title Good Night
summary Sweet dreams
A cooler sat in Hashirama's office one morning when he arrived. He lingered in the doorway as his men went to investigate. They examined the box with caution. Opening the plastic lid slowly. Carefully.
There was no need. He had known as soon as he had spotted the large pink bow placed on top of the lid.
Inside was Fai Tsai's skull. The bones and teeth bleached white. She had placed the glasses carefully back over the empty eye sockets. In separate jars floated his eyeballs and his tongue. A handwritten note sat under the skull.
"It's been almost a week since you gave her the okay, Uncle," one of his men remarked as he read the note too. Hashirama retrieved his handkerchief from inside his jacket. He covered his hand with it before he lifted the skull out of the cooler, holding it up to the window. He squinted one eye, using it to block out the sun hovering over the harbor.
"She probably took her time with him," sighed Hashirama. He placed the skull down on his desk.
Hands in his pockets, he continued to stare out over Victoria Harbor. At the fishing boats that drifted in with their catches. At the tour cruises that did a lazy loop of the waters as tourists snapped photos of the skyline. He glanced down at the note again.
From your favorite, was all it read in sparkling gold ink.
Sakura stood at her favorite spot on the entire island. Watching the road that spiraled down the side of Victoria Peak. It almost looked like toy cars were puttering around. Like she could reach down and pluck them right off their path. She crossed her arms across her chest.
When she shivered, the car door opened. She half-turned to see Sai emerge with her fur coat. He draped it over her shoulders.
Sakura handed her cigarette over to him without speaking. He accepted it, taking a long drag. And then he looked back at Tenten leaning against the side of the car. He passed the cigarette to her and she took a puff too.
"Are you ready, Aunt Cheng?" he asked her, hooking his thumbs through his belt loops.
"It doesn't matter. It's going to happen today," she answered.
And then Tenten, holding the cigarette between her teeth, ran her hand through her hair. Ruffling her bangs in quick, angry movements.
"This is the day that you really get us all killed, Boss," Tenten accused.
Sakura peeked over her shoulder to smile at her oldest friend.
"Does that mean you won't help me?" she asked.
Scowling, Tenten dropped the cigarette. Ground it out under the point of her shoe.
"I never said that," she retorted.
Hashirama looked up as the doors to his office opened. He almost smiled when he spotted Sakura. She was dressed in a white blazer over white pants. Her black heels tapping against the worn wood as she stepped inside. And despite the relatively warm weather, she wore a white fur coat draped over her shoulders. As Sakura headed into the room, the two guards on duty slipped outside to watch the door.
"Jing-Mei," Hashirama greeted her.
She walked up to his desk to deposit a box. From inside came a wonderful smell. And then she also set down a plastic cup filled with milk tea. The ice inside was still square, barely melted.
Sakura settled into her usual seat. The black armchair directly in the middle. Tobirama's seat to her left was empty. And of course Kabuto's seat to her right was also unfilled.
Sakura crossed one leg over the other, peeling off her leather gloves. She placed her elbow on the armrest, tilting her head to rest on her fist.
Hashirama opened up the box to find roasted chicken covered in roasted garlic. He inhaled deeply before he twisted off a leg. He eyed her as he began picking the flesh off the charred bone.
"Did you get my present this morning?" she queried, her tone light as she examined her nails.
Hashirama swallowed the chicken in his mouth. "I did. I appreciate the presentation. It was a nice touch," he said, gesturing toward the fireplace. And on the mantle sat Kabuto's skull. The white bone gleaming. The corner of Sakura's mouth twitched upwards.
"And people say I'm fucked up," she murmured.
She watched as Hashirama picked up the milk tea and eagerly drank it down. The roasted chicken was delicious, but it was a touch too salty. She knew it would make him thirsty. He made quick work of the rest of the bird. And then he wiped his hands clean with the moist toilette that had been included in the box. He tossed it into the box along with the bones picked clean.
When he lifted his chin, Sakura was still watching him, that half-smile lingering on her lips.
"Word's going to get around that Fai Tsai's gone for good. What's your plan, Uncle?" she inquired.
Hashirama let out a heavy sigh at that. He rested his hands on top of his desk as he thought.
"There are a few candidates I have in mind. I'm sure you have your own suggestions," he answered. Sakura smiled.
"What you think is much more important, Uncle," she said, shaking her head. Hashirama settled back in his leather chair. It squeaked just a little under the weight. He studied her face. Those dark eyes piercing into hers like they always did.
"You look satisfied. Are you done?" he asked.
Sakura's smile turned a little sheepish. She tucked her hair behind her ear.
"I promise. After today, I'll be much calmer, Uncle. I won't cause you any more trouble," she assured him.
And Hashirama finally smiled at her. He slurped down the last of the milk tea, setting it to the side. He gestured for her.
Sakura rose out of her seat to step toward him. He leaned forward to press a kiss to her forehead.
"Of course, Jing-Mei. You are my favorite, after all," he replied. They laughed softly. He coughed at the end of it. He cleared his throat, swallowing a few times.
"I just wanted to check in. I have a busy day today, Uncle," Sakura said, taking a step back. Hashirama nodded. He turned away from her, to look out the window. Squinting into the sunlight as some of the rays seemed to double and wobble.
Sakura pulled her gloves back on. She bowed at Hashirama before she turned and strode across the room. But then she stopped.
"Oh. One last thing, Uncle."
Tobirama glanced down at his phone. He peered out past the curtains. The knock on the door came as no surprise to him. It was quiet. Just two taps.
When he opened it up, Sakura stood there, holding up a bottle of whiskey.
"Why did you ask to meet?" he asked as she pushed her way into the apartment when he didn't move. She ducked under his arm to head into the kitchen. She rummaged around, looking for clean glasses. Tobirama followed her, arms crossing over his chest.
"We're celebrating," she replied. And when she turned, she held up two cups. She set them on the counter. She twisted the top off the whiskey. Poured a couple fingers into each glass. She nudged one across the counter toward him.
Tobirama glared at her. "Celebrating?" he repeated.
"Cleaning up your mess is going to be the biggest pain in the ass from here on out. You think it ends with you getting what you want?" he snapped.
She blinked a few times before she smirked.
"Yeah, I do," she retorted.
Rolling his eyes, Tobirama tossed back his drink. And then,he reached over and drained her glass too. She simply raised her eyebrows at him.
"Very mature," she remarked, dryly.
Leaning his forearm against the counter, he stared at her. "But what do you actually want?"
Sakura took a step closer to him. She placed her hand on his chest, pretending to fiddle with one of the buttons on his shirt.
"I told you, Tobirama. We're celebrating," she replied.
He froze a little. Sakura brushed idly at some invisible lint on his chest. He caught her hand, taking a step forward. She stepped with him. The small of her back hitting the edge of the counter.
"What about the boy toy?" Tobirama demanded.
She looked up at him, feigning surprise. Her eyebrows rising.
"Who?" she asked in return.
She laughed as he lifted her onto the counter. His fingers twisting into her hair as he pulled her mouth up for a kiss. All teeth and tongues, his voice growling up from deep inside his throat. He tugged at her clothes, impatient with all the buttons and zippers in his way. Flinging her shirt and bra aside. Greedy fingers spreading across her bare chest, dragging down her torso. Slipping into the waistband of her pants.
Wrapping her legs around his waist, she bit down on his earlobe. Just hard enough to reclaim his attention.
"Not here," she hissed into his ear before she kissed it.
His arms wrapped around her. He managed to carry her to the bed. They tumbled onto the mattress, her fingernails trailing long paths down his back. And a smile spread across her lips as he bit his way down her throat.
Rolling her onto her stomach, Tobirama filled her deep. His fingers digging into her hips as he thrust into her. The slap of his skin against her skin. Jerking into her over and over again, driving the breath from her lungs. She clutched the headboard as he slammed into her. Bones rattling. His shaky breaths hot in her ear as he pressed his chest to her back.
She shuddered against him when he whispered her name. Dark and low. Like thunder rumbling over a distant horizon. He spilled into her, trembling and panting.
And when he had caught his breath, he pulled her close again. She laughed, twisting in his embrace. She climbed into his lap, pressing kiss to his temple.
"Wow, you really missed me, huh?" she remarked.
"Shut up," Tobirama huffed as she sank down onto him.
This time, their tempo was much less frantic. His hands rested on her hips. He drank her in as she rose and fell. When her eyes opened, she caught him staring, his expression a little sleepy. She smiled.
"What?" she asked.
"Nothing," he replied. His voice slurring.
Sakura stilled for a moment. She leaned in to kiss the tip of his nose.
"It's a shame. I really would have liked to keep you around for a little longer. You're such a good fuck," she sighed.
Tobirama froze. His eyes narrowed into slits. Her smile didn't budge.
"What do you mean, Jing-Mei?" he demanded.
"You're right. Without Fai Tsai, you and I will always be at each other's throats. And I don't want that," she told him.
She could see her words processing. His eyes widened.
"What the fuck did you put in that whiskey?" he demanded.
"It wasn't poisoned. I love you too much to kill you, Tobirama. But I can't keep you around anymore. You'd just get in my way," Sakura replied.
He grabbed her forearms. She winced a little as his hands tightened. Her hands began to turn white as blood began to drain from her fingers.
But her smile didn't falter. She ground her hips a little. Giggling at the way his jaw clenched at the sensation. And little by little, his grip loosened.
"You'll go to sleep for a long time. And when you wake up, everything will be okay," she whispered before she kissed him one last time. Her tongue sliding across his. Teeth nipping at his lower lip. She drew back, eyes glittering.
She watched. As the strength drained from his crushing hands. His mouth went slack. And all his weight fell backward. He slumped onto the bed, eyes rolling back in his head.
Sakura leaned back on her palms, staring down at him. She scoffed.
"Stupid man. Like an ex-karaoke hostess wouldn't know how to roofie a drink," she remarked. And then she climbed off of his lap. He slipped out from inside of her. Sakura leaned over him to pluck a few tissues from the nightstand. She wiped herself as she headed into the bathroom to reapply her lipstick.
"Oh. One last thing, Uncle," Sakura said, hesitating in the door. She reached into her coat to pull out a black gun. Unloaded a bullet in each of his guards. Blood bubbled out of the matching holes in their temples as they slumped to the floor.
Hashirama got to his feet, hands slapping down on his desk. And as he stood there, he swayed a little. He cleared his throat a few more times. Blinked at the blurriness in his eyes.
He coughed. And he suddenly felt his chest constrict as he coughed several more times.
Sakura's heels tapped across the floor. She placed her hands on Hashirama's cheeks. Angling his head so she could look into his hazy eyes. At the way they crossed a little before he struggled to focus again.
"I always said that I would protect this family, Uncle. And I'm keeping my word," she told him. Smiling so tenderly as she wiped at the foam that began to bubble up at the corner of his mouth. She could hear the gurgle as he tried to say something, but she shushed him.
"You and Tobirama have been my family for a long time now. And I'll never forget all the kindnesses you've done for me," she went on.
And then her smile dropped. "But Orochimaru was my family too. And you killed him."
She released his face. And he slumped forward, cheek hitting the desk with a thud. Palms pressing to the table, Hashirama pushed himself upright. Shoulders shaking with the effort to glare up at her.
Sakura stared down at him. Her eyes cold.
"You shouldn't have given me away to him in the first place if you wanted to keep me on your side," she told him. Sitting on the edge of his desk, she added: "And you shouldn't have gotten soft."
She listened to Hashirama continue to gasp and choke on nothing.
"Oh, and don't worry. I won't kill Tobirama. He's my family after all. And family looks out for each other," Sakura told him. She stroked her gloved hand over Hashirama's hair a few times. His drool leaked out of his mouth, pooling across the desk.
And when he died, it was quite unremarkable. Just a few sputters before the light faded from his eyes. Face purple and the whites of his eyes bloodshot.
Sakura lingered there for a moment. She patted Hashirama's head one last time as she remembered the way he had smiled at her. That confident grin among all the flashing lights.
This probably wasn't the ending he deserved. But it was the one she had chosen for him.
Sakura got to her feet. She glanced down at the black pistol in her hands. She cast one last glance around the office before she slipped outside. She dropped the gun in the dumpster outside before she got into the car. Zabuza glanced at her in the rearview mirror. Tenten and Sai were silent as she closed the door. Zabuza peeled out of the parking lot before she could tell him to move.
She stared at her reflection as they pulled onto the highway. At the glittering skyscrapers that grew out from the asphalt. She caught Sai staring at her in the glass.
"Are you nervous, Sai lo?" she asked him.
His answering smile was strained. A little too tight around the corners of his mouth.
"Don't worry. We're almost there," she told him. And she turned her head to look him in the face. She smiled back at him. But it was completely relaxed, her eyes glittering with something like glee.
When Tobirama opened his eyes, it was to bright lights flashing through the windows. He grimaced, trying to cover his face with his hands. There was a fetid smell that made his eyes water. He looked around him, squinting against the cacophony of sounds and smells.
It took a moment for him to recognize the old, gutted warehouse where he had committed so much of his business.
But there was a strange shape hanging from one of the chains by the window. It swayed back and forth back and forth. He could hear dogs barking now. And he could hear men shouting.
The dogs were coming closer now.
Tobirama sat up. He looked down when he felt something sticky on his body. And he found his entire torso and both his hands coated with blood. There was a machete held in his right hand. He dropped it. It hit the ground with a clang that echoed much farther than it should.
Jumping to his feet, he made his way over to the strange shape.
It was just a body dangling there. Head severed neatly from the shoulders. When he leaned in closer, he squinted. He could see a red arrow tattoo running across the collarbones. A shiny old burn scar on the left shoulder. His eyes widened when he realized that this was Kabuto's body.
The lights continued to flash in through the windows. But now he could see the blinking red and blue lights of police cars too.
Tobirama wheeled around and his knee collided with a desk. He slammed against it, eyes watering. When he lifted his palms, papers stuck to them. He tried to brush them off before he realized that they were contracts and ledgers. The surface of the desk was completely covered in invoices. And as he shuffled through them, movements growing more and more frantic, he realized that these were his financial records. Of all the protection money he had received, of the profits he had made shipping narcotics in and out of the mainland. Which made absolutely no sense since he kept all his records digital. He had bought some of the finest encryption software to keep those things private and out of the wrong hands.
And here they were, printed like a breadcrumb trail to drag him to hell.
The double doors at the other end of the room banged open. Police poured in, shining their flashlights in his face. Guns raised. Doors snarling and straining against their leashes.
"Senju! Put your hands where I can see them!" one of the cops shouted.
Tobirama didn't bother to resist arrest. He had no weapons on him. And his head was still spinning as they dragged him to the station to process him. But as one of the officers read him the counts of all his accusations, one made him lift his head to glare.
"What did you say?" he demanded.
The officer glowered back. "I said, you're accused of bribing Senator Kwak with the amount of 50,000 HKD."
And then he recalled a conversation from all those years ago.
"I need 50,000," Sakura declared.
"You don't have $50,000?" he asked. His eyes roved over her. Bare body tangled in the white sheets. She rested her chin in her hand. The phoenix on her arm flexing and rippling with the muscles underneath. The red garish against her skin.
"I didn't say that," she replied.
"Then what for?" he challenged. Something lurked in that expression. That smile, eyes gentle and mouth soft.
"Consider it an investment. You'll be happy that you did," insisted Sakura, rolling onto her back and stretching her arms over her head.
Teeth grinding together, Tobirama stared down at his clenched fists. The veins popping out in his forearms as he trembled. As he recalled her coy smiles. At the years of memories piled one on top of each other. He lowered his head a little. And then his shoulders shook as he let out a low chuckle.
"You're really fucked up, you know that?" he sighed to the floor.
It was late on a Tuesday night when rain poured down on Tokyo. As the door opened and shut, Ayu ran up to greet the customer, Moegi trailing her.
"Welcome- ah!" she interrupted herself. She pressed her hands to her smile, giggling a little. Moegi quietly excused herself to run upstairs.
"Mama, a customer for you!" Moegi called, peeking her head past the door.
"Alright," Sakura said. Sakura plucked her cigarette from her mouth. She snubbed the cigarette out in the ashtray. Sighing, she rose from her chair. She pulled a shawl over her shoulders and stepped into the pair of high heels waiting at the door. Moegi held the door for her. With her free hand, she squeezed Moegi's cheeks together.
Sakura released the girl and then headed down the stairs. With slow and leisurely steps that echoed. Itachi met her at the foot of the stairs. Her eyes narrowed a little as he raised her hand to his mouth. Kissed her knuckles. Lips lingering for just a moment too long.
"My apologies. Have I come at a bad time, Mama?" Itachi asked.
"Set up my table, please," Sakura called to the employees, eyes never leaving Itachi's.
"Yes, Mama!" they called out, hurrying around with trays and glasses.
And as they walked to the back of the room, Itachi's hand slipped around her waist. He leaned in close, head tilting toward her.
"Or should I be calling you Dragon Head from now on?" he murmured into her ear.
Sakura smiled in return. The diamonds in her ears glittering as she turned her head.
"I don't know who you're talking about. I'm just the mama of a hostess club," she insisted.