The heat shimmering on the horizon wasn't anything the pair of guards stationed at the gates weren't used to. What had struck their attention was the slender dark blot outlined by those distorted waves, slightly misshapen. The gate had been closed almost immediately, and reinforced with an additional pair of guards. As the shape came closer, slowly trodding through the soft sand, the gathered Suna-nin moved out to greet it, pausing once they realized that the individual calmly approaching their closed gate wore a black and blue half mask in the style of a Fox. Slight of build, a short, ethereal female with dark hair. Her bodysuit was ripped open in the front, threatening to reveal the very bottom of pink nipples and showing pale, sweat-slick skin down below the navel, but each of the four froze when they could easily see her, walking steadily with two young men in her arms, one across her right shoulder and the other held against her left hip. She came to a stop, herself, a few meters from the gathered welcoming entourage, chest rising and falling steadily - but the girl was obviously fatigued and dirty, despite her cool, clear blue eyes staring out from behind the mask.
"...what business does the Fox have at Sunagakure no Sato's gates?" the Bedouin-wrapped, tanned ninja who was the largest of the quartet finally asked after three minutes of the standoff.
"I've brought your cub,"
came her smooth, not at all exhausted-sounding voice, kneeling and laying Shingen's unconscious form on the sand below. She stepped back, nodding toward the blonde boy, then the large Suna-nin. "I have a message for whomever is in charge while the Kazekage is away,"
she continued as one of the men moved forward to gather him, looking at the Tiger in the sand as though he were a time bomb, and the Fox as though she would at any moment grow a second head and start flying. They paused then, and looked first to one another, and then to the Fox once more. "Our villages are allied,"
she continued, eyes narrowing slightly. "I otherwise wouldn't be here."
The words hung in the air for a long moment, letting the implication sink in. Her weight shifted, and she adjusted Shouri on her shoulder, moving him to a slightly more comfortable position.
One of the guards was chosen - likely the most junior among them - to run back to the gates. He was allowed to climb up and over the wall, where a brief conversation took place, and the Fox knelt, glancing over at the large male, who had come forward to take Shingen. "He is in a coma. I'll bring him out of it - he won't awaken until his body's healed its fatigue,"
she continued, placing her free hand upon Shingen's softly rising and falling chest. Her palm glowed briefly, and his breathing picked up for a moment before it fell again. "You can take him, now,"
she stated, backing away a step once more as she rose from the kneeling position.
He moved to do so, and a tall, rather regal man appeared at the top of the wall. Wearing the robes of office temporarily, the exceptionally looming male disappeared into the guard house, then the gate opened, allowing him to walk through and make his way to the four ninja and the unconscious boy on the ground. Red hair and an excess of height - this was likely one of the clansmen of the Kazekage. "They told me the Fox was here...I admit I did not believe it. I am Chikamatsu Keitaro, and I am handling affairs for Sunagakure no Sato while Kazekage-sama is attending the Chuunin Exams," he started, and a general feeling of relief seemed to move through the other gathered guards as the larger of them hefted Shingen. "...I was told you had a message?"
"Tell the Kazekage that the next time this boy attacks me, I'll kill him. You've been warned,"
she said, turning and beginning to walk away.
"Wait! You came all this way just to threaten us?!" Keitaro cried after her. He was sort of offended.
All that was left were footprints on the sand.
_________________We are not brave
We are not wise
We stand at the end of the longest lines
But we stand here all together
We have been damned
We have survived
We came back to homes we don't recognize
But we return here all together