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29 September 2007 @ 10:05 am
[thread][A Study in Observation][open]  
While he was not quite "on duty" as a member of ANBU, Sai had been informed that a heavy ANBU presence would be preferred after what had happened the last time the Daimyo made an appearance. At the moment though, he was off shift, and left to his own devices. There was a new way to how the villagers moved, more energetic, almost enthusiastic, that hadn't quite been present since the first invasion. It seemed that people were finally beginning to "move on" in a sense? Sai wasn't sure.

Temari was now in the village, he knew, which meant Suna would be making at least some display at the festival. Miss Ino was already loosening up and 'having a good time', if that drunken shouting match she'd had with Shikamaru had been any indication. Sai frowned, he still wasn't sure how he felt about Ino anymore. It was confusing in the first place, and her behavior patterns did not make sense to him. Maybe Sakura could explain, since Naruto was now indisposed. There was another problem there however, as Sakura had not been acting normally since her return from Suna. If anything else, she seemed cagier, but at least with the help of Chouji her weight was slowly returning to normal. Which pleased Sai in a way that almost surprised him. It seemed that he had been worried about Sakura as soon as he noticed her weight dropping significantly, and the new improvements to her health were reassuring.

But now there was a festival to deal with, and Sai watched as people scurried to and fro with various articles that were intended for the celebration. It seemed like this would be an excellent chance to observe human behavior. Arms folded across his chest, he leaned against a gate, which afforded an excellent view of the entire square, while still protecting his back.
Kugutsushi no Kankurou: huh?short_strings on September 30th, 2007 05:53 pm (UTC)
Kankurou wasn't used to feeling conflicted about anything. He was used to knowing exactly what he did and didn't feel about everyone and everything in his life; he was a very black and white sort of person. The problem was, he knew he liked her, but at the same time he could really hate her, too. It was an interesting capacity for range, and had he been more removed from the situation and not smarting from Ino's snide tease you're a jerk, you're stupid, you're backwards and won't ever understand me.

He saw his brother's signature mop of deep red hair, shooting him a meaningful look. It was almost a plea.

"Well---" and now he was spluttering, trying his damnedest to pull up some kind of retort. Neither Gaara nor Sai would come to his aid; he had to deal with Ino on his own. "---d'you---wannna talk? S'been a while."

Oh god, was he volunteering to talk? He'd been out in the desert too long.
Sabaku no Gaara: protectsunakazekage on September 30th, 2007 07:12 pm (UTC)
Gaara's eyes slightly widened upon hearing Kankurou's last response. Wow. But he nodded, thinking that was a good start. If he believed what Baki had said about women, they liked to talk. Sometimes too much. And he didn't think that Ino was adverse to conversation.

He looked at Ino, unsure about her own motives and actions. She was a friend and he had liked getting to know her better, but this thing with Kankurou was all unfamiliar territory for him. These Konoha women. They were so...so...difficult. He wished he knew how to help Kankurou, but at this point all he could do was be the one there who wasn't against him. He glanced at Sai, who he didn't know very well, giving him a nod of acknowledgment.
Yamanaka Ino: i'm a survivorlittle__flower on October 1st, 2007 10:38 am (UTC)
"Sure!" She said cheerfully, making sure to greet Gaara with a wave and an even more cheerful hello. He was looking very spiffy in Konoha style robes-- no wonder Sakura was so head over heels for him. Despite once being a crazed, maniacal killer... he was kind of cute when he wanted to be. "You can talk and walk at the same time, right? You're a strong guy and I need your help moving something. We can talk while we do it."

Without waiting for an answer, Ino grabbed his wrist and pulled him up. He could always drink later. Right now, they had work to do. Sort of. She really just wanted to know what was going on with him, if he was married yet with ten kids even if it had only been a short time ago that they parted. She would take whatever he was willing to give her, even if it was a tentative friendship.
Kugutsushi no Kankurou: shippudenshort_strings on October 6th, 2007 03:05 am (UTC)
Noooooo manual laborrrrr.

He was a jounin. Why was it that every time he got dragged to Konoha, he ended up doing manual labor for someone? Of course, there were always boxes to carry, hinges to fix and cabinets to make and no, there really wasn't anyone stronger or better with wood and tiny mechanical things (Ino used to stroke his ego with these kinds of reminders whenever she had something broken), but still. Kankurou sighed, allowing himself to be almost bodily dragged away. Drinking with Sai would have to happen some other day.

"What d'you do when I'm gone?" Kankurou asked, only half-jokingly. "How does your shit get moved? For serious, woman."

Was this her roundabout way of saying she wanted to talk? Probably. Ino was like that.
Yamanaka Ino: i'm a survivorlittle__flower on October 6th, 2007 04:00 am (UTC)
Sadly for Kankurou, there really were boxes to move. If Ino wanted, though, she could have carried them herself because they were full of cardboard and paper and other light materials. This was the perfect setup and if Ino was anything, it was an opportunist.

"Hey, do you really hate my hair?" she asked as she passed over two boxes to him. Ino had no idea why it was the first thing to come out of her mouth when there were many more important things to say.

Odd. She was never at a loss for words before. Somehow sticking with Kankurou was making her stupid. But she supposed she didn't need to worry about that anymore. Maybe it was just that she didn't want to hear these things, because she was a coward, and was running away in true team 10 fashion.
Kugutsushi no Kankurou: cleanshort_strings on October 6th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC)
The boxes weren't heavy, but they were sort of unwieldy---especially when Ino kept stacking them up in his arms. He peered at her over the top of the cardboard tower, regarding her question very seriously. Seeing her with short hair had thrown him off---really rocked him, because her hair was her pride and he understood Ino's pride more than most other people could. They had similarly developed egos, and it was a real miracle that they didn't have ego showdowns every time they passed each other in a hallway, swordsmen brandishing sharp statements.

Ino's face looked rounder when it wasn't fringed with that heavy curtain of hair. She looked younger, more timid? Maybe. Something was definitely off, and it bothered him.

"It's different," Kankurou said, as diplomatically as possible. "I liked it long, but whatever. Hair grows an' don't kid yourself---you don't give a damn 'bout what I think."
Yamanaka Ino: whatevslittle__flower on October 6th, 2007 04:36 am (UTC)
"You should take half of the responsibility for it," Ino slid her hands inside of her yukata sleeves so that he couldn't see her fidgeting. Unexpectedly her stomach took a sharp drop at the admission-- first she wasn't saying enough and now she was saying too much. "If you had said you liked my face, I wonder if I would have cut that too?"

It was because she was half angry with him for not telling her things and fucking up for often, but it was also half because she wanted to forget. It was stupid to do because it made everyone worry even though it was just hair.

"It's not really important now, anyway. Just drop the boxes next to this stall and you can go back to drinking when you're finished."
Kugutsushi no Kankurou: huh?short_strings on October 6th, 2007 04:47 am (UTC)
"I didn't hold th' scissors," Kankurou said in a low, tight voice, restacking the boxes without ceremony. His stomach knotted unpleasantly when she said that---when she implied that he'd messed her up. She hadn't spent the last two weeks in the desert trying to beat her misery out of herself. That was messed up. "I wasn't th' one who wrote a damn note t'break up, either. Just not what I'm looking for right now. It never really would have worked out an' I hope you have a happy marriage. Those were your words. Your exact fuckin' words."

He'd read over the letter too many times not to know every word by now. "Don't blame me. Don't you ever fuckin' blame me, 'cause I sure as hell didn't want it t'end like this."
Yamanaka Ino: sexy backlittle__flower on October 6th, 2007 04:52 am (UTC)
Ino rubbed the back of her neck and seriously wondered if he was as stupid as this. Really. She had always thought some of his ignorance was just an act but really he was that foolish. Did he really think she was that fickle that she would end it for no reason? Couldn't he read between the lines a little? It was for his own good but for all the trouble it was causing her, she should have just let him suffer the consequences of his actions.

"Moron. I don't have to explain myself. I'm going. Enjoy the rest of the festival."

A kunoichi owned a thousands masks, could play a million different roles. The hardest person to play was herself, as always, and it was easier to take the simple way out. He couldn't possibly hate her as much as she hated herself for it.
Kugutsushi no Kankurou: oh shi---short_strings on October 6th, 2007 05:01 am (UTC)
He didn't take rejection lightly. It wasn't in his nature to allow that huge fragile ego to be dropkicked, so he caught up with Ino in several long strides. He managed to curb his desire to grab her wrist and pull her back---it wouldn't look good, especially with the way Ino would yell and how many people were already staring at him for the way he talked and the obvious spat they were having (a crowd could smell a lovers' spat a mile away and zero in instantly; this was fact).

"What happened t'not givin' up on me, Ino?" Kankurou hissed between his teeth, mentally kicking himself and castrating the entirety of the council. This was the exact reason why he hadn't wanted to come to Konoha. "I was willin' t'fight those wrinkled ol' bastards. I've followed 'em my whole damn life, an' I jus' don't care anymore."
Yamanaka Ino: dot dot dotlittle__flower on October 6th, 2007 05:12 am (UTC)
"Maybe YOU don't care but what about your brother? The council members aren't just there to take up space, you idiot. And what if they decided to full funds to give to Konoha because you're fighting them? Ninja don't exactly play fair to get what they want." Ino could be too selfless when she wanted and she really hated it. Why couldn't she just be happy ruining everything and living only for herself?

Damn conscience. She thought she had stuffed it into the closet as soon as she became a chuunin but there it was again, rearing its ugly head.

"You should care," Ino brought one sleeve against her mouth so he wouldn't see her lips trembling, "you should worry about yourself and your siblings. Don't get hurt because of something stupid."

Sakura was always berating her for taking on more than she could handle and worrying about others too much. It was going to be the end of her one day, probably, but she couldn't turn it on and off like a lightswitch.
Kugutsushi no Kankurou: wtvrshort_strings on October 6th, 2007 05:22 am (UTC)
They lied to the world so fluidly. They were actors, both of them---Ino played the beautiful and untamed temptress, snagging anyone she damn well felt like, and Kankurou played the devil-may-care bastard, doing whatever he damn well felt like. In all reality, their lives had been hedged in by their villages since day one, and there was no way either of them could disobey or disagree. They would end up miserable because of it, but that was the way of things. Why else had Jiraiya written the Icha Icha series, if not to put a man and a woman together and have them be uncomplicated and happy in their world of sexual highs and purple prose? It was only popular with nin because it was exactly what they all wanted but never got.

Kankurou swallowed visibly. "It en't fair. Am I gonna hafta watch out for Gaara forever? Is that it? I don't get t'even try t'be happy? I wanted you. That's all."

He ran his hands over his face, hard. "I'll leave. Shouldn't have fuckin' come in th' first place."
Yamanaka Ino: hesitationlittle__flower on October 6th, 2007 05:28 am (UTC)
She laughed, though it was awkward and slightly strained. "It seems that people sacrifice their happiness to make sure the person they love is happy. Certain people, that is, that really love someone. And even if they can't say it or show it, they're probably hoping their feelings will get through to the other person no matter what. Or something."

The laughter died down and Ino bit down on her lip to keep her words from breaking. "The truth is I'm not as strong as people think I am. If you told me right now that you'd leave everything for me I'd believe you and do anything to make that come true. So I wrote that letter because I'm a weak woman and it was easier to lie to a piece of paper."

He probably didn't understand a word of what she was saying but it felt good to finally get it off her chest.
Kugutsushi no Kankurou: PAINSshort_strings on October 6th, 2007 05:40 am (UTC)
"If I said that, I'd be lyin'. I can't do that. I wanna, but Gaara---" It went unsaid that Kankurou would do almost anything to keep his brother safely in his seat of power, no matter how it tore at him.

He and Gaara had talked about the what-ifs, once. What if he---for some reason, any reason, Ino---decided to pledge his allegiance to one of their allied hidden villages? Gaara probably hadn't understood where Kankurou's conviction had come from, but he'd understood the desperation. He hadn't given him a full answer, but he'd made vague comments about how that kind of reassignment could be possible---though unlikely. In short, he would have to give up everything---siblings, village, allegiance---if he wanted to make things really work with Ino.

That took more commitment and guts than any man had, really.

"I'd do it for my brother, nobody else. But I---if he gave me permission---" Kankurou's voice was suspiciously thick, and he swore. "It's been a weird thing between us. 'Member when we were kids? That mission where you were my wife? We were so stupid, an' I haven't gotten any better. I'm weak, too. I'm slow. I fuck everythin' up. Why can't you jus' marry Fatty so I c'n move on t'bein' middle-aged an' bitter? I need a good reason t'walk off a high cliff."
Yamanaka Ino: fearlesslittle__flower on October 6th, 2007 05:46 am (UTC)
"You don't have to worry about me marrying anyone or even caring too much about someone. I don't think I'm capable to do either, anymore. I couldn't make anyone happy. Not you, not Chouji, not anyone," she was smiling again, though it didn't reach her eyes. "But I have my friends and my team and my village. It doesn't seem like much but it's everything to me now. If you're worried about me... don't. I'm fine. And I know you're fine too and as stupid as you are, you're a good person inside."

Ino sat on the counter of the empty stall, looking up at the night sky. It was cloudy and the moon was hidden but it was home and it was comforting. "Become a better man. Show everyone you're not really a fuck up. Be a good husband, too, because there's a chance you'll really find happiness."
Kugutsushi no Kankurou: huh?short_strings on October 6th, 2007 05:58 am (UTC)
Kankurou leaned against the counter, not looking at her. What could be seen of the sky between the trees was thick with clouds and mist; it was alien to him, as used to the bitterly clear desert nights as he was. He was accustomed to nights flooded with stars and cold hands. He'd thought about taking Ino out to see Suna's night sky, once, maybe tell her the stories behind some of the constellations, but that'd seemed like a lame, sappyass thing to do. Kankurou was that kind of guy only very rarely. Ino didn't even know how rarely---she saw the best of him, for the most part.

He snorted derisively at her "good person" comment. "I'm a son of a bitch," he said firmly. "I've liked you. I jus' fuck every other woman I've been with. You don't even know th' half of it. It en't a big deal, but it don't wire me t'be a great husband, either. I'm gonna let that woman down, y'know? I'm not gonna be happy an' neither will she. Come t'your senses, Ino. This whole 'oh, you go live happily Kankurou' thing is bullshit an' you know it. We're gonna fight for our village 'til we break. We're too useful, I guess."

He fell silent after that, trying to pick out stars in the overcast sky. This was more honesty than he'd given anyone, and it left a bad taste in his mouth.
(no subject) - little__flower on October 6th, 2007 06:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - short_strings on October 6th, 2007 06:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - little__flower on October 11th, 2007 10:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - short_strings on October 13th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
Sai: Dissatisfiedkonoha_penis on October 5th, 2007 05:29 am (UTC)
Sai returned Gaara's nod, then watched as Ino seemed to be trying to drag Kankurou away. Well, the least he could do was hope they resolved whatever it was that was going on with them. In the meantime, however...

He turned back to the Kazekage, allowing his posture to relax. "I trust you are enjoying your stay so far, Kazekage-sama?"
Sabaku no Gaara: standsunakazekage on October 5th, 2007 05:36 am (UTC)
Gaara wished Kankurou luck with a nod. He'd need it. He then waved to Ino and gave her an appreciative tip of his head. She looked different with her new hairstyle but it seemed like she was doing her best with it. Maybe he'd get a chance to talk to her later...

He turned to face Sai when he asked his question. His posture mirrored Sai's and relaxed. "I am. The festivals here are always very interesting. It must take a lot of planning."
Sai: Prepare for smackdownkonoha_penis on October 5th, 2007 05:43 am (UTC)
"From what I hear of the others complaining, it does. It also appears that at some point I'm supposed to help entertain the daimyo with my art, but I have yet to hear how that will go." Sai studied the Kazekage, he was interesting, his expression was usually quite impassive, but there was a distinct crease between where his eyebrows should have been--how did he lose them, Sai wondered--that would surface occasionally. Otherwise he seemed as emotional as a brick. Hmm.

"Would you care to join me for a drink? I'm off duty tonight." He paused as he pushed away from the gate. "Well, for the moment at least."
Sabaku no Gaara: Sandmansunakazekage on October 5th, 2007 05:52 am (UTC)
"Indeed. That must be inconvenient," Gaara stiltedly added. He didn't really know what else to say to that. He didn't know Sai very well, but he was at times abrupt so Gaara was somewhat uneasy. He looked over at the lights, banners, and stands that had been set up for the festival. It was an amazing vision. It could make you think that you had stepped into some dream.

He turned back to Sai when he mentioned drinks. It was something he was more than willing to relate with, especially since he wasn't sure what to make of Sai. "I thank you for your invitation and welcome it, Sai-san."
Sai: Dissatisfiedkonoha_penis on October 5th, 2007 06:06 am (UTC)
Sai gestured to a quiet table nestled beneath the shade of a tree, whose branches were strung with brightly colored lanterns. He set the jug of sake on the table and eased onto the bench, and set out a pair of sake dishes. He poured equal portions into each before leaning back. Raising his cup in a salute to the Kazekage, he drank quietly. He was still unaccustomed to the painful burning sensation that alcohol brought with it, but endured it.

"I was never quite sure why Tsunade-sama drank so much. I asked Sakura-san about it once, but even she wasn't sure of the answer." He studied the glaze on the earthern ware, the coloration was quite delicate, fading from a deep blue-brown to nearly white.
Sabaku no Gaara: groundsunakazekage on October 5th, 2007 06:15 am (UTC)
Gaara followed Sai to a table close by and set his gourd down next to him as he took a seat. Across from Sai, he watched him pour sake into the dishes. It was certainly better than palmwine, thought Gaara. In some respects, he amended. This was probably one of those times it was better to be drinking sake rather than palmwine with an ally. He raised his dish to Sai in response and took a drink. It went down somewhat smoothly. Which was good or he would have choked as soon as he heard Sakura's name.

"Well," Gaara started, quickly thinking of a response. "It gives a jolt to the system. Almost as if to give the mind a break. When taken in large amounts, you really don't feel as worried about a number of things." He paused. "So how is Sakura-san? She didn't seem very healthy while in Suna."
Sai: Prepare for smackdownkonoha_penis on October 5th, 2007 06:19 am (UTC)
"She wasn't. Unfortunately Sakura-san's health has deteriorated drastically since the second invasion, and it had already been on a decline since the first one. But recently she has been recovering." Sai offered to refill Gaara's sake dish. "Last I saw she was finally beginning to regain some weight, and seems to be in better spirits than usual."
Sabaku no Gaara: glimpsesunakazekage on October 5th, 2007 06:23 am (UTC)
"Hmm...that's good to hear. Very good." Gaara accepted Sai's offer, taking another swallow after toasting with him. "I'm glad she's getting better. I only hope Konoha knows how important she is and makes sure she takes better care of herself. Such skilled medics are rare."
Sai: Dissatisfiedkonoha_penis on October 5th, 2007 06:28 am (UTC)
"She is rather elusive when she wishes to be." Sai ran his finger along the rim of his dish, then drank its contents slowly. "She seemed to get rather nervous when she heard you were coming."