Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ Teamwork : Foxplay ❯ Chapter 1

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]

Teamwork : Foxplay

Author: Asuka Kureru

Fandom: Naruto

Series: Teamwork

Pairing: in this fic: KyuuSasu, some cute KibaHina.

Warnings: Yaoi lemon! XD

Rating: quite NC-17, thank you. ::rubs hands gleefully::

Beta: Sol. ::cuddlecuddle::


This is a non-essential sidefic belonging in the Teamwork universe, but much later than the first fic. It will probably be edited later to make sure that it fits into the continuity ; for now all you need to know is that they're 18, that Naruto has the ability to let Kyuubi no Youko possess him sometimes, and that the rest of the gang knows about Kyuubi but have never seen him yet.

In the main fic, Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura are in a threesome, but if you want to take it like a one-shot, you can pretend that this is purely yaoi if you wish; Sakura barely appears at the end.






If there was one thing they hadn't expected when they went for a walk and a picnic in the forest, it had to be a naked Naruto perched on a branch over their clearing, bare toes curled around the wood, claw-tipped fingers digging into the bark.

He was balanced like a big cat hunting, ready to leap front paws first. The grace with which he crouched on all fours -- as if it were the most natural of places to be -- somehow made his impersonation of a wild predator feel utterly normal.

Neji, of course, had noticed him first, then Hinata; the others had needed to see them blink up at their guest before even noticing the interruption.

It was weird -- somehow Naruto was at the same time blending in with his surroundings seamlessly, and yet drawing the eye like a magnet. He was, after all, a naked guy up in a tree. A naked guy who watched them with a weird, unusual expression on his face, and didn't reply to Ino and Chouji's surprised calls and demands for an explanation. He only shifted a little, tilting his head on the side as he watched the little group.

He was very, very naked. And from that angle, the branch didn't hide much.

Hinata turned away, blushing, and Ino scowled and put a hand in front of her eyes, pretending to be offended, even though she kept staring between her fingers. Tenten was openly watching, appreciative.

It was Kiba who jumped on his feet first, eyes wide, Akamaru whimpering and growling as he hid behind his leg. And then Shikamaru saw what Kiba had probably smelled : Naruto's eyes were narrowed and of an unusual color, the spiral -- the seal -- on his belly standing out vividly, the whiskers scars too wide, and the stance... the stance was utterly alien to Naruto. Bestial, even.

Well, that and he was naked up in a tree, and didn't seem to find that weird.

Then Naruto -- Naruto, really? -- let himself fall off the tree casually, landing with a catlike grace that was definitely not normal for him, and padded slowly toward their little group.

By then, Neji was standing in a defensive stance and Kiba's hand was firmly holding Akamaru's ruff, even though it was hard to tell which one was preventing the other one from fleeing. Lee was getting up slowly, as was Tenten, and Shikamaru's shadow was stretching before him, just in case.

The creature that was Naruto and yet not casually strutted past them, gloriously uncaring, and plopped down on the thickest patch of sun-warmed grass, his upper body sprawling over Hinata's lap. She blushed as her eyes flicked over his bare skin, then paled as the identity of her new lap tenant registered. That was not Naruto. That was Kyuubi no Youko.

As Kyuubi stretched, yawning, baring his fangs, Neji lifted a hand, ready to strike, and she gave him a wide-eyed look, quickly shaking her head to tell him to stay put. Kyuubi's eyes had opened, just a slice of blood red irises between falsely lazy eyelids, and they were all good enough ninja to feel the cold threat in the otherwise unmoving body.

Kyuubi's killing intent projected itself very well indeed. Akamaru started whimpering, and for once listening to her survival instinct, Ino cautiously stepped back.

As for Hinata, she was quite trapped. And when she tried leaning back a little, so that her stomach wouldn't be against Kyuubi's shoulder, he started to growl softly. No moving; right, got it.

"Uhm... K-Kyuubi-sama?" she stammered, her voice a shaky whisper at best.

He grunted, frowning briefly. It was astonishing how much he looked like Naruto on the surface, and yet how different every little action felt.


Hinata blinked, surprised by the order. Scratch what...?

Growling, he nudged her elbow impatiently. Hoping that she understood right, she started petting his blond, messy hair. Her heart was slamming against her ribcage so hard it was a wonder she hadn't broken bones yet.

Kyuubi particularly liked being scratched where his fox ears should be. It made a strange sound rise from his throat, a bit like a growly purr. Kiba squeaked a protest.

"H-Hey! That's my girlfriend you're rubbing against!!" he yelped, hands clenched.

Neji paused, and slowly turned to look at him. Kiba ignored him. He hadn't planned to officially announce their relationship to Hinata's cousin quite like that, what with Neji being a homicidal maniac persuaded that Hinata-sama must be protected from everything. Right now, though, Neji wasn't the biggest threat around.

He was shaking, scared as hell, his instincts howling at him to get the fuck away from the demon fox, or at least to roll over and submit, but that was a matter of principle, really. Hinata was way too nice to do it, but he knew that his sister and his mom would dump any guy who wouldn't stand up for them in a heartbeat, and they were right to demand loyalty.

Kyuubi opened an eye to glance at him, and snorted. "You didn't mount her yet," he commented; his voice sounded scratchy from disuse, and so low it made a shiver go up his spine.

Hinata and Kiba spluttered, blushing; Neji looked fleetingly contented, as if Kiba had just gained a few days longer to live.

"B-But she's still my girlfriend and -- you just don't ask other people's mates to pet you!!"

"Shut up," Kyuubi said in an almost friendly tone, "or I'll tear your throat out."

It wasn't even a threat; it was a fact. Kiba shut up, sending an apologetic-scared as hell look Hinata's way. She managed a shaky smile in response. She didn't stop petting.

Kyuubi stretched his legs, still purr-growling deep in his throat, then settled down on his patch of sun again. His tanned skin was a vivid contrast to the lush grass; he wasn't that much paler where he ought to have been wearing his boxers, and she wondered for a second whether Naruto was used to walking around his house in the nude. Then of course she blushed, because that was one thing she didn't need to wonder about her friend.

It wasn't so bad, really, apart from the almost debilitating terror of having such a murderous beast on her lap. He was a little heavy, but not so much, and his skin was warm, and his breath was slow... as if he was napping.

Wait a second; he was napping. If Hinata hadn't been such a shy, gentle girl, she might have cursed him. That was adding insult to injury.

She was so busy not-cursing the fox and trying to find a way out that she only noticed the second arrival when a shadow fell across her. She looked up; Uchiha Sasuke was standing there, arms crossed and coldly glaring down at her. For a second, she wanted to apologize, even though she didn't know what she'd done wrong.

"You're standing in my sun, bitch," the demon growled quietly.

Sasuke was actually glaring at Kyuubi, not at her; she felt relieved, but not so much, because she was still very much in the blast radius.

"Tough luck. Get off the girl."

It was amazing how Sasuke appeared totally uncaring about ordering the Kyuubi around, as if it was normal and his obedience was actually expected. One needed nothing less than the Byakugan to notice the faint trembling in his hands.

Kyuubi frowned and opened one red eye, throwing a nasty glare Sasuke's way. "No."

"So you sprawl in girls' laps regularly? Sakura will be happy," Sasuke shot back sarcastically.

"The pink slut isn't sitting in my sun patch. If she wanted me to sleep on her, she should be here. She's not, so I'm using this one. Now leave me alone." And with that, he closed his eyes again, apparently falling asleep on the spot.

Sasuke scowled heavily, but didn't reply right away, as if trying to find a new attack angle.

"Hey, Sasuke," Chouji asked as he nibbled on his chips and eyed the fox warily, "he didn't break the seal, right? We don't need to run away screaming or anything?"

Sasuke briefly looked tired.

"No. Naruto promised him an afternoon of freedom, if he could swear he wouldn't maim or kill anyone. The moron didn't think of including property damage and mental scarring in the deal."

"... Sasuke-kun...? He's not going to hurt Hinata-chan, right?" Tenten asked. She was cautiously standing almost fifteen meters away.

"He shouldn't," Sasuke replied unconcernedly, then saw Hinata's dismayed expression and Neji's murderous face and decided to add something else to reassure them. "Naruto wouldn't let him."

Kyuubi growled, baring his fangs briefly. "Be quiet, bitch. And stop taking my sunlight."


And then Sasuke nudged the demon-fox with his foot.

Any of the others could have told him it was a bad, bad idea; but he was Uchiha Sasuke, and he was living with Kyuubi's vessel. One would have assumed that he knew better.

There was a snarl, and a second later, the bushes on the other side of the clearing were crushed under the weight of the Uchiha and the youko. They rolled in the grass and through another bush before stopping against a trunk, hitting it heavily. Sasuke somehow had ended up underneath, and found himself winded and with his back aching. Kyuubi leaned toward him, fangs bared...

Forgetting his dizziness and bruised back, Sasuke planted his feet in Kyuubi's stomach and kicked, hands grabbing Kyuubi's shoulders tight. Then the fox was flipped airborne and flying toward the little stream that was curling around the clearing.

Weirdly, when Kyuubi was wet, he looked even more naked then when he was just dry and naked.

With a furious snarl, the fox threw himself at Sasuke. His chakra was suddenly all over the place, intense and angry enough to choke on. Once again they rolled around, shoving each other in trees or in the ground, throwing wild punches and kicks that could have done damage if they'd been aimed better.

The fight was hard to follow in detail, because the grass was tall and they weren't always in the clearing. Lee actually looked ready to jump in, but Neji grabbed his elbow and pulled him back, almost throwing him back to where Kiba was standing over Hinata protectively. Ino huddled close to Shikamaru, eyes wide and scared.

"Sasuke-kun..." she whispered, shaking.

He was strong and fast. He was a genius. That didn't make him good enough to take on the Kyuubi. And if Uchiha Sasuke couldn't stop the Kyuubi, Ino didn't know who could.

Despite his terror, Kiba was standing on the balls of his feet, one hand on the back of his dog, ready to tackle the demon at the first occasion. Shikamaru watched them with narrow-eyed concentration. Lee, of course, was about ready to charge in without thinking. Neji himself would have jumped in, if he thought he could help, but -- but. It just went so fast-- one moment Sasuke would be on top, and a second later he'd be thrown on his back and pounced on by a snarling fox-demon. It just wasn't possible to take part in the fight. These bastards were too damn swift.

"He's playing," Shikamaru said suddenly.

Ino swore, words a young lady oughtn't use. "Playing?! If Sasuke-kun was even a fraction of second slower, he'd be left with broken bones, at least!!"

As if to illustrate her point, one punch aimed at Sasuke's head hit a trunk, which exploded in shards at the point of impact and fell, hitting the ground heavily; of course, the two fighters had whirled away by then. Kyuubi pounced again; Sasuke attempted to kick him over his head once again, but this time the fox was waiting for it and kept a hold of his shirt. They landed in the water a second time, raising a wave that splashed Hinata's feet.

When they emerged, Kyuubi was laughing.

It was not a nice laugh. It was mocking, sharp, dark. Threatening.

Sasuke threw him a dirty glare, wet bangs sticking to his skin, his usually messy hair flattened, his large shirt sticking to his skin. He tugged on it, apparently annoyed at the way it pulled on his arms. Shikamaru elbowed Ino, who despite the situation was sighing dreamily.

Laughing and growling, Kyuubi pounced again, tackling Sasuke on the riverbank. Sasuke tried to hit him, but his hand was slapped away nonchalantly. He squirmed, attempted to crawl out from under Kyuubi, but ended up half leaning back on the muddy riverbank on his elbows, the fox slowly leaning closer. They exchanged a few tense words, too low for the spectators to hear. But they heard Sasuke snap something, and then Kyuubi wasn't smirking anymore. He started growling, a sound so low that it almost sounded like a purr. The threat in the sound was enough to make the few birds still hanging around flee in terror.

"He wants Sasuke to submit," Shikamaru muttered, trying to convince himself that his analysis was right almost as much as sharing his opinion. "If he wanted him dead, he'd be dead..."

"If he wants him to submit, he can wait a long while," Kiba whispered back urgently. "Uchiha'd rather die than show his throat --"


There was an explosion of light as blue flashes started arcing around Sasuke's fist. Snarling in outraged fury, the fox-demon leaped back.

"You little BITCH!!"

Sasuke had used his sudden freedom to whirl around and disappear in the forest. Howling in rage, the demon dashed off after him, his chakra swirling around him like a flame, scorching the grass under his feet.

Ino bit her fist, almost dancing in impatience. "We have to follow them!!"

"And what will we do once we find them?" Shikamaru shot back, annoyed. "Even together, we're no match for the Kyuubi. I know he's scary as hell, but he won't hurt Sasuke too badly anyway, Naruto wouldn't let him."

Kiba mumbled something. Chouji blinked at him, asking him to repeat. Pressed against his side, Hinata was blushing, eyes wide.

"Kiba?" Neji snapped.

"I said," Kiba repeated, sulky, "he don't want to hurt him 'nyway."

Ino blinked owlishly. "Beg you pardon? Then what--"

"Nothing. It's not important. What are we going to do?"

Kiba's face was red now. Shikamaru put it together with what he'd noticed of the fox's body language and drew his conclusion.


"... let's go back to the village. We can't help, we'd just get hurt. Maybe Sakura can get him under control," he added to stall Ino, "but we have to get her first."

Lee protested, but Shikamaru outranked him and in the end, he admitted that Sasuke was probably a lot safer than either of them would be around the demon. Neji glared at them both, but Shikamaru had a feeling it was more due to the fact that Hinata was still glued to Kiba's side than any anger directed at them or even, god forbid, worry for Uchiha. Ino looked pissed as hell, but as much as he liked her, he wasn't about to risk their lives to save her old crush, when he was almost sure that Sasuke wasn't in any really life-threatening situation in the first place. Chouji was... picking up his snacks. Of course.

Tenten was nowhere in sight.

Damn it. He could not remember when exactly she had disappeared. And he didn't know her that well, but she was intelligent enough to know that she would be useless in a fight, so where -- backup. She'd gone back to Konoha to get backup.

Well, fuck.


Kyuubi was gaining ground. Sasuke burst through a clump of large bushes and immediately rolled on the side out of his line of sight, scaling a tree, sticking to it with hands and feet. He couldn't use much chakra or he'd be found instantly. He was quite probably going to get caught anyway, he knew it as much as he hated to admit it, but he had to try all his tricks before he conceded, or his pride would never take it.

He tried using as little chakra as possible, almost falling off a few times; it didn't help. The fox kept following. He wasn't even trying to be quiet, so it was easy to hear him getting closer.

He tried using no chakra at all, but quickly discovered that it made his jumps a lot less powerful. And Kyuubi gained ground on him, but it offered a few seconds of respite where the fox couldn't pinpoint him either. Sasuke stopped breathing as the fox stomped past him, snarling in annoyance -- it looked like he'd fooled him.

Then Kyuubi paused, sniffed at the air... and Sasuke didn't wait to see how fast he would be found. He set off a decoy in another direction, making the leaves rustles. When the fox reflexively turned to glance that way, he dashed off. He used the lag to get to the little river once again.

He would have walked over it, but then it would have defeated the purpose of not using chakra in the first place. He slipped in the river noiselessly and let himself float away. The water was cold against his heated skin, and he closed his eyes as the currents tumbled him and dragged him away, hoping that it would calm down his pounding heart.

Kyuubi no Youko was dangerous, one of the most dangerous creatures he'd ever met. It didn't matter that he couldn't actually kill or maim anyone; all Sasuke's shinobi instincts always went haywire the second the beast awakened inside his lover, even when it wasn't allowed to emerge.

But as much as the monster frightened him... he couldn't help but remember that first time they'd met face to face. The way Kyuubi had advanced on him through the clearing, arms gloved in blood, watching him with a hunger that made Sasuke shake -- the way he'd trapped him against the rough bark of that tree, with his dark, threatening power rolling over Sasuke's skin, spreading inside his whole body like wildfire... like the glorious intoxication of the cursed seal, in these first moments where it felt like nothing could stand in his way, like nothing mattered but that painful ecstasy... When he was around Kyuubi no Youko, it was that feeling all over again. That tremendous power seizing his attention, his thoughts, his very soul, smothering his conscience, letting him feel nothing but his baser instincts -- fight, mate -- live -- all the same, really.

All that cold water didn't help to calm him down in the end. His body was singing, blood rushing in anticipation of the next move. He'd jumped out of the river almost before the attack came, a rush of dark, blood red fire that exploded under him, raising up a geyser of muddy water and branches and dead fish. He was laughing as he landed, his eyes sharingan-red as he searched for his adversary amidst the wreckage. The explosion had created a pond, he observed absently as the water resumed flowing, slowly filling the crater. Right now, though, what mattered was -- there!!

Warned by the way the water started steaming, he jumped off his tree, launching himself through the forest at breakneck speed. There was no time to think of his next move as he ducked and bounced off trees and rocks like some demented pinball -- just the time to react, to dodge and counterattack and run, as if seeing and knowing and moving were one and the same. He'd never had that level of synchronicity with his sharingan before, that swift anticipation-action. It was glorious.

It was almost like a choreographed dance -- one millisecond of delay in his reactions to Kyuubi's attacks, one inch too high or too far on the side, and he'd get more than bloody scratches and welts and bruises; he'd get gutted, slammed into hard, unforgiving rock. He'd never felt more alive. He couldn't laugh like he wanted to -- not enough breath to spare -- but he could feel on his lips a savage grin that matched the fox's.

Finally, the end of the chase came -- and it came in a rush of power, amidst a wild exchange of punches and slashes that degenerated from amazing show of taijutsu into a brawl. Sasuke ended up half-buried in the ground, his damp skin covered in mud and brambles and streaks of blood -- and his cuts and bruises ached, and his heart still pounded, and he could only laugh and laugh as he looked up at the feral beast standing over him as if it was going to clamp its jaws on his neck, devour his flesh and drink his lifeblood.

How weird it was, that he felt most alive when faced with such a deadly being. He reached up, ran his fingers down Kyuubi's cheekbone, through the blood on his chest -- and clawed through the wound, just to see the fury, the intense vitality in the red eyes piercing his. He was crushed against the ground by Kyuubi's weight, felt their bloods and the water still on his skin mingle, spread, streaking them both with red, warm wetness. He screamed when teeth clamped down on his shoulder, just over his curse seal, arched against the heavy, muscled body trapping him, struggling to feel more, more pain, more life -- clinging to the beast living inside the man he loved as he couldn't cling to his own darkness.

His pants had already been torn beyond repair, but Kyuubi apparently didn't intend to tolerate them at all. A loud rip and Sasuke was bare, except for the mud and the blood painting primitive designs on his skin. The remnants of his shirt followed quickly -- rrip rrip rrip, and Kyuubi bit him again, rough, clawed hands running all over his skin with no regard for his wounds. Sasuke struggled -- as much because he was too stubborn to submit, even then, as because he wanted more of that touch, of these burning hands exploring him callously, possessively.

His thighs were nudged apart. He just had enough presence of mind to relax his muscles as much as possible -- it would hurt enough on its own. And it did. It tore and burned, and he could feel the Nine-Tails' chakra running all over his skin, searing him inside. It was madness and bliss together. He wanted more.

When the demon-fox pulled almost all the way out and then seriously started to thrust, he screamed; there was just no way to keep silent. His legs wound around his waist, as if he could lend more strength, force him in deeper, keep him longer, as if he could actually control the feral beast who was fucking him trough the forest floor. Kyuubi snarled, bit him again as he pulled out of him. Sasuke hissed, eyes narrowed, nails clawing at his back, tightened the hold of his legs desperately to bring him back.

"Down, bitch," Kyuubi growled as he negligently slapped his thighs apart. Sasuke hissed again, rearing up to bite his jaw to the blood.

The world whirled, and then he was face down in the leaves and the muddy earth, and he scrambled to find something to brace himself against. Then there was a heavy, burningly hot body pressed against his back, and arms like steel bands around his waist, lifting his hips -- he yelled his outrage at being on his knees, squirmed, struggled to free himself -- and screamed again as the demon rammed into him. He ended up with his elbows buried in the ground in front of him, every hard thrust threatening to shove his face down in the mud. Kyuubi was growling nonstop on his back, the sound resonating through Sasuke's body, making goosebumps break out all over his skin. A particularly vicious thrust brushed against his prostate, and he jumped, briefly letting his head fall on his forearm as he panted through the stab of mind-melting pleasure.

"... good... good little bitch..."

"Don't call me that!!" he protested, even though hearing Kyuubi's voice, roughened in pleasure, was making his insides twist almost as much as the way the red chakra ran through his body.

The demon fox started to laugh. Sasuke wondered if he could come just from that sound.

"You're on your knees." Thrust. "You spread your legs for me." Thrust. "You love being mounted." Thrust, again. "You're a bitch." Hot breath caressing his hair, his nape, the bite mark over his cursed seal. "My bitch."

And before he could protest, sharp teeth clamped down on his nape, a heavy body forced his upper body down even more, arms tightened around his waist. And then Sasuke realized fully that what he'd thought wild pounding before was tender lovemaking compared to what was happening now.

He couldn't breathe, couldn't think, could barely whimper and mewl as the demon fucked him fast and hard. He could feel with excruciating precision the thrusts in his whole body, just as he felt the ebb and flow of Kyuubi's chakra; the outside world had entirely ceased to matter. And, as it went on, his own pride ceased to matter too. He abandoned himself, closed his eyes, and stopped restraining the sounds rising from his throat.

He was alive and being fucked to within an inch of his life, and it was good, so good -- so good -- and he didn't even hear himself scream anymore as his world turned white.

When he came back to himself, Kyuubi was still moving over him, biting and lapping up the blood on his neck as his hips slapped against Sasuke's ass. Sasuke flushed, weirdly embarrassed, as he realized that he hadn't stopped moaning even one second, but couldn't find in himself enough energy to make himself stop.

Finally, Kyuubi arched over him, hammering frantically for a few seconds as his chakra rose, thick enough to choke on it. Sasuke couldn't breathe, skin tingling so much that he almost missed the sudden warm flood inside him. Slowly, the demon fox slowed down, and finally leaned back, slipping out of him.

Sasuke sighed softly, biting his lip. It was starting to sting, and in a few minutes it would hurt like a sonofabitch. He shivered, startled by a cool gust of wind, and tried to move.

Kyuubi's hands closed on his hips, keeping him in place.

"... Hey!" he protested feebly, stunned and still too exhausted to fight him off. "What the hell--"

Blood rushed to his face as he realized that the demon-fox was sitting on his heels just behind him, watching his come drip down Sasuke's inner thighs. The bastard looked so smug that Sasuke's eyes immediately snapped back into the red of the sharingan, and he hissed a threat at him, trying to struggle out of his hold.

"Let go, you creep!"

Of course, Kyuubi didn't. And Sasuke couldn't get free. In that position, he was pretty much helpless. He twisted, trying to slap the offending hands off, but only managed to make the fox drive his claws into the skin of his hips in warning.

"Already shaking your ass at me, bitch? You're so greedy..."

"I'm not-- shut up, idiot. Let me go, it's time to go back --"

Kyuubi laughed, softly, threatening as always, but also so very amused.

"I think not. The deal was until moonrise, and it's barely twilight."

Sasuke twitched. Stupid, moronic Naruto! Moonrise was still hours away!

"Looks like you will have to keep me entertained a little while longer, bitch."

Chuckling, Kyuubi no Youko leaned down to lick up a trail of mixed come and blood.

Sasuke pretty much forgot to keep protesting.


"So?! Have you found him?" demanded Ino as she rushed toward the three teachers coming back to Konoha.

The little band of friends had collected Sakura a few hours earlier, who -- very pregnant, and quite put out at having to handle the whole mess -- had then proceeded to wrestle the ANBU into not getting involved. The teenagers had then warned their teachers, before going to wait in front of the gate. They were all staring at the Jounin with barely controlled trepidation.

Ino, of course, wasn't bothering with restraint.

"ASUMA-SENSEI!! Answer me! Have you, or haven't you?"

Asuma scratched his head and lit a cigarette. "Well, I didn't--"

"WHAT?! We need to organize a rescue -- we need to warn the Hokage! We--"

Asuma sighed. "Ino. Calm down. I didn't, but Kakashi did."

The blonde whirled toward the masked teacher. "You did? So where is Sasuke?! Is he safe? Was he hurt? Why didn't you bring him back?! If Sakura loses her husband because of--"

Kakashi glanced at Asuma and gave him a commiserating look, then looked at Sakura. She looked slightly worried, so he gave her a smile and hoped she wouldn't ask for details.

"He was a little ... busy."

Sakura's expression went from worried to miffed.

"... I see."

Ino frowned, her gaze darting from Kakashi to her childhood friend quickly.

"I don't. Sakura-chan, what--"

"Sasuke will be fine, Ino. Inconsiderate bastards," she added, growling under her breath.

Ino blinked, not getting it, and watched her friend stomp away, huge belly aggressively thrust forward. Lee immediately moved to follow, offering to walk her home.

"... Uhm. Guys?" Ino asked, turning back toward the rest of their little group.

Hinata and Chouji looked as confused as she felt. Neji was expressionless, as always. Shikamaru seemed weary, but that was usual too. Kiba... looked embarrassed. And Tenten appeared to have just had an epiphany.


"I'm going to walk Hinata home," Kiba hurriedly declared. He snatched his girlfriend's hand and started to pull her away. Glowering, Neji followed.


Tenten was blushing, something that was rare indeed for the usually bold and unflappable girl. "Uh, mom's waiting for me. Later!"

Ino stomped her foot. Why didn't they worry? What was it with the knowing looks? She was actually getting more put out by the being-left-out-of-the-loop thing than by the let's-not-rescue-Sasuke-from-the-Kyuubi.

"Shikamaru!" she shrieked, because he knew everything, so he had to know the answer to that, too. "Shikamaru--"

The son of a bitch was casually walking away, Chouji in tow. Furious, Ino rushed after him, totally forgetting to be worried about Sasuke.

Asuma and Kurenai threw Kakashi a speculative look, then Asuma shook his head.

"I don't want to know, do I?"

Kakashi nodded wisely, though from his eye it was visible that he was laughing silently. "You don't."

"I do, though," Kurenai replied with amusement as she slipped her arm under Kakashi's and started to drag him toward the village.