Dad! I can't leave Temari and Gaara alone here!"

"They won't be alone. They'll have each other. They'll have me."

"HA!" Kankuro couldn't help snorting at the last sentence.

"You spend enough time online, it's not like you'll lose touch with them."

"Online is different... anyway, I'm way too young to get married."

"Nonsense, I was married when I was Gaara's age."

There was a moment of silence as Kankuro blinked at him. "Wow..." he said slowly. "There are so many comebacks for that statement, I'm not sure that I can pick just one."

"Ha. Ha," the Kazekage laughed humorlessly. Kankuro continued to type. "What are you working on, anyway?"

Kankuro moved aside. His father had never taken much interest in his online activities, and he was a little flattered that they'd been noticed. But not much. Really, he'd been sitting there typing the whole time and he just now mentions it.

"Wait, this is your site? You do the Ultimate Guide to Online Po—," the Kazekage stopped himself. "...er..."

"Don't be embarrassed, Dad," Kankuro grinned. "Baki goes to my site, too, and he's got a girlfriend. You're an introverted bitter old single man, I'd be a little worried if you didn't, well, you know..."

And that's when the Kazekage realized that he didn't know his oldest son very well. He loved him, of course, but he had never noticed that Kankuro was an adult now, who had hormones and interests (beyond toy trucks and Power Rangers, that is) and a personality.

"I should spend more time with you... It's a shame you're getting married," he sighed. "Well, come on, pack your stuff."

Hinata was 18 years, one day, and nine hours old. She was online, watching her favorite videos on YouTube. After putting up with her family first for Christmas, then for her birthday (She often thought she couldn't have picked a worse time to be born... December 27... you don't even get the born-on-Christmas pity points for that one), she felt she deserved a day of rest. Especially since she just knew the New Year's rush was coming up.

But she was also far too shy to mention this when her father decided for God-only-knows-why to start talking to her.

"What are you doing?" he asked, watching over her shoulder curiously. She wished that they had another computer so she could have one in her room and not be bothered.

"I'm watching Naruto kick the living snot out of Neji at the Chunin exams a few years back."

"That's on YouTube?!"

"Oh, yeah. XxpuppetmasterxX had it up about ten minutes after the match ended," she said, her eyes glazing over in admiration as she spoke the screen name.

"XxpuppetmasterxX? The guy who does the Ultimate Guide to..." Hiashi stopped himself. "...er..."

Hinata pretended to have no idea what her father was talking about. "He's amazing. He has up all of the fights from that year... even the one with me and Neji, don't ask me how he got ahold of it... he makes these amazing AMV's, and he's the founder of the Unwanted Children's Guild on LiveJournal, too," she trailed off with a dreamy sigh. Hiashi didn't comment on the fact that his daughter belonged to said guild.

"... right... well, what I wanted to talk to you about—,"

"All Hinata wanted was your respect!"

Hiashi missed half a beat when the computer interrupted him. "And the sound, too, huh?"

"Uh-huh. He does a really good job, you can hear everything they say."


"Yeah, most of the world wide web thinks you're an evil bastard who murdered his brother," Hinata shrugged, closing the window and spinning around to face her father. "So, what did you want to talk to me about, Daddy?"

"Um... Hinata, you know you're engaged, right?"

"I am?"

"I take that as a 'no'... well, you are. And now that you're of age— Hinata, are you all right?"

Hinata's pale skin was becoming an even more unhealthy green shade. "I- I- I ca-can't..."

"Hinata, listen, you have to marry someone, it's part of your duty as my heir." Hiashi was vaguely bothered by having to make this speech, because it was word for word the spiel his father had given him when he was an awkward teenager, and Hiashi had loathed his father. "Look, is there someone else you'd rather marry? Not Shino, though, he's got his own clan to look out for... and not Neji,"

"Because he's my cousin,"

"No, because he's a very angry boy and he'd probably kill you... is there anyone else you even talk to? Kiba or Naruto, maybe? Not Sasuke,"

"Cause he's even angrier than Neji."

"Let's not go that far, but it's the same basic principle."

Hinata nodded. "Well... I might as well ask them... see if... Kiba wants to."

"At least talk to Naruto. Heck, maybe you'll get lucky and catch him in a good mood. If you don't chicken out, anyway."

Kankuro was throwing rocks at one of his neighbor's windows. "NAT! NAT! Wake up!"

A few minutes later, a young woman in a blue bathrobe answered the door. "You can't knock like a real person?"

"You wouldn't've answered if I did."

"It's nine in the morning, damn straight I wouldn't have answered. What are you doing at my house at this ungodly hour?"

"Is it an ungodly hour? Ungodly at my house ends at 3:30."

"Yeah, don't I know it. What do you want, Kankuro?"

"My dad's making me marry some girl from Leaf unless I convince him that I've got a serious girlfriend that I couldn't bear to be separated from."

"You've never had a serious girlfriend in your sorry life."

"That's where you come in."

Nat closed the door in his face. Kankuro immediately began knocking on it until it reopened.

"Kankuro, we only went out for two weeks, and that was months ago!"

"I'm not asking you to marry me. I'm asking you to make it look like you love me so I can get this marriage called off."

"I'm not going to lie to your father for you."

"Then do it for the poor chick who's life you're ruining through your selfish refusal to lie to the Kazekage for an ex-boyfriend you never really cared about."

Nat sighed and leaned against the doorframe. "I'm sure she'll cope... you're a good guy, Kankuro, even if you are a little weird. And given the kind of creep most girls end up with in arranged marriages, I'd even say she's lucky to have you... face paint and all."

Kankuro smiled a little. "Thanks, Nat-chan."

"Of course."

"... are you sure? Just one night—,"

"NO!" the door slammed again. "Go home already!"

"Any luck?" Hiashi asked, even though it was very clear from Hinata's dejected appearance that the mission was a failure.

"I went to Kiba's house... and I ran into him walking the dogs with his sister on the way there, so I just asked him. He looked really happy, but Hana butted in and said nothing personal, she really likes me, but she'd rather see her little brother dead than married to a Hyuuga."

"Yeah, I kind of thought you might have that problem with him... or any kid with parents, really. Did you try the Kyuubi boy or did you wimp out?"

"I tried!" Hinata said defensively. "I knocked on his door... and Sakura answered wearing one of his T-shirts. And nothing else."

"Douche chill," Neji hummed from the spot on the floor where he was lying and reading that month's "Bird Watchers' Digest".

Hinata sighed.

"Maybe he would if you explained the situation," Neji suggested. "He's the kind of kid who takes charity cases."

Hanabi, who had stolen the computer when her sister left, snorted into the keyboard. "Oh, come on, Neji, he's a nice kid, but he's not a martyr. I mean, if you had the choice between marrying the weird shy girl," she nodded at Hinata, "And dating Haruno Sakura, the hottest, peppiest, most... er, outgoing girl in town, who would you pick?"

Hyuuga Hanabi was thirteen years old and very very cynical.

"The girl's got a point," Neji shrugged, going back to his magazine.

"So..." Hinata said miserably, when she saw that her sister and cousin were done putting in their two cents. "I'm getting married, aren't I?"

"Looks like it..." her father shrugged. "Try to be optimistic. You've never met this boy, maybe he'll be decent. His father's a good man."

"Says you, but you murdered your brother."

"Oh shut up. Look, I know that this isn't fun. I realize that arranged marriages are stupid and awkward and doom you to a life of misery, and I know what I'm talking about here, because it's how your mother and I ended up manacled together."

Hinata's mother and father had a ... love-hate relationship. And it was love-hate in the same sense that yellow-green is a shade of green rather than yellow.

"So why did you do this to me?"

"Because the one thing this family does really well is perpetuate horrible cycles our ancestors started centuries ago, right, Branchy?" Neji held up a thumbs up without looking away from his magazine. "And at the time it seemed like a really good match. He's the Kazekage's son, so it was great for village relations, he doesn't have a last name, so you get to keep yours, and his family doesn't have any weird inherited abilities, so the children's blood line would be pure-,"

Hinata started shaking. "Ch- chi- children?"

"It's Ok, it's Ok, don't panic!" Hiashi started quickly before they had to break out the old paper bag. "That's a long way off, don't worry about it. Don't even think about it. You don't even know this boy, nobody is expecting you to sleep with him."

"Yet," Hinata said darkly.

"Don't even think about it. You just have to get through the wedding... which is next month, by the way."

"A loser like you could never hope to become Hokage," said the computer.

"Hanabi, don't you have anything you could be doing besides watching YouTube?"

"What, like pick out my bridesmaid dress? I thought you said we had a month."

"... could you at least watch a different video?"

New Story from LilMzSunshine

Category: General

Title: Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Genre: Angst/Drama

Rating: Fiction Rated T

Summary: Youko has spent her life trying to live up to her family's expectations. Now they expect her to marry a stranger, and she's too used to doing what she's told to object...