Author: asteriskjam PM
Konoha’s four beloved geniuses were not necessarily hardworking or sociable or humble or patient. But kami, weren’t they supposed to be brilliant? :SasuSaku, NejiSaku: :Shikamaru, Sakura friendship:Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Romance - Sakura H. & Neji H. - Words: 5,384 - Reviews: 210 - Favs: 763 - Follows: 66 - Published: 10-15-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4598460
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: WOW, first submission in hella long. Did anyone watch the fourth Naruto movie? None of my beloved asshole Sasuke, but NEJI. AHHHHH. Did any of you other NejiSaku fans -squeal- when he -- her when she -- from the --?! (No spoilers! XD) Heehee. This idea's been in my Plot Bunny Document for who knows how long but I've only recently decided to put it into writing.
On another note, Shikamaru's always been one of my favorite characters and ShikaIno's -super- cute.
So, yeah. ENJOY!
Never let a fool kiss you and never let a kiss fool you.
They were supposed to be the smartest shinobi in Konoha.
Naturally, they excelled in different areas of intelligence. Each individual was categorized under a distinct strain of genius. Shikamaru's was a more literal intellect—he was an unbelievably quick thinker and the perfect strategist. Neji was the born leader—apt at making fast decisions and in delegating appropriate tasks. Sasuke was the motion genius—his actions were precise, graceful, and always, always accurate. And Sakura was all book smarts and intuition—she was already rather well read on most subjects and had always been a quick learner.
It was in their differences that they were supposed to meet and mix and become something that was stronger, smarter, greater than themselves. They were supposed to fill the holes in each other's minimal shortcomings and they were supposed to be flawless.
They were supposed to be a dream team.
Well, here they stood, Konohagakure's four beloved geniuses, two covered in injuries, the other two half naked, all of them dripping river water on her newly upholstered carpet, the self-proclaimed team leader grim and gripping at what looked like a bill for extensive property damage.
Tsunade exhaled a labored sigh, already recognizing the beginnings of a migraine coming on. (Weird, because these types of headaches only occurred preceding news of utter idiocy.)
Neji, ever the responsible team captain, stepped up first. He cleared his throat, "The mission itself had gone off without a hitch." The Godaime raised a brow, idly wondering if he expected her to be impressed. She looked at the usually pokerfaced Hyuuga with calculating eyes, and deemed that, at the moment, he was uncharacteristically fazed.
By what, she didn't know. But she was certainly interested.
He said in a controlled voice, "It had happened after the mission."
The Hokage's eyes flitted over to the more-irritated-than-normal Sasuke, the almost embarrassed Shikamaru, and the peculiar mix of anger and shame that turned Sakura's cheeks red.
Surely it wasn't anything personal.
"Shizune. Leave for a bit. I'll talk to these morons alone." She murmured to her assistant, "Close the door on your way out."
The black-haired female blinked before nodding and rushing out of the room.
"Go on." She said firmly, looking at the eldest of the four.
He hesitated before replying in an almost incensed manner, "It was really more of the Uchiha's doing than anything—"
Tsunade looked incredulous—it wasn't often that Neji ever placed blame on any one single individual; and if he did, said blame was usually aimed at himself.
"Bullshit," the Uchiha survivor seethed, glaring at the older shinobi, "Nara was clearly the start of the entire fucking problem."
"Language, Uchiha." Warned the Godaime before turning expectantly to the lazy genius for a retort.
"Don't make this more troublesome than it already is…" He muttered.
"Shikamaru didn't do anything, shishou." Piped in her protégé with determination fixed on her expression, "Me and Shikamaru were doing what we could in self defense. These two were the ones involved in the actual fighting."
Sasuke glared over at the lone girl, "We wouldn't have to fight if you weren't so god damn, annoying."
"Annoying?!" gasped Sakura, her eyebrows furrowing angrily, "You're the insufferable jerk who had to start something with this equally insufferable bastard over who knows what—"
"Mind your own business, Sakura." Neji cut in, growing increasingly annoyed. "If the Uchiha wanted me to defeat him, that's of his own volition."
"White-eyed asshole—!" the Uchiha growled menacingly.
Before things could get too out of hand, Sakura immediately wedged herself between them, "See, shishou! It's these idiots and their overbearing egos that are to blame! Shikamaru and I were innocent bystanders!"
Tsunade glanced between the furious Sasuke and the livid Neji, still recuperating from their latest battle and yet still as willing to violently maim the other; the huffing, irritated, blushing, nearly half naked Sakura between them who couldn't seem to decide which expression it was appropriate to don at the moment—embarrassment or rage; and the shirtless Shikamaru who was trying not to get involved, muttering something about trivial matters in his quiet corner.
There was no way Shikamaru and Sakura had been 'innocent bystanders'.
Obviously something had occurred.
And for these usually composed, mature, brilliant shinobi to be so obviously upset, it had to be personal.
"Enough." Tsunade murmured with enough conviction to be a plausible threat. She turned to Shikamaru, "Seeing as how you are the only one who can deliver the story objectively, I'd like you to tell the whole thing, Shikamaru."
He sighed, muttering something like, "So troublesome…" under his breath.
And he started from the beginning.
It was a relatively simple mission. An A-class infiltration of an underground Mist Clan, which was, according to outside sources, planning to undermine Konoha in the foreseeable future. The team was called to action and had carried out the assignment exceptionally.
It was afterward, on the two-day return to the village; more specifically, it had been the night before their official arrival that the entire fiasco had begun.
"Finished!" Sighed a happy Sakura as she healed the last of the boys' injuries.
She stepped back to admire her work, remembering how scratches and wounds had just adorned their now flawless appearances. "Now we all get to go home as attractive as when we had left!"
Shikamaru muttered something under his breath.
The pink-haired kunoichi huffed, "Wouldn't you guys like to say anything to me?"
Her knuckles cracked in warning.
Simultaneously deadpan, "Thank you, Sakura."
And she laughed, "You guys are so unenthusiastic." The girl smiled sweetly, packing up all her medical items. "We should be happy. We're finally going back home after three months of meticulous information gathering, those mind-numbing stakeouts, and sleeping in the dirt!"
She did a little, frivolous cheer and the boys tried to refrain from telling her how ridiculous she was.
Key word, tried.
"Idiot." Sasuke muttered.
She turned sharp sea foam eyes upon him, "You know, Sasuke, sometimes I forget why I'd loved you all those years ago." She mock-laughed, "It's those charming little nicknames! Idiot. Moron. Twit. And suddenly it all comes rushing back to me!" She grit her teeth, "You really know how to flatter a girl."
And he smirked, "Annoying."
"You--!" Her grip was tight and he had that look on his face; that amused little turn of the lips that always appeared whenever he managed to rile her up. She forced her nerves calm, "—will never get laid, you bitter, bitter virgin."
The smirk was off and suddenly he was at a loss for words.
Neji and Shikamaru did not even attempt to mask their amusement.
If she hadn't been so trusting in her own vision and her familiarity with Sasuke's character, she would've sworn that the subtle red brushing over the apples of his pale cheeks was a trick of the campfire light.
"Whatever," Sakura cut in, unfazed by Sasuke's temper flare. She sighed, melodramatically, "You guys don't understand women."
"Tomorrow, we'll be all laying in warm, soft beds. We'll be able to eat food that doesn't contain the word 'instant' on the label. How can that not appeal to any of you?"
Shikamaru raised his hand, "I am looking forward to the bed."
Sakura grinned, "Whoo! Kudos to you, Shikamaru!" She high-fived him, "I'm glad to know that I have a fellow human being on the team, not an emotionless robot."
"We are shinobi." Cut in Neji, succinctly, "Material comforts should no more affect our opinions than they do our performances."
She sighed, shooting the elder boy a deadpan stare, "Neji, why must you be so disagreeable?"
He replied with a stern look.
She was suddenly behind him, but the alarm only set in when he felt her fingers in his hair, "What the hell are you doing--?"
"Wow! You're hair's so silky!" She stroked the chocolate strands between her fingers and tsked, "You hair's way prettier than mine!"
Sasuke and Shikamaru were snickering and his male ego was being effectively cut to ribbons.
"What kind of conditioner do you use?"
He glared at her, a slight heat on his cheeks, twisting this way and that, "Don't touch me."
But she effectively held him down by his hair, "Quit fidgeting you big baby. Here," She tied his hair into a loose ponytail and threw it over his shoulder. The next thing he knew, her small, delicate hands were on his shoulders and she was gripping and kneading them with the perfect amount of pressure, "You're really tense, Nej. Relax."
"It's ok." She smiled, "I've been studying up on physical therapy and all that jazz. Feels good, hm?"
All three boys had varying degrees of shock scrawled all over their faces. Shikamaru's was a kind of amused, understated type of surprise. Sasuke's was more of the stunned that was quickly followed up by dashes of irrational irritation. And Neji's was plain befuddlement. He could not come up with a witty retort—not when her graceful hands were working out the kinks in his back, when her touch was easing into his very core—
"Enough." Sasuke's sharp scoff suddenly penetrated the stillness, "And here I thought we were all mature, professional individuals."
Neji turned to him with piercing eyes. The Uchiha could say whatever the hell he wanted about anything else, but no one insulted his efficiency and his degree of professionalism, "What was that?"
Shikamaru sighed from his spot, feeling the stirrings of imminent conflict in the air.
He shook his head, his teeth gritting in a forced smirk, "Just wasn't aware we could engage in such public displays of affection with fellow teammates."
"Sasuke--!" Sakura stood, her expression a mix of worry and irritation.
Neji glowered, sneering, "Well, you're welcome to Shikamaru, if that's what you're insinuating."
"Oi." Shikamaru piped.
"You're one to talk, you silky haired prick." Sasuke muttered, eyes dark.
Before Neji could retort, Sakura leapt into action, "Hyuuga. Uchiha. Quit it." She huffed, ignoring the way the men looked icily at her, "Quit waging this war. I don't understand why you guys are at each other's throats all of a sudden, when just a few days ago you were moving so fluidly."
"Stay out of it." The Hyuuga grumbled.
The pink haired girl stood, frustration staining her cheeks a bright red. "You guys are incredibly pig-headed, you know that?"
"How is it that we all work so well together one day, and the next, I can hardly stand either of you!"
She stood abruptly, "I'm going to…to get some water!"
She left in a flurry of spiking chakra, and the boys struggled with the instantaneous desires to go after her and to roll their eyes at her melodramatic behavior.
"You two aren't scoring any points with her, you know?" Shikamaru commented idly.
The other two shinobi looked to him harshly.
The tactical genius sighed, "Uchiha, she may have been in love with you once, but that doesn't mean she's going to stumble all over your insults now that she's changed."
He turned lazy eyes to the other so-called 'prodigy', "Hyuuga, you may have been her 'superior' on countless missions, but that hardly qualifies you to disregard her opinions."
Shikamaru looked at the both of them with characteristic apathetic expression, "Sure, she's your personal medic, but that doesn't mean she's yours. And you guys aren't exactly winning her over by thinking that way."
Sasuke glared at the strategist, "Like you know her so well."
He shrugged, "I like to play Shogi. She likes to talk. We compromise."
"…Why would I have feelings for that walking irritation?" Sasuke mumbled, mostly to himself.
"I don't like that violent kunoichi." Neji insisted, quietly.
"…you guys are really troublesome." Shikamaru sighed.
There was a moment of silence before both men stood up abruptly.
An intenseness, something akin to lightning, sparked between them.
"I'll go." Sasuke stated, resolutely.
"I need to speak with her." Neji persisted.
Another flash of fury, and Shikamaru sighed, sluggishly lifting his body from its sitting position, "I'll do it. Wouldn't want to see either of you, after Sakura pummels you into submission."
He was gone before either of the two could get a word in.
They sat upon the ground, huffing and attempting to busy themselves with menial tasks.
"You like her." The Hyuuga unexpectedly spoke like a statement, not a question. He let out a short haughty snort, "A little too late, don't you think?"
Sasuke threw him a cool look, and ignored the other man's comments completely, "No wonder you let her touch you so familiarly."
"Jealous?" Neji smirked.
Sasuke glowered, "Hardly."
"Right. You don't like her but you react violently when other men so much as look at her."
He snorted, "Which team captain assigned her so often on 'guard duty' that she scarcely saw any action?"
"You know very well that it's critical for the team medic to remain as unscathed as possible." He defended, bitingly.
They turned away from each other, seething.
The other two came back soon enough.
Sakura's mood had apparently returned to its witty, cheerful default. Shikamaru was rubbing the back of his head in his usual lethargy. Neji and Sasuke were silent and keeping to themselves.
"Hey guys." She greeted, patting them on the head as she passed.
They looked up at her, alarmed and aggravated at the same time (two of the deadliest jounin in Konoha and head-patting did not mix).
"Just wanted to let you know, I've forgiven you." The pink haired kunoichi grinned gently at them, "That's just the way you two are and if we're going to be friends, I need to work some more patience into my system."
"However," She threw both boys a pleading look, "You care about me, right?"
Neji and Sasuke couldn't meet her gaze, afraid that as a medical ninja, she would be able to pick up on the way their heart rates suddenly sped up.
"Well then, I'd appreciate if you could keep your disagreements to a minimum. We're almost at Konoha and after the brief report to Tsunade-shishou, you two won't have anything to do with each other until the next lovely mission."
She spread out the blanket in her pack, "Now if you'll excuse me," and promptly collapsed into it, "I've exhausted myself trying to keep up with you three geniuses." She waved her hand in a flippant gesture, "I bid thee gentlemen a good night!"
The next morning, the four ninja rose nice and early so they could make good time, traversing the 1245 miles to the Leaf Village.
They traveled in surprisingly companionable silence until a few hours in, when the lone female paused at a tree.
"Please don't tell me you're tired, Sakura." The captain said, as the rest of the team came to a stop.
"I'm not." She rolled her eyes, kind of affronted. Sakura pulled some money out of her pack and grinned, "I would just like to suggest a break. On me."
Before Neji could refuse, she quickly hopped over to the branch he was standing on, and said, "Come on, Neji. Please. We're making excellent time as it is. We've been together for three months and this is our last day as a full-fledged team." She looked up at him with sparkling green eyes, "Surely we can spare an hour to eat brunch. My treat."
He couldn't look her straight in the eye, what with her gazing so imploringly up at him. He could only manage a feeble glare.
She pointed suddenly over at Sasuke, "Mm, Sasuke's been there!" She quickly looked to the Uchiha and bit her lip, "Remember Sasuke? We were twelve. That one mission at the Sand Village with the giant scorpions? We stopped by this little village to restock on supplies and we ended up eating at a restaurant there?"
He did vaguely remember such an occasion, but did they really have to stop for a meal…?
Sakura's eyes were wide and she licked her lips in anticipation.
"…It's along the way." Sasuke muttered, even though he couldn't remember it actually being so.
When she winked at him, he could only turn away, repeatedly grumbling 'annoying, annoying, annoying' under his breath.
The elder shinobi sighed, thought it over, and then reluctantly nodded.
She smiled so widely, he casually entertained the thought that she was trying to blind him, "Thanks Nej!" He attempted to drill into his brain that he blamed her persuasiveness for his compliance, and not the way she looked at him.
As the pink-haired girl rushed to the front of the group, she called happily over her shoulder, "Ok, that settles it! Follow me!"
In the back, Shikamaru was shaking his head in an amused manner, mouthing one word.
The restaurant was set up like a diner, with several little booths and a long counter near the kitchen. To avoid the silent bickering he knew would take place over seating arrangements if they chose a booth, Shikamaru wisely insisted on the bar so Neji could sit at Sakura's right and Sasuke, at Sakura's left. They were content and thus, silent. (He was glad that they hadn't even considered their feelings during the mission, because seriously, this kind of constant vigilance was especially troublesome.)
Neji ate his French toast in silence. Sasuke stewed over his tomato soup and grilled cheese. Shikamaru cut up his omelet and Sakura happily chewed her chocolate chip pancakes.
And besides the daunting waves Neji and Sasuke were emitting at the waiter who'd had the gall to make eyes at Sakura, it was actually looking to be like a peaceful brunch.
Even small talk was relatively civil.
Sakura naturally did most of the talking and the boys offered grunts and noncommittal shrugs and short comments in reply. (She did not take offense because after three months she was accustomed to their group dynamic.)
Shikamaru sighed—she just had to run her mouth about relationships.
The pink-haired girl collapsed upon the marble counter in an exaggerated manner. She chuckled almost bitterly, "I really need a boyfriend." She did not notice the way men at her sides stiffened. "It's been such a long time since I've been on a date…"
Her teammates tensed.
She turned sparkly green eyes to her left, an equally sparkly smile on her pink lips, "Sasuke-kun…"
Neji looked kind of horrified.
The Uchiha focused most of his energy into keeping the blood out of his cheeks and into regulating his heartbeat. "…What?" He choked.
She grinned, "Would you mind…" His brows furrowed in anticipation, "introducing me to one of your ANBU friends?"
If this were a cartoon Shikamaru was sure he would have face-faulted
"What?" She frowned with the sudden sharpness in his voice.
Sasuke's tone was rough, "No. Why would I do that?"
The girl narrowed her eyes at him, "Because we're friends and friends do nice things for each other." She restrained the building urge to call him an asshole and promptly turned to the other shinobi at her side, "What about you, Nej? Any potential hotties you'd like to set me up with?"
Neji rolled his eyes, "I refuse." He turned to the meal before him with stubborn eyes, "Besides, most of the guys probably wouldn't go for you anyway."
She twitched. "And what is that supposed to mean?"
Shikamaru grumbled from the Hyuuga's right, "Nothing, Sakura. Let it go."
"No!" She glared, gripping her glass of milk with unnecessary force, "The Hyuuga obviously has something to say. So say it."
He turned cool white eyes on her, ignoring the way her anger was making him distinctly uncomfortable. He'd meant that if Shikamaru could pick up on his and Sasuke's territorial dispositions, the other shinobi probably could too. Of course, he wasn't about to tell her that so he made something up, "They all know of your famous temper and your violent tendencies."
Sakura bit her lip, heart clenching, cheeks exploding with bright crimson. She spun in her chair to look at Sasuke, "Is that what you think?"
Even with his emotional impediments, Sasuke could tell Sakura was upset. But thanks to said emotional impediments, he did no know how to respond properly. On the side, Shikamaru was shaking his head as Sasuke unknowingly delivered the final blow. He shrugged, "It's…un-cute."
The glass in her hand shattered into a million pieces, and the guys looked on in alarm.
"Assholes." Was all she muttered as she left the room in an obvious huff, a dangerous aura keeping passerby wisely away.
Shikamaru stood, muttering his trademark "troublesome" under his breath. He gave his somewhat bewildered teammates an unimpressed look, "You both need to seriously think before you speak to her."
And he was gone.
Sasuke and Neji stared hard at the counter before them before turning to each other.
"Why did have to say that?" Sasuke bit.
"You're the one who called her un-cute." Neji muttered harshly.
"You were the first to call her those unnecessary things."
"Well, you lied to her face."
The other customers could feel the swirling energy, the raw chakra that was spiking and clashing between the intimidating individuals. They wisely and hurriedly left.
"You insulted her character."
"What the hell. Like calling her unattractive wasn't insulting her appearance."
"Damn it, she asked if you could set her up. You just had to say no, moron."
"Maybe I didn't want to give such an apparent brush off."
They stood abruptly, the power between them growing in ferocity every second.
"Shut up, bastard. Get off your fucking high horse." Sasuke growled.
"I've had enough of your attitude, fucking traitor." Neji mocked.
They immediately got into fighting stances, the rage making the fact that they were at a public restaurant disappear.
"…You don't deserve her." He muttered darkly, his black eyes turning blood red with the Sharingan.
"…She wouldn't stoop so low as to be with you." He said callously, Byakugan activating in kind.
The next words were unspoken but their eyes conveyed volumes.
'She loved me first.'
'What counts is who she loves last.'
And the battle began.
"You can't be serious." Giggled Sakura, taking in her friend's embarrassed appearance.
"And you are a considerate friend. Thank you for laughing at me." Muttered Shikamaru as he combed a hand through his hair.
Shikamaru had come after her and had found her wading in the nearby river, in her sports bra and biking shorts. She'd explained stiffly that being in water eased her nerves and after he'd overcome his initial discomfiture, he had surprised her with his relationship problem. (Or lack there of.) She was so extremely delighted with his admission and the fact he'd gone to her for help that the fury she'd felt at the other two blockheads had evaporated.
She rose out of the water, and sat herself next to him.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" She smiled, "That's just too cute."
"I'm glad you find my predicament so appealing."
"No! Really, I'm just happy for you!" Sakura's expression softened, "It's great that you like Ino so much." She looked at Shikamaru, her pink lips upturned at a corner, "She's a lucky girl."
Shikamaru rolled his eyes, "Seriously, Sakura. That charm of yours will spell the end of emotionless shinobi everywhere." He gave her a mock-serious look, "Don't you know how long it takes to be build up enough apathy to be as indifferent as those two?"
She laughed, "They've been working at it since childhood, I believe."
"And you're easily undoing their hard work with a touch and a smile."
She shook her head, "What are you talking about? They're as uncaring and as unpleasant as ever."
He shrugged, "I think you have to be the outside party to realize these things."
Sakura looked at him weirdly before going, "Whatever, let's not talk about them." She sighed dreamily, "Let's discuss how you're going to confess to Ino."
The tactician grumbled, blushing lightly. "So troublesome."
"Okay, so I'll pretend to be Ino." She flipped her hair and laughed as flirtatiously as she could, "Shikamaru! Why'd you call me out here? The humidity's doing horrible things to my hair!"
He gave Sakura an un-amused look.
And she sobered up, "Ok, so?"
"I…" He muttered, turning away "…This is stupid."
"What are you talking about?" The kunoichi frowned, "Come on! Just imagine that I'm that gorgeous, blonde, opinionated, temperamental, shallow, bitchy—"
"Kidding!" Sakura grinned slyly, "You do love her! Coming to her defense like that…"
Shikamaru shrugged, trying to appear unaffected, "Let's just get on with it…"
"Ino." He forced out, in spite of the distinct feeling that he sounded extremely idiotic, "I…like you." He struggled with the words. "It's troublesome but I can't…help…but," He reddened, "…feel that way."
Sakura smiled, intertwining her fingers and trying (and failing) to look coy, "Oh Shikamaru…" she hit his chest in a playful manner.
When he winced, her expression immediately turned into one of worry. Her bright eyes widened, "Oh shoot, I'm sorry! I forgot about your injury!" She bit her lip and then gripped the edges of his vest, "Take off your shirt."
"Don't give me that," she glared lightly, "I need to see if the wound reopened."
Hesitantly, he let her undress his top half, grumbling all the way. When he was fully shirtless, she gave his torso a once-over, small hand going to the bandages across his chest.
Before she could continue, there was a sudden, enveloping wave of fierce chakra and a familiar voice spoke, severely, "What's going on here?"
Their battle had ended prematurely.
Within the first ten minutes, they'd effectively turned a huge chunk of wall and roof into dust, transformed the restaurant into what looked like the after-effect of a hurricane, and had scared off most of the villagers within the vicinity.
When the Hyuuga noticed the utter destruction their fight had reduced the diner too, he wisely ran off in one direction, baiting the Uchiha to follow.
That's when they heard her laugh and Shikamaru's voice. It stopped them in their tracks.
Two pairs of eyes of opposing hues looked on, their owners steadily becoming angry at what unfolded before them.
How could they have not seen through the strategist's plan? Throw them off guard by bringing up what they thought were buried feelings. Pretend to be the neutral third party. Then, go after Sakura while they were busy bickering with one another.
Devious. What they should have expected from Konoha's top tactician.
They hadn't caught a lot of the beginnings of their conversation but her light laughter and his obvious embarrassment could only mean one thing. They were flirting.
That bastard had even confessed to her!
Not to mention the fact he was shirtless, she was basically in her undergarments, and she was touching his chest in a delicate manner…
It was enough to rile the shinobi up; enough to make them momentarily forget about their own conflict; enough to unite briefly with one goal in mind.
The tactician looked at the murderous ninja, then between his half naked self and Sakura's partially undressed body.
"What the hell, you guys!" Sakura cried out, immediately standing and rushing over to the two glaring men. "What happened?"
She was obviously referring to their numerous injuries. Her immense worry had easily overcome the bitterness she'd just been feeling for them. "Enemy shinobi? A battle?"
Though they would have ordinarily relaxed in such close proximity to her warm, glowing chakra, her state of undress was compelling them to pinpoint their attentions and their fury into the other shinobi.
"Guys?" Sakura's brows furrowed.
"I'll kill you." Sasuke said, looking straight at the strategist.
"What?" the girl's eyes widened in surprise.
"It's not what it looked like." Shikamaru glared, subconsciously readying himself for conflict.
"Brilliant." Neji muttered bitterly, "Getting us to fight like that."
"You guys fought?" Her eyes narrowed, growing extremely annoyed with how she was being blatantly ignored, "Is that how you got all these injuries? By fighting each other—"
"Be quiet." They said at the same time and in the same manner.
They disregarded her shocked gasp, and the way her expression took on one of total offense. "You bastards—"
The two charged so fast, Sakura feared Shikamaru wouldn't be able to dodge the double onslaught. "No!" As their fists supposedly connected with Shikamaru's torso and face, he turned out to be a log replacement.
"Stop it, you guys—!"
"Come out, Nara!" Sasuke growled, feeling around for his chakra.
Sakura's voice was pure, unadulterated anger, "I swear, if you don't stop this instant—"
"You can't hide forever!" Neji exclaimed, using his Byakugan in an attempt to pinpoint the other jounin.
And Sakura snapped.
With one quick, chakra-infused punch into the ground, a wave of earth (and river water) rose around them. And before either shinobi could properly react, the mud swallowed them whole.
Both Neji and Sasuke, after being dug out from under a ton of muddy ground, had gone unconscious with the force of the blow, with the effort of their own battle, and with the several injuries they'd obtained due to said battle.
Sakura had cursed them both, for she had lost her clothes and Shikamaru's shirt in the rush of water (in revenge, she let their wounds be), but had grumbled and carried both of them all the way home.
"And that is how it happened." Shikamaru grumbled from his spot, clutching the injury in his chest.
Tsunade looked at the group of four. Konoha's legendary brains—angry, embarrassed, flustered, limping, wounded, half-naked, wet, and in debt.
Neji wasn't as responsible as she'd thought if he could so easily disregard the fact they'd destroyed so much property.
Sasuke wasn't as quick as she'd thought if he could incur so many injuries in one fight and come home unconscious.
Sakura wasn't as intuitive as she'd thought if she could be so oblivious about their quite apparent feelings.
And Shikamaru wasn't as strategic as she'd thought if he could get himself involved in such a mess.
Tsunade then let out an amused snort.
"What a bunch of idiots."
We are all fools in love.
A/N: ...you know, after you work on a story for SO LONG, it gets so repetitive that you can hardly rely on yourself for judging quality.
Thus, I rely on you guys! Please Review!