Kankuro looked over at his mission partner with a quizzical look on his painted face. "So… we're good?" he asked.

With a wild grin on his face, a slightly torn up Naruto slapped him across the back. "Good? Are you kidding me? We're great!"

Kankuro held back a flinch. The kid still didn't know his strength. Either that or he was just messing with him. "Good with me," he said. The two of them stood in an awkward silence for a few more seconds. Well, Kankuro felt awkward. Naruto was still high off of adrenaline. "So, Gaara told me that he didn't want to see my ass back in Suna for another week, at least-"

"What for this time?" Naruto interrupted him.

Kankuro coughed. "I might have walked in on something I shouldn't have."

"Alright!" Naruto grinned again as he picked a stray needle out of his jacket. "Was it worth it?"

Kankuro shrugged modestly. "You know. Half of it was. The other part…" He shuddered. There were some things an older brother didn't need to witness.

Naruto winced. "Yeah. I probably wouldn't want to have see that either." The blond scratched at the back of his neck. "Er… You got some place to stay, or something?"

"What? No, I'm good on that." Kankuro said, holding up his hands defensively. Unless you were the owner in question, there was no guarantee that you would walk out of Naruto's ramen infested apartment alive. All visitors were welcomed, of course, just heavily warned. "It's just, you know. While I'm not saying the explosions and all weren't cool-"

"They were totally awesome." Naruto agreed. "Remember when that jounin's summon exploded when he tried to use that fire jutsu after that creepy puppet thing of yours spewed out all that hazy gas stuff?"

"Not as good as when your kage bunshin managed to henge into their commander and somehow managed to convince half of them to take off that fucking armor of theirs because, and I quote, 'the kunai is a lie'." Kankuro shook his head in disbelief.

"Well, you know how it is," Naruto said with faux modesty. "Gotta keep up the whole most surprising ninja moniker one way or another. We're all slaves for the fans."

The puppeteer snorted. "Whatever you say, man. I still don't know how you manage to pull it all off." He cracked his neck. "Anyway, since I'm gonna be here for a couple days before I need to head back, you got anything interesting happening?"

Naruto blinked. "What, you wanna hit the bars or something?" he asked. "Cuz I know this great bartender down at the Snuggly Duckling. He lost his hand in some training mishap with his genin team a few months ago, and you should see the kind of things he can do with this new hook he got."

"Are you kidding?" Kankuro asked deadpan. "Last time I went to a bar with you, you went home with the girl I'd spent all night chatting up, and I woke up naked in that drag club a few blocks away from your apartment."

"Ah, come on Kanky," Naruto drawled, a mischievous smirk on his face. "Where's all that self-confidence of yours? With all that makeup you've got plastered on, none of the pretty girls - or should I say boys? -will be able to see your ugly mug! You might have half a chance!"

"Shut it, shorty," Kankuro said with a halfhearted glare. "Besides, looking at my recent track record, I'd be lucky if I could get a girl to let me do anymore than buy her a drink."

"Aw, is wittle Kanky having problems getting it up?" Naruto laughingly said as he jumped out of Kankuro's range. "You're gonna hit the big two-oh soon, ya know. In ninja years, that's practically forty. There's no shame in getting ancient, old man."

"I almost wish," Kankuro complained. "Nah, it's Temari."

Naruto raised an eyebrow. "Why Kankuro," he drawled, ever the country bumpkin, "I didn't know you were into that kind of thing."

Kankuro made a valiant attempt at ignoring him and soldiered on. "She's somehow got it into her mind that I need to settle down."

"Wait, what?" Naruto spluttered. He held up two hands to emphasize his point. "You mean… she's like, picking you out a wife and all that?"

"She's not that crazy," Kankuro said with a shudder. "Thankfully. But, I don't know… I know she's not here and all, but I'm still kind of afraid that if I don't listen to what she says-"

"She'll hunt you down, burn all your stuff, kill your pet ficus, and tell you exactly what she's going to do to you to make sure you're never gonna be able to reproduce ever again?" Naruto finished for him.

"I didn't think you had a sister." Kankuro shook his head in amazement. "That was actually pretty close."

"Well, you know." Naruto chuckled self-consciously. "I have Sakura. She's about as bad."

Kankuro frowned. "Uh… pink hair, green eyes, always angry looking?"

"Yup-" Naruto froze. "She's not behind me, is she?" He asked quickly. He'd fallen prey to that mistake too many times before to let down his guard.

"Are you kidding?" Kankuro said with a disbelieving look. "If she was anywhere near you, would I still be standing here?"

"Point." Naruto laughed weakly. "She's super great and all, it's just… Yeah. You know." The blond shook his head rather violently, his messy blond locks flying in the breeze. "Anyway, lemme think… Oh! So, bars are still out, right?" Kankuro snorted. "I'll take that fine display of good manners for a yes. But we're still cool on alcoholic drinks and loud music?"

Catching the beginning of Naruto's signature smirk, Kankuro groaned. "Oh god. What are you on about now."

Naruto laughed evilly. "Just you wait, young grasshopper. You are soooo lucky I like you. Kiba's throwing this party tonight, and it's supposed to be huge."

Kankuro smirked. "As long as I don't have to go as your plus one again," he replied, "I'm up for anything."


Hinata didn't usually go to parties. Well, not these kind of parties, at least. She was always up for the kind with cupcakes, but loud music and suspiciously radioactive looking drinks? Hanabi was seen at more parties like these than her older sister was, and she was only twelve.

Extenuating circumstances aside, Hinata would much rather have been washing her hair than attending this drunken revelry, even though her hair was still artificially strawberry scented fresh. But no, she couldn't do that. Not when this was the last free night of her entire single life. Soon she'd be forced to stay home every night darning socks or making dinner or doing whatever else it was married people did.

And she didn't even know the guy! Her oft cursed father was going to bring him over to the apartment she had just finished begging to be allowed to have at the crack of dawn the next morning for their first meeting. In the lowest voice she could manage - which, really, was not that low at all, as she was a terribly loud drunk - she told the blurry neon green drink in front of her that she suspected the whole marriage was being arranged just because she'd finally managed to move away from her literally insane family. She'd heard her dad muttering about her no good wild ways into his coffee the last time she'd stopped in for breakfast. As if he could talk about wild ways!

While the still bubbling drink made no response, her blond drinking buddy nodded solemnly. "Yeah," he said. He was an agreeable sort of drunk. "I can see why Hiashi bastard might think that. You're pretty wild when ya wanna be, Hina-Hin-Hinata," he finally managed to hiccup out.

The drunken girl miserably moaned out her thanks. That last martini was hitting her so hard she didn't even notice when the fuzzy looking blur known to the sober world as Naruto stood up with a look on his face that spelled nothing other than trouble. Of course, given the general state of the party - it was reaching its twilight hours, and precious few of the still conscious party goers were coherent enough to focus on his face, never mind read anything off of it - it was doubtful that she would have been able to do anything to stop him even if she could notice.

A Naruto with a plan was a dangerous thing indeed. A drunken Naruto with a plan helped along by a good few bottles of sake? You might as well just give up the fight now, and not risk getting hurt. Or a spontaneous transgender operation. It had been known to happen before. A disgruntled but newly reinstated Konoha ninja named Sasuke could testify to that. When he got in a mood, Naruto was practically impossible to stop.

So impossible, in fact, that as he made his smirking way across the room, not one of the precious few conscious heavyweights even bothered to try.


"Mmm…" Kankuro's shoulders shuddered as he stretched. Well, it wasn't much of a stretch - actually, it only went a half step past shrugging. But that was okay. That was more than okay.

After all, it wasn't every morning he woke up in some soft, and more importantly warm, bed. Granted, it was a more common occurrence than, say, waking up in a drag like that one night that shall never be spoken of ever again - but after a party like the one last night? In Konoha? Where there was currently fucking snow on the ground? Most mornings like this found him hunched over the ice cold porcelain god, if not someone's doorstep, puking up whatever remnants of radioactive colored liquids had chosen to make his head a living hell. And with the way that Naruto brat had been snickering in his direction, Kankuro was kind of slightly surprised and really glad that he hadn't woken up naked on a mattress in some half frozen lake.

A frown made it's way across Kankuro's face as he blindly groped under the sheet. Well, strike the naked part. At least there was no icy water! Kankuro sighed as his face smoothed out. "Yup," he mumbled to himself, "this is the good life." The only way it could possibly have been any better was if he'd managed to not make a complete fool of himself last night and maybe even score with a girl, but even he wasn't that delusional. Embarrassing photos were a mainstay in the best kind of parties, and well, the whole girl thing… Not that he didn't know how to play the game, of course, but here? While he was kind of still on the job? And maybe kind of supposed to be picking someone out to get serious with, not to seriously get with? He could get away with partying, but he'd hate to have to explain how he knocked some civilian up. Temari would be a pain in the ass about -

"Would you just shut up already!" Although the words weren't much louder than a whisper, the vehemence packed into them was more than enough to make Kankuro jump. "Some of us are trying to sleep here!"

Kankuro didn't dare to breathe. That was because he'd just realized that the whole warm aspect? Yeah. Much less of a mystery now. "Uh," he started, "are you-"

"Going to rip out your vocal chords if you can't get the memo and. Shut. The. Fuck. Up?" Kankuro dared to crack open his eyes. Upon seeing the furious, flushed, and from what looked like it completely naked Hyuuga girl glaring at him, he immediately wished he hadn't. "Some of us," here the whisper sounded equally self-deprecating as it was murderous. Kankuro kind of hated the fact that it turned him on. "drank drinks that are not to be drank ever. Again. And as such, are completely and utterly willing to shove whatever is sharpest through your throat if you can't shut u-" The voice stuttered to a stop. Kankuro watched, wide-eyed and more turned on than he'd been since he'd walked on in Gaara (gross!) and that blonde chick (score!) half naked in the Kazekage's office.

Back to the more immediate and pressing problem, however, Kankuro tried not to blink as the hungover girl tried to pull herself together. "K-Kankuro?" She finally managed to stutter out, her voice somehow managing to be even quieter than before. "T-Temari's little b-brother?"

With a slight wince, Kankuro nodded. While Temari's little brother wasn't quite how he'd like all the girls he slept with to know him as, he guessed it was better than… well, not much, but some other guy's name would probably make the cut. "Yeah," he started to say. The murderous glare that sprung up in retaliation of his probably still too loud words forced him to abandon that course of action. He always was loud when he was hungover… he guessed he probably wasn't as sober as he thought then.

The girl seemed to be ready to start another one her rants, but before she could get the first word out, she abruptly paled and then flushed. Seeing as she was formerly about the shade of a blank piece of a paper, Kankuro felt a little worried. Explaining this would already be hard enough - if there was a dead naked girl in bed with him? Yeah. Temari would have a fit to end all fits.

"Y-you're n-naked!" The girl stuttered out, somehow managing to sound both appalled and reproachful. She quickly glanced down at her own self. Her face somehow managed to look even more horrified than before. "I-I'm n-naked!"

Kankuro nervously started to edge away before realizing that the other part of the bed was freezing cold. Deciding to veto that course of action, he wondered if smiling would help or not. He tried it, one corner of his mouth lifting up as he discreetly glanced around to check for exits.

"Ah!" the girl shrieked, her pupil less eyes going wide. Immediately afterwards, the both of them winced.

Kankuro could see what she was talking about with her whole "shut up" plan now. He was so putting loud noises on The List.

Once the girl had gotten her head back under control, she finally managed to ask, "W-why are we n-naked?"

"That," Kankuro said after a moment of thought, "is a good question."

Unfortunately for the both of them, before they could come up with an even better answer, someone opened the bedroom door and made a worse one for them.

"D-dad?" The pale eyed girl stuttered as the rather imposing man finally managed to shut his open mouth. The slightly squat looking younger man that stood beside him protested as the taller man refused to remove his hand from over his eyes. Kankuro, who was still waiting in a sort of shocked silence, finally managed to put a name to his naked bed mate, and immediately wished he hadn't.

"Hinata?" Kankuro somehow managed to squeak out in unison with the shocked older man in the doorway.

"What is the meaning of this!" Kankuro watched, dumbstruck, as Hinata quickly grabbed at the sheet and pulled it up to the top of her neck. "I let you out of my house for one month," Kankuro, slowly coming to the realization that the angry looking man in the doorway was, in fact, Hinata's father, quickly paled and scrambled under the sheet after her. "Only to come and find you in bed with some, some," the dignified man was rapidly loosing his composure as he was reduced to spluttering.

"D-dad!" Hinata finally shouted out. "Just. Shut. Up!" Kankuro watched in some sort of horrified silence as the protesting girl turned to bury her much abused head in his shoulder. "My head hurts," she moaned.

The slightly squat looking man standing next to Hinata's father finally managed to get the older man's hand off his eyes. Kankuro watched him take in the rapidly purpling man next to him, the still slightly whimpering Hinata who was currently situated and refusing to budge from her place in his lap, only to land on the still petrified Kankuro himself. "So," he finally said, glancing back at Hinata's dad. "Does this mean the wedding's off, then?"