Chapter Eight - Tenacious Secrecy
It hadn't taken long for them to find the marketplace in the decent sized village. Not too mention the enticing scents of food lured Kiba's nose to the right place.
"How about this?" Kiba called over to Sakura who was currently riffling through various colored tops at one market stall. She turned to Kiba who held a kimono in his hands. At first she wrinkled her nose at the dark blue fabric with a cherry blossom pattern on it. People always thought that just because her name was Sakura that she would want the flower on all of her clothes. She shuffled over to Kiba fully intent on setting him straight, even if he was just trying to be nice, until she got a closer look at the outfit. While the kimono did have the blossoms on it, she now saw that also a lighter blue thread created a circle around each one, something that reminded her of her family crest.
When he held up the obi, doura, and okumi that came with it the deal was sealed. They were made of pink silk with dark crimson embroidery in various swirling patterns to mimic the main robe's circles.
"It's beautiful," she hummed, smiling at Kiba.
"Who would have thought it?" Tenzou said, having made his way over from a male's clothing booth. "You have some taste in women's clothing."
Kiba merely ignored the wood-user. It was likely he was just still jealous over the day Kiba had slept away next to Sakura.
"How much?" Tenzou asked the shopkeeper.
"Oi!" Kiba snapped. "I found the kimono; I'll buy it for Sakura."
"Um," Sakura interrupted hesitantly, "I'd prefer to just buy it myself."
The shopkeeper, also female smiled genuinely at Sakura before telling her the price, which Sakura handed over after searching through her bag for her money purse.
Pausing, Sakura looked to the older woman again, "Hey, I don't suppose you have a changing room or anything, do you?"
"Hmm, well, you could use the back room, dear," she replied, showing the pink-haired girl to the makeshift shop's storage area. Staying to help her customer change, the shopkeeper tsked and shook her head.
"Oh no no, this won't do at all, dear. You're a traveler, aren't you?"
Sakura nodded, unsure of where the woman was going with her statements.
"You're covered in it, dear. You need a hot bath before you put that on. Surely you don't want to get it dirty."
"Well, no, I-I don't, but we don't have a place to stay right now, and I don't really want to wear this all day," she answered, gesturing down to her now dusty cloak.
"I'm closing the shop early today, dear; you and your friends can come home with me and get cleaned up. You seem like a pleasant young lady and my daughter might enjoy the company. She's been quite upset lately. She's in that stage of the pregnancy," the woman chatted kindly, smiling.
"That's very kind of you, but really we-"
"I won't take no for an answer, dear. It's the least I can do. I get very little business lately, it seems."
"Oh my," Sakura said, "I don't see how that's possible. Your work is lovely."
"Thank you, dear. Now, you just keep those bundled up and clean and give me a few minutes to close down the shop."
Walking outside once again, she noted that both Kiba and Tenzou were gone, though, after a quick glance around, she saw both at separate stalls picking up a few items for themselves.
Of course, she told herself, they probably want some other clothes as well. They can't wear the same thing everyday after all. Sakura herself didn't really care; she'd wear the kimono in order to attract suitable "buyers" then she'd wear only what was necessary to do whatever chores they had for her. Of course, she was a bit worried about the other aspect of working for a man. But she wasn't exactly a novice when it came to sex thanks to Ino's 'friendly' discussions, though she definitely wasn't an expert either. There was nothing she could do about it at the moment though; she'd just have to take things as they came and hopefully being a virgin would only solidify her innocent sister act even moreso.
"Um," Sakura said, closing in on Tenzou's location, "the shopkeeper wants us to stay with her for the night. It's a little weird, I know, but, you have to admit, the people in Ko- back home would do the same thing." Sakura bit her lip. It certainly wouldn't do to run about discussing Konoha when their story put them nowhere near the place.
"Yes, I suppose they would. Well, I guess now is as good a time as any to get a bit of information. And maybe they'll know of a good place to stay for cheap. Go and let your friend know," Tenzou said, nodding towards Kiba who was bartering with a female shopkeeper on the price of the item in his hands.
Sakura smiled as she walked over to Kiba, watching the way one tooth peeked from his mouth as he grinned at the woman, most likely making some semi-rude comment but still managing to be charming in his own way. She had no chance of squeezing the extra money from the Inuzuka even if she was a woman. And, most likely, the price was too high or he would have just paid it.
"Kiba," Sakura said after he'd handed the girl the money for his purchase and drug him out of said girl's earshot, "we've got a place to stay tonight."
"Huh? We haven't even looked around yet."
Sakura rolled her eyes before explaining. "That's 'cause the lady who sold me the kimono offered to let us stay with her. It'll be a good way to get some basic info on the village. Who knows?"
"Alright. You get everything you need?" He asked, noting the sheer emptiness of her hands.
"I don't need much, Kiba. I've got the outfit I'll need for the job and then I have plenty of my own stuff, you know."
"Yeah, yeah," he complied, knowing he'd lose that argument but still hating what he knew was the truth. Hating what he knew she'd have to do on this mission. It was no wonder she wasn't taking an interest in any shopping; how could she? Sakura could very well have to give herself to some strange man, all for the sake of a mission. It made him sick, but Kiba knew if he tried to stop the plan he wouldn't have reason enough. His wanting Sakura for himself just wouldn't suffice.
As they once again approached the woman's kimono stall they found Tenzou waiting with her, talking mildly about who knew what.
"Oh, there you are, dear," the woman said, smiling all the while, "this is rather exciting, isn't it? I haven't had real guests in some time and I just know my daughter will love the company. She's a bit grouchy though," the woman continued, laughing at the thought.
Unbeknownst to the woman, the three Konoha shinobi weren't quite fully paying attention to her rambling words. While their heads remained in a forward facing position, their eyes were busy taking in details on the village- where certain buildings were located, faces of passerby's, possible escape routes.
"Oh dear," Sakura heard the woman exclaim rather suddenly, "I just remember, the festival is this week! You all had me so distracted I nearly forgot! It's always the perfect time to set up shop," she added.
"What is the festival for?" Sakura asked, interest piqued.
"Oh my, yes, that's right, you're travelers. Every year we have a festival to celebrate the move."
Tenzou was the quickest to speak. "The move?"
"Yes, the move. Every year Raikage-sama and several of our more powerful shinobi move the village."
"Wow," Sakura said, eyes wide, "I wouldn't have thought that even possible."
"Well, they are shinobi, dear," the woman replied.
Kiba snorted quietly, unbelieving, "How's it work?"
"Well, I've no idea. We're not allowed to leave our houses when the village is being moved. I have heard it's very dangerous. One year a foolish boy tried to step outside during the set time. Poor thing. His house, family, and he were all crushed."
"That's awful," Sakura whispered, frown on her face. The medic in her screamed for the boy and his family.
"What were they crushed by?"
"That's the odd thing, nothing did it. Everything was just crushed. I leave it to those shinobi powers that move the whole village. I can't come up with an explanation otherwise."
Sakura started, "Well, it sure seems odd that they won't explain things to you, I mean, in Ko-"
"It's not a big deal, Sakuna," Tenzou abruptly interrupted, "I'm sure they have their reasons. Besides, the festival will be a good day for sales, just like- oh, I'm sorry, we've yet to get your name."
"Oh! Sorry, sorry," the kimono-maker said, hands in the air, "sometimes I just get so caught up in my chit chat. My name is Yura Shingaku."
"Ah, lovely name, Yura," Tenzou said, charming smile in place. The same smile Sakura had always felt tugging on her heart strings since she'd gotten close to him. "My name is Yamano Gokurana and these are my younger siblings, Kita and Sakuna."
Sakura smiled, while Kiba bared his teeth merely trying to retain his temper. How dare that bastard give him such a girly fake name!
"Such nice names," the woman returned, turning another corner and slowing. "Well, here we are, dears. It's nothing fancy, but its home, and we have a room to spare and plenty of blankets and sleeping mats, plus you can get that shower, Sakuna."
Sakura sighed, "Sounds wonderful."
No sooner had they walked into the house that they'd been assaulted by Mr. Shingaku who, while merely trying to keep his family and pregnant daughter safe, asked a large number of questions. Sakura and Kiba let Tenzou do most of the talking as the man, named Gintaka, had obviously deemed the older of the group the most important to talk to.
Sakura found herself swept away by Yura to meet Zhenji, her one and only child who was well into her third trimester. She immediately took a liking to the girl. Zhenji was obviously in a great deal of discomfort, most likely due to the child being too close to her ribs and moving, but she made no mention of it to her mother. It was a sign of strength and Sakura could only hope she'd be as strong in such a situation. Pregnancy, Sakura had decided in her years of medical study, was something she didn't ever want to experience really. Far too much pain.
Even though she was supposed to be someone other than herself, the kunoichi couldn't keep her concern in check and let herself ask a few questions. Yura left them to their discussions to find Kiba sitting in their main room, looking rather bored as his "older brother" and Gintaka talked about their supposed life in Otogakure.
"I fear I haven't been a very good hostess already," Yura said, hand touching Kiba's shoulder. "Are you hungry dear? Perhaps you'd like to help me with dinner while everyone else is busy chatting?"
Kiba shrugged before pushing himself up and following her to the kitchen.
She immediately put him in charge of cutting vegetables and meat, which was fine by him. He could handle a knife as well as a kunai any day. Not too mention in the Inuzuka clan everyone helped with the cooking so he was used to it.
"Tell me a bit about your family, dear," Yura said amiably. "You and your brother both seem really close to your sister."
"Yeah," Kiba began, wondering just what he should say, "guess you could say she's the only reason him and I get along." Well, that much was true, he thought.
"Hmm, well, women, I think, will always be the glue that holds families together. You do like stew, yes?" She asked, suddenly changing the subject.
Kiba grinned, "Of course."
After agreeing to go and get her a glass of water, Sakura had made her way to the kitchen, which took a minute or two since she had no idea where the kitchen actually was. But the house wasn't that big, so it was relatively easy. She paused at the doorway though as she heard Kiba and Yura talking. The older woman was at the stove, back turned to her, while Kiba was looking down at the food he was preparing. It was almost cute, though Sakura would rather picture herself than Yura standing over the stove as Kiba cut away at his veggies.
She hated this. Hated feeling that pain in her heart of not knowing what exactly her head was thinking trying to place herself in some distance picture with Kiba. She knew her body wanted him, but her mind wasn't supposed to play such tricks on her; it wasn't supposed to tell her that her body was right.
Her gaze softened as she watched his tongue being squished between his lips as he concentrated on cutting perfectly sized pieces of beef. His hands moved in such a fluid way she couldn't help but want those hands to be on her and in their current situation that couldn't work. They were supposed to be brother and sister? How was that going to last when all she wanted was for him to look at her with that smoldering gaze he'd given her just two nights ago?
"Oi, Sis," Kiba called playfully, "you just goin' to stand there? Or do you need something?" Only part of him was playing though. He'd seen the look in her eyes as she'd gazed at him, even if she thought it had gone unnoticed. It had nearly made him growl, but that would have surely given Yura something to question. How many normal people literally growled? Of course he wouldn't give a damn if that would let him be alone with Sakura for a while… a long while because that was what he'd need before he'd be able to function around her properly, if that was even possible. That damned scent of hers just drew him in every time. Matters were only worse when he could smell the spikes in her moods, in her excitement.
"Oh, well, actually, I was just going to get Zhenji a drink."
"That girl…" Yura started, "She's perfectly able to come and get herself a drink; why I was cleaning the house when my water broke! Here," she said, snatching a glass from a cupboard and filling it with water from the tap, "I'll take it to her, you have a seat or something dear. I won't have my guests waiting on my daughter," she laughed before leaving Sakura alone with her "brother."
"So," Kiba said, voice quiet, "is the daughter nice?"
"Very, but I think she's a bit shy." Sakura replied, tone just as soft as she walked over to stand across from him at the counter. "She didn't really want me to get her the water, but I insisted. I can tell the pregnancy is giving her a lot of pain. I would have explained that to Yura but-"
"I know, she's quick to speak. Are you worried, Sakura," Kiba finished in a whisper, bending over the countertop closer to her. She could feel his breath on her forehead, the wisps of hair there tickling her skin as he spoke.
She swallowed thickly, "About?"
"I'm not stupid. This mission. I don't like to think about it, but whoever buys you is going to want more than just work from you. I'll hate him."
"Kiba," Sakura gasped nearly inaudibly, "we shouldn't talk about this here, if we get caught-"
"When then?" he hummed, neck craning further, face inching closer. His cheek brushed against hers as his teeth nipped at her earlobe.
"Later," she said urgently. She couldn't fall into this, not if she wanted this mission to succeed, not if she wanted to save Kakashi. But she'd be damned if she didn't want to crawl over the counter and get him to put those teeth to good use.
"Later? When that old bastard will be around to listen to everything? That's not goin' to happen, Sakura."
"I don't know!" she ground out, hands fisted at her sides as his tongue dipped into her ear. Her thighs clenched impulsively, fearing she'd topple over in her fervor. But before she had time to grab him he'd returned to his position over the food and began cutting again.
"Alright, sweetie, you're doing fine," Yura cooed as she helped her daughter through the narrow doorframe.
Son of a bitch! Sakura howled inwardly even though she was almost thankful for their return as it had saved her. But the loss of his warmth against her face and neck was almost painful.
Her pain was nearly forgotten though as Yura began to instruct her on the proper ways to season a stew for the cooler months of the year, which were more often than not in their altitude. She stole glances at Kiba throughout Yura's lessons though. Each one made her want to run back home, Kiba in tow. She wasn't aware her scent caused such similar thoughts in Kiba's head, however.
Zhenji took another sip of her water before peering at Kiba, "Have you guys been here long? I mean, I haven't been out as much lately, but I don't recall ever seeing you in the village."
"Oh, we're just traveling actually," Kiba replied, slicing another carrot neatly, "we only just got here today."
"Really?" she said. "What brought you to Kumogakure?"
"My brother hopes to make some money here." Kiba didn't particularly want to go into details on the subject. He hoped Zhenji would drop it.
He doubted Yura would find it amusing to know they planned on selling Sakura, their supposed sister to some stranger for a few coins in their pockets. At least that would be the story she heard.
Luckily for Kiba, Gintaka and Tenzou chose that moment to enter the kitchen and asked what smelled so delicious. Kiba glanced at Sakura; his answer would always differ.
After a fairly peaceful dinner, with less and less questions from Gintaka, Yura showed the three where they would be sleeping for the night.
"There are several rollout mats in the closet there, as well as blankets. If you need anything feel free to ask. There's a guest bathroom you can use as well, it's just right down the hall, dears."
"Thank you," Sakura hummed happily. She was tired, mainly from, what she decided, was stress.
"I knew my daughter would like you, Sakuna. You two are about the same age and very sweet girls." Sakura didn't really see how that would be the cause of their being friendly, but she'd never tell Yura that. "Goodnight now." And with that she closed the door and headed for the room she shared with her husband.
Tenzou breathed a sigh of relief. He wasn't used to such stuffy situations. He didn't typically have to worry about what others were saying on his reconnaissance missions. Why he hadn't thought about it more thoroughly before they'd enter the village wasn't something he wanted to contemplate.
"I'm going to take a shower," he spoke hesitantly. He didn't want to leave them alone, but he had little choice. He couldn't watch them every hour of every day. Grabbing his back from where either Gintaka or Yura must have placed it earlier, he left the room, hoping the mutt didn't hound Sakura too much while he was gone.
Kiba ambled over to the closet and began to remove the sleeping pads Yura had mentioned. They certainly felt like they'd be comfortable- thick but soft, soft but not floppy or flimsy. He'd like to have tossed Tenzou's into a corner, but the room was only so big, and that bigness didn't give him much leeway. The pads, therefore, were placed in a row, two touching, and the last one just a couple inches away. At least the room would be warm for the night, he tried to think positively.
Sakura found herself following suit, blankets in hand. But when Kiba reached to take the last from her hands and place it on his mat, she was also pulled along with the blanket as she didn't let go. Her hands firmly gripping the thick material she let Kiba's arms wrap around her frame, let him embrace her in that musky warmth of his.
"Can we talk about it now?" Kiba questioned, nose in her pastel locks, inhaling deeply.
"Hm?" She purred, wriggling against him, trying to inch closer and get a little more of his heat.
"You're worried, aren't you? Hell, I'm worried and I don't even have to do much."
"It'll be okay, Kiba. I'm a kunoichi; it's just a part of the job."
"Well, you're job sucks then-"
"Hey now," Sakura mumbled into his chest, "you have the same job. But it's more likely that I'll be bought than you." She tilted her head back and peered up at him through her lashes before sticking out her tongue teasingly at him.
"What about you? Aren't you worried about Akamaru? He sure does disappear a lot."
"Naw," Kiba rolled his eyes, "he does it all the time really. Besides, he can gather information we probably couldn't. Despite his size, people never seem to suspect him. As long as he doesn't say anything."
Smirking, Sakura rested her cheek against his collar bone again.
"If you stay like this, I'm not going to be able to let you go, you know." Kiba sighed.
"What did I do? You hugged me," she said matter-of-factly.
Flushed and somewhat embarrassed, Kiba muttered, "I'd kiss you right now, but that would probably lead to other things, and I don't suppose we can risk that, plus there's that old bastard."
Sakura scoffed, "He's not all bad; you just don't like him because of me anyways."
Kiba's cheeks only grew redder.
"If you don't mind," Sakura uttered, voice wavering, I'd like that kiss anyways."
She caught the sight of a sharp incisor before his lips pressed against hers in the tenderest of ways. It was nothing like the kisses before; the kisses that had been all tongue and teeth and lust. This was soft, and gentle, and caring. And it ended all too quickly.
"We should probably get some sleep. I'll shower in the morning. You want to join?" he teased, pulling back and plopping down on his bedding.
"You wish," she sniggered, before she lay down beside him, though the thought was intriguing.
Firstly... Happy Holidays everyone :) and if you don't celebrate any holidays this time of year... well, happy day to you :) Sorry my updates take forever... I've been working wayyyy too much to make up for all the Christmas shopping I've been doing, haha, plus I just couldn't seem to get into what I was writing... which is partly why I think this chapter kind of sucks... mainly just because it's kind of filler-ish stuff... I needed to get them set up in the village and junk... it'll be better next chapter... really going to start getting into the undercover stuff, haha, plus Sakura is gonna be sold XD I've got a lot planned for this story already, I just need to put my mind to it and write it. I'll try and work on that... after I finish the second part to Twisted. Anyways, even though, like I said, this chap is a bit dull, enjoy... or try XD