Disclaimer: I do not own, nor do I make any money from Naruto. Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.

Summery: When one can no longer go on, it is time for the ninken. At least Pakkun doesn't mind... mostly.

Ninken, Fighting the Battle
Humor. G.

kakashi x iruka / pakkun

Echoed amongst the rooms ruin there was a shriek. He'd been after it for hours, no, days. Never successful, never settled. How it constantly eluded the shinobi was anyone's guess. But the ninjas reflexes were waning, he was becoming tired and no longer infallible. Already he'd once been bitten and the area was fast becoming swollen and infected.

It wouldn't be long. Soon he'd have to give up. There was too much history, too many memories, and once fatigue hit they'd all come back. He stumbled from the room one cluttered just like the next, and braced himself on a table. He couldn't do it… he'd tried… but the memories were just there. The blood, the sludge… he lightly shook his head.

Get a grip, damnit.

There was only one thing he could do. He hated to do it. He felt weak because of it. But what he felt no longer mattered - or maybe it mattered too much? After all it was his exhaustion and fear driving him forward and pulling him back. A combination dangerous to the shinobi way of life. No, if he couldn't do it then he'd… he'd… he saw it running.

"Pakkun!" The terror was evident.

Within seconds the nin-dog arrived sliding around the corner, almost hitting a wall. The place really was destroyed. The pugs eyes darted around the shadows. He took in the weakened and fear-filled sight before him and then searched. It was here somewhere, he knew it. Ha! He gave a toothy grin and growled.

"On it, Boss." The pug launched in to battle.

Using the chakra control of an ANBU, the reflexes of a gymnast and the senses of a well trained ninkin, he dance on the pads of his feet. As two legs pushed up, another two came down. His tale swatted, and occasionally it almost seemed as though he were flying. He arched up, spinning himself through the air to avoid the enemy, his paws landing softly atop the bench. Pakkun growled again.

Fighting had never been the dogs strong point - that was more Bull or Chibi's forte. He was a tracker. But he was here and he would fight till the end. How ever this finished. Sometimes, though he'd never tell another soul, he enjoyed taking over in battle. He enjoyed being able to protect someone who so often had to protect others. Only one other person had ever seen this side to both himself and the man. It was their secret. No one could know the kid sometimes froze – unable to move through the memories that plagued his psyche. Pakkun did not mind and he'd never hesitate. There was something about sharing this secret that made him feel, worthy. Trusted.

Not to mention the big juicy rump-steak he'd receive afterwards. Sometimes it was given laced with guilt, but before all that there was thanks. And Pakkun would never turn down steak. After all, steak was god.

Mind back in the game, there were only seconds to notice how it came at him, unprepared and barging forward. Pakkun relocated himself almost without thought, but not before he'd felt the touch on his paw. He growled, a bark in frustration.

It was smart.

A chair shifted in the next room. The sound of items being kicked from exasperation. Sometimes he got like that. Annoyed... angry at himself. It wasn't his fault, childhood trauma was tough even for a ninja.

"Pakkun?" He called sounding for all the world like a frightened child. It was enough to pull the pugs attention away again, just for a small concerned second. That's when it moved.

"Gah!" Pakkun recoiled at the contact, resorting to chakra as a getaway.

"Pakkun!" He heard. Not missing the tone of fear and shame.

"I got it, Boss. Stay there." With a grunt Pakkun leapt back into the fray.

Again the four-legged dance began, puppy paws in such motion they almost became unseen. This had to end and it had to end now. He was becoming tired just as the Boss had. If he tired now, it would win. The enemy would win and that was not acceptable to either ninkin nor shinobi.

Launching himself through the air, Pakkun braced for impact. He wouldn't have the luxury of rolling off this landing. It would be brash, fast, under-planned and most of all it would hurt. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered. All he had to do was land right, paws in position and he'd win. Risk and pain were part of the ninja life. The enemy could not win.

His front paws came together hitting the ground. Unplanned battle tactic playing out before him. He landed, his shoulders jarring, the pain momentarily spearing as all noise filtered away. There was nothing from the neighboring room, nothing from the enemy, nothing but the harsh rise and fall of his chest. His labored breathing and rushing blood pounding in his ears. Pakkun swallowed.

It... worked.

His eyes widened comically. It actually worked. Kicking up, he yapped in triumph and pounced forward. That was when everything in him suddenly froze, a sickly crunch filtering through the room. He lifted a paw and scowled. "Perfect."

Glaring at the offending appendage Pakkun tried shaking it. Nope. He shook it more violently letting viscera splatter about the surrounding floor. He hated having to clean cockroach innards from his pads. The insects were always crunchy, dirty and held a flavor that was just plain off. Staring down at the invading vermin, he gave a slight puppy shrug and brushed it towards a trashcan before heading out to share the news.

"Done Boss," his grin baring those razor canines. "Was a tough one…"

A shaky hand reached down and obligingly he cocked his head to the side. With a scratch to the ear the Boss asked, "How about some steak, ne? Cooked or fresh?"

Keeping the toothy grin, Pakkun followed fast at the mans heals. A content swagger to his step. "Cooked how?"