"How long have you worn that stuff, anyway?" Her voice nearly echoed across the empty room into his ears as he worked on his puppet.

"Eh? The paint, you mean?" he questioned without looking up from his work.

"Yes. I almost never see you without it on and it seems like an odd habit," she shrugged as she spoke, inspecting the lines across his face with a curious spark in her usually mischievous eyes.

"Well…Actually, I'm not sure. I just started doing it when I was young, and I guess it sort of stuck. I think it's cool," he looked up this time, and a wide grin and a wink accompanied his words.

"Why purple, though?" she pressed on as she rose and walked over to join him at the worktable. Once she reached his side, she raised her hand and slid a finger down one lined cheek.

"Um… I suppose I like…I like it," he slowly replied. He made an attempt at keeping his breathing even while she followed the pattern across his face. She didn't seem to notice at all, so he figured he was doing fairly well at keeping up the nonchalant façade. Hmm, she smelled good. Rather like vanilla, actually. Almost edible. He leaned slightly into the hand now hovering at his temple. What had they been talking about?

From her perch on the table in front of him, she stared at him now, expectant. Oh, had she said something?

"I'm sorry, what?" His words stumbled out slurred.

"I asked if it came off easily."

"Oh. No, not really, it's rather a pain in the ass. Greasepaint needs some heavy-duty remover. I'm about to take it off, it's getting late. Could you hand me that red container over there? And the cotton balls beside it, please?"

"Sure, sure," she hopped off the table lithely and practically skipped over to the shelf he indicated to retrieve the remover. She turned with an appealing grin, "Could I help?"

He was fairly certain she had it out for him. For some unfathomable reason, being saved by someone instantly attaches creates an attachment. Kankuro could not understand why he was more than just grateful towards this girl. She was beautiful and attractive and kind and deadly of course, but many other kunoichi were, too. He reasoned that it could be her slightly insane air. She most certainly had something about her that was not quite average. She took interest in the strangest things and was surprisingly upbeat for their line of work. Also, her chosen career path within her career was a contradiction. A medic ninja. Oxymoronic if ever there was a phrase that deserved the word. She was like a vegan working in a butcher shop.

He knew that somewhere along the line, he had developed affections for the girl. He also knew that he was only one of about hundred other males to do so. Go figure that he would just have to follow the crowd the one time he really, really shouldn't. He was not fond of the idea of rejection.

He shook out of his internal contemplation of all that was Sakura to a pause that was only slightly becoming awkward. Inwardly he rolled his eyes. His attention span shrank significantly in her presence, it seemed.

"Yes. Of course," he glanced casually in her general direction before turning his attention to clearing all of his tools from the area. Good lord, he could feel her excitement emanating from her form as she all but danced back to him and jumped back onto the table. He took a seat in front of her and watched her unscrew the lid of the container and dip out a bit of the cream with a cotton ball.

She made a motion for him to scoot closer. Reluctantly, he moved the chair a few centimeters forward but she scoffed and hooked her foot in the arm of the chair and pulled him flush to the table. He tried again not to react to her closeness, but it was just a pointless attempt since she was almost in his lap anyway.

Her face in concentration was something worth watching since it shifted through the motions. She would stare intently at the line she was working on and then grin when the paint came off easily. When it did not, she would frown and rub slightly harder, though not roughly, against his skin. Kankuro just watched her and futilely made an effort to ignore the feelings she evoked in him.

On a particularly stubborn spot of paint on his forehead, she leaned up even closer to his face giving him an absolutely wondrous view down her vest. He was beginning to squirm a little from the thoughts that were stealing into his head, the little fantasies that he had longed for a while to play out.

"Gah!" she exclaimed, and cupped her hand around the back of his neck to pull him nearer and tilt his head to a more accessible position in front of her.

At this distance, he could see a slight shimmer in her lip balm and smell its slightly minty scent. Suddenly, all he wanted to do was taste it, though he vaguely registered the fact that the shimmer could possibly transfer. Deciding against what may have been his better judgment, he reached for her hips and gently pulled her onto his lap.

"Here," he whispered, "you should be able to reach better, now." His lips were very near her neck from the move, and he leaned near her ear as he spoke. Softly, he placed them on her jaw and pulled them unhurriedly towards her mouth.

Sakura was silent, but she did not still. Kankuro had an inkling that this had been her intention all the while. Internally, he performed a little happy dance at 'inadvertently'overhearing a conversation between Sakura and Temari about birth control, and he thanked God that he did not have to go through the awkward acquisition and application of a condom.

"I thought you were interested in the makeup, Sakura," he playfully murmured as he traveled closer to her lips with his leisurely kisses.

"Oh, I was, but I believe this arrangement could be acceptable as well," she answered after dropping the cotton ball and threading one hand into his hair and running the other down his neck. When her head dropped back, he changed course, slipping under her chin and tilting his head the other way to place open-mouthed kisses down her neck.

The breath she drew in was not as even as the others had been, and he grinned with mild satisfaction that he was getting a positive reaction and not a broken jaw. His hands crawled from her hips up her ribs, and she giggled. He pulled back and looked at her face. She was biting her lip to hold in her laughter and her eyes were crinkled, revealing her mirth.

"Ticklish?" His voice came out low and amused with an almost hoarse edge.

"Only a little," she conceded, motioning with her thumb and forefinger.

He chuckled and continued his perusal, running one hand around to her back to pull her against his chest and unzipping her vest with the other. She sighed and softly pulled his face to hers, pausing a moment before pressing her lips lightly against his. Kankuro opened his lips and she boldly followed his lower lip with her tongue and felt down his chest with her hand.

He was aware of the light mood becoming heavier, the need seeping into each action. The vest was quickly disposed of, and he began immediately working on the bandages that wound about her breasts.

Her perfect, alluring, breasts that he wanted to feel, to taste…

She pulled herself tighter against him and moaned quietly into the almost feverish kiss. Kankuro pulled away abruptly, and pushed the chair away from the table. Picking her up, he stood and she wrapped her legs around his waist. This pressed his obvious arousal to her, causing a shiver to race through his body and a soft exclamation from his lips.

He leaned forward and laid her on the table, leaning above her with his palms beside her head. From her position under him, she pulled at the hem of his shirt to remove it. He raised each hand quickly to remove the fabric between them, and as soon as the shirt was gone, she pulled one of his wrists to her lips and kissed it.

Honestly, if someone had told him that his wrists, of all body parts, were sexual appendages, he would have thought they were a bit daft. However, Sakura's tongue against his pulse was much more tantalizing than he could have imagined.

Pulling himself onto the table to rest between her thighs, he grasped one of her legs, guided it to the table so it was bent at her knee, and kept the other leg firmly hooked around his hip.

"Uh, Kankuro, is this…will this table hold?" came her breathy voice. Her fingers fumbled with the buttons of his pants and she slipped her hand past the waistband of his underwear.

"If it doesn't, I'll just have Gaara order a new one," he answered as he dropped his forehead to her collarbone and dragged his tongue along the skin under it. The hand currently holding him was inflicting the most glorious pressure and it was pulling his eyes shut and giving his hips the urge to push forward, to find a place in her.

His mouth explored lower, finding a breast to worship. In turn, the pace she had set with her hand was becoming almost too much.

Or just enough.

"Sakura…I… please, stop, stop so …ah," he gasped as she continued. He knew she wouldn't pause because he could see she enjoyed doing this to him, enjoyed giving him this feeling. He knew she loved this, the power, and he could not say that he didn't either, but he wanted to do this together. That thought in mind, he reached for that wrist and pulled it up beside her head and kissed her. Somehow, he negotiated her black shorts and panties to the floor and leaned forward to guide himself in.

"Kankuro," she whispered in his ear, "Kankuro," she breathed into his hair.

All he could hear was her whispering his name, and he endeavored to make her continue that beautiful sound. It was the single most enticing thing he had ever heard and he craved it.

When she entreated a harder, faster pace, he complied eagerly.

She was by no means one to be dominated, and she took his breath away with the flexing of her muscles and her whispers in his ear.

I wonder if she'd ever do a recording of that for the times she's away?

His random musing was harshly interrupted when she roughly pulled him into another near ferocious kiss, and he realized what was happening.

Her spasms rocked him and he pushed into her with more ardor. When he came, he pressed his forehead between her breasts, and she began to play with his hair while their breath and heart rates settled back into a healthy zone. After a comfortably sated silence, she spoke.

"You know," she began, "it's a little cool in here. Could we relocate to the bed?" He could hear the sly smile in her voice as she spoke.

Sighing theatrically, he replied, "I suppose, but you may need to carry me." At the end of his sentence, he tickled up her ribs and nipped at her collar bone.

Laughing, she slapped at his hands and swiftly rolled out from under him and off the table. Kankuro took that as a 'hell no'. She began to run towards the door that joined his workroom and his bedroom, kicking their strewn articles of clothing as she went.

Kankuro gladly followed her, miraculously recovering from his exhaustion.

Sakura wondered if he noticed the remaining paint still smeared down his face.