?

Log in

 
 
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.
 
 
 
sunaotome: just die [and go to hell plskthx]sunaotome on October 8th, 2007 08:54 pm (UTC)
The one person that Suna had sent to the festival officially was late. Rather, Temari just didn't want to be seen with a full-on kimono, looking like some geisha from the whorehouses in Waterfall. The pattern on the silk embroidery was of sakura blossoms and phoenixes, which to Temari's opinion had no symbolism at all. The only comfort she had was that the kimono had nothing to do with pink, instead matching her own uniform of black and red, with some gold thread lining here and there. But the forced up-do with the hair and the make-up was horrible. The ones who were sent by Suna to make sure that Temari had presented herself in the best way possible had insisted on it, releasing her hair from her normal four ponytails, and instead, bundled it up into a loose bun, with hair trailing every which way.

Horrible in her opinion, but it apparently achieved its purpose as the Suna kunoichi was gazed upon in admiration and some, rather heated looks, as she passed by the stands. With her shoulders bared and the nape of her neck exposed, Temari couldn't help but shudder everytime there was a gust of wind, or a hint of breeze. It was a lot colder here than Suna anyways, and her gaudy clothing did nothing to prevent it.

Worse, she had caught sight of her brothers in the crowd, the unmistakable flaming red-head of Gaara's and the sour scowl of Kankurou's. No doubt upon seeing their presence did a sharp string of curses rain down from the kunoichi's mouth, fouling any sense of beauty within her appearance.

Temari immediately started to search for a stand with alcohol, with her temper reaching its boiling point, the only thing she needed right now was a companion that didn't nag her for hours to go see the Daimyo nor one that kept looking at her like a piece of meat.

A bar fight might make her feel better as well.
Akimichi Chouji: ...autumnal_road on October 9th, 2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
Chouji was sort of wandering through the festival, having finished helping with booth setup and cooking with his clansmen an hour or so before. The evening was crisp and cool, a welcome relief from laughing and laboring a hot grill for hours, and he paused by a takoyaki stall in order to catch his breath and cool down a little. His younger cousins had rushed him around the festival to show him everything and share treats, so he was feeling a little tired and worn around the edges already, despite the evening still being young. He'd found that his body, though recovering and putting on weight again like a real champ, got tired more easily than it should have. A few weeks with only light missions with his genin was doing him wonders, though.

His eye caught on Temari as she passed, mostly because he saw blond hair and instantly thought it might be Ino, and stayed on her out of sheer amazement. She could look really pretty when she wanted to, though she looked very irate as well, like a feral cat that had been brushed and forced to wear a bow. She probably needed someone to cheer her up---and that was pure Akimichi logic, as in all reality she probably needed to be left the hell alone to stew---but a nagging voice in the back of Chouji's head worried that she might bite him if she tried. The look on her face promised a swift snap at the jugular of anyone who tried to get in her way.

Chouji swallowed hard, trying to decide how far his duties as a hospitable Konoha native had to be taken. There was a difference between acting as a guide and acting as a sacrificial lamb to the anger of a pissed off foreigner. He sighed, finally, shaking his head. No, letting Temari stomp everywhere by herself was not The Akimichi Way. Besides, what if she got into a fight with a bunch of drunk shinobi? She might get hurt, and then he'd feel guilty.

With more courage than even he knew he had, Chouji waved at her. "Hey! Temari-san! Are you enjoying the festival?"
sunaotome: furious [that you've done it]sunaotome on October 9th, 2007 10:42 pm (UTC)
So damn close.

Green eyes looked longly at the red curtains covering the entrance to a bar that was only a couple of feet from her, the sight of sake bottles littering the tables were apparent and the sickly sweet smell of alcohol drifted towards her, beckoning her closer. All was halted when she heard her name boomed over the din of the crowd, the owner of it, unknown. But out of curiosity at who might have the guts to distract her from her distination, Temari swerved around, head cocking to the side to look at the person, a scowl etched deep into her face.

Surprise flashed across her face as she realized who the owner was, the Akimichi man that always hung out with Ino and Shikamaru. His appearance did not seem to have changed, his large frame still prominant against the others in the crowd. But even if he was very kind and thoughtful from what Ino and Shikamaru had told her, there was no one that would come between her and her one way ticket out of this mental and physical torture.

"I'm having loads of fun, can't you tell?" she answered bluntly as her feet reluctantly moved towards the man and away from the bar. As she moved, her green eyes narrowed as she caught the stares of several men to her right, one having the nerve to whistle at her. Blowing a loose strand of hair out of her face, Temari's face returned to tonight's default state of a scowl that could have rivaled with that of Kankurou's earlier.

"Your village wouldn't mind if a couple of shinobi were never to be found again after this Festival, would they?" A audible crack of bones ripped through the air as Temari viciously cracked her knuckles, causing some of the men to pale and scamper away.
Akimichi Chouji: sigh~ // art by Ziri color + icon by Kitautumnal_road on October 10th, 2007 03:59 am (UTC)
Chouji swallowed again, only just managing not to be one of the aforementioned men scampering away. It was sort of difficult for a man his size to scamper, anyway, he decided as he bit the edge of the metaphorical blade and kept on a cheerful face. Temari had been a jounin for years---and not a 'specialized' jounin like him; a true-blue beat-the-teeth-out of you jounin---and it would probably take a strength like his to pull her out of a fight if she were to start mauling someone (pretty kimono or no).

"Please don't kill anyone, Temari-san," Chouji half-pleaded, sighing. "Mysterious deaths mean a lot of paperwork, and everyone's already way too tired. You shouldn't kill people at festivals, anyways---there has to be something here you enjoy."

If she was going to go around threatening people with bodily harm, he had no choice but to escort her until he found someone else who was better at babysitting. Chouji had spent years keeping Ino from doing too many rash things, but she was easily distracted. He got the feeling that Temari would tell him to shove his distractions where even Suna's sun couldn't shine on them.
sunaotomesunaotome on October 10th, 2007 04:53 am (UTC)
There was absolutely nothing that she would enjoy in this festival, Temari stubbornly decided, fists swinging dejectedly by her sides as she watched her prey scamper away before she could move. Apparently they were faster than her when feeling, those cowards. Although at the moment she was finding it hard to glare at Chouji who was a good head taller than she was and then bigger than her. Kind of defeated the entire purpose of the "intimidating" glare.

Instead, Temari just sighed, the material of her kimono falling even further down around her shoulders as they slumped in a very unlady-like manner, which she just didn't bother to fix anymore. In the first place, she never was cut out for these outfits.

"I enjoy alcohol, Akimichi-san, that has to count, right? Right. Either that or do you think there's something else of Konoha's that might suit me better?" Temari challenged Chouji, but having already turned around and retrace her steps to the bar again, without waiting for an answer.
Akimichi Chouji: starting to annoy meautumnal_road on October 10th, 2007 05:16 am (UTC)
"I like alcohol, too!" Chouji said quickly as he trotted to cut the distance between them. His legs were longer, but Temari moved like a battleship through the crowd, ignorant to the way people had to writhe out of her way in order to prevent being stomped through. She needed a chaperon and he couldn't leave her---not when her hands were fisted tightly enough to knock the first unwary shinobi who touched her clear into the Shodai's era---and maybe a couple of drinks wouldn't be too bad? He knew that, if nothing else, he could hold his alcohol. He didn't like the thought of Temari wandering around Konoha during a festival night, tipsy and ready to rip someone's face off. "We have great sake. "

When they walked into the bar, every sober face---and most of the ones not so drunk as to be tilting out of their chairs and howling festivities---pivoted to stare at Temari...or, more exactly, at the glowing inches of tan flesh the kimono coyly showed off. Chouji put one large hand on her shoulder and steered her over to a corner of the bar, where he could sit and use his bulk to act as a handy shield from the curious stares of others.

It wasn't that he was worried for Temari's safety. Really, he was worried for whoever tried anything funny with her. They wouldn't leave the encounter walking straight, that was for damn sure.

"Two, please," Chouji weakly asked the bartender, rubbing his face with both hands.
sunaotome: take a breath [and let it go]sunaotome on October 10th, 2007 05:49 am (UTC)
A frown graced her face as Temari was moved to a corner against her will where it was practically deserted, save for a snoring old shinobi in the corner. This vaguely reminded her of that time when Baki-sensei had taken both her and Kankurou out to a bar in Suna to celebrate their tenth sucessful mission together. Baki-sensei had pushed the pair into a corner too, wary of the inhabitants of the bar at that time. Gaara was left at home since at the time, the whole entire "I-want-your-blood" personality issue had not been worked out yet.

But that was what happened in bars. You drink, you argue, you piss, you argue some more, then you curse, and then the fists came flying out. At least it happened that way back in Suna.

"Of your strongest sake," Temari added to the order, taking a seat at the bar. It would take a lot for her to forget the clown-suit she was wearing at the moment. Hunched over the counter, Temari scanned the crowd, only to frown when the rest of her view was blocked by her current companion. "Look, I don't mind having you as company, but I can take care of myself. Hell, if you want to protect someone, you should guard those punks the in corner. They won't stop wiggling their damn eyebrows."
Akimichi Chouji: determined // theninjakittyautumnal_road on October 10th, 2007 06:57 pm (UTC)
The strongest sake? Temari obviously didn't realize how strong strong really was in Konoha---they weren't Suna when it came to having a harsh environment, but they didn't fool around with the quality of their sake, either. The strongest stuff was enough to make Chouji's balance falter, and he had the natural size and a tolerance built up by Konoha's Number One Drinking Partner (Nara genes tended to do that) to buffer his drinking. He wasn't doubting Temari's tolerance, but she was so much smaller than he was. Couldn't they just drink until they were happy and then play go? That's what he and Shikamaru usually did, and it worked well enough for them.

"I know," Chouji agreed, bobbing a short nod as the bartender set their sake in front of them. "I don't think anyone here would do anything...you know, or even be able to try any...stuff. You just look really. Uh." There was no nice way to say this. He downed a hasty gulp of sake. "You look like you wanna stab someone's eyes out with your kanzashi. Life can't be that bad!"
sunaotomesunaotome on October 10th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
Oh boy, an optimist, Temari thought in her head, before sipping the sake, testing the waters before jumping in. At least Chouji was right about the stabbing part. Her eyelashes fluttered with surprise at the strong taste that had hit her immediately with just a sip. Usually when Temari visited on Konoha for business she had set a strict rule for herself: never get drunk in a foreign country. Which was the reason why she never had the chance to taste this rather strong type of sake, always ordering the water-downed ones.

Satisfied with her cup of alcohol at hand, Temari dropped her mask of annoyance from her face and just sharply exhaled. One part of her wanted to spill out everything, while the other reminded herself of getting emotional. Because the Suna kunoichi just didn't do "emotional".

"Okay, Akimichi-san, picture this." Sip. "Your country is sending you to another country for a meeting." A larger sip. "BUT you find out that their main purpose is for you to seduce the princess of that country, so you can persuade her with your dick for a stronger alliance." Cough. "Not to mention, you have brothers who can do the same shit as well, but they tell you that they're occupied. One's no where to be found, while the other says he's occupied with work and can't make it."

Gulp.

"And that's not all. They force you to only wear a man-thong to the meeting."

Temari took another sip, her tone serious and unwavering, satisfied with her non-emotional confession of her thoughts. Not emotional at all.
Akimichi Chouji: ...autumnal_road on October 10th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
Chouji rolled his thoughts around in his head for a little while, testing them for surety before dolling them out to Temari---even though she was relaxing, he still got the distinct impression that she might go for his throat at any time. If there was one thing his father had taught him in his late teenage years, it was that words were strong and ought to be measured just as precisely as drops of chili oil. He sipped his sake quietly, watching her both relax and agitate herself at the same time.

"I've gotta use my imagination for that one," he laughed, cheeks dimpling with a signature grin. "I'm not the kind of guy they send on missions like that. I think the sight of me in a man-thong wouldn't have the effect that my country had been hoping for, 'cause, uh---" He patted his belly. "There's too much of me for too little fabric. Girls---uh---girls---y'know---don't really..."

Chouji polished off his cup of sake and poured himself another. "I'm not the kind of guy they would send, ever. But I can empathize. You...I'm sorry. I mean, I guess I kind of thought that's what kunoichi did? But I'm still sorry if it embarrasses you or makes you angry or---uh, you do look nice, though and not at all like you're, um---I don't even know what I'm trying to say, but I am sorry."

He was still learning when it came to which words to use and which ones not to stumble over.
sunaotome: worried [about nothing]sunaotome on October 10th, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
A well-manicured hand waved off the apology, its twin raising the cup to Temari's flushed lips again. "S'not your apology to give." A frown was given at the empty cup, a sigh quickly following the discovery. "Yeah, kunoichis are suppose to do this kind of dirty business. It's just that its been a long time since I was sent on one." Usually the Council sent her as a one-man clean up crew after a mission had gone wrong, or a menacing threat to the little countries that needed to be told to stay in line. Her brute strength and terrifying temper was what they needed the most, not her physical assets. Although that didn't stop them from leering at her in the Council room and sending her on missions that needed a diplomat from Suna to other countries.

"'Sides, you should be more confident," Temari commented, finger jabbing Chouji's arm. "A lot of women like big guys, like you. You jus' need to be more confident of yourself an' you're fine." Her hand shoke slightly as she refilled her cup.
Akimichi Chouji: upgraded // fyer_iconsautumnal_road on October 11th, 2007 02:01 am (UTC)
"That's what everyone says," he said tiredly, blinking at Temari's pokes. If she was already pushing past personal bubbles after one cup of sake, he feared what two or three would end up doing to her. Well...if nothing else, he had lots of spare room in his house and he'd lead her away before she damaged her reputation any. One had to look out for their allies, even if they were from Suna and therefore disgruntled and kind of rough around the edges. "People always talk about the women who like big guys, but I haven't found many yet. Sexy, talented guys'll always be more popular---same with kunoichi, too. I mean, just about every guy in the village has been staring at you!" Realizing that was probably the worst thing possible to say, he quickly flushed and amended it with: "Not that it's good! I mean, uh, I mean---you're, uh, you're popular because you're strong, too! You're very talented, Ino's told me and Ino doesn't compliment other kunoichi too often."

He finished that cup and poured himself another. This was a very awkward conversation for him, and he wasn't clever like Shikamaru or coy like Ino. He was Chouji, and he was honest, but he wasn't good with subtlety and verbal subterfuge.
sunaotome: peaceful [thinking]sunaotome on October 11th, 2007 04:50 am (UTC)
Temari scowled at the man next to her, taking his initial response as an indirect way of calling her a liar. Face flushed, discoloring the pale make-up on her face, it was also hard to see the flush of pink against her tan skin at the comment about the guys staring at her. A little voice in the back of her mind demanding retribution and revenge against just about "every guy in the village" for their plain rudeness, but the woman part of her, which had been brought out by the alcohol had shushed it, allowing the flush to spread across her cheeks.

"Mn't a liar. There's women like that in Suna. You don't believe me, come over sometime an' I'll show you. I mean, even 'kurou got himself a girl t'marry. Says something." Another stripe of red ran across her face at the comment about Ino, Temari smiling fondly at her sake cup, dipping a finger in the sake and then sucking it dry. "Ino's a good girl. S'pity she's always has troubles. The world's been unkind to her."

Phew, was it hot in here or was it hot? A bare arm slipped out of the sleeve of the kimono, revealing a lot of skin and a set of bandages that had been wrapped around Temari's chest, by her own choice, refusing to let her entire cleavage to spill out for the sake of the Daimyo.
Akimichi Chouji: honestly okay // theninjakittyautumnal_road on October 11th, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
He couldn't tell if it was tipsyness that made her slur, or if it was just a little bit of relaxation and devil-may-care that had transformed her usually very sharp words into the softer, almost drawl that Kankurou had. Chouji had to wonder if it was usual for native Suna people, like the language they'd been born with sounded more like that or something. Either way, it was kind of funny to hear it come from Temari. If he didn't know better, he would have said she was almost flushed, but it was hard to tell with her skin as tan as it was.

"Ino's my best friend. I try to make things easier for her, but she's one of the best kunoichi we have and...and she's had to do a lot of things that make her unhappy. I mean, I even put up with Kankurou being around because HE made her happy---and I don't even know HOW or WHY---but I dunno. I don't get women, I guess." Chouji tried to look everywhere but at Temari when she slid her kimono off one shoulder, embarrassed and red to the tips of his pierced ears despite the fact that her breasts were still neatly bound. She was an attractive woman and Chouji wasn't entirely desensitized from that (despite having gone through puberty with Ino), so he blushed stupidly and looked away. "I don't know about those Suna women, either. I kinda have to marry well, 'cause my family's a noble clan and all...IF I ever marry."
sunaotome: take a breath [and let it go]sunaotome on October 11th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
Suna's number one kunoichi made a face at the sudden pessimism from the man, having already labeled him an "optimist". "Yeah, well, noble family, gotta marry, its the story of my life. Or rather, any shinobi's." Temari nodded in agreement with herself, finishing off the night's fourth cup of sake. It was true. In each village there was a vast majority of noble families, or rather, families that had prized inherited abilities that was unique from others. And since the gut instinct of a shinobi was for survival, it was only natural that each clan wanted to continue their blood in the strongest and powerful way possible. It was the game of survival at its best, and Temari loathed it with a passion.

Suna's clans were not an exception. In fact they were renown for the interlinked marriages between clans, blood being thicker than water. And their ignorance towards the damage of marriages between cousins and other closely related members of the family, was harrowing the clan's very own bloodline. Sometimes even siblings were matched up. The Council was the very root of this problem, and being the ones that controlled the family of the Kazekage, it brought Temari no comfort to realize that they had the power to marry her off to anyone else.

"Poor 'kurou," she muttered to herself, voice barely audible with the din of the bar overlapping it easily. If she was openly admitting in pitying her brother, it was a sure sign that the alcohol had indeed taken over her mind. Chouji's comments about her brother finally filtered through her hazed mind a couple of seconds late, cauing her to switch gears again. "That ass, wha' does he know 'bout women? Listen, its a stalemate. Women don't understand men, and men don't understand women. End of story. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either a pervert or has loved too much."
Akimichi Chouji: sigh~ // art by Ziri color + icon by Kitautumnal_road on October 11th, 2007 04:35 pm (UTC)
Chouji laughed at her pervert comment, still looking at the wall somewhere over her left shoulder. His face felt hot, a terribly potent mix of the heat of the bar, the heat of the sake, and the heat of his embarrassment.

"I'm definitely not that. I mean, I've never---no, never mind," he said, and finished off another cup. He could feel the warmth in his fingers and toes, the buzzing heat of the alcohol finally relaxing him enough as to make him grin a little and shrug. "I know what you mean. Ino still doesn't see me as a man---I don't think she ever will. She might understand men's, uh, physical stuff?, but she doesn't understand me and Shikamaru. I don't get girls, though. What makes you all ga-ga over stoic guys like---like Neji? They're not very nice. They don't treat girls very well and they're all skinny and bony and so what if they've got pretty hair? I don't---I don't get it. Do girls like being treated like crap? I just---I wish I---"

He sighed explosively. Chouji was half-aware of the fact that he was babbling, but he was starting not to care.
sunaotome: ehh [no effin way]sunaotome on October 11th, 2007 06:24 pm (UTC)
"Hey, don't go groupin' all girls into that category," she sharply corrected Chouji with another finger jab. "Those girls, the ones that you're talking about, they all live for drama. Hyuuga having good hygienes is good and all, but he had that family drama going on, making him look bad-ass and tough. No apparent faults. Now that is what's appealing. It gives a promise to the girl that the relationship will never be boring and the false pretense that their man is perfect."

Temari finished the lecture with a shake of her head, making a few strands of hair fall down from the mass of her bun. The evidence for all of her words were from her observations of the women in every village. Temari was different from others, being that she was sharp in observing the details, the meanings, the symbols and the rest. The scary part was that she could see right through you at times, a talent that was useful in interrogation and torture. In addition, the alcohol made the flow of words come out easier.

"The only thing I like about Hyuuga is that he's smart and he gives you straight answers. Actually, any boy who's not a bullshitter is appealin' to me," Temari muttered into her cup, which was half full. Or empty, since the conversation had made life a bit more pessimistic than usual.
Akimichi Chouji: ...autumnal_road on October 11th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
Chouji took a large gulp of sake, nodding his agreement. Why hadn't he talked with Temari-san before? She was a pretty stable person, if not a little bit scary. She was very practical, like Ino. Ino just had a little bit more girliness and sunshine and butterflies to her. High-ranked kunoichi didn't take crap from anyone they didn't have to, and they'd excelled past every simpering girl in the ranks below them to get where they stood.

He sighed into his cup, mirroring her action. "I just want someone who likes me. I don't want my family to marry me off to someone just 'cause. I'd rather keep being alone than get stuck with some poor girl who thinks she's marrying one of those badass guys from a special family."

Chouji squinted over at Temari, frowning comically. "I know your brother has to marry and stuff, but you shouldn't! Wait until you find a guy you really like and live happily, Temari-san!"
sunaotome: approval [finally doing something right]sunaotome on October 11th, 2007 07:07 pm (UTC)
"Easy to say, hard t'do. Kunoichis like me don't have happy endings." She had accepted her fate years ago when she realized why it was that others were able to live life to the fullest, while she had to use hers to the fullest. And around that time, she already got over the fact that there would be no prince in shining armor or a pumpkin carriage to carry her away from Suna. Although judged to be too young to do so, Temari had already accepted her unappealing future.

Leaning over towards Chouji's big arms on the counter, being well into his personal space, Temari reached for another bottle of sake, and poured another drink for both him and her. "But, you're not me, so drink up. Here's for your future," she said before tilting the cup over her lips, downing a good one half of the sake, leaving a warm fuzzy feeling in her head and in the pit of her stomach.
Akimichi Choujiautumnal_road on October 11th, 2007 07:36 pm (UTC)
"I'm sorry," Chouji said again, and really meant it. It was hard to see anyone give up everything for their profession/village, but to see kunoichi do it nettled him the most. He'd grown up in a good family, taught that women grew up to be mothers and lovers and needed a husband to support them emotionally. Temari would probably stab him with her kanzashi if he asked her if she would miss giving up being a mother and lover---half because he couldn't even fathom her giving up her independence to carry a child and half because if that was something she did want, his reminding her that it was essentially a hopeless goal wouldn't be received well. He drank obediently, noting that she was a lot drunker than he was if she was leaning into him.

"You shouldn't give up just like that, Temari-san," he said, shaking his head. "There has to be something...you know, something for you. Hell, if I can find a wife, so can you. ---Husband. I meant husband---for you---not for me."
sunaotome: gentle [like the rain]sunaotome on October 11th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC)
This time she didn't refuse the apology, taking it as it was, since it seemed that Chouji was stubborn to drop it. Her hands spoke for her as she refilled both of their cups, but didn't drink it yet. Stretching out her arms above her and giving a lazy yawn, her back popping some bones here and there, Temari sighed and slipped her bare arm back into the kimono again. As if putting back on the mask to hide her emotions again, which had undoubtedly slipped away while she kept drinking.

She wasn't by anymeans sober, but her mind was still quite aware of what the conversation had been about, and like in all conversations, there was a limit. "I'm not givin' up something I didn't even start, Akimichi," she replied dryly, swiveling around in her seat so that her back was pressed against the counter. "But if you find a wife, let me know. I'd like to meet another woman who understands men as well as I do."