A wooden seat creaks as extra weight is placed upon it.


"What are you doing here? I thought you said that these kinds of places gave you a headache?"



"That is not important."

"Whatever. Don't blame me if you end up getting heat rash again."

"… Could you put on some clothes?"

"Puh-lease, Gaara. It's not like we're not related."


"Stop looking so appalled! It's hot in here! Plus, it's not like I'm not wearing anything."

"You have on four triangles and a couple pairs of string."


"… I don't like how that guy is looking at you."

"Gaara. He's gay."

"Than why is he looking at you?"

"Well, considering he hadn't been giving me the time of day, despite my four triangles and string, until you came along-"

"I don't understand what you're trying to imply."

"Let's just say it's not my strings that interest him."

"… I think I liked it better when I didn't understand."

"Well, ignorance is bliss, little bro'. Anyway, if you didn't come to get hit on by the guys who won't hit on me, what can I do for you?"

"I have a question."

"Didn't we just go over the whole 'it's better not to know' thing?"

"… Kankuro said you could answer it."

"Psh. He's just trying to pawn you off on me. Not that I don't like it when you spend time with me, of course! Hahaha… Ha."

"Kankuro also said some other things."

"What kind of things, exactly?"

"I'll answer yours if you'll answer mine."

"… I really don't want to know where you picked up that phrase."

"A couple weeks ago when L-"

"Don't want to know it!"

"Does this mean you aren't going to answer me?"

"Oh, whatever. As long as you shut up about my bikini."

"I was told it was my brotherly duty to maim and permanently scar anyone who looks at you the wrong way."

"Out of everything they told you family does for each other, you chose to follow that bit?"

"They also said it was the only proper excuse I could use for maiming civilians."


"They scream the best."

"Ri-ight. Moving on, what exactly were you going to ask me?"

"What is a 'best friend'?"

"Did you seriously just use air quotes?"

"I don't understand."

"You know. 'Air' 'quotes'."

"Is there something wrong with them?"

"Ah, no, of course not! It's just, you know…"

"I do not."

The water hisses as it turns to steam, jumping up and away from the red hot stones.

"Just… it's kind of cute."


"Yeah. Cuz you were just all 'rawr means I love you. When I maim people, it's because I care' and then you were all 'I don't like you, I like you'."

"… I never 'rawr'-ed."

"Out of all the bits to take offense to, you picked that? Silly little chipmunk…"

"Hey! Stop that. Wait. No. Go away."

"Chipmunk, chipmunk, chipmunk! Let me pinch those chubby little cheeks of yours!"

"Why do you do this to me. Why."

"Ah… Look at little chipmunk, all cute and depressed! I didn't start pondering the futility of life until I got my period and-"

"Say no more."

"started to-"


"Little chipmunk using his manners, too!"

"Can you just answer the question?"

"What's the magic word!"

"… Please."

"That's my little chipmunk!"


"Oh, fine. Spoilsport. Anyway, what exactly do you wanna know?"

"How is a 'best friend' different from a normal friend."

"… Cuz they're a friend that is best? I dunno."

"That's what I said. Kankuro said I was wrong."


"Yes. He said that I shouldn't assu-"

"No, I mean he seriously said you were wrong?"

"… Yes?"

"Like, really?"


"Like, really, really, really?"

"Why is that so surprising?"

"It's just that, you know… Kanky is seriously kind of petrified of you."


"You know he used to wet the bed every Wednesday and Friday night until he was, like, fourteen?"

"He was fourteen three years ago."

"I know, right!"

"… Why did he wet the bed?"

"Don't you remember? Those were our 'family nights' that ridiculous therapist insisted we hold twice a week."

"… Kankuro is afraid of monopoly?"

"Psh, I wish. Although, come to think of it, he always does freak out when I make him move my piece when I can't reach it…"

"That's because you always pick the iron."

"What's that go to do with anything?"

"You threatened to iron his hands if he kept going on about his house elf obsession back when he was in the Academy."

"Yeah, but I also threaten to poison his food and soak his cat suit in poison ivy and announce to that one closet case with that freaky 'fly high' tattoo that Kanky's looking for new business partners, and he never wets the bed when he's reminded about that stuff."

"That's because you actually did iron his hands. And then father's. And Baki's. And my teddy bear's."

"… You think he still remembers that?"

"Considering you haven't had to do the laundry since you were seven, yes."

"Good times, good times… Wait, what are we doing talking about good times?"

"Is there a reason why we shouldn't?"

"Well, ever since you mysteriously developed fan appeal and became a tortured soul!bishie instead of a homicidal maniac!chipmunk, it seems like all we've ever gotten is some angsty flashbacks to explain how we're all angsty, depressed emus."

"… Emus?"

"Look, alright? I'm sorry! It's just, do you know hard it is to keep a straight face while you and Kanky whine about how 'daddy didn't love me!' and 'Gaara ate all my face paint so I had to borrow Temari's makeup and she called me a fairy!' every Saturday? That right there is eating up all my serious time. And my date time, of course, can't forget about that… You know how many dates I've had to skip so I could listen to you two whine about your problems?"

"None. You haven't been asked out since you thought that Shikaharu kid was cheating on you with a Go-Go dancer and completely trashed that salon."

"… To be fair, Hikaru is a pretty slutty name."

"He was sixty. And male."

"Well, I didn't know that at the time, did I! Anyway, like you're one to talk. You haven't been on a date since… ever."

"I went to a sukiyaki place with Matsuri once."

"Yeah right, like that counts. She told you that an enemy nin had infiltrated the city and was planning to assassinate you by planting bombs in the chef's specials because you always ordered one every other Thursday."

"… It could happen."

"And then when you got there and you couldn't find any suspicious people, you thought it was actually Matsuri and that she had gone traitor, so you had your sand sneak up on her just as she was about to finally get you some-"


"Oh, fine. What exactly did you want to know about 'best friends' if 'friends that are best' isn't the answer?"

"… I'm not exactly sure."

"Why'd you end up asking Kanky about that anyway?"

"Well, I walked in on him with some girl in the living room-"

"Are you serious?"

"… Yes?"

"What'd she look like? Was she hot?"


"Oh wait, we're talking about a girl desperate enough to hang with Kanky… Yeah, forget that question."

"Anyway. I asked him what he was doing."

"You couldn't tell? … Is he really that bad at it that you couldn't tell?"

"I'm not an idiot, Temari."

"… You wanted to freak him out, didn't you."


"Didn't you! Oh my god, that is so hilarious! He wasn't there that Saturday I forced that therapist to give you the talk, was he?"

"He had a mission."

"Serves him right. Anyway, go on! Did he try to make up something about a stork or a pelican or some shit?"

"Well, he did go on for some length about birds and sterile female worker bees."

"Ha! I knew it! Kanky's such a dork like that."

"And then when I finally got to the end of it, he said he was doing it with her because they were 'best' 'friends'."




"Temari? Are you… okay?"

"I'm sorry, it's just…"

"Are you… crying?"



"I'm sorry! It's just so, so… so sweet!"

"Uh. Um. There. There?"

"… Thank you, chipmunk. I just didn't know Kanky had it in him!"

"Had what where?"

"Oh, stop it! You know what I mean. That's such a sweet thing to say!"

"… I don't understand."

"You know! That's like, the oldest thing in the books! Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, girl likes boy, but instead of fucking like rabbits and ending up with some teenage single mom sob story, they actually get to know each other first, and then they fall in love, and, well, you know! 'Best friends'… When did Kanky get so sensitive!"

"… I'm not sure that's what Kankuro meant."

"Listen, Gaara. I'm going to give you the best advice you can get when it comes to romance."

"… Should I get a pen?"

"Nah, the steam'd ruin the ink. Just listen close, okay?"

"… Temari?"

"Right! I'm sorry, it's just, you know… I can't believe my little brothers are growing up so fast! First you stop being a homicidal maniac, and now Kanky's in love…"


"Yeah. Because when you fall in love with your best friend, you either lose your best friend… Or it'll be the best relationship you'll ever have."

"… Is it worth it?"


"Falling in love with your best friend. If you can lose him because of it-"

"Gaara! Falling in love with your best friend isn't something you can choose."

"It isn't?"

"Of course not! You can't pick who you fall in love with. It just… happens."

"… And sometimes it happens with your best friend?"

"If you're lucky."

"… Alright, then. Thank you, Temari."

There is a slight, sniffling noise.

"No problem. It's not everyday my little brother grows up, after all!"


"Hey, Gaara? What was it that Kanky said about me, again?"




"Gaara! What'd he say!"


"Just you wait until I get my hands on that iron! You think I don't know where you hid that teddy bear of yours? Think again, you little brat!"


"And you too, Kanky! You're next! You're all next! I'm gonna get all of you motherfuckers!"

"Uh… Ma'am?"

"You too, you sorry son of a- I mean, is there anything I can do for you, sir?"


"You're not planning on kicking me out of this sauna here, are you?"


"Cause let me tell you, do you know who my brother is?"

"Yes ma'am!"

"Well, then let me tell you, if you as so much look at me the wrong way-"

A door shuts with a slam.

"A 'best friend'. Huh..."