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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: cleanshort_strings on September 30th, 2007 05:24 am (UTC)
Temari could be a bitch sometimes. Maybe not even just sometimes; she could be a bitch straight-up. He loved his sister in that twisted, almost pack-like way of the former Kazekage's bastards, so he would grudgingly let her have her way once in a while. Maybe it was because of their desperate blood-bond, maybe it was because of the fact that she could still kick his ass despite the fact that he had her by at least eight inches and eighty pounds. Kankurou would always be her little brother, so he had to listen when she told him he WOULD be going to the festival in Konoha if he knew what was good for him.

So Kankurou was standing next to the gate, looking sketchy and shifty and generally bitterly unpleasant. Hoping not to be recognized/noticed, he'd forgone his facepaint and figured out how those yukata things worked; keeping to the shadows, he was there as per Temari's demand, but he wasn't prettied up or playing nice for the Suna council. Anyone who got in his way was steamrolled and snarled at---though the crowd of small children that had pushed past him, giggling wildly, had elicited a twitchily compulsive grin from him. Stupid, innocent little brats. They had one year, maybe two before they were pushed into the Academy and the rest of their lives. The grin turned into a snarl and he crossed his arms over his chest.

He didn't like festivals. Stupid, frivolous shit. Why did they like pretending that they were normal? That they didn't have to go back to work the next day, didn't have to kill? This kind of shit didn't happen in Suna.

Kankurou scanned over the crowd---he wasn't looking for a long blonde ponytail; no, no he wasn't, of course he wasn't, he didn't want to see HER---but he wasn't finding whoever it was that he wasn't looking for. Dammit.

Stupid, frivolous, BORING shit.
Sai: Dissatisfiedkonoha_penis on September 30th, 2007 05:40 am (UTC)
"I think I'm actually shocked that you look almost normal without the paint, Kankurou. If not slightly ill. Was it something you ate, or rather the politics?" Sai didn't move from where he stood, he didn't have to. He watched Kankurou long enough for their gazes to meet, then he was scanning the crowds again with a hooded stare, his arms still crossed.

It actually took him a moment to realize their poses were almost identical, then his hands dropped to his sides. "So who arm-twisted you into coming this time?"
Kugutsushi no Kankurou: WE ARE IN A FIGHTshort_strings on September 30th, 2007 05:50 am (UTC)
Kankurou's frown deepened, furrowing into his clean face as if chiseled into tanned and stubbly rock.

"Sister," he muttered flatly, still half-consciously scanning for that ponytail. She had to be there somewhere, right? It wasn't like he wanted to talk to her. He didn't. He didn't want to see her or talk to her or---or anything. She was basically dead to him. "I might as well buy a fuckin' summer cottage'r somethin' here, s'much as I come anymore. Shit, man."

He glared over at Sai, but he was weirdly relieved to see him. He didn't love the foul cock-lover much, but he at least knew him. It was better than not knowing anyone and being stuck drinking alone.

...drinking. That had promise. "Oi. Gigglefuck. Where could I get a drink 'round here?"
Sai: Non-plussedkonoha_penis on September 30th, 2007 05:59 am (UTC)
"Practically everywhere at the moment. Apparently whoever's running the local bars is making a small fortune with all the foreigners and the Daimyo's entourage." He flagged down one of the kunoichi attendants, and with a small gesture towards Kankurou and a hushed inquiry, she nodded and disappeared.

When she returned, she bowed and offered him a earthernware jug before disappearing again. Sai held it out to Kankurou, an eyebrow raised. "Kinoko says this is one of the better local brands."
Kugutsushi no Kankurou: nyaaaahshort_strings on September 30th, 2007 06:10 am (UTC)
"Drink with me," Kankurou said, less of an invitation and more of a command. Drinking by himself in a foreign land didn't set well with him, and though he didn't like Sai too much, he sort of trusted him. He couldn't say why---he was about as emotional as a brick, they traded curses more often than they did pleasantries, and there was that uneasy subject of Ino hanging between them---but he wasn't quite as faceless as the rest of the Konoha nin. Kankurou took the jug, uncorking it and sniffing the contents. It wasn't the kind of alcohol he was used to, but it didn't smell too bad, either.
Yamanaka Ino: sexy backlittle__flower on September 30th, 2007 06:18 am (UTC)
Ino had only gotten maybe... five minutes of happy drunk time before she was forced to sober up and work. Damn it, couldn't they give her a few hours off? Just once? No, of course not. Because clearly, the village would fall apart without her. Clearly. As of right now, she was taking care of yet another kid with a scraped knee/elbow/something because of their insistance on running around in the dark. The bottom of her kimono was stained with grass and dirt from all the kneeling because really, she was too softhearted for her own good.

"-- and that's why I told you not to run around near the rocks when it's dark out!" Ino lectured to a small, dark haired kid who was all eyes and trembling lips. How could she be mad at someone so cute? Mildly annoyed, yes. Mad? Never. "Here's a bandaid. Be careful from now on or you'll worry your mother, okay?"

Her job was just never done.

Picking herself up and brushing herself off, Ino made her way over to where Sai and some mysterious guy were-- aw man, they got to drink but she couldn't?! Where was the fairness in that??

"Sai, Tetsuha-san wants to know if you could help paint something on his stall because..." her voice drifted off as soon as Sai's "friend" turned his head. "Oh. Hey."

Oh hey? OH HEY? Very smooth, Yamanaka. Very smooth.

Kanurou had been drinking and Ino was sober. The odds were not in her favor.
Kugutsushi no Kankurou: D: faceshort_strings on September 30th, 2007 06:28 am (UTC)
"Th' fuck'd you do t'your hair?" Kankurou gaped, tripping over his words in his surprise. No wonder he hadn't been able to find Ino in the crowd. He'd been looking for that signature blond ponytail, and it wasn't there anymore. She'd cut it off. All of it. Okay, well, not ALL of it, but enough of it. Her hair'd been gorgeous; fucking gorgeous. Of course, he'd never come right out and said that---he was himself and he was horrible with words---but he'd thought it pretty damn hard.

And she'd cut it all off.

...had she gone gay? Was she a---a dyke now or something? Kankurou took a couple deep gulps of the alcohol. He wasn't entirely sure he could be sober for this confrontation. They hadn't talked, not since Ino's letter. He hadn't even replied to her.

"Nevermind. It en't my problem."

It wasn't much better than 'Oh. Hey'.
Yamanaka Ino: hesitationlittle__flower on September 30th, 2007 06:35 am (UTC)
"I cut it, obviously," she said matter-of-factly, her cheeks turning bright right in an indignant manner. Him of all people should have been telling her that hair was hair and it would grow back but he was acting insulted, as if it had been a personal attack on him.

Even though it was. Sort of.

Still, Ino happened to like the change. Her face looked a little younger but there was something attractive about seeing a woman's neck, wasn't there? It was stylish and not to mention easier to handle. What was the big deal? Really. These men didn't understand anything. "That's what you say to someone after not seeing them for a while? You're still as rude as ever. How does your fiancee put up with you?"

And there it was. The final blow. Poor Sai-- Ino hoped he wouldn't get caught up in the crossfire.
Sai: Non-plussedkonoha_penis on September 30th, 2007 06:42 am (UTC)
Sai was doing a rather fine impersonation of the gate behind him. Taking notice of what sort of situation this could quickly become, he became completely impassive, his face closing off completely as he went as blank as a fresh ANBU mask. He would not step in unless the situation bordered on physically dangerous, until then he was simply in the middle of a possibly private conversation that he was blocking out.

He learned how to do that rather well many years ago while Sakura had made it her job to yell at him at least three times a day.
Kugutsushi no Kankurou: wtvrshort_strings on September 30th, 2007 06:59 am (UTC)
It wasn't a bad look on her, but it was unexpected. He hadn't expected her to change---and it went deeper than that. Her entire attitude towards him had changed almost without warning or reason. It was just one thing after another, wasn't it? His stomach turned painfully, and he knew it wasn't because of the alcohol that'd burnt its way down his throat.

He hadn't wanted to see her, he kept telling himself. That was the whole reason he hadn't wanted to go to the festival, plain and simple. Kankurou didn't want to see her because he didn't understand what was going on and why he even cared, period.

"Don't know. I've only met her once," Kankurou muttered into the neck of the earthen bottle before taking another nonchalant swig. Leaving and getting drunk in his borrowed room was sounding kind of good at the moment. Maybe Sai would come with him and they could paint boobs on the walls until dawn. "An' it's different, that's all. I---it's been a while, yeah? You look fuckin' fourteen."
Yamanaka Ino: hey hey listen uplittle__flower on September 30th, 2007 07:34 am (UTC)
She laughed heartily, smacking him on the arm lightly. Nothing had really changed at all, had it? Ino still cared about him deeply-- maybe one day he would realize everything she did was for his own good. Knowing Kankurou he wouldn't and would hold this against her for the rest of her life. Maybe he didn't realize how painful it was for her, too.

"I do not! You're such a jerk!" One hand went to her hair anyway, just to make sure. "I think shorter hair makes a woman look older! Not to mention it's stylish. Then again you were never very fashion forward."

It felt nice to banter with him like this even if he was getting drunker by the moment. Was this a dangerous situation?
Sabaku no Gaara: standsunakazekage on September 30th, 2007 08:34 am (UTC)
It was always a startling experience when one attended a Konoha festival. The people were unabashedly carefree and it seemed as if even the strictest of shinobi could be coaxed into a smile. He remembered being very confused once, when he actually saw Ibiki grinning. Admittedly it was maniacal and it was while he was playing some sort of shooting game, but it had been enough to surprise Gaara. He chuckled to himself at the memory and shook his head.

He wasn't sure if he'd be able to attend but the Council sent all three of them off--which was fine but also a little discouraging. If he was in Konoha, that meant he couldn't be in Suna to bother them about his new plans. But it was all moot now. He could only hope that they were planning on doing something.

Wearing his formal yukata, he wandered around the festival, nodding to someone he knew in passing every now and then. He was lost in thought and wondered if he'd catch a familiar shade of pink in the crowd. But he was suddenly distracted by some familiar voices close by. He quietly approached, just there to observe and intervene if absolutely needed. Catching the last exchange, he sighed and thought about leaving to find Temari.
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.
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