Summary: After Konoha is destroyed there are a lot of pieces to be picked up and Ino has decided to pick one up that's been forgotten while Kankuro has decided to pick her up.
Betaed By: Micah
Warnings: No sexual content, WAFF, one shot, COMPLETE
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, Kishimoto does.
Dedication: Written for PenumbraChey
She bent down and carefully clipped the flower stems then placed them in the basket. The long blonde hair that she had pulled up in a high ponytail slid over her back and off her shoulder in a slow curtain.
Her hair was long and silky, nothing like the dry, coarse straw his sister couldn't seem to do anything with. He'd noticed her before, but it still took him a moment to remember her name. Ino. Kankuro remembered her blue eyes even better than her name; they were hard to forget. Unlike most of the girls he knew in Suna she was pretty. There was definitely one nice thing about the war and helping rebuild Konoha... he got to spend time staring at her.
Ino turned and looked over at him. "Kakurou-san if you're just going to stand there you can leave. I've had enough of lazy boys thanks to my team." She walked over to him, crossed her arms, and raised an eyebrow at him. "Well?"
He looked at her basket and then back up at her. "You want me to help you pick flowers?" Kankuro asked, a little surprised.
Her shoulders stiffening and her hands clenching, she narrowed her eyes at him and drew herself up to her full height. "If you say it's a girl's job..."
The reaction reminded him of Sakura and he laughed. "Are all of Konoha's kunoichi fiery Like you and Sakura-san?"
"Hmph!" Ino turned and strode away, her long pony tail swishing behind her. "I don't have a temper like her, but if you're not going to help then go find something useful to do."
Kankuro smiled and shook his head. He could hear a note of superiority in her voice but the irritation was the false tone his sister used when they did something that bothered her and he wondered what was between her and Sakura. It was obvious to him that she didn't want to be compared to her, but also that there was no hostility. At least there wasn't from her side. He decided they must either be friends or rivals, maybe both, but not enemies of any kind.
"So, why are we picking flowers?" It seemed like a really silly task given the circumstances. "Nobody died in the attack from what I understand."
Ino clipped another flower and set it in her basket. "A lot of the graves, most in fact, were destroyed. A lot of the markers and such are still being sorted out. It is unlikely that the graveyard will ever be properly in order again." She cut several more from one plant and moved to the next. "Some are... more recent than others and I think it would be nice for people to have flowers to bring to the graves that do get sorted out and I'm going to take the rest of them to mark the ones we can't identify." Glancing over at him, she continued in her task.
He hadn't thought of that and he supposed most people hadn't either. With all of the work that had to be done something little like this would not only be missed but appreciated. "Ah." Taking one of his scrolls from his back, Kankuro rolled it open on the ground.
Ino stopped what she was doing and stared, a tulip in her hand.
He smiled at her then looked down. Pushing his thumb against the end of the scroll, he cut the tip on a pin deliberately set in a recess there. Kankuro let the blood up on his skin then smeared a line of it across the paper before pressing his palms against it. Pushing his chakra against he summoned his puppets, Karasu and Kuroari, and their strings.
Standing, he looked up at her and smiled then flicked his wrist and sent both wooden puppets zooming around the field.
Karasu's swords sliced through the stems, sending the flowers flying behind him and right into the opened wooden shell of Kuroari's body until it was piled full.
Twisting his hands, Kankuro brought them both back. Karasu set down beside himself and Kuroari he stopped just beside Ino. Walking the few steps it took, he stood beside her and his puppet. "Is this enough?"
Ino blinked, stared for a moment, and then burst out laughing. "I should trade you for one of my teammates! Although-" She looked at flowers and giggled. "Some of those probably won't work."
"Why not? Are they too short?" He looked them over trying to see if he'd mutilated them in some way. "Did I ruin them?"
"No, it's just that some of their meanings wouldn't be appropriate." Reaching over, she picked up a bright orange lily. "This one, at least here, means hatred and revenge."
"Oh. I don't know much about flowers." He could name ones that were used in poisons and ones you could eat, but beyond that he didn't know much about them.
Ino nodded. "Well these-" She picked up a pansy, stepped a little closer, and tucked it in the collar of his shirt. "-mean thoughtful and caring." Smiling, she turned back to the piled flowers and started sorting them. Each time she picked up a new one she showed it to him and explained what the meaning was, sometimes touching on what they meant in Suna or another country which would vary the meaning.
Kankuro couldn't help but be impressed at the way she didn't so much as hesitate when reciting the information off about the flowers. "How do you know all of this stuff?"
"My father and I run... well ran a flower shop." She looked back over her shoulder, her lips curving down at the corners slightly. "It was my mother's before she died, but I'm sure there isn't anything left of it."
"Ah." He looked down, knowing there wasn't much he could say. Her hands caught his eye and he smiled. "Ah I know that one. That's a tulip. Not sure what it means though."
Ino blinked and looked at him. "It depends on the color and where you're from but tulips in general are a symbol of passion. A yellow one-" She held up the one in her hand. "-stands for unrequited or well one-sided love. Red means fame in Earth Country, charity in Lightning, and trust here. Purple can mean anything from nobility to hope."
Kankuro reached over, picked a flower from the pile, and held it out to her. It was the same deep violet as her outfit. "Then here, this is for you."
Reaching out, she touched the stem of the flower, but didn't take it from him. Her fingers brushed his and she stopped stared him right in the eye and smiled. "Meaning?"
"Well you said that they're passionate flowers and you're definitely that. They're for nobility and while you're not a princess I still think it fits. And hope..." He smiled and moved the back of his nail against the underside of her wrist. "I think we could all use a little of that right now. Like I'm hoping you'll have dinner with me."
"I don't think you need this anymore." Ino took the flower and stepped past him.
Kankuro wasn't sure if that was a yes or not. "I don't?" he asked, following her.
She shook her head and continued to walk in the direction of the camp. "It's better than eating with my team. Chouji hogs the really good stuff."
Grinning and laughing, he fell into step beside her. He didn't really think any of the rations they were all eating had anything 'good' in them so he'd happily give her anything she wanted. Of course he would do the same even if there was, after all, there was no way he'd be able to resist those eyes if she turned them on him. Or her.