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Bed of the Scorpion

Chapter Text

As the sun poured into Sasori's room, he rolled onto his back, groaning softly. He rubbed his face before slowly opening his eyes to look at Azumi's sleeping form. It was the last night of the market. He sat up and thought about the night before.

It took a couple of moments for Azumi to wake up to the sun in her face. She groaned softly, putting her hand over her eyes as she stretched hard. The bed she was on really was not comfortable. She breathed out hard as she sat up and noticed Sasori was awake. 'Oh, he is awake before me,' she thought. It was much later in the morning than the last couple of times they woke up. At this point, she was not even sure if it was still morning. They may have slept until the afternoon, which would not be surprising since the sun was probably beginning to rise by the time they actually went to sleep.

"You wake up like a cat," he smirked, stretching a little himself. He swung his legs over the edge of his bed and ran a hand through his hair. "We don't have to rush to the shop yet. Go get us breakfast and then get changed."

She nodded as she stood up and stretched one more time. "I will be right back then," she said. She went to the kitchen, seeing the same three servants she spoke to the day before. "Good morning," she said to them as she walked in.

They all looked at her and smiled politely. "Good morning," the first one nodded. "Are you here for breakfast for the young master?"

"I am," she said as she chose two bowls to fill for her and Sasori.

"You two seem to be getting along," the second one said.

"You've also been coming home late," the third said. The first one who spoke elbowed them hard. "What!"

"Shut up before you bring the young lord's wrath down on us!"

"'Getting along' would be a stretch. There is no 'getting along' with Lord Sasori." She looked at them and smirked. "But should one not try to get on his good side at least a little if they are spending every single moment of their time with him?" she asked.

"That's fair," the second one nodded.

"That's sad and stressful," the first one frowned at her.

"Well, you're still alive so you must be doing something right."

"I would like to think so," she hummed as she grabbed a spoon for each bowl and then picked the bowls up. "Hopefully, you will see me again tomorrow," she nodded as she backed out of the kitchen and went back to Sasori's room.

Sasori was still not dressed when she came back. He looked up from the ledger that he was reading from. "I want to make a few new oils and salts," he said, looking up at her. "What scents do you prefer?" He smirked at her. "I'll decide if I like them too and go from there."

She tried not to look as shocked as she felt that he was asking her for her opinion on something. She hummed in thought as she handed him his bowl. "That feels like a lot of pressure," she said with a soft chuckle. "Crushed macadamia and rice milk?" she suggested. "It was actually my favorite scent when I was still a noble."

"Mm," he hummed. "It's been considered," he smirked, closing the book. "I should have everything to make it. Anything else?"

She took a spoonful of her breakfast as she thought about the next scent. "There was a scent my brother made me one time," she hummed. "It was an almond scent...a very deep-toned sweet almond." She frowned and looked at him. "I apologize if I cannot describe it well."

"I think I can make something similar," he grinned. "I like the challenge. Do you like vanilla?"

"I do," she smiled. "I love vanilla. It is one of my top three favorite scents." She paused for a second. "All three of which I just mentioned," she added quietly.

"Noted," he said, walking into the workshop. He started to pull bowls and ingredients down off of the shelf to put onto the table in the center of the room.

She followed him into the workshop, leaving her bowl on the desk as she passed it. She watched as he started on the scents. "Is there something you would like me to do?" she asked him.

"Finish your breakfast first," he told her. "I'm making the salts first. I'll show you how to make the oils and scrubs after."

"Oh," she said softly, taking a step back and nodding again. She went back out to his room and picked her bowl up again to finish eating. 'He is being oddly nice,' she thought. 'I wonder how long that will last.' She took a few minutes to finish her food as she thought more about his sudden personality change and then set her bowl down again before joining him in the workshop once again.

He used a large wooden spoon to turn the salt and oil over until it mixed well. He leaned down into the bottle and took a deep breath. "This is a very refined scent," he told her. "I like it." He pulled a jar over and started to fill it with the rice milk and crushed macadamia salt. "I was thinking we would leave for the market from here," he said offhandedly as he cleaned out the bowl. He nudged the jar over to her to smell it.

"Alright," she said, picking up the jar. She held it close and smelled it briefly. Her eyes widened a little and she was pretty sure her pupils dilated and then constricted back. "This is amazing," she said. "It is just as I remember it."

Sasori watched her eyes react. "Is...that something that normally happens?" he asked her in fascination. He looked intently at her eyes.

"So it did happen," she mumbled to herself. "Normal, yes. Common, no," she told him. "I usually try to prevent it from happening."

"Fascinating," he whispered. "I'm tempted to tell you that you aren't allowed to restrict yourself anymore," he grinned. "But I want to see what will cause that against your will." He gave her an almost playful smile.

She let out a soft groan at the very idea of that as she closed the jar and set it back down. 'He would want to do that,' she thought, rolling her eyes mentally.

He moved on to making the other two scents for her. He made the vanilla one next and handed it to her. "I'll start the prep for the almond one," he smirked. "How does this one smell?"

She picked up the jar and hesitantly brought it up to smell it. She knew it happened again. "Wow," she whispered. "That is..." She smelled it again. "Wow," she repeated.

Sasori grinned like the devil he was as he watched her through his lashes. "Glad you like it," he chuckled. "Now since we are making your almond one from scratch, I'll show you how I make my oils," he told her. He placed a few beakers over burners and started to mix the ingredients as he explained what he did to make the extracts.

She watched closely to make sure she would remember the ingredients and the process. It was only a few minutes of explanations, but she was able to understand it. The process itself is what took a while. Altogether, to make the extracts took a couple of hours. "This sounds easy enough," she hummed mostly to herself.

"You'd think so," he grumbled. "I had one guy about a year ago who managed to blow up three beakers and nearly kill us both because he couldn't just keep his eye on the temperature." He started to drum his fingers in irritation.

She looked up at him and then back at what he was doing. "I do not understand how you ended up with so many people that failed you," she frowned.

"Me either," he groaned. "I stopped letting Granny Chiyo choose my slaves." He poured a dark bourbon-like liquid into a dark bottle. "Does this smell close?" he asked her, passing her the bottle.

She picked up the bottle up and with a bit of hesitance, smelled the liquid inside. "Oh..." she said quietly, smelling it again. "It is...perfect..."

Sasori smirked, watching her breath it in. "Good to know," he said. "That will be yours then." He took it back from her and made the salt version of it for her. "The vanilla one will also be yours."

She smiled at him and bowed. "Thank you," she said. 'I should not trust how nice he is being right now,' she thought.

"Mhm," he smirked. "Go put them away and get dressed. We'll leave once I clean this up." He shooed her away.

She nodded and picked up the bottles, heading out of the workshop and to the bathroom. She approached the shelves he kept his oils and salts on and paused for a moment. "Is he nice enough to share a shelf with me?" she whispered to herself. She looked out the door and then back at the shelves. "I suppose it is worth the risk. The worst he can do is kill me." She started putting the bottles on the same shelf, but behind his own salts and oils.

Meanwhile, Sasori quickly cleaned up his mess and packed away all the instruments he had used. He breezed out to his room and quickly got dressed. But tonight he decided to wear something a little different than what he usually wore. It was a little fancier with a little more jewelry. He pulled part of his hair back and pinned it with a scorpion clip while his loose bangs hung stylishly in his face.

Azumi exited the bathroom moments later and got dressed in the white outfit that he told her would be her new daily outfit. She looked at him as he finished getting and noticed how fancy he was dressing. She wanted to say something about it but her breath got caught in her throat.

He turned to look at her and frowned. "Mmm, I should have specified," he mumbled to himself. "I want you to wear the red one and this," he said, taking out the golden body chain he had bought.

She looked at the body chain, immediately noticing the scorpion charm on it. 'If only it were a snake,' she thought. She could not deny that it was a beautiful piece of jewelry, however. She took the chain from him and then quickly changed into the red outfit then put the body chain on over it.

Sasori hummed softly. "Perfect," he purred. "Let's go. Komushi and Gaara are probably waiting for us at the shop by now," he said, walking ahead of her out of the house. They moved swiftly through the streets. Sasori's jewelry made soft tinkling sounds as he walked.

They approached the shop where Gaara and Komushi were waiting outside. "It's about time you showed up," Komushi groaned. "We thought you went without us."

"No, you thought that," Gaara said.

"Let's just get a move on," Komushi rolled his eyes. He pushed off of the wall, stretching hard.

Sasori zeroed in on the churros tucked into Gaara's arm. "It looks like you two already went." He reached for one without bothering to ask if he could even have one.

"And you look like you two are going to a party," Komushi smirked, looking at their almost matching outfits as they started to walk. "Red looks lovely on you," he winked at Azumi.

She gave him a small smile and a slight bow. "Thank you," she said to him. The walk to the market was quick just as it had been the last two nights. They made their way into the building and down to the underground. This was the last night, with more things to do so there were more people than the two previous nights combined. The number of people made Azumi very uncomfortable.

Komushi seemed to come alive, however. "It's performance night!" he roared over the din of people. "Oh, shit," Komushi whipped around to look at Sasori. "Are you—"

Sasori cut him off with a smirk and his finger pressed to his lips. "Let's just enjoy tonight shall we?" Sasori said airily, taking another churro from Gaara.

"You know," Gaara huffed. "These aren't for you."

Sasori turned his gaze to his cousin. "You brought my favorite treat and expect me to let her have it?" Sasori scoffed. "You can buy her more if you really must."

Gaara sighed and then looked at Azumi. "The stand isn't that far from here," he told her. "Would you like to go get more?"

Azumi smiled at him and then looked out at the crowd, her smile fading just a little. "I would," she said softly. "But will we even get through that?" she asked with a nervous chuckle.

Gaara glanced over at the crowd. "Milady wants churros," he grinned, taking her hand. "Komushi!" he called.

Komushi whipped around, somehow able to hear Gaara over all the people. "Yes?"

"Crowd control," was all Gaara had to say to him. Komushi's face darkened in pure mischief and he took off into the crowd.

"Crowd control? Seriously?" Sasori sighed, rubbing his face. "This is so gross."

"Crowd...control?" Azumi asked softly. She was a little afraid to even ask what it was. Within a couple of seconds, the large crowd before them started to disperse in a slight panic. "What...just happened?"

"You don't want to know," both redheads said in unison.

Sasori held a hand out in front of Azumi. "Don't go yet," he said softly. Komushi stood in the middle of the cleared pathway, grinning proudly. They waited for a minute before Sasori allowed them to walk forward. Gaara chuckled, taking her up to the churro stand.

"Milady," Komushi bowed low to her as she passed.

Sasori snarled but forced himself to relax as he walked up to his friend. He flicked Komushi's nose hard. "Stand up, you fool," he said, passing him. "She's still a slave."

Komushi smirked as he stood up straight. "Couldn't tell," he said. "Since you two arrived like a matching married couple." He walked ahead and went to the churro stand to order some for himself.

Sasori glared at him. "It's no wonder you're single," he grumbled, kicking Komushi hard in the shin.

Komushi hissed, closing his eyes and biting his lip hard. "Worth it and uncalled for," he groaned, rubbing the sore spot.

Gaara ordered some for Azumi and the stall owner threw in the icing for free. "Wow..." she whispered.

Gaara smiled fondly at her. "What happened today?" he asked, linking his arm with hers. "Neither of you were at the shop today."

"We spent the day making salts and oils," she told him, eating her churros happily. "He made a few of them for me to have. He has been...oddly nice," she hummed. "It is a little unnerving because it was just an instant switch."

Gaara's face softened, sadly watching her. "I'm sorry he's put you on edge like this." He ran a hand through his hair and sighed. "He's good at making people's heads spin."

"It was very confusing," she said. "He was hostile when we first got home..." She paused, remembering why. "Oh...he does not like us being close together," she said.

Gaara frowned. "You mean like right now?" He looks down at their linked arms. "I could feel the tension last night at the shop but..." he sighed, starting to disentangle them. "He didn't hurt you again, did he?"

"No...he did not hurt me," she said. "He just spoke to me...and then after that, he was nice. He made me try on the outfits he bought for me...then we—" She stopped herself, unsure if she wanted to admit to him that they danced together. "We...went to bed."

Gaara searched her eyes for a moment. "Okay," he said softly. "Should I keep my distance tonight then?" he asked her. Sasori did not seem to be too angry with either of them today but he had a feeling his cousin was planning something. He did not casually dress up and never with a slave. He looked ahead to find his cousin and Komushi when he noticed they had vanished. "Uh...he couldn't have been that angry. It looks like the abandoned us."

Azumi stopped and looked around as well, seeing no sign of either of them as well. "Huh..." she hummed. "He must have been dragged off by Lord Komushi to do something heinous," she said with a slight chuckle.

"I don't know if we should trust that," he laughed with her. "Not seeing them can be more dangerous than keeping them close by." They kept walking further into the throng of people. Gaara remembered suddenly that she did not like the crowd and started to pull her towards the less busy aisles. It was all books and stationery. Everyone around was much quieter as if they were afraid they would frighten the books. "Did Sasori say why he had you dress up?"

She shook her head. "He told me nothing. Last night he said the other outfit would be my daily outfit and when I got dressed in that, he told me to change into this. I learned to not question him."

"That's probably for the best," Gaara frowned. "Mm, but I'm still suspicious. He isn't acting like his usual self. Nothing about him has been normal since he bought you," Gaara said, stopping to pick up a thick tome and read the spine.

"So I am gathering," she hummed, running her finger along the spines of a couple of books. She noted the title of one and hummed. "The other servants in the house are surprised every morning that I am still alive."

"I...I don't know...It's putting me on edge," he admitted. "That's not to say I want you to get hurt but it has me feeling like this is building up to something more."

"Ugh, of course, you would drag her off to this dust pool of an aisle," Komushi's voice reached them before his arms did. He pushed his arms down Azumi's shoulders and pulled her close to his chest. "Sasori wants you," he said in her ear, grinning like a fox.

Azumi sighed a little, feeling Komushi on her...once again. "Where is he?" she asked him.

Komushi chuckled. "I'll take you to him," he smirked, taking her hand. "Brace yourself. You're going into the heart of the party," he warned her as he pulled her away from the calm little sanctuary Gaara had brought her to. As he pulled her, the music suddenly started to fill the air. Gaara followed after them as fast as he could through the mess of bodies.

Azumi stayed close to Komushi as he led her through the crowd. It was to a new area that had been closed off the last two nights. The area was almost like a theater, with a huge stage at the front. People were already gathering the seats. "Wow," she hummed, looking around.

"I love performance night," Komushi sighed contently. A band was setting up just in front of the stage while people flooded in around them, finding seats.

"But where is Sasori?" Gaara frowned.

"He's backstage," Komushi practically squealed, already walking toward the stage. "I never thought I'd see that day!" he said with a flair of drama and breathiness.

Gaara was taken aback. "He's never performed!" He shook his head. "Is he playing in the band or something?" Gaara did not want to think about exactly what his cousin was planning. He knew, though. It was all falling into place now.

"Oh, you'll see," Komushi smirked. "And it's going to be great!"

Azumi's brow furrowed. "I did not expect him to be in the performances," she hummed.

They went around the stage and to the back where Sasori was waiting for them. "Took you long enough," he said as they approached.

"You saw how crowded it was," Komushi rolled his eyes. "Calm yourself. We're here. When are you on?"

"In another two acts," Sasori smirked. He looked at Azumi and reached up to fix her hair. "Hope you're ready for this."

Her eyes widened. "Wait, what?" she breathed. It all started to make sense. He had an outfit made for her to perform.

Sasori smirked devilishly. He watched the information sink in and dawn in her face. "You're smart," he grinned. "I'm sure you can figure it out."

She frowned and then looked out at the stage. "I am not prepared for a performance," she said softly.

"You're dressed for one, aren't you?" Komushi smirked.

Sasori turned her face towards him in his usual manner and looked her hard in the eyes. "Your master knows best," he said with a smirk. "You can handle this."

Gaara bit his cheek, hearing Sasori call himself her master.

She frowned again and then closed her eyes, sighing heavily. "Alright," she said reluctantly. The first set of performers stepped off the stage.

"You two go find seats," Sasori told Gaara and Komushi. "There should be two reserved for you in the front."

Komushi nodded and gripped Gaara by the arm. Gaara looked at Azumi with worry. "Come on," Komushi smirked, pulling the younger man away. "She's not going off to war," he teased.

"Stay here," Sasori told Azumi once the other two were gone. He did not give her a chance to answer when he slipped off to speak with the conductor. There was no music needed for the second act so Sasori could take his time explaining everything he needed down to a T.

Azumi stood there, watching Sasori speak to the conductor. A very slight panic started to set in. 'A warning would have been nice,' she thought. 'I am in no way prepared for—' She cut her own thoughts off with a realization as she saw Sasori finish talking to the conductor. 'I cannot believe this.'

When Sasori finally sauntered back over to her his smirk was even wider. "Your face tells me you're putting the pieces together," he purred. "The music wasn't originally in the plan but I saw how badly you reacted to the crowd and did not want to take any risks." He rested a hand on his hip. "I like to be in control."

She frowned at him and sighed again. Of course, he liked to be in control. She looked back out onto the stage as the next performance ended. 'I suppose we should just get this over with,' she thought.

He pulled her close. So close that his lips nearly brushed hers when he spoke. "Just focus on me and the dance," he said softly, tucking a piece of her hair back. "Let it take you," he smirked.

The other performs left the stage and the band set up. The lights dipped and Sasori took her hand, guiding her onto the stage. She knew how big the crowd was and did not bother to look at them. It was not common for her to get stage fright, but because she had no idea she was going to perform, she only had it a little bit. She kept her eyes on Sasori as they stood in the middle of the stage. Like the night before when they danced in his room, he pulled her close. But this time the music was all around them rather than just in his head. He started to move his body slowly, never taking his eyes off of her as the music sunk into their bones.

She let him move her, following his lead just as easily as she did the night before. It took her a short moment to accept the situation, but once she did, she focused on his face and the music around them, getting lost in it just as he had said. It was much easier than she thought and the smallest smile appeared on her lips as they moved.

He smirked, feeling her finally start to relax. He spun her around and pressed their bodies together. This dance was almost even more intimate than the night before. He slid his hands down her arms, lacing their fingers together. "Show us what those snakes taught you," he whispered into her ear. The sound of the flute joined the instruments.

Immediately, her head started getting foggy and she moved with the music subconsciously. She lost control of her body as the flute got louder and completely took over the movement of her hips. It was much stronger than the night Sasori figured out she could be put into a trance and she could hardly get any clear thoughts through. There was not much she could do to fight it and before she could even try to, she had been put completely into a trance.

Sasori moved with her body, letting her lead. The crowd was completely hushed as they watched the pair move. Gaara curled his fingers into a tight fist, never taking his eyes off Azumi.

"Whoa," Komushi whispered, watching with wide eyes and an equally wide grin.

It was nearly three or four minutes of Azumi not having control of her own body and then the music slowed to a stop. As her head cleared, she heard the applause but did not know what it was for. She looked around at the crowd for a moment before taking a step back to stand next to Sasori.

Sasori could see her coming back to herself as they bowed. He led her off of the stage after a few more bows.

Gaara and Komushi were already waiting for them backstage. "That was amazing!" Komushi gushed. "You really move like a snake!" He pulled her into a hug. "Damn, Sasori, I didn't know you could move like that either!"

"Thank you," Azumi said softly before pulling away from Komushi. She rubbed her temple gently, feeling a small headache forming. It had been a long time since she had been put into a trance that strong.

"There's a lot that you don't know," Sasori smirked at his friend.

"Mm, you're right and I don't like it one bit," Komushi smirked. "Just means we need to hang out more." He followed Sasori off backstage after Azumi.

Gaara was waiting for her when she emerged. He was more than a little shocked that she and Sasori could be so intimate and move so fluidly together. "That...was amazing," he said with a slight rush to his voice.

"Was it?" she asked, feeling her headache subside a little bit. "Thank you." She bowed slightly. "I am not used to...not being prepared for a performance."

"You didn't look out of place or practice at all," he said with a smile. But it faded quickly. His brows furrowed. "Are you alright?" he asked softly. His hand reached out to gently take her arm but Sasori's knocked it away with a snap.

"Let's get you some tea," Sasori said, pulling her away from Gaara. "I'm sure you're dehydrated."

She let Sasori pull her along and frowned, looking around as the next performance went on stage. "You do not strike me as a performer," she told him softly. "I did not expect you to also be up there."

He did not answer her at first. He pulled her to a stall serving tea and ordered one for each of them. He handed her the beverage and took a sip of his own. "I'm not," he finally said. His voice was a little hoarse from the heat of the tea. "But we moved so well together last night. I thought it would be an interesting experience."

She nodded and took a small sip of her tea. "Well, it does go without saying that you are an excellent dancer," she told him. "It is not very often I get to dance with someone who is as skilled as you. And for you to not really perform, it was an honor to do that with you." She gave him a slight bow. "Thank you," she said softly.

He sipped his tea again. "As I said last night," he looked at her over his cup, "it's been a while since I've had a good dance partner." He finished off his cup of tea and returned the cup. "I don't like wasting someone's potential and you have a lot of it."

She hummed and the finished off her tea as well. "I understand," she nodded. She took a moment to look around as her headache went away completely. Most of the crowd was in the theater area watching the rest of the performances.

Komushi and Gaara walked up to them. "You rushed off for tea?" Komushi smirked.

Sasori rolled his eyes. "Her head hurt," he said plainly. "She needed hydration after all that work."

"I am fine now," she told them.

"Want to watch the other performances?" Komushi asked them. "They're not as great, though," he laughed.

"No," Sasori yawned. "I want to go to bed," Komushi's jaw dropped.

"You're so old," he pouted. He hooked his arms around Sasori's throat and hung onto him like he wanted a piggyback ride. "Fine, let's finish shopping then go home," he sighed. Gaara shook his head, watching Sasori elbow Komushi hard in the ribs as he started to trudge along with the man on his back.

Azumi watched them as they started walking and stood next to Gaara as they followed. "It has been a while since I have performed," she said quietly. "That was quite an experience."

"I didn't think my cousin was capable of getting on stage," Gaara said softly. His hand discreetly slipped down to catch hers and lace their fingers together. "You were incredible," he said. "Did it feel good to dance again?"

"It...did," she said. What she could remember of it felt nice. She was not sure if she wanted to admit that most of the performance was basically blocked from her mind since she had been put into a trance for it. "But I would have preferred to have been prepared for it."

"It's surprising Sasori didn't tell you about this at all," Gaara frowned. "But I'm glad you enjoyed it despite his sudden planning. It's just a testament to how amazing you are."

Gaara thought for a moment. "Maybe he wouldn't tell you something like this," he frowned. "He does just expect you to go along with his whims. I begrudgingly admit, though, he's always had a strong sense of someone's potential." Gaara rolled his eyes and smiled. "Don't tell him I said that."

"Tell him you said what?" she smirked at him. Gaara smiled at her as the caught up to Komushi and Sasori. She looked ahead at Sasori and Komushi as they walked through the aisles and bought the last of what they needed and other random things that they did not need.

"Get! OFF ME!" Sasori huffed, finally throwing Komushi off of his back.

Komushi stumbled back, nearly tumbling into Gaara and Azumi as he did. "Hey!" he pouted, twisting to avoid doing just that. "You almost made me hit the little snake and Gaara." Komushi shifted the bag in his hand.

Sasori looked at them and then at Komushi with a dead expression. "Almost. Which means everyone is fine and you should quit whining." He kept his voice monotone but they could all see the little smirk pulling at his lips. "Now, let's go because I'm tired and want a bath."

"Ugh, fine," Komushi groaned like a whiny child. They went around to a couple more stalls and then made their way out of the night market, beating the crowds that would form at the exit once it was truly over. "That was fun, though!" Komushi grinned as they made their way out into the night. "I can't wait for the next one!"

"I think I'd deem this a successful trip," Sasori agreed, breathing in the open night air.

Komushi turned back to grin at Azumi. "And how did you like your first night market experience?" he grinned, his eyes twinkling. "Did you have fun experiencing the wild and weird underbelly of shopping?"

She smiled at him and nodded. "I did. It was an amazing experience. I can definitely see why you get excited about it," she chuckled.

Komushi and Gaara beamed. Sasori said nothing as he walked ahead of them.

"And now we know you can dance!" Komushi nearly vibrated. "You have six months to get ready for next time," he grinned.

"Who said there would be a next time?" Sasori snapped over his shoulder.

"Why wouldn't there be?" Komushi whined.

"It was a one-time thing," Sasori told him.

Komushi pouted hard. "But you had an outfit made and you saw how captivated the crowd was!" he huffed. Sasori shooked his head, continuing to walk. "I swear! No one plays my heart harder than you, Sasori."

"Too bad he doesn't have one to play back," Gaara said lowly to Azumi. "Did you want to perform again?" he asked her.

"With preparation, I would not mind doing it again," she answered. "I will admit, it was quite fun."

"You hear that, Sasori!" Komushi said, walking backward next to Sasori. "She had fun!"

"Yes, but her opinion does not matter to me," Sasori said easily. "Of course she had fun. She knows how to dance. It does not mean I want to do it again."

Azumi frowned slightly, but she was not surprised at his response. She knew he was not much of a performer even though he would be an amazing one.

"Come on!" Komushi grinned. "Admit that you had fun! Because you sure looked like you did."

"I never said I didn't enjoy myself," Sasori said stiffly. He looks back at Azumi. "She is an amazing dance partner,"

"Dance with me!" Komushi grinned at Azumi.

Azumi paused for a moment and looked at him. "Um—"

"Don't subject her to having to teach you how to dance," Gaara said.

"You have two left feet," Sasori chuckled.

"And I'm pretty sure they were put on backward," Gaara smirked.

Komushi gasped. "I'm under attack!" he pouted. "Azumi, you wouldn't mind dancing with me, would you?" He turned to her with the largest eyes.

Azumi looked at him and smiled softly. She put her hand out for him to take. He took it and she spun herself into his other arm. She did not expect him to dip her but he did. "Hm," she hummed. "I could work with it.

Komushi grinned, pulling her back up and flush to his body. "See," he grinned, "we could dance!"

Sasori shook his head. "Let her go before you step on her feet and injure what's mine," he said as he pulled her away from Komushi.

Komushi sighed. "I have six months," he grinned. "I think I can wear you down."

"Good luck," Gaara smirked.

"You'll die of old age before you can convince me," Sasori said.

They made it to the shop and went inside to drop off everything that they bought. Azumi briefly tended to the snakes to make sure they were alright.

"Are they still shedding?" Gaara asked curiously, walking up next to her.

Komushi peeked over his shoulder. "Yes, how are Komushi one through six?" he grinned.

"Absolutely not!" Sasori said from the second level of the shop. "If we are naming them it will not be that!"

Azumi stifled a laugh as she sprayed the one snake that was still shedding. "Yes," she chuckled. "This one is still shedding. But it will be over soon. In another day or two." She looked at Komushi and smirked. "And there is no need to name them because they already have names."

All three men looked at her. "They do?" they asked.

"What are they?" Komushi grinned.

"All snakes, like humans, are named when they are born. I did not name them," she said to them. She reached into the first tank and took out the desert horned viper that arrived first. "This one is Ryuuga," she said. "He is actually quite aggressive when handled incorrectly." She placed the snake back in the tank and picked up the next snake. "This is a sidewinder and his name is Tatsuo. He does not really like to be touched." She placed the snake back down and picked up the third snake. "This is an inland taipan and his name is Kurou. He's the youngest one here." She moved over to the second tank and picked up the snake that was shedding. "This is Takumi and he is a night snake. He is only slightly older than Kurou." She placed Takumi back in the tank and picked up the next snake. "This is a regular rattlesnake and his name is Tatsuya. He actually makes sure that the way he moves in the sand leaves nice patterns."

"Oh, he's an artist," Komushi smirked.

"Something of the sort," Azumi chuckled, putting the rattlesnake back. "This last one is the oldest one here. His name is Seiji. He is the most docile one of the six."

"I'm not going to remember any of this," Komushi chuckled.

"I did not think you would," she smirked.

Sasori was writing down all of the information she just relayed above them.

"What an interesting thing to know," Gaara said softly. "You have your own culture and names," he smiled at the snakes. He was going to do his best to remember each other their names and be nicer to them.

"Do they all get along then?" Komushi asked her then looked back at the snakes.

"They do get along," Azumi hummed. "But the two youngest ones might rile up the others and there may be a fight every now and then. I can do my best to keep them in check when that happens."

"See to it that you do," Sasori nodded. "Will they respond if we use their names?" he asked.

"They do respond to their names," she nodded.

Sasori rounded the upper floor and descended the stairs. He pointed to each snake and rattled off their names quietly to himself. "I see," he hummed.

Komushi yawned loudly, leaning against one of the counters. "The sun is going to start rising soon which means it's time for bed," he said.

"You sound like a vampire," Gaara smirked.

"He is," Komushi said matter of factly, pointing at Sasori. "Have you seen the way he jumps from shady spot to shady spot when he leaves the house?" he laughed.

"You're right," Gaara smirked. "And there was a little bit of time when his room was dark all day and night."

"Do you remember the slave he forced to carry a shader everywhere?" Komushi cackled.

"When did this become about me?" Sasori asked, slightly irritated. "You're the one who said it's time for bed." Azumi put away the last of the items they brought and joined them at the door.

Komushi shrugged and yawned again. "I'll see you later," he grinned, opening his arms to hug Azumi. "Remember. You, me, dancing partners." He winked at her before turning on the ball of his foot to leave.

Sasori rolled his eyes and waited for Gaara and Azumi to step out of the shop before locking it up. "Be here before me tomorrow," he told Gaara. "I might be a little busy in the morning."

"Alright," Gaara nodded. "I'll run a new inventory with everything we just got."

Azumi smiled at him and gave him a slight bow. "Goodnight," she said.

Gaara bowed his head and smiled. "Goodnight." He turned on his foot before Sasori could say anything about his behavior towards her.

Sasori grumbled under his breath about how she was still a slave. "Let's go. I'm dead on my feet," he said, starting towards the house. Without a word, Azumi followed him.