Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, but I sure wish I did some days.

Rating: T, for some language and shameless pairings.

A/N: Can we say 'challenge fic,' boys and girls? Yes. You can thank PSITeleport and lovesrainscent for this one. An unusual pairing, here, in Ino and Kankuro, but I know how to write Ino and Kankuro seems like a fun character. So. Put your trays in an upright and locked position, hang on for dear life, and enjoy!

A Flirty Flower


A beautiful morning had put Ino in an outrageously good mood. She went about her errands humming a delightful tune. Nothing seemed to bother her this day; no one seemed to hassle her.

When her stomach growled, Ino realized that it was lunch time, so she headed toward one of her favorite lunch spots. She would get something light, like a salad, and continue bouncing along in her happy bubble for the rest of the day.

It was no wonder she didn't hear the warning yell until too late.

"Yo! Yo, watch out!"

A prolonged cracking sound lifted her head. Ino comprehended that the roof shingles of the shop she was under had broken free. Already several plummeted at her. She knew she should dodge, but dodging would require getting her new dress dirty and possibly breaking Sakura's birthday gift in the bag she carried, not to mention the ruination of her sexy heels.

The split second hesitation cost her the time to dodge. Her body tensed, readying for the impact of the shingles. She covered her head, wincing in anticipation.

Ino felt the air stir, heard the heavy clanking of something surrounding her, and the staccato clinks of shingles breaking against something solid. From between her arms, Ino saw darkness and felt like walls had pressed close together on her.

The clinks had stopped; now the walls shifted, revealing sunlight and free air. She didn't expect to see purple paint.

"What is wrong with you?" the purple paint said. "Are you deaf?"

Ino blinked and discerned a face behind the paint. She recognized this guy from somewhere…

"Hello! I'm talking to you!" He waved a hand in front of her face and then looked around. "Hey! Who is this airhead?"

She liked his brashness, and she liked the crazy brown hair. His dark eyes and tan skin matched well, and she liked how the purple accented his mouth and nose and brow. Ino remembered him now- -Kankuro of the Sand, and it seemed he didn't remember her.

That was perfect. Maybe she could get a free lunch out of this deal, and maybe some make-out time with Mr. Sandman.

"Oh," she said, deciding to play at the damsel in distress. "I'm just a little…stunned."

Ino shrugged her shoulder to slip her dress strap down. It fell just as Kankuro returned his gaze to her.

She smiled her most winning smile. "Thank you…I mean, for saving me."

"Yeah, well, you're pretty oblivious." His eyes were on her bare shoulder.

"Eh, that's what all my friends say, too," she said, and giggled, slipping the strap up again. "Now. How can I repay you?"

He had turned to step out of the rubble, and she, quite innocently, bumped into him as she 'stumbled' over the shingles. Steadying herself with her hand on his back, Ino could feel glorious muscles under his shirt, and she smiled when he reached around, and his hand encircled her wrist.

He cleared his throat and looked at her when they were on even ground. "Er…payment?"

"Yes, silly," she batted her eyelashes and trailed a finger along his jaw. "Payment. Should we go to lunch?"

Ino had Kankuro by the balls, not literally, and now all that was left was the follow-through. She toyed with a curl of hair over his ear. He looked skittish, so she prompted him.

"So what do you say, hm?"

Ino detected an increase in Kankuro's breathing before he answered. "Yeah, uh, sure. Lunch."

"Great! I know a nice place," she said, beaming. She took his hand. "Let's go, shall we?"

Kankuro came with her without resistance, and they traveled to Ino's original destination for lunch. He only dropped her hand to open the door for her. When Ino entered the restaurant, she signaled the maître'd, who knew her father. She and Kankuro were seated in a quiet corner at a cozy table.

"So you're Kankuro, aren't you?" she asked, resting her knee against his leg. "I've heard so much about you."

He fiddled with the menu before answering. "Good, 'cause I hate talking about myself. Who're you?"

"Oh," she preoccupied herself with her own menu. "I'm Yamanaka Ino. Nice to meet you."

Kankuro tilted his head, as though he recognized her, and she watched his lips move as he tested her name on his tongue. She saw the glint of metal- -was his tongue pierced?

Oh, yeah. His rating on the sexometer swung to the red-hot zone. Definitely she wanted to run her tongue along his teeth and taste that tang of metal. A stray dribble of saliva almost escaped out the corner of her mouth.

"Yama- -hey!" His exclamation broke her from her thoughts. "I remember now! You're that Nara's teammate, aren't you? Yeah…I thought I knew you from somewhere."

Ino tapped her nose and winked. "You got it. What brings you to Konoha?"

"I had a mission that brought me here. My orders were to send a message to the Kazekage with a report upon completion."

They were interrupted by the waitress taking their drink orders, and when she left, Ino leaned on the table, tucking her hand under her chin. Her other arm rested on the tabletop.

"So was the mission a success?" she purred. She rubbed her leg against his.

Kankuro gazed at her for a moment, slowly smiling as though he'd just heard a secret. He leaned in close to her, so close in fact, his lips brushed her ear.

"Is there something you want, pretty miss?" His hand caressed the side of her face. A tingle raced down her back. "You're dropping hints left and right."

And when his mouth rubbed hers, he surprised her into parting her lips, and she got a special treat as his tongue slid along hers. He definitely had a tongue stud. Ino liked the way it clicked against her teeth, the feel of pliant flesh and metal.

She angled her head to deepen the kiss, but a presence materialized at the edge of the table.

"Err…I can come back."

Kankuro pulled away first, and Ino had to breathe to clear her head from the muddle. When she saw the waitress, she realized she'd forgotten that they were in a restaurant.

"I think we're ready to order," Kankuro said. A smug smirk played on his lips. "She'll have the salad du jour, and I'll have the pastrami sandwich."

With a couple efficient movements, Kankuro folded both their menus. The waitress set down their drinks, and taking the menus, told them she'd get right on putting in their orders. The whole thing came and went before Ino could recover from Kankuro's kiss.

Ino glared at him, unhappy with him taking liberty with her mouth. "What was that? And, you know, I can order for myself."

"I know." He smiled and reached out to play with her fingers. "But I like to be the one giving the surprises."

She hadn't realized he'd be able to play her game so well, and she thought that this could be fun.

"Well, consider me surprised." Ino brushed his leg with hers again. "So. How long are you in Konoha?"

"Long enough to ask what you're doing later tonight."

Now it was getting interesting. Ino shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know. I might have some plans."

When he stroked the inside of her wrist, she could feel the calluses on his thumb. The roughness on that sensitive skin appealed to her.

"Hm. You certainly do now," he answered. "My place or yours?"

Her heart jumped to her throat. Was he insinuating what she thought he was? Ino withdrew her hand from his fingers.

"Excuse me?"

Kankuro blinked. "My place? Or yours?" he repeated.

"For what, exactly?"

"Heh, heh," he threw his head back and laughed. "You're kidding, right? I thought that being a ditz was an act."

In her anger and offense, Ino stomped on his foot. "You pig! Some flirting and you think I'm gonna jump in the sack with you?"


"And what makes you think I'd sleep with you anyway? Disgusting."

Ino picked up his water glass and doused him with the contents. When his paint ran down his face, she felt sweet satisfaction. A part of her brain told her to leave now, but for some reason, she had to stay for his reaction.

"Hunh," he grunted, standing. "Maybe you shouldn't dangle sex if you're not willing to put out."

"That has nothing to…what are you doing?"

He had grabbed her water glass, and she realized what his intention was, but sheer disbelief froze her to the spot. He wouldn't dare; but Kankuro tossed the water on her, soaking her through.

"You…asshole," Ino hissed. "It was harmless flirting!"

Kankuro grabbed her arm. "This isn't the place to have this argument. Let's go outside a minute."

Outraged, Ino watched as he turned to the staring, open-mouthed patrons and gave a cool smile.

"Excuse us."

Then he proceeded to tug her, as she struggled and cursed, through the restaurant. Just as they exited, he released her, and she spun to punch him. Her fist connected somewhere on his face, and he staggered back.

"The fuck-?"

"Don't you dare touch me again," Ino warned.

In her blind rage, she miscalculated when she walked away. She didn't get very far before her body jerked, and caused her to trip and fall to the sidewalk. Her muscles and nerves felt strange, like thick grease had coated everything.

Ino glanced over her shoulder. Kankuro had recovered from her punch; his fingers were poised. Ah. She remembered now. He could connect chakra strings to items, or people, within close range.

His finger twitched; her body jerked again and this time her muscles and limbs were completely under Kankuro's control. With ease, he 'stood' and 'walked' her to him, no matter how much she resisted.

Standing in front of him, against her will, Ino relished the sight of a cut over his eye. His blood mixed with the smeared purple. He looked feral. Nerves fluttered in her stomach. What would he do?

He wiped his face with the back of his long sleeve. Then he looked at her a long moment. "I'm sorry for jumping to conclusions."

At first she thought he teased her, but he released his jutsu. Immediately her muscles relaxed; she wobbled. His eyes were very serious as he rested his hands on her shoulders.

"But you have to admit," Kankuro continued, "that the way you flirt is misleading. If you just wanted me to pay for lunch, all you had to do was ask."

Ino felt like a fool, so she swallowed her pride. "I'm sorry, too. I just like to flirt. I didn't mean to…," she gestured vaguely, "mislead you."

Kankuro smiled. "Good. Now that we're both sorry, why don't you and I go have our lunch?"

"What?" Ino didn't see how he could abruptly skip from serious to…friendly.

He chuckled and ran his hand over her ponytail. "I still owe you for saving your life, remember?"

She laughed, "Oh, my hero!" and lifted her face to kiss him lightly. "But…I think I'll treat you."

"Hm," Kankuro said, kissing her back, "I already like the taste of the dessert."

A/N: Ahh, fluff. How I love thee.