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[fic] Politics

Title: Politics
Fandom: Naruto
Genre: gen, family (?), drama
Rating: PG 13 for strong language and sexual innuendo
Wordcount: 1676
Characters: Temari, Kankurou, Gaara, Okita (Wind Country daimyo, OC)
Summary: Temari's never been a diplomat, but Gaara sends her to the daimyo's council anyway, much to her dismay.  But Gaara has his reasons, and they're good ones.

Thanks to tonko_ni for help, and to oceanica for help and giving me the inspiration and the idea for the final scene in this thread. :D


Diplomacy had never been one of her strong points, Temari knew. Having trained since childhood for the male-dominated job of ninja, she had learnt at a young age to be as blunt and brash as her male peers, and nothing at all like the civilian girls in the public school. Sunagakure had never had enough kunoichi candidates to have the sex-specific classes in seduction and the like that Konohagakure had. She would have learnt some measure of diplomacy had those classes been offered.

This in mind, she wasn’t sure what Gaara had been thinking when he had sent her to the capital for the council with the lord of the country.

“You’ll be representing Suna at the daimyo’s council this year, Temari,” he’d said after accepting her most recent mission report. “You leave in two days for the capital.”

“What? Send Kankurou, not me, this is his thing – he’s better at the manipulating-people schtick than both of us, you know that,” she had protested.

“I need Kankurou here.”

“Oh... all right, all right. But I hate going to the capital.”

“I’m aware of that.”

She’d sighed. “It’s a good thing I love you, little brother.”

“Indeed.” The corner of Gaara’s mouth had twitched upwards, ever so slightly, and Temari hadn’t been able to suppress a smile of her own.

Now, kneeling at a low table and dressed in a stiff, formal kimono that she hated for how it restricted her movement, it was all she could to do to keep the polite, blank smile on her face as she dealt with the lord.

“Okita-sama, I don’t think you quite understand what I’m saying here. My village cannot sustain itself on the current budget even with more commissions from the capital.” Temari made a conscious effort to ease her grip on the fan in her hand before the wood could crack. The small fan was the closest she could come to bringing any sort of weaponry into the council chambers, and she didn’t want to break it on the first day. She’d feel even more naked without it.

Okita, a rather large and rotund man with a perpetually red face, accepted a sheet of paper from one of his advisers and skimmed it with calculating eyes. “I see that Suna is behind on its taxes, Temari-san.” His sneering emphasis on the honorific left her trying not to curl her lip, even as he continued to speak. “If your village were to pay what is owed, I could perhaps consider increasing your budget...”

“Without commissions—the commissions you keep sending to Konoha—we have no way of acquiring the capital to pay these taxes.”

“Surely you could take a loan out from another village—perhaps even Konoha. They are your allies, after all, my girl,” he said, condescension clear in his tone.

Temari resisted the urge to repeatedly hit her head on the council room table as everything went downhill from there.


    Dear Gaara,

    Okita is reluctant to increase our budget, as expected, and even though we met for hours today, nothing really got accomplished.  He wants us to pay the back taxes we owe, but doesn’t want to give us more missions to facilitate it.  He thinks we can just get a loan from Konoha or something, and doesn’t listen when I tell him it isn’t that easy.  We’re shinobi: we kill people, we don’t pull money out of our asses.

    He’s a moron, and his advisors are just as dense.

    Oh, by the way, fuck you with something hard and sandpaper-y for making me do this.

    Love,

    Temari



The second day of the budget discussions didn’t go much better than the first, much to Temari’s dismay.

“Temari-san, I can’t see why we should send our business to your village instead of to Konoha.  Frankly, it’s cheaper to send our commissions to them.  However, if the Kazekage were to begin charging the same as or less than Konoha for equivalent work, I’m sure I would be able to send more commissions to Suna.”

“We charge more because we get less business, and need to make up the deficit.  The economy of our village has an effect on the country’s economy as a whole – especially considering that Suna is the most heavily taxed city in the country,” Temari said earnestly, fingers tightening on the small fan.  She wanted her fan.

“The port cities have much higher taxes than your village, my dear, so I don’t know what point you think you’re making.”  Okita waved a hand dismissively.

Temari hissed quietly through her clenched teeth.  “The port cities have a tourist industry and a high transient population – something Suna lacks entirely due to the very nature of its existence as what is essentially a military base – and higher populations.  Per capita, Suna is the most heavily taxed city in this country.”

“Now, now,” Okita said, hands raised in a placating gesture, “there’s no need to get upset, sweetheart—”

“Okita-sama,” Temari interrupted, “let me explain this in very simple terms.  We, as a village, need money to support ourselves because we have no agriculture and no way to provide for ourselves due to our location.  We are part of this country’s military force.  If you do not want to increase our funding, that’s fine, but don’t expect us to have any personnel to spare for support next time the country is attacked if we have to send out everyone available on missions for the income required to keep our village alive.”

Okita paled slightly, then cleared his throat and regained his composure.  “Your village leader wouldn’t be so foolish as to ignore a request for back-up from his lord, I should hope.  Suna is loyal to me.”

Temari stood abruptly, slamming her hands down on the table as she did so.  “Suna is loyal to its Kazekage, my brother, not you, Okita-sama."


Tem Dear Temari,

        How are you?  I hope this letter finds you mission ready well.  It is hot and dry here, as usual, and we are expecting a sandstorm in the next day or two.  I have been guarding taking care of your plants; the spider plant was approximately one-third drier than the recommended soil dampness, so I added fifteen millilitres of water to achieve the recommended levels.

        Okita is a civilian stubborn man, but I know that you will be able to convince him that your statements are accurate, and that the village does need this budget increase to keep functioning at optimum efficiency.  I have confidence in you.

Gaa Your brother,

        Gaara



        Hey Temari,

        Gaara’s been reading all those old etiquette books again; he’s trying to figure out how to be less socially retarded, I guess.  I told him to just write like he was talking to you, but somehow I don’t think he did, not with the amount of time he spent writing that little note.  What’d we do to deserve a weird little brother like him, anyways?

        I’m joking, I’m joking.  Please don’t hurt me when you get back.

        At any rate, Okita’s an elitist bastard, and an idiot, but I bet you figured that out already.  I’ve never had any luck with him – he’d pretend like he was listening to me, then just turn around and send me off with the same budget as before.  I hope you have better luck than I did, sis.

        Love ya,

        Kankurou




“Doesn’t the Kazekage usually send his brother, Kankurou-san, as his representative to this council?”  Okita asked as they returned from their lunch break on the third day of negotiations, Temari’s fourth day in the capital.

Temari blinked, taken aback, and then nodded.  “Yes, my brother Kankurou is usually the one sent, but Gaa–” she paused and corrected herself, “Kazekage-sama had another task for him, so he sent me instead.”

“That’s unfortunate.”

Temari gritted her teeth and made her tone as syrupy-sweet as she could manage with her growing irritation.  “I realise you’re more used to discussing this with Kankurou, Okita-sama, but it really couldn’t be avoided.  I’m sorry if this has caused you some sort of inconvenience—”

“It’d just be nice to have someone who knows what they’re talking about,” he interrupted.

“...Pardon?”

“You’re a girl,” Okita said, as if he was explaining something very obvious to a very small child.

“I am,” Temari bit out sharply, her hand tightening on her fan, “a jounin of Sunagakure; you would do well to remember that.  My sex has nothing to do with these discussions.”

Okita shook his head.  “Not so.  Everyone knows that females have no place in discussions of finances.  I’m quite certain that the ‘skills’ that got you your rank have nothing to do with actual prowess as a warrior,” he added with derision.  “It’s hardly worth my time to talk to a slip of a girl like you about such matters as these.”

Temari twitched, and the wood of the fan in her grasp splintered.



“Hey, Gaara, what’s that?” Kankurou asked as he entered his brother’s office.

Gaara sat at his desk, a faintly amused expression on his face as he read over the papers in his hands.

“It’s Temari’s last missive before she comes home.”

“Oh yeah?” Kankurou crossed the room to peer over Gaara’s shoulder.  “How’d things go?”

“She got the village the budget increase we’ve been after.”

“How’d she manage that?  Even I couldn’t get that oaf to agree with me when I went the last couple years.”

“I know,” Gaara replied as he pulled something out of the small stack of papers and handed it to Kankurou.

It was a photo of what had been a beautiful, opulent mansion, but was now severely damaged, and the front garden had been ripped to shreds.  The attached headline read “Freak Windstorm Damages Daimyo’s Home, Cause Unknown.”  At the bottom of the clipping, in a surprisingly big space unmarred by newspaper ink, there was something written in Temari’s distinctive scrawl.


Dear Gaara,
Bastard totally deserved it.  You ever send me here again, I’ll kill you.
Or something.
Love,

                Temari

Comments

( 14 splashes of ink — splash some ink )
atom0001
Feb. 20th, 2008 02:07 am (UTC)
lol. I loved it. Extremely fun to read.
inkntendinitis
Feb. 20th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC)
Wow, that was fast! XD

Haha, I'm glad you liked it. ^_^ Were the font changes too hard to read?
atom0001
Feb. 20th, 2008 02:12 am (UTC)
Not so much. Kankuro's was a little difficult. I also couldn't imagine his writing to be so neat and fancy, but then again he is proficient with his hands.
inkntendinitis
Feb. 20th, 2008 02:35 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's what I was thinking. I figure anyone that dexterous could have decent handwriting. ^^;;
atom0001
Feb. 20th, 2008 12:21 pm (UTC)
It just doesn't seem his style. Ah... it makes sense.
caitlin_chan
Feb. 20th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
Ah, well, I was also working within the bounds of my limited amount of readable-when-not-massive fonts. XD
atom0001
Feb. 20th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
On a side note, you just used the code to change the fonts to format like that, correct?

How did you decide on the fonts?
caitlin_chan
Feb. 20th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
Actually, I had them changed in Word and just copy-pasted right from there. I have no idea of the HTML code for those fonts, haha.

I just went through my list and picked ones that were legible, and as close to what I had pictured mentally as possible. Kankurou's isn't quite what I had wanted, actually, but it's the closest I could come and have it be legible without it being twice the size of the rest of the text.
atom0001
Feb. 20th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC)
Ah... Rich Text format is a lifesaver.

How did you decide on Temari's?
caitlin_chan
Feb. 20th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
Just scrolled down the list looking for one that made me think of Temari. XDD Nothing scientific about it, really. XD
tonko
Feb. 20th, 2008 03:19 am (UTC)
\o/

The last letter makes me LOL especially here, with the font contrast.
caitlin_chan
Feb. 20th, 2008 03:32 am (UTC)
^___^

Thanks for your help. :D
doryishness
Feb. 22nd, 2008 01:03 am (UTC)
I love this story! Temari's attitude was awesome, and I was absouletely in love and hysterics with the letters xD

Only thing I have to say, is that I personally think Tem's and Kanky's handwriting would be switched. And Tem's handwriting was a little hard to read, but that could just be on my computer.


AWESOME fic. Congradulations on another fabulous job! <3
caitlin_chan
Feb. 22nd, 2008 01:45 am (UTC)
Haha, I'm glad you liked it. ^_^

Temari's handwriting was meant to be hard to read - I used "scrawl" as a descriptor of her writing on purpose. XD

<3!!!
( 14 splashes of ink — splash some ink )