Title: Triptych: 369

Author: Lovesrainscent

Rating: T

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto and stand to make no profit from posting this story.

Summary: The Naruto universe as seen from one of the most under appreciated characters in the manga – Baki. After all, he seems to have single-handedly held Sand together on more than one occassion, apparently was the only jounin capable of being sensei to Gaara after the death of Yashamura and clearly negotiated a peace between Suna and Konoha after the failed Sand/Sound invasion.

Thanks to top for suggesting flash fiction. This is written in 369 format – 3 linked subchapters of 69 words compose each chapter in the story.

Tiny Footprints

He followed the tiny footprints.

At last he found her, trying to shield Kankuro's smaller body with her own.

He saw how rigid she was, unable to speak or move.

Kankuro was crying simply from the pandemonium of the night.

But Temari understood.

And the image that would be forever etched into Baki's mind was of tiny footprints where she'd fled barefoot through puddles of her own mother's blood.

Puppet On A String

It bothered him how much time Kankuro spent in that … workshop.

He understood the boy's natural affinity for certain tools and puppets and jutsus.

But still he forced him to master skills with kunai and senbon, despite much bitching on Kankuro's part.

Good thing his father didn't give a rat's ass about the boy.

Grumble though the boy would, in this case it was Baki who pulled the strings.

Chain of Command

Yashamura was dead.

Now Gaara was entrusted to his keeping.

But Baki would do more than that.

He would try to make some semblance of a ninja out of the boy.

He owed Karura that much at least for her sacrifice.

The first thing to do would be to teach discipline, chain of command.

Good thing he started early.

At least then it only cost him one eye.