Beside You In Time

Act II - A Warm Place Part 1


That rainy November night was only the first of many convenient excuses Kankuro used to tether Kiba to his apartment, where he could keep an eye on him and preserve his own peace of mind that the teen was safe and out of trouble. One night subsequently became a few days … which turned to weeks, weeks to a month and after a while winter was fully upon them. Kankuro forgot to keep making the excuses and Kiba, forgot to protest. It was right around this time that the Sabaku realized; no matter how much he enjoyed the Inuzuka’s company or tried to justify their situation, he could no longer avoid the reality that Kiba was essentially living with him. And that reality … in all its complexity, was exactly what landed Kankuro Sabaku back in the ritzy township of Redwood, seated at the kitchen table of his sister’s luxury loft … quaking with terror while sweating like a whore in church.

A few paces away from the fidgety carpenter, perched demurely atop one of the tall stools surrounding her central island. A stunning, thirty-one year old attorney cocked her head absently. Drumming one set of manicured nails atop the counter as her mind attempted to process the words which had just tumbled haphazardly from her younger brother’s lips. After a few moments Temari shook her head as if clearing it, then looked over in Kankuro’s direction.

“I’m sorry, could you repeat that?” She requested pleasantly. The blond’s mossy green eyes then blinked twice as her mouth settled into a soft expectant smile.

It was an expression … that could’ve instantly turned an active volcano into an iceberg.

“Um …” Kankuro cleared his throat, wondering how the hell the infernal woman managed to effortlessly make him feel like a seven year old on the verge of wetting himself. “I said that uh … t-there’s someone stayin w-with me right now …” He rasped.

“Right I got that part.” Temari hummed insightfully. “What I was referring to, was the part that followed … which I’m fairly sure I misheard. Because I know there’s NO possible way, that the same intelligent and responsible little brother whom I EXPRESSLY instructed to stand-in for ME as a representative volunteer at JDP. So that my firm could get a favourable vote onto the community committee … Is now secretly LIVING with a juvenile offender on probation, whom might I add is currently a minorand ENROLLED in the SAME SOCIAL REHABILITATION PROGRAM where you’re also presently working as his FUCKING MENTOR!!”

“Umm …”

UMM?!” Temari hissed through clenched teeth, all niceties had evaporated beneath the invisible flames of pure malice rising off her body. “I WILL KILL YOU and they will never find your body! Do you understand me!”

“What was I supposed to do Tem?!” Kankuro growled. “Leave him on the street?!”

“That was in NOVEMBER jackass! It’s February! For FOUR MONTHS and without the consent of his guardian or the courts, you’ve been illegally cohabitating with a SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD who you also professionally ‘mentor’ in a government run program. Do you understand how this looks?! DO YOU!?”

“Calm down. No one knows about it!” The younger Sabaku assured.

“No one knows?!” The blond chuckled dryly. “Oh that’s right, I forgot you’ve ALSO been willfully concealing your BLATANT DISREGARD of the LAW! So what, I’m an accomplice now?! Did you forget you’re representing MY firm! What the hell Kankuro, we should have had this discussion as soon as he came to you!!”

The brunette threw his hands up in the air with a hapless groan. “Look, I’m telling you about it now ok. What do you want from me!”

“I want you to NOT sabotage my goddamn CAREER!” Temari shouted. “That’s what I want, you idiot! If the board catches so much as a wiff of this crap, Daddy is going to fucking nail me to the CROSS!”

Kankuro instantly folded his arms and snorted upon mention of the Sabaku patriarch. At the condescending sound Temari’s jade eyes narrowed dangerously.

“Yeah that’s right, snort all you want. I know you don’t care. Dad’s not your problem anymore right? Well that’s great for you, but some of us are KILLING themselves to keep this family that you don’t give a crap about together!”

“Pff, good luck with that.” The brunette scoffed bitterly.

Temari’s scant amount of restraint detonated at the callous comment. She leapt off of her stool enraged, nearly sending it tumbling to the floor in the process.

“You’re selfish as hell, you know that!” The blond yelled. “You and Gaara BOTH. You think I don’t miss Mom too?! Think you’re big because you left at seventeen? Who signed your lease because you were underage, who the hell paid half your rent for a year while you ‘found your way’ hmm?! Who cosigned the startup loan for your goddamn business?! WHO do you think foot the bill for Gaara’s SEVEN stints in rehab?! It sure as HELL wasn’t DAD!”

“You said his insurance covered it …” Kankuro protested in shock, eyes wide. “You lied to me?!”

“Of course I lied!” Temari scoffed. “What did you expect, that I let YOU pay for it?! That kid wouldn’t listen to anyone but you back then, and you were barely keeping a roof over both your goddamn heads as it was! Man, must be nice to do whatever you want huh … Well I don’t have the luxury of throwing tantrums and disowning myself Kankuro. I HAD to keep the peace. I HAD to work for Dad, just to make sure I could AFFORD to keep my ungrateful little brothers from ruining their lives! I swear, I should’ve just left you both to it … but Mommy would turn in her grave if I didn’t at least protect you fucking idiots from yourselves!” Temari finished tersely, cold gaze drifting out the bay windows.

Kankuro was utterly silenced, his sister’s angry tirade tearing through his pride like bullets.

“I’ll pay it back.” He rasped finally, throat constricted with mixed emotions as he looked over to her. “Every cent Tem …”

“That’s not the poi-” The blond turned then trailed off when she saw that Kankuro’s eyes were glassy. “What the hell.” She grumbled.

“I didn’t know. I thought you wanted to stay.” Kankuro struggled gruffly through the difficult words. “I was so set on keepin Gaara straight, that I never even thought about the kinda pressure we put you under.”

Temari shook her head, regretting the severity of her outburst just a bit. They were accustomed to fighting, in fact they clashed like cats and dogs all the damn time. Each endowed with the hard nosed pride which had seemingly been written into their DNA … But despite misunderstandings abound, at the end of the day anyone would be hard pressed to find a group of siblings tighter than the three Sabaku kids; who’d weathered more storms together than those looking in from the outside could ever fathom.

Temari closed the distance between herself and the dejected brunette seated at her table, then ruffled a hand atop her brother’s head before drawing him into a gentle hug. Kankuro turned into the embrace and his arms automatically rose to wrap around the blond’s waist. The picture they painted was nostalgic. The way the younger Sabaku tightly clasped his sister was the same exact way he’d hugged her whenever he was upset as a kid. From the day their father had their mother committed to a mental ward, up until Karura passed and even after … Nearly everyone had overlooked Kankuro between his mom’s death and his younger brother’s instability. But Temari alone hadn’t once failed to watch out for the forgotten son. Because of this, tough as he was … for Kankuro his sister was the only person whose words held the power to cut.

“You’re way too old for this shit you know.” Temari said ruefully, running a practiced hand through her brother’s spiky brown hair.

“I swear I’ll pay you back.” He whispered firmly.

“We’re family stupid.” The blond sighed. “I’m programmed to love you even if you’re an asshole. I can make more money Kankuro, it doesn’t matter how much I spend. But if I lost either of my brothers … well I can never get you guys back can I? There’s no comparison. Same goes for Dad. Believe me when I say this, inside that man knows better than we can ever tell him how bad he screwed up.” Temari used both hands to tilt Kankuro’s head back so their eyes met. “Even Gaara’s gotten over it … when are you gonna stop punishing him huh?”

Kankuro frowned. “Whenever he starts punishing himself.” He snarled.

Temari rolled her eyes and laid a stinging smack to her brother’s forehead.

“Ow!” He rubbed the sore spot with a scowl.

“I’m not even gonna go there today.” She dismissed, stepping back then drifting over to the island to snag the nearly forgotten glass of water resting atop it. “What we need to talk about is that kid … Kiba, right?”


The blond took a long sip, then firmly set her cup aside. “Having him stay with you is a liability Kankuro and I don’t associate myself with liabilities.” Temari said bluntly.

“So what, if I was a stranger it would be alright?” The carpenter scoffed.

“If you were a stranger …” she shrugged, “this wouldn’t be my problem. But you’re not. You’re my brother, you’re also representing my company … and most importantly, you’re gay.”

“What does that have to do with anything!” The brunette demanded.

“You tell me. Would it be alright if a female student ran away from home and shacked up with her male teacher?”

“We’re both guys.” Kankuro growled.

“Yeah, and for one of you that isn’t a problem.” Temari shot back.

“Whether we’re gay or not, shouldn’t even be an issue!”

The blond’s eyes suddenly flickered with realization at her sibling’s wording. “Wait … we? Whether we’re gay Kankuro?”

Shit …

Kankuro kicked himself. Now he’d done it, his sister’s intuition was like a honed blade. Temari had been born with half the pure blood of a dragon queen and the other half of a demonic lawyer, NOTHING slipped past her notice.

“I misspoke …” The brunette retracted.

“My ass you did. He’s gay too?!”

“Tem …”

“Are you sleeping with him!”

“What the hell!?” Kankuro snarled. “Because we’re gay we have to be having sex?”

“Answer the question.”

“NO, we’re not! And screw you for even ASKIN that asshole! What do you take me for?!”

“You like him don’t you?” Temari gasped.

Are you kidding me?! How … How the HELL could she even know that!! She’s a Wiccan! I’ve always known my sister was a damn WICCAN spawn!

Kankuro’s brain panicked, but he sought to hide the reaction. “W-what’re you t-talking about Temari.”

“Oh my god, you do.” The blond groaned.

“I didn’t even say anything!”

“Exhibit A: You’re way too defensive right now. Under normal circumstances you would’ve just denied it, then told me I can think whatever the hell I want. Exhibit B: You’re stuttering, you’ve been doing that every time you lie to me since you were six. Exhibit C: I practically raised you. You think I don’t know when my good for nothing surrogate kid is LYING!?”

“I didn’t lie.” Kankuro said defensively.

“Omitting the truth is the same shit!”

“I’m not … he’s … we’re just …” The brunette stammered, grasping at thin air for some sort of worthy justification, until he gave up with a frustrated growl. “We haven’t crossed any lines ok!”

“You swear.”

“I swear!”

“Jesus … this is not alright Kankuro! You need to take him back to his parents ASAP.”

“His dad’s not around, and his mom kicked him out.” The younger Sabaku informed tightly.

“Ok, so call Family Services.”

“What?!” Kankuro’s heart skipped a beat at the mere suggestion. “They barely do background checks on those people! Stop being so dramatic Tem he’ll be eighteen this summer, I’m not putting him in some shady foster home.”

“Yes you are.” The blond said icily.


“WHY are you so attached to this kid!” Temari erupted, finally fed up with her brother’s excessive stubbornness on the issue.

“Cause I care about him, isn’t that obvious!?”

“Lust and caring aren’t the same thing Kankuro. Stop thinking with your dick!”

Excuse me?!” Kankuro snarled incredulously, seething with utter outrage at her insinuation. How dare she even imply that he was the sort of scumbag who would go through THIS much with sex as a motive! Without even sparing another look at his sister, the brunette stood up abruptly and grabbed his coat from the back of his chair. “Don’t ever fuckin talk to me again.” He warned coolly, pulling on the jacket as he made for the door.

“Kankuro …” Temari called, but her brother was too offended to listen.

“I mean it.” He growled venomously over his shoulder. “Why did I even come out here, I can’t believe my own sister would say that dumb shit to me.”

“Geez, I’m sorry!” Temari blurted out. “But I’m WORRIED about you!”

The almost frantic sincerity in her apology somehow managed to stop Kankuro for a moment.

“I’m sorry ok …” Temari repeated, taking a calming breath as she sought to smooth over her harsh words. “I shouldn’t have said it like tha-“

“You act like I planned this shit.” Kankuro cut the blond off sharply. “The only thing I planned was to hurry up and finish that volunteer crap so I could get back to my life! I’m twenty six, I got better things to do than fall for some hardheaded brat who thinks he knows everything … it just happened ok.” The Sabaku ran a frustrated hand back through his hair with a heavy exhale. “You’re right, I like him. But that’s got NOTHING to do with letting him stay with me! I’m not an idiot. If I was just out to screw I wouldn’t have Kiba living at my goddamn house Temari, and I sure as HELL wouldn’t be over here talking to my sister about it …” The honest words came like a flood, many being fully acknowledged by Kankuro for the first time as he said them aloud. “Kiba is stubborn and he’s messed up a lot in the past. But he’s a great kid … a good person. I defend him so hard cause I’ve been where he’s at. Trynna be an adult, feeling like the only thing you can rely on is yourself … The difference is I had you, even Gaara kept me straight in his own crazy way. I dunno where I would’ve ended up if you two hadn’t been around. Now, I’m returning that favour to someone who needs it way more than I ever did. Until he’s eighteen, I’m not interested in doing anythin but being there for him.” The brunette concluded firmly.

“And after that?” Temari challenged.

Kankuro finally turned around to face his sister, green eyes set with resolution. “After that, Kiba can decide what he wants us to be … Whatever happens or doesn’t happen between me and him past that point, won’t be anyone’s business but ours Tem.”

Temari’s flaxen brows furrowed skeptically. “Kids like that aren’t naive you know, he could be looking at you as nothing more than a free ride.”

“Pff, meet him before you say somethin like that.” The Sabaku almost laughed, shaking his head at his sister’s way off the mark warning.

If only she knew … Kankuro just about had to chain the prideful Inuzuka to his table to make Kiba eat when the teen hadn’t helped pay for the groceries. The younger brunette was the type who would rather sleep on a street corner than take advantage of someone else for his own gain. In Kiba’s eyes dependence equated to being weak, and the Inuzuka would die before letting anyone see him in that light.

“Meet him?! Pff, no thanks. I know too damn much as it is …” Temari sighed, realizing then that talking Kankuro out of his resolve was simply not an option. “Here’s the deal Kankuro. For the record, I DON’T approve of this … but I will look the other way on two conditions. One: You need to quit JDP immediately. Two: You don’t lay a finger on that kid until he’s verifiably eighteen, understand?”

“I already told you I wouldn’t … but leave the Center? Temari Kiba’s not the only one I mento-“

“This isn’t a negotiation!” Temari’s eyes narrowed. “Whether he turns eighteen or not, you’re still currently a staff member at JDP! If anyone finds out you two are involved … even if it’s in the future, that whole program will be compromised. The court of public opinion isn’t kind Kankuro. No one is gonna believe that you waited until he was emancipated. Nor are they gonna believe you didn’t use your position to coerce him into having sex as a minor. And there’s a goddamn limit to how careless I’ll let you be! I swear, I’ll call and report Kiba myself if you don’t agree before you leave here!”

“Fine! I’ll quit alright …” Kankuro conceded tersely, not even thinking twice before the answer left his lips. It was unfortunate, but between protecting Kiba and sticking by the others from the Center … there was absolutely no contest.

Little remained to be said past that, both siblings had argued enough in their lives to know that they needed to cool down in their respective corners before either could be expected to act civilly. Bearing this in mind Kankuro said his goodbye and took his exit without any further ado.

After leaving Temari’s and stopping by the JDP Center to give his abrupt notice, Kankuro wearily made his way home to Castile Hill. The moment that the exhausted carpenter trudged through his apartment into the kitchen and saw Kiba toiling away over a peanut butter sandwich, he couldn’t help himself. As the Inuzuka glanced up to greet him, Kankuro closed the distance between them and hugged the younger male, holding on to him as though he might vanish at any moment.

“Woah … you … feelin alright?” Kiba asked in cautious shock, raising an eyebrow at both his inability to move and the Sabaku’s strange behaviour. Not that he minded having Kankuro’s fine ass wrapped around him so snugly … but something felt out of place.

“Do you, wanna be here …” Kankuro mumbled, still holding the Inuzuka tight.

“Um, what?”

“Cause I just want what’s best for you Kiba, and if you feel uncomfortable or pressured to stay with me we’ll figure somethin else out. I just … I want what’s best that’s all …”

“Yo … you’re seriously freakin me out. What’re you talkin about?” Kiba demanded.

Kankuro pulled back and turned Kiba to face him then gripped the Inuzuka’s shoulders with both hands. “Stay here.”

“Uhh aren’t I already doin that …” Kiba replied quizzically.

“Permanently.” Kankuro elaborated.


“Unless you work things out with your mom I want you to live here. I don’t want you trying to get your own place again … oh and I quit JDP.” The Sabaku added quickly, attempting to slip in the last bit in the hopes that Kiba was still distracted by the first.

He wasn’t.

“You what?” The Inuzuka growled.

“I quit.”


Because you’re more important …

Kankuro thought, but he couldn’t say that. Not without explaining all the feelings which lay behind the statement … and doing so would only complicate their situation more. Kiba didn’t need extra complications, he had enough of those. What the Inuzuka needed was unconditional security, a place he knew he could always return to. And the last thing Kankuro wanted was for Kiba to think he had to accept the carpenter’s advances as some sort of condition for him to continue staying at the Sabaku’s apartment.

“I left JDP cause … I need to focus more hours on the company. I’m sorry for not givin you a head’s up but I was never supposed to be there long anyw-“

“You quit because of me being here, didn’t you.” The teen said dryly not fooled in the slightest.

Kankuro sighed and backed up to slump against the counter. “Kiba …”

The Inuzuka frowned. “How bout tellin me what the hell’s goin on. Cause whatever you’re trynna do right now … you fuckin suck at it.”

“I quit … cause this apartment’s always open to you. And I don’t want anything to jeopardize that ok.” Kankuro said tightly.

“Did something happen?”

“Nothing happened.”

“Something shady definitely happened.” The younger male scoffed.

Nothing happened Kiba.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“You don’t have to …” The Sabaku sighed in exasperation. “You just need to tell me that you’re ok with staying here.”

“I … Kankuro I dunno about that. I’m not working … I don’t know how the hell I’d pay rent.”

“Did I ask you to pay rent?”

“You expect me to just freeload?!” Kiba snorted pridefully. “No thanks.”

“Fine …” Kankuro said, knowing the Inuzuka’s nature. “I want you to pay me back by getting your shit together then. No violating your probation, no more hanging out downtown, no more gettin in trouble. It’s either school or work, your pick.”

“What type of lame deal is that?!”

“The kind of ‘lame deal’ that you need. I don’t expect anything else from you Kiba … Not rent, nothing but that.”

Kiba fell quiet. He wanted to refuse, but the words were stuck in his throat.

“So?” Kankuro said after a moment.

“I … I wanna stay here bu-“

“That’s all I needed to know.” Kankuro cut off the protest before it could be made. He walked over and mussed a hand through Kiba’s wild tresses. “This is your home Kiba … remember that.”

At that moment, Kiba felt like he might combust beneath his current level of embarrassment so he simply nodded.

“I gotta take a shower. Order me a pizza or somethin alright.” Kankuro said absently, his mind a million miles away. The Sabaku then ambled out, leaving Kiba staring after him still feeling completely bum rushed … and strangely, happier than he’d felt in a long time.

“What the hell was that.” He whispered, mystified.


Act 1 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Kankuro/Kiba ~~~~~~~~ Act 3



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