It had started as a standard Tuesday, and if Sakura was to be absolutely honest, she hated Tuesdays. They always started the same, a broken recording of last moment coffee shop stops, already twenty minutes late to whichever venture she had that morning. Today, it was lab time at the hospital, and honestly, even if she did manage to make it there with coffee and muffins, Tsunade would probably kill her.
Right about now, Tsunade would be beginning her rounds in the upper levels of the hospital. A path that usually meant yelling at orderlies not doing their jobs, and seeing to the more complex wounded within the hospital. Normally, Sakura would be just far enough away not to get underfoot, and scribbling in a notebook furiously, or scouring the library, on a search for some obscure medical reference that her mentor had mentioned, trying to take it all to heart.
Instead, on the same day she was supposed to spend with Shizune in the lab, breaking down various blood samples and mixing antidotes, she was late. Sakura had a carrier for three coffees in one hand, and a box of blueberry muffins balanced in the other. The phone in her back pocket wouldn't stop vibrating, and she was doing her best to ignore it and just make it into the office.
After a quick nod and smile to Lee for holding open the door, Sakura swept into the room with all the grace of a drunken squirrel, almost losing a shoe in the process.
"There's a step there."
"Yes, very observant, Uchiha." She nodded to Shisui, and approached the front desk. Sakura pretended not to notice that Shisui abandoned his initial direction to loop back around.
"It's my job." He shrugged. "And you-"
"Incredibly late," Sakura forced a smile. "And will be dead if there are any more delays. This coffee is already almost cold."
"Well then it's a good thing you're finally here." Tsunade barked. "And Uchiha, when I said go home, I meant it. Out."
"Yes ma'am." Shisui nodded, and turned right back for the door. Sakura ignored him, and instead offered coffee and muffins to her vengeful boss. From the looks of the fresh set of scrubs only an hour into her shift, Tsunade looked worse for the wear. It would be a long day.
She accepted the coffee gratefully, and passed the muffins along to several battered looking interns.
"Shizune is waiting in the lab."
"Early morning?" Sakura asked, following her mentor.
"Late night." The blond admitted, making a face. "Boarder patrol brought some friends home. Did you bother putting cream into this?"
"Sensei, you never put cream in your coffee."
"Fair enough." Tsunade shrugged, and sipped the coffee again. She punched a code into the nearest key pad, and slid her card before the doors in front of them hissed open. From there, it was a short walk to the desk that Shizune was pretending not to be asleep at.
Tsunade kicked at her chair, and the woman groaned. "No."
"Good morning, Shizune-san." Sakura greeted, holding the coffee out in front of her.
"You should have brought muffins," she mumbled, taking a deep breath. "But coffee works."
"Alright, coffee and pleasantries over. We have a bunch of patients to deal with." Tsunade barked, and from there, they began.
It was a couple hours later when Sakura began trying to ignore the fact that all she'd been able to have up to that point was a medium coffee with more cream and sugar than actual coffee. They'd taken a rare break, in between running blood panels, where Tsunade had taken to screaming at a nurse to update the goddamned chart in front of them, and that they were not, in fact, a candy store. Sakura took a moment to glance at her phone, only to see fifteen unopened text messages and two voice mails.
All from Naruto and Sasuke, with the exception of a text from some unknown number.
Sakura clicked through them quickly, trying to guess the time it would take for the nurse on the other side of the glass to start panicking. Honestly, Sakura had to agree with her mentor. If the girl had spent a little less time flirting with the patient, and a little more time reading his chart, maybe she wouldn't have almost killed him via overdose. It was really one of those days.
From what Sakura could tell, Naruto was trying his hand at dog sitting again. This venture apparently required selfies of with both the dog, and a pissed off Sasuke in the background. Sakura decided it really couldn't be that bad if Sasuke was involved.
Sakura quickly retracted the thought only moments later, when she opened the next picture message -from Sasuke. From the looks of it, there was a newly broken front window at the Uchiha's family home, and Sakura could vaguely make out dog prints all over what looked to be Sasuke's brother's car.
She sighed, and hit next. The next message was a warning that they had been kicked out of the family home by the wait staff, and they were headed to her apartment, and that hopefully Sakura still kept her spare key horribly hidden under the random brick on the walkway. She snorted, and shot off a vaguely threatening response before shutting her phone off.
If Sakura was to be a doctor, eventually- and she was going to be, regardless of whatever Sasuke's stupid brother had to say on the matter, shadowing Tsunade was incredibly important. After all, Tsunade was without a doubt the best doctor in their part of the world, and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. She would not let her boys, or other outside forces, jeopardize her future. Sakura scribbled down another page or so worth of notes, and hoped to whatever god was listening that she'd be able to read enough of her notes later to transcribe them successfully.
Tsunade dismissed her at 4pm on the dot, when the hospital became far too busy for someone without expansive clinical experience to be underfoot. Sakura didn't like how Tsunade put it, but one look at how far into her schooling she was, Sakura had no choice but to agree. Landing the internship had been a godsend caked in blood, sweat and tears, but that didn't mean that the work was over yet.
Instead, Sakura borrowed a large volume on infectious diseases from her mentor, and headed home with the intention of studying her ass off. She had completely forgotten her boys' intent from earlier, or that they had probably been inside her apartment, unsupervised, with a dog. Sakura hadn't even turned her phone back on, and probably would have written off the entire train of thought if, and only if, she hadn't come across a lamp that looked eerily familiar.
Sakura pushed one of the shards on the sidewalk with her foot. It was definitely ceramic, and definitely the remains of a lamp. She could have sworn she had the exact same one in her living room. She looked up and was greeted with the sight of curtains, waving out of her second story apartment window.
She looked back down to the ground. That was her lamp. The same lamp that should have been next to her television. One that her mother had picked out. Sakura was going to kill them. They were dead, and she would sleep soundly tonight about it, too, her future career be damned.
Sakura stomped up the three flights of stairs between her, and her home, hell-bent on giving her childhood friends a piece of her mind. She found her front door wide open, and just stepping inside only added to her temper. Her apartment was completely destroyed. Bookcases knocked over, books and collectibles all over the floor. Her couch was on it's side, with Sasuke casually leaning against her. He didn't see her at first, but paled considerably when she finally came into his line of sight.
"Where. Is. Naruto." She bit out, fuming. Sasuke took a step back, and pointed to her bedroom silently. Sakura gave him a dirty look, and stomped towards her bedroom, muttering the names of organs neither of them needed to survive. Hell, she could pay off her college tuition with them, all the way up to a doctorate.
Lucky for them, her bedroom was mainly intact. The only discrepancy was her dresser. It had been overturned, but the drawers were all pretty much there. She pushed her knee against the bottom ones as she righted it, and then tossed her bag and borrowed book on top. Once that had been completed, Sakura moved to investigate the noise coming from the bathroom.
There, she found Naruto stripped down to his shorts, attempting to bath a fairly large dog, with her $15 shampoo. It was the final straw.
"Teme, what are you doing-" Naruto looked up as the water was turned off, and his eyes became the size of dinner plates.
"Naruto." She asked, sweetly. Naruto backed up, fight or flight response activated. Unfortunately, the tiny shower stall didn't hold many options for running, especially with a large dog occupying more than half the space. "Why do you have a dog in my shower?"
"Well," He scratched his head. "Sasuke and Itachi were stuck having tea with their mother and Shisui when I got there-"
"It devolved from there." Sasuke summarized, holding onto what appeared to be a leash. "The dog is Shisui's. He bet Naruto a week's worth of ramen that Naruto couldn't take care of ti for twelve hours."
Ramen, of course. It was one of the major food groups in Naruto's diet, and an easy access way to getting the blond to do whatever task imagined. It was kind of a low blow on Shisui's part, after all, but it was effective. Sakura grabbed the leash from Sasuke, roughly. The dog, a long-haired shepherd of some sort, seemed to recognized the thing and shook the water off his coat before sitting down in front of the pink haired girl. Now thoroughly drenched, along with almost everything in her overcrowded bathroom, she clipped the leach to the dog's collar and headed for the front door.
"H-hey! Where are you going?!" Naruto yelled, slipping on the wet tile. There was a bang. Sakura did not turn back to investigate.
"To return the dog." She yelled back. "You two have until I get back to fix my apartment." She left the threat implied, and headed south, towards the Uchiha compound. After being friends with Sasuke for more years than she cared to count, Sakura finally had a reason to appreciate that the majority of his family lived on the same compound. The best part of all: she only seemed to have to follow the dog, who almost knew it was going home.
By the time Sakura had passed the Uchiha Senbei shop, she had mostly dried. She weaved her way through a couple more side streets before coming to stop in front of a stranger's door. It had been almost twenty minutes since she had left her home on the other side of town, and Sakura was knocking on a stranger's door only three doors down from Sasuke's parents' home. Honestly, if she didn't have a textbook to read, and several upcoming exams to study for, she may have dropped by. Maybe. Sasuke's mother was a nice lady, after all.
However, the man who opened the door was not. Itachi stared at her, his manners taking a moment to kick in. Sakura blamed it on the fact it should have been Naruto in her place. She tried her best not to look like she was going to kill someone, not that it would help much.
"Aa, good afternoon, Sakura-san," Itachi said after a moment. "What brings you here today?"
Sakura gave him a blank look, and held up her end of the leash. "I have a gift for Shusui." She deadpanned. Her and Shisui had run-ins in the past, usually revolving around bad bets and dares between him and her boys. Somehow, she always seemed to end up running into Itachi during the ones that ended terribly.
If she was being fair, they all ended terribly.
Itachi invited her in, and went to fetch his cousin. Sakura did not intend to stay, but still took off her boots at the door. She unclasped the leash, and let the dog run. It was easy to locate Shisui after, as the dog had gone ahead and knocked him over in it's excitement.
"Oof- Daiki! Cut it out." The dog paused in it's attack to let Shisui sit up. Itachi only nodded in Sakura's direction, directing his cousin's attention to the girl.
"You." He glared at her. Itachi didn't look surprised at his cousin's actions. In fact, he was devoid of any apparent emotion on the subject.
"You." She glared right back, holding the leash out. "You left something with Naruto, and it destroyed my apartment."
"Really?" In a complete change of demeanor, Shisui's eyes were wide, and he looked far more excited about the prospect than he should have been. "Well, Itachi, looks like you win."
"Win?" Sakura's brow furrowed in confusion.
"Itachi bet that neither Sasuke nor Naruto would be returning my dog." He shrugged, getting up off the floor. "He was right."
"Oh." So that was how it was. Sakura narrowed her eyes. "I'd appreciate it if any bets in the future didn't involve the possible destruction of property." She applauded her ability to keep her voice level. Itachi raised an eyebrow, as if she presented a challenge.
"Duly noted." She nodded and headed back towards the door.
"Oi! Sakura." She paused to sit down and pull on her boots, waiting for Shisui to continue his thought. "Wanna make a bet?"
"Not particularly." She tied the laces, and stood. "Perhaps some other time," She promised, cutting off whatever Shisui was going to say. She left, with the thoughts of a clean apartment and a hot shower. Unfortunately for her, something warm and wet ran across her hand. Looking down, she found Daiki following her, and both Itachi and Shisui not far behind.
No. Just. She wasn't going to deal with this today. She already had two other knuckleheads to deal with. Tests to study for. A busy day at the hospital to unwind from.
"Are you sure?" Shisui asked again, with a whistle.
"Will it make you quit following me?" Sakura dug her heel into the gravel, refusing to look at them.
"Sure." He didn't sound very convincing. She banked on it anyway.
"I bet that..." He paused for a moment, trying to think of something good. She scoffed at him, and he went with the first one that came to mind. "That you won't be able to go a week without bitching to Sasuke. Winner picks prize."
She sighed. It was rather lackluster, and no where near Shisui's usual level. It would be an easy win.
If only Sakura had known what she was really getting into, she might not have agreed in the first place.