A/N: I haven't a clue where I'm going with this.

Chapter 2

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A slender tongue glistening with saliva ran up the dull end of an average kitchen blade, lapping up the arterial red substance caked on before moving to the sides and giving the same treatment. The taste titillated the young Jonin and she couldn't help herself when what sounded like the purr of a stroked feline issued from between her lips, low and drawn out.

"Oh my… if I'd only known it tasted this good, I'd've done this sooner," she idly mused with a faint grin, lowering the knife and carving once more, cutting quite easily. "Find out my secret and it leads to… this. I guess it was only inevitable…."

Streams of scarlet liquid spilled over the tables end and Anko glanced down with a slightly annoyed 'tsk'. "Shoot, what a waste…."

She picked up a cloth and dropped it on the mess, stepping on it with her bare foot and sliding it in a circular motion.

"Now…" she continued, turning back to what was currently gouged with a knife, "where were we my little… subject?"

To say Anko enjoyed her leisure time would have been an understatement. She didn't so much care for the state of the world or whatever asshole happened to be control of who and did what with their power, but she did take umbrage with an entire village who openly expressed their loathe and distrust of her despite the fact that she was technically fighting to make sure enemy shinobi didn't invade in the dead of night and slit their throats ear to ear. Granted, leaving Konoha wasn't much of an option either as being Orochimaru's precious 'virtuoso' once upon a time was apparently enough for her to be insta-put into some of the smaller villages bingo books, nevermind how the other Great Lands saw her.

Dealing with all the bias and mistakes of her past sometimes took a toll on her mental wellbeing and she would be the first to admit that she was far from the plane of 'stable' when upset or riled. And so, as a means to cope and keep from going on one of the genocidal rampages everyone was weary she'd do one day, she picked up the show My Little Pony and became enraptured with the visuals, the animation, the characters and the morals taught within, morals that she herself could hardly identify with (hell, most in her line of work couldn't) but it fascinated her all the same.

Although she cared for all of them, she favored Rainbow Dash, the rainbow-maned mare with an almost unhealthy fixation on showing off and speed, the most. She was able to ignore the childish mindset—it was a kids show after all—and focused on one of Rainbow Dash's more relatable desires: the all-consuming drive to prove herself. It was something that struck a cord with Anko as she knew full well that's all her life was about, a tiring uphill struggle to be worth something to those damned ungrateful villagers, to be seen as something other than a weapon of mass destruction only called upon when the heavy shit kicked off.

The show gave her a means of escape, a reason to smile, and the motivation to get the fuck out there mission after mission and smile in the faces of those who would rather see her dead by days end.

It was her little world.

Her slice of relaxation.

One that she enjoyed alone for two very good reasons. The first was merely following her inbred snakelike instincts and preferring to ride alone while the second was of a more human origin, not wanting this favorite pastime of hers to be mocked, or for her reputation to take a serious nosedive from which there was no hope of recovery. She rather liked being called 'that crazy snake bitch who will sink her fangs in deep and rip out your throat!' Far from the insult it was originally slung around as, she found it highly endearing.

After all, she was crazy. She was a snake bitch. And she did like ripping out throats. Can't hate who you are and what you do, right?

But apparently her reputation, despite being a tool that parents used to scare the living shit out of their misbehaving kids, was not enough to quell the curiosity of her fellow Jonin, the legendary copycat ninja Hatake Kakashi, nor the genin he felt it right to bring along with him to find out what secret she was hiding.

And find out they did. They discovered her obsession with the show and even had the audacity to pick and lay claim to a favorite pony of their own, which, bypassing the fact that they seemed utterly accepting of it, was made all the more confusing by the inclusion of the Hyuuga prodigy, Neji.

Naruto, that blonde-haired demon of hell, had chosen Twilight Sparkle. Looking at it objectively, that made no sense as Twilight was a genius and Naruto was… how did Sasuke put it? Dead last. In almost everything but sheer luck. Anko really couldn't find a logical explanation as to why the blonde found her to his liking….

Speaking of Sasuke, he'd picked Pinkie Pie, stubbornly convinced that her 'Pinkamena' persona held the key to some sort of treasure chest of deep, brooding secrets for the jovial pony. It didn't take a genius to see why that intrigued the Uchiha, Anko figured. Surely emo knew emo.

Sakura quickly adopted Rarity. And why not? Both of them were shallower than a two-inch pool and obsessed with fashion—hell, Sakura might as well have been Rarity's humanized form. Except with pink hair.

Kakashi himself chose Applejack. His reasons were rather sound and looking at him, it made sense. Despite his outward laidback nature, Kakashi was an… unnaturally hard worker. A diligent follower in the belief of 'teammates before success', he tackled everything thrown at him with surprising dexterity. Even her. A lesser man would have been a slave to her techniques in bed, her flawless figure out of the equation, but this man not only matched her stride but frequently took the reigns as well. A true hardworker. Just like Applejack.

And finally, that left Neji to take the shy, almost annoyingly so, Fluttershy. To a person who didn't know the Hyuuga, this might seem downright odd, but to anyone with half an insight into Neji's world they'd have seen his choice as more about protection rather than favorite. He saw Fluttershy as his prized cousin Hinata, the very same cousin he'd once abhorred but now protected as both a family member and as a member of the cadet branch should.

Five interlopers… in on her secret…

"Well, we couldn't very well have that now could we?" she uttered in a whimsical tone, once more lifting that glinting edge to her lips for a little lick. Her eyes flashed. "Annnnd done!"

Hefting a platter in both hands, the volatile kunoichi sashayed her way from the kitchen and down the hall towards the living room, her hips swaying almost with rhythm. Today brought about a new episode of My Little Pony and she'd be damned if she missed it by tying up loose ends. Her walk was quick yet balanced and lithe, foot over foot, careful not to jostle what she held as she entered the liv—

"Anko-san!"

Instincts overrode all else and Anko swiftly lifted both arms, hoisting the platter over her head when Naruto practically pole-vaulted over the back of the couch and ran up, throwing his arms around her waist.

"C'mon, hurry up! The show's about to...it's…." Thrown off course by a sudden fragrant aroma, Naruto's nostrils flared as he slowly glanced up the woman he clung to, up her bust, over her snidely smirking face, finally landing on the plate she carried. "What is that?" he shouted with a hungry glint in his eyes. "It smells so good!"

"It's your death if you make me miss my show," Anko replied with a smile so wide that her eyes closed.

Naruto slinked away from her as a reprimanded puppy might, sauntering back over to the couch to reclaim his seat between Sasuke and Sakura, the latter of which giggled behind her hand.

"After this long, you should know better than to get between Anko-sama and her shows, Naruto," she smirked, clutching her Rarity plush to her chest.

Naruto grumbled but otherwise remained silent, absentmindedly running fingers through the multi-colored purple mane of his own Twilight Sparkle doll.

On the other side of Sasuke sat Neji, the both of them still completely enamored by the plushes that been given (stolen) almost three months ago, stoically glaring them down as though having an eye-staring contest.

With an arm slung over the couch, Kakashi barely glanced up when Anko came around into view, but then he too caught the scent of something mouthwatering. "Cooking? You?" His one visible eye tightened with apprehension, also noting that she was wearing an apron, one stained with thick, crimson splotches. "Why…?"

"Why, you ask?" She laid the platter down on the table, revealing an elaborately decorated red velvet cake, one topped with crimson buds and the words 'My Little Intruders' scribbled in frosting using a rainbow of colors. "Well, it was either this or gutting the five of you like swine and draping your intestines around the forest like party streamers. Of course, I could still opt for the second course if you all prefer."

Neji was the first to snatch up one of the smaller plates and thrust it towards their host, his normally expressionless face betraying a slight hint of dread. "A piece with rose, please," he uttered dryly.

The others followed suit instantly, even Sasuke as he blatantly put his saucer over Naruto's.

"That's what I thought," Anko thrilled with a smile.

As she sliced into her piece of confectionary masterpiece, Anko's mind began to drift. This was the first thing that she'd baked in over a decade as her daily diet usually consisted of dango for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with the occasional wine glass of blood if her latest victim happened to be of a high quality. Much to her chagrin, she had to admit...cooking for the five interlopers who so quickly situated themselves into a very private section of her life had been something of a...well, it was enjoyable. Wielding a knife for something other than carving flesh, wearing an apron to keep her clothes clean rather than to catch the blood of whoever she happened to be torturing…doing leisurely acts of kindness for someone else….

Finished dolling out a slice to each guest, Anko sat back in her chair, silently observing as they began to devour her creation, slowly at first with rightfully placed hesitation but then, upon discovering there was no blood or piss baked into it, the true ravenous wolves in each of them came out and the air was soon filled with the sounds of heavy chewing. She almost giggled.

"I'm almost tempted to be annoyed that you waited until this long to reveal such cooking prowess," Neji uttered around a forkful of cake, not even bothering to lift his gaze.

"Seriously," agreed Sakura, almost beating out Naruto with how she viciously tore into her slice.

Anko merely relaxed more into her chair, crossing one slender leg over the other and wiggling her toes playfully. "It took me until just this long to decide against carrying out some very covert operations, my little Hyuuga," she explained genially.

There wasn't a beat missed in the consumption of cake as hanging around Anko these past few months had widened each of their views on her concerning many things. The chief of which being the extreme risk they put themselves in whenever they ventured into not only her forest, but her home. It was a gamble worthy of their lives, of course, to be introduced to such a world that only the characters of My Little Pony could bring; the unexpected joy, the unexpected laughter, the unexpected attachment… life was just suddenly a lot brighter.

"Friendship is magic," Naruto said as a response to her idle death threat, and he grinned when the others started chuckling into their cake.

And now Anko laughed, lifting a hand to her mouth. Truly friendship was magic if the most unlikely group of ninja were all gathered under one roof to watch the most unlikeliest of shows.

Sasuke was the first to look up at the strange yet enjoyable sound coming from Anko's mouth. He lifted one eyebrow, glancing at Neji who returned the look, then back at her. "So. You can laugh."

"Pot calling the kettle on that one, boy," Anko replied loftily, reaching out to grasp the TV remote.

"One might forget you were actually a woman without those little reminders," Kakashi chimed in nonchalantly, somehow managing to eat by pulling on the lower half of his mask and fitting forkfuls of cake underneath.

Anko spared the copynin a single penetrating glance, her eyes narrowed into slits and her lips curled into a seductive smirk. "Of all the people to misjudge the range of my femininity, I'd think you the last, my little Crow."

Again, there was hardly a skip or moment of awkwardness in response to Anko's statement as the rest of the genin finished their cake and set their utensils on the table. That was another thing they quickly adjusted to, that kunoichi's twisted sexual innuendo. They'd all been the subject of it in way or another, especially Naruto.

"Demons attract demons," she had said of it while blatantly molesting him after the end of 'May The Best Pet Win!'. "All ponies who trot into my stable are subject to a routine check-up…."

"What's the new episode again?" Neji pondered, sitting back with his arms crossed as per usual, opaque eyes trained on the TV. "I remembered up until a training session with Rock Lee. A Konoha Hurricane to the temple tends to rattle a few things about."

Naruto snickered.

"We're up to 'Sweet and Elite'," answered Anko readily, her toes curling with excitement, and Sakura let slip a high-pitched squeal.

"That's one about Rarity, right?" When Anko nodded, she hugged her Rarity plush even harder. "I am so ready for this!"

As all present picked up their respective pony plush, even Anko as she clutched her cuddly soft Rainbow Dash to her chest; she aimed the remote properly and had just pushed the power when several things happened in unison: her senses burned hot with impending danger as both Kakashi and Neji dove in separate directions; a kunai zipped between them, slicing off a few hairs at the end of Neji's flowing ponytail and striking the TV dead center.

"…"

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