Standard disclaimer applies.


Sakura Haruno was a bit of an introvert.

It wasn't a secret, exactly, but few people actually knew just how much of an introvert she really was. Mostly, this had to do with the fact that she could be quite loud and sometimes even outgoing.

The thing was, even though she was extremely good at doing those things, she hated it. Hated it; loathed it with a passion.

But being those things she hated was a requirement for doing the things she loved. You couldn't be a very good doctor or intern if you couldn't talk to patients. You couldn't be a good intern and convince the hospital to hire you on – even though you had to do some serious begging just to be considered – by not being completely and always cheerful and enlightening. So, yes, Sakura had gotten very good at being all those things.

She learned early on when she had to talk and connive her way into scholarships and teacher's good graces for the sole purpose of recommendation letters that she could kiss her future medical school dream goodbye unless she wasn't perfect in everything, from academics to friendliness to social standing.

She had learned to bite down on her blushes, clench her trembling hands, and swallow down the lump in her throat every time she had a presentation, job interview, scholarship interview, and every other thing in life that required her to leave the peace of her home and actually talk to people and pretend to be a functioning human being.

Almost no one knew that Sakura had had numerous therapists and tutors attempt to reach into the depths of her mind and cajole her inner extrovert out. Like being an introvert was something she could be cured of. Like it was some type of mindset that could simply go away with a handful of practices and role playing exercises.

Though Sakura supposed one good thing had come out of all that.

She'd learned that no matter how much she tried and no matter how many times she had to give presentations or go to job interviews or deal with other peoples' eyes on her, it would never actually get easier.

No. It would never get easier.

But she would just get better at faking it.

That's why so few people knew, really. Not because she tried to hide it, but because she was so good at faking it, most people never thought there was anything to fake.

And that's why Sakura was so good at so many things. All of her teachers loved her, she'd always been in the top ranking grade-wise, been a favorite in the children's ward of the hospital, etc, etc . . . Not because she was actually good at any of those things (except the academics part), but because she knew the importance of faking it.

And she could give anyone the little sayings her parents and early teachers and therapists alike had told her for years, from Fake it 'till you make it and It gets easier the more you practice, but those were all dirty little lies.

There was no easier.

Sakura only felt slightly bad when a manager or teacher might come up to her out of the blue and tell her she was great that day and she really knew her stuff and oh, she was just so talented at conversing with people. (Even though she felt like she was chewing on nails every time someone made eye-contact with her. Even though she felt like she was drowning and her face itched and her mouth was too dry every time she had to talk to someone, even if she knew them, because that was just how things were for her.) Because she knew it was all a lie, but it the good kind of lie, she supposed, the kind other people preferred seeing. Sometimes the truth of things like this was why so many people preferred to live among lies. Because if they didn't, they'd never succeed in doing all that much of anything (at least in her case).

So when everyone in the Akatsuki and every Uchiha in the house was standing in the doorway to the kitchen, staring down Sakura and Hidan (who was in the fetal position on the floor making odd cat and baby kinds of noises depicting what the meaning of pain had taken on), it was an odd feeling she got in her stomach.

Odd, because she still hated being the center of attention. Would always hate it, she knew. That was no question. She had given up on even the idea of it ever getting easier.

Odd, because while she hated being the center of attention, it wasn't the same when it was the Akatsuki and the Uchihas staring her down. Maybe it was because she was too used to them (Kami help her . . .) or maybe it was because she just couldn't take them seriously, wasn't trying to impress them with her people skills or . . . anything skills, really. In fact, she'd like it nothing more than for them to ignore her completely,

Sakura clenched and unclenched her hands, feeling how damp they were with her sweat. She was nervous and tired and not feeling well at all and she still had to deal with these buffoons, who were going to attempt to tackle her any minute now.

She saw Naruto and Sasuke out of the corner of her eye tense right up at all the new men in the doorway. Even Shisui was there in the back, having woken up from whatever it was Hidan had done to him, apparently.

Kisame was leaning against the doorframe, grinning down at her and glancing curiously over to Hidan on the ground, a silent question in his eyes.

But it was Tobi who spoke. "What did meanie Hidan-san do to poor Sakura-chan!?" He waved his arms wildly and hopped over to Sakura until he could grip her by her shoulders and force her under his chin. She didn't even try to fight it.

Sakura was going to be smart and not answer that question, knowing exactly how the men in the room would take Hidan's inappropriate comment. Nor was she particularly sure she would even be able to get a word out, what with how tightly she was pushed into Tobi's black sweater. It was difficult breathing, let alone attempting to discuss the perverseness of someone like Hidan. Her life was simply too short to attempt to talk about that, Kami help her.

Naruto, however, had no qualms exclaiming play-by-play of everything that had gone down, from his and the teme's tackling methods to Hidan's comments to how Sakura kneed him like her life depended on it. To be honest, Naruto got all this out in the flustering way that he could and so quickly that while a play-by-play of all this would have taken a normal person a few minutes at the least, it took Naruto no more than less than a minute. It was quite remarkable, really.

Sakura huffed dissonantly into Tobi's sweater, which had gone stone-still sometime during Naruto's monologue. He wasn't even breathing.

She was then forcefully yanked from Tobi's steel-like grip by none other than Sasuke, who looked both bored out of his chicken-butt head and quietly annoyed at the human beings around him. Honestly, if the boy was given the chance to nuke the whole world (besides Sakura and Naruto, of course), he wouldn't even have to think about it.

Sakura was a bit surprised Tobi allowed this action. Usually, once he got his arms around her, it was only Sakura who could struggle out of his grip. But apparently Tobi's attention was too preoccupied with Hidan, who was now sitting up and grinning stupidly at everyone like he wasn't about to die a very bloody and painful death, if not from Sakura herself, then from the congregation of the men in the kitchen doorway.

Sasuke quickly and quietly backed away from the menace radiating from Tobi, Sakura still stuck in his arms.

Then Sakura coughed.

And coughed.

She may have hacked out a lung.

Sasuke quickly dropped her and peered down at her in concern and confusion. Naruto was there, behind her, whacking away at her back like that was actually going to help matters.

And that was how Hidan escaped death.

Every man's attention was on her now, she knew. She couldn't see them through her watery eyes, but the heat of their eyes – red and alike – was enough for her to be able to tell.

Her face was probably the color of her hair now, at the very least. Her hand had flown up to her throat during this hacking spree, and she kept it there as her coughing fit passed and she sniffed pathetically, coming back to a full stand.

All the men were staring at her with mixed expressions.

Time for damage control. She gave them a watery smile. "What? It's just a cough."

Kisame grunted, eyebrows raised. "Try again, squirt."

She glared at him. Well, as best she could with a pink face and watery eyes.

"Sakura-chan's not feeling good!?" Tobi bellowed and began to run in circles around the kitchen island.

Suddenly Naruto was right there with Tobi, running around like the idiot he was and screaming about medicine and someone call an ambulance and then, just to add the cherry to the top of the cake, Naruto comes to a sudden stop in front of Sakura and points at her accusingly and said, "YOU'RE NOT PREGNANT ARE YOU, SAKURA-CHAN?!"

Honestly, this question didn't even deserve a response.

Really, how does her coughing have to do with possibly being pregnant?

(Probably in the same way her coughing meant she had been drowning in her shower from earlier, actually.

Ah, the logic of morons.)

Not to mention it was literally impossible for her to be pregnant, unless she was gonna go all Baby Jesus on everyone.

She sighed and rolled her eyes. But apparently, the men in the room had different ideas.

"WHO'S THE BASTARD WHO DEFILED MY SAKURA-CHAN!?" Madara yelled, elbowing his way through the throng of men still standing in the doorway. His red eyes were flashing and spinning threateningly.

"I'LL BE THE FATHER, YEAH."

"HELL NO! THE ONLY ONE RAISING THE BITCH'S KID IS GONNA BE ME. LORD JASHIN-SAMA CAN BESTOW HIS BLESSING ONTO THE LITTLE SHIT-"

"DON'T CALL SAKURA-CHAN'S FIRSTBORN A LITTLE SHIT, HIDAN-TEME!"

While all this was equally annoyance-worthy, what scared her the most was the little ramblings she heard coming from Sasori about cute, miniature dolls with pink hair and green eyes and something about little dresses. Sakura took a few miniscule steps back from his side of the room.

"HN. So you finally had sex?" Sasuke peered down at her with a smirk that Sakura couldn't really understand. His red eyes were also twisting chaotically. "So who was it?"

This got everyone's attention. Every pair of eyes were now directed right at her, and Sakura sighed again, then blinked lazily at them all and wondered what she had done in a past life to deserve this.

Sakura opened her mouth. Then closed it again. All she got out was a pathetic, "Um . . ."

Naruto's blue eyes widened comically. "WAS IT SOMEONE IN THIS ROOM!?"

"Uh . . ." Ah, shit. How the hell was she going to get out of this one?

And that was how Kakuzu came to be strangling Hidan by the neck with his whip-thingies, how Sasori was also strangling Deidara with the string he always had on him, muttering under his breath about the doll's innocence while Deidara was threatening to blow everyone up, Hidan was screaming at the top of his lungs about raising a child in Jashin-sama's name, Naruto and Sasuke were making idle plans to steal Sakura and the child away from anyone's presense, Pen, Itachi, and Shisui were all silently making plans to keep the baby away from Mikoto and Madara, Madara was just gazing at nothing with a secret little smile on his face, resembling Sasori when Sakura honest-to-god questioned if he was high or not, Tobi was flailing his arms about and screaming about cute little chubby faced children and the toys he would bestow onto the child, and Kisame just looked severely uncomfortable.

And Zetsu . . . well.

Sakura was still unsure of where Zetsu exactly was.

It was in that moment that Sakura made the executive decision to run far, far away if she ever did decide to have children.

Because she already knew that none of this insanity was going to stop without her saying the one thing she knew would shut the all up, she just sucked in a breath and prayed for the best.

"I'm a virgin."

Dead quiet.

And then some of the biggest, creepiest grins Sakura had ever seen in her life.

"Ah, my love! I knew you were waiting for me and our wedding night! How thoughtful of you to know that every other man would just seem insignificant compared to the magnificence that is me and our bodies together, tangled as one, sweaty and moaning–" And it was then that Itachi snuck up behind Madara and landed one well-placed blow on the back of his neck, causing Madara to pass out. No one even bothered to attempt to catch him on the way down.

Sakura just blinked up at Itachi as her lips twitched. That was the most of a thank-you he was going to get from her right then.

Naruto coughed uncomfortably.

"What?" Sakura snapped. She glared at Naruto and Sasuke, who both just stared timidly back at her, with identical expressions of What? Who, me? Really, though. "You two should know this better than anyone. It's not like you're both not behind me hissing and growling at any single male who happens to approach me," she hissed, folding her arms across her chest as if to make her point. She even went so far as to tilt her face up so her chin was in the air.

Naruto rubbed the back of his head sheepishly while Sasuke frowned down at the ground like it held the secrets to the destruction of the human race and refused to give it up to him.

"But Sakura-chan! The teme and I are just trying to protect you!"

"I know," she said, nodding, startling both Naruto and Sasuke, who no doubt expected to get a rant and lecture from her about this. She even went so far as to smile at them, very softly. "And I love you both for it." Both boys in question went beat red, right up to the tips of their ears and down to their necks.

Sakura shrugged nonchalantly and swept a piece of her cherry pink hair behind her ear. "It doesn't really matter. It's not like I have time for a relationship anyway. Nor do I particularly want one anyways."

"And what about when you do want one?" Itachi spoke up. Honestly, from how Naruto and Sasuke both looked at him, you'd think they forgot they had an audience. "What about when you do want a relationship – more than just friendship – what will you do then?"

Sakura blinked at him. "Well. I guess that depends."

"On what?" Pein stepped in.

"Uh," Sakura stuttered. What was this, an intervention about her nonexistent love life? Thanks, but she already got enough of that from Ino. "I don't know. I guess how much I liked the guy and if he liked me."

"Are you quite sure you won't just continue to make excuses about being too busy even when that time comes?" And there was Pein, blunt as ever.

Sakura's eyebrows shot up. Then she smirked at him. "Well, if I don't like the guy enough to make excuses, then I guess it really doesn't matter does it? I must not have liked him enough to begin with."

Pein smirked back at her. They should all know by then that Sakura wasn't the type to lie to herself about these kinds of things. If she says she's too busy to date, then she's just too busy to date.

It was the same conversation she always had with Ino. She'd tell Sakura that she was going to let Mr. Right walk right on by if she didn't get her nose out of a book soon enough, and Sakura always told her that if he couldn't draw her attention enough to get her nose out of the book in the first place, then he probably wasn't Mr. Right to begin with. (Also, he could always just stick his nose in the book too, for Pete's sake. She'd totally be up for a reading buddy.)

An arm snuck around her waist, bringing her body back until she was flush against another, very male chest. A nose rubbed against her hair, and Sakura could literally feel his satisfied smirk. "My doll is too good for any other man, anyways," Sasori purred, his mouth right at her ear, and a shiver ran down her spine at the feel of his breath tickling the sensitive part of her inner ear. "Too pure for anyone else."

Sakura felt her eye twitch in annoyance. And she was about to open her mouth to tell him exactly where he could shove his ideals about women only being pure if they were virgins, when another nose found its way to her neck, on the other side of where Sasori was already occupied with her hair.

"What," Sakura growled, "the fuck, Deidara?"

And there was Deidara, handsy as ever, arms snaked around the back of her neck and wrapped around her free hand, holding her delicately but firmly enough that she knew if she wanted to escape she would have to literally throw them off her.

Not that she particularly had a problem with that, of course.

Sasori's nose found its way over to her cheek, where she could have literally sworn for a moment that she felt the tip of a tongue trace along her jawline. Dear Kami, she was going to fucking murder these two assholes.

Deidara's hand on the back of her neck was tracing patterns along her skin, light enough that it was impossible not to notice, in the way she would notice a stray piece of hair tickling the skin along her arm or shoulder. It made goosebumps rise along her arms and the back of her neck, and on instinct her back and neck arched, trying and failing to get away from his touch. A gasp might have escaped her lips if Sakura was anyone else, but she was too prideful for something like that, and so she growled instead.

They were boxing her in like Naruto and Sasuke sometimes could, but instead of feeling safe like she did with them, now she just felt annoyed and ready to beat their asses back wherever it was they crawled out from.

Just as she was about to do just that, Naruto grabbed Deidara and Sasuke grabbed Sasori, hauling them away from Sakura with a growl of fury from them both.

Her relief was short-lived, however, because the moment Sasori and Deidara were gone from her sides, Naruto and Sasuke took their places, Naruto with his arms around Sakura's waist and Sasuke with his hand draped over her shoulder, glaring at everyone in the room like they were marking their territory.

Sakura just gave them all an unimpressed bland look, thinking of all the better things she could be doing right them; what book she could be reading right then if it hadn't been for her two idiot best friends and an equally stupid bet that involved alcohol. Really, Sakura would have thought they knew better, especially after bearing witness to some of Tsunade's more prominent fails and loses due to her compulsion to gamble and drink heavily at the same time.

"So," Naruto started, his face still in her hair, "just to be clear, you're not pregnant, then?"

Everyone just looked at him.

Sakura had to fight back the impulse to slap him. And then possibly give him a very awkward lecture of the human reproductive system, complete with slideshows and picture to scare him for life. For his own good, of course.

"Hn. Dobe."

"SHUT UP, TEME! IT'S A LEGITIMATE QUESTION!"

Sakura took a big breath and silently marveled at the fact Naruto knew a word as long as legitimate. Under other circumstances, she would have applauded him for the correct use of it . . . You know, when it wasn't in the same context of the questioning of her virginity.

But then she began hacking her lungs out again.

Naruto and Sasuke let go of her on impulse and looked at her worriedly. She waved them off pathetically from her bent over position, not really seeing them but knowing them well enough to envision the hamster wheel turning (or in Naruto's case, the wheel but no hamster) in the attempt to formulate a plan to coerce Sakura into going to a hospital or, losing that battle, getting her into a bed with a cup of steaming tea and bowl of chicken noodle soup in hand.

"I want to go home," Sakura said when she could stand up fully again, glaring at her two best friends through her watery eyes. Good Kami, her throat was rough. "I do not care about your bet – I do not feel well and want to go ho–" She broke off to begin coughing again, one hand fisted to her mouth and the other instinctively having grabbed onto Naruto's disgustingly orange jacket out of habit. Oddly enough, Naruto wasn't concerned about her tearing a hole in it as he was over her state of wellbeing.

"O-okay, Sakura-chan!" Naruto said, stretching out a smile just for her. He pulled out a chain of keys from his pocket and wiggled them, making them click together as if to prove a point. "The teme and I will take you home!"

Sakura stilled. Her coughing stopped magically, and the hand that had been balled up in Naruto's orange jacket suddenly tightened as she pulled him closer to her, her green eyes widening in surprise and fury. "You . . . had the car keys . . . all. This. Time?"

Naruto laughed hesitantly, his own blue eyes widening as if he suddenly understood the impact this would have on her.

"I thought you had a rental car?" Sakura questioned, still not loosening her grip on him as he struggled in fear. Sasuke, she saw out of the corner of her eye, was slowly backing up, his eyes never leaving Sakura – as if she was a wild animal that he couldn't give his back to, unless he wanted to be mauled to death – until he hit the chest of Itachi, who blocked his exist and looked down smugly at him, arms crossed over his chest. "One that you already had returned?"

"Hehe . . . well, you see, Sakura-chan–"

"Naruto," she hissed, and the sound of tearing cloth could be heard. Sasuke gulped loudly from where his older brother had him in a headlock.

"IT WAS THE TEME'S IDEA!" Naruto screamed, finally giving way to full-fledged panic, pointed and waving at Sasuke in the attempt to save his own skin. Friendship thick as metal, those two, until it was Sakura who was ready to bend the metal and tear it to pieces. Then, all bets were off.

Sasuke's eye twitched in irritation from his brother's headlock. He struggled against Itachi's steel-like grip. "What? You were the one to make that stupid bet and drink more than your body weight, dobe." This was all hissed, because there was an unsaid rule that no Uchiha ever yelled or raised his voice on principle. However, hissing like the snakes they were was allowed.

Naruto turned wide, sea blue eyes back at Sakura. "We did return the rental van! But the teme had another car here!"

Of course he did. Because every Uchiha had more than one car. Of fucking course.

Sakura took a deep breath and loosen her grip on Naruto's jacket just the tiniest bit. Not enough for him to wiggle free, but enough to give him hope to walk out of the room with his skin still on his body and his important body pieces still attached to important body places.

Sakura glared over at Itachi, ignoring the way Itachi was smirking at her, getting off on them both being the cause of Sasuke's misery and unease. Goddamn sadist.

Sakura just growled, low in her throat at him, and Sasuke gulped. The movement of his throat could be traced down with her eyes.

She narrowed her eyes and grabbed the key of rings from Naruto's sweaty grip, already moving towards the door that was not occupied by every perverted man in the house, dragging Naruto by the color of his jacket. It was difficult to say if Naruto was struggling from the collar of his jacket that was cutting off his oxygen or if he was just freaking out about the rips and tears that were going to be left behind once Sakura was done with his precious jacket.

Sakura paused long enough in the doorway to glance back at Sasuke and Itachi, and snapped her fingers and told Itachi to let go of his foolish little brother, which he did with a too satisfied smirk. Sasuke just sat on the floor, not sure if being in the headlock of his brother was safer than with Sakura, what with that glint in her eyes.

Sasuke sat there indecisively until Sakura growled at him under her breath and he scrambled over to her. He sure as hell wasn't going to be the one to break the news to her now.

But he didn't need to worry, because there was Shisui, who somehow was always the bearer of bad news, and fearlessly stood in Sakura's path out the door, coming out of nowhere, and grinned down at her with his too-sharp incisors promptly in view.

Sakura just growled at him too.

He held up his hands in a mean-no-harm gesture, like he was an innocent party in all this, and don't-shoot-the-messenger, and Sakura was calling so much BS on this right then that she. Couldn't. Even.

"Hate to break it to you, baby," Shisui started, eyes gleaming with unsaid promises, "but Mikoto got a call from your apartment complex not too long ago. Turns out, your apartment's flooded."

Sakura stopped listening. Naruto made incoherent sputtering noise that could be accommodated by death and pain. Sakura ignored him. Sasuke swiftly moved out of her range of fire.

"Something about there being a leak – a big leak, of course, since it would take a lot of water to do this kind of damage–"

Castration. Asphyxiation. Beheading.

Really, there were just so many options.

(Personally, she was a fan of castration.)

"Anyways, the point is–" Dear, Kami. Shisui was just getting so much pleasure from telling her this, she could tell. She was going to wipe that damn smirk off his face in such a pleasant way . . .

"–you don't have an apartment to go home to." Shisui rubbed his hands together and lowered his head in a manner that could have been seen as pityingly, but Sakura knew better than that – knew him better than that – and saw it for what it really was: satisfaction.

"So Mikoto has made arrangements for you to live here for the time being."

Sakura's eye twitched.

She dropped Naruto suddenly, and gasping and choking sounds could be heard, but Sakura paid no mind to him.

Something in her face must have ticked Shisui off, because he suddenly lost the grin, just a little bit, and took a step back from her. And then another.

But like the moron he was, he kept on talking, like this was going to help things and prevent his loss of manhood in about five seconds. "They were able to save a few of your things, of course–" Whatever he was about to say was then cut off by a very girly scream – that did not actually come from her – as he sidestepped Sakura as she lunged at him.

Sakura twisted on her heels and grabbed a handful of Shisui's sweater and brought his face extremely close to hers. "What did you do?"

Shisui gulped, but Sakura already knew she wasn't going to get a good answer from him.

She wasn't stupid. Far from it, really, and that was how she knew that these men had something to do with this.

This was all their damn fault.

She had no doubt that her apartment was actually flooded. The Akatsuki and Uchihas didn't tell outright lies, no matter the situation. She had no doubt they received a call from her apartment complex telling them that she couldn't live there anymore due to water damage, just as easily as she knew there would be many, many more new and Uchiha related items for her the next time she visited the "guest" room Mikoto had given her.

What she also knew was that while this wasn't a lie, whether the water damage was actually due to the storm was still up for debate. In fact, Sakura would bet good money that the damned Akatsuki and Uchihas had more than a hand in it.

Leak, her ass.

It wouldn't surprise her to find that they took a pickaxe to make said leak, if there was ever a leak to begin with.

A very inhuman sound tore its way up and out of her throat, and now Shisui looked very, very frightened. Naruto and Sasuke were nowhere to be seen.

And then she heard the giggle.

Sakura turned her head to see Mikoto make her way through the throng of men in the opposite doorway – even going so far as to causally step over Madara, who was still out cold from where Itachi hit him – trying and failing to hide her own little Uchiha smirk. She held a delicate hand up to her face, trying to hide her face and look at Sakura with concern and pity.

Sakura felt a shiver race along her spine as everything clicked into place.

"Sakura, dearest," Mikoto began, a small giggle escaping her mouth again. "I heard what happened. Don't worry – I already took care of anything. You'll stay here with us–" She waved a hand around her, at the waiting Uchiha men, who all promptly smirked at her as their red eyes spun. "–and we'll just give you rides to the hospital and school when you need us to. We can always hire your own personal chauffer, of course, if it becomes necessary. But I highly doubt that; I'm sure none of us will mind helping you out in your time of need."

And then she giggled again.

Sakura began coughing again, though this time it wasn't because of her cold, but because she saw exactly how this had all played out, and for just a moment, she choked on her fear.

And then Sakura smiled daintily at Mikoto. Two could play at this game. "Actually, I just talked to Ino and she told me I could stay with her. She lives much closer to the hospital then you do and it would just be so inconvenient for you to have to deal with my odd times of going to school and the hospital." Sakura grinned wider, her face feeling stretched and faded. "Thank you for the offer, though."

And then Sakura giggled.

Someone covered a laugh with a cough.

Mikoto did not look pleased, and Sakura could see the light in her eyes that told Sakura she wasn't going to let her go without a fight, and that was way Sakura finally let go of Shisui – who immediately began choking and coughing and basically attempting to get some oxygen to his brain, from which Sakura had to bite back the impulse to tell him it would do him no good anyways – and quickly grabbed both Naruto and Sasuke – both of whom had been hiding out in the corner of the room like they were Zetsu (who she still had no idea in hell where the bastard was) – and hightailed it to the garage, only yelling back thank-yous to Mikoto and something about hospitality and whatnot.

Sakura all but threw Sasuke and Naruto in the car and jumped in the driver's seat, putting it into reverse and hitting the pedal so hard they almost crashed into the still rising garage door.

It was still raining, but nowhere near as hard as before. Sakura turned to both Naruto and Sasuke, who were being uncharacteristically quiet next to her, barked at them to put their seatbelts on, and said, "You two and I are going to buy our own place." It was an order, not a question or offering.

Both morons blinked at her stupidly. Naruto even had his mouth open enough that Sakura half-expected a fly to crawl in. It would be something to happen to Naruto. "But . . . But Sakura-chan! The teme and I–"

"Have been whining and thinking about getting your own place for years," Sakura finished.

"What about Ino?" Sasuke asked, as timidly as his pride would allow.

Sakura rolled her eyes. "She'd let me stay with her, but I need to find a place quick, and I have a feeling your mother isn't going to let me go that easily. That's why we're all going to chip in and get a bigger place and live together. Your mother won't hunt me down if she knows I'm at least living with one Uchiha and you two can get away from those oppressing elders of yours."

Both Naruto and Sasuke were quiet for a moment, and Sakura growled once again. "You two owe me for this stunt. This is how you're going to make it up to me. We all know that my apartment didn't just so happen to get flooded."

"It didn't?" Naruto asked, looking like a confused puppy, head tilted to the side and everything. Sasuke wacked him behind the head before Sakura could.

"Fine," Sasuke said. And Sakura smirked, just a little bit.

Naruto was jumping in his seat, straining against the seatbelt. "Oh, oh! DOES THIS MEAN WE CAN GET A DOGGIE!?"

Sasuke just glared at the dobe and tried to growl out a Hell, no, but Sakura interrupted him.

"Cat, dog, hamster – I don't care." She'd probably regret that later, but right then all she could think about was how fast they could find somewhere to live. It had to be close to the hospital, at the very least. "As long as it isn't slimy and doesn't stink up the place, I don't care. And you have to take care of it, Naruto."

He was still jumping in his seat. "I want a golden retriever! We can name it The Ramennatter–"

"No," both Sakura and Sasuke said.

"Fine," Naruto grumbled. "But I still want a golden."

"Hn. As long as the walls are blue, I don't care."

"Teme! Blue's a stupid color! They need to be orange–"

Oh, dear Kami. What had she done?


Author's Note: So . . . the end? The end! Yeah, this is the last chapter for this story. HOWEVER, there may or may not be a sequel, where we get to see Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke all live together and who may or may not have unexpected visitors every once in a while (*cough,cough*) . . .

Whether or not there is a sequel depends on how much ya'll want one. I've noticed this story isn't getting a whole lot of attention or reviews/favorites the last few chapters (especially the last one) and so I wasn't sure if ya'll are just getting tired of it or what. Either way, I had a lot of fun writing this story, and I have another oneshot on the way, too. Even if I don't end up writing a sequel for this particular story, there will still be other stories I write. I like it far too much to stop now. ;]

IF I did happen to write a sequel, you could expect a new (slightly insane, slightly retarded, and a lot overprotective of one pinkette) doggie, separate rooms for Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura, a paint war that involves blue, orange, and some pink, some girlfriend loving that would for sure include Ino and possibly Karin, and we'd get to see just where the hell Zetsu has been all this time (the sneaky bastard). Haven't made up my mind yet. I have ideas, but nothing is actually written yet. We will see. ;}

Once more, if you haven't already, please check out my first standalone fic, The One Left Standing by pressing my name, OfPaintAndOil at the top of this page and clicking the link. Thank you to everyone who has/will favorite and/or review this story! I'm obsessive about checking for reviews, and I can promise you I read them all and take what ya'll say to heart!

'Till next time!